A Love Letter to My Body

What a lifetime of failed diets has taught me
A Love Letter to My Body

Dear Body,

We've been at war for a long time, haven't we? Almost 50 years and counting by my latest reckoning. It frightens me that I can't remember a time when we weren't on the outs with each other. Is that why all the various eating approaches I've tried over those years never could deliver the unbearable lightness of being that I wanted you to become? Atkins, lots of those meal-replacement chocolate bars and cookies advertised in Seventeen, Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Fit for Life, South Beach, all-protein, low carb, no carb, low-fat, the naturopathic plan, the 5-Day Miracle Diet, Dr. Ornish, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and so on. With all the diet and fitness books and videos I've read, reviewed, watched, and whimpered through, I should have had a graduate degree in food psychology and nutrition!

We've been at war for a long time, haven't we?

I thought food would prove itself the ultimate weapon: targeted and therefore accurate to a fault, able to destroy without any collateral damage. But you knew something way back then that I've only just found out: You have never been my enemy and there's a risk with using food as a weapon—it turns on you.

My dysfunctional beliefs were actually my enemy. I didn't really believe that the Lord was (and is) my shepherd and therefore I am taken care of. I couldn't live out the truth of Romans 8:38, which tells me that nothing separates me from God's love. Too many years of wondering where God had been when life hurt had calcified my belief that I needed to do what it seemed God couldn't or wouldn't do. I needed to set my ailing parents on a steady retirement course, pain-free and financially sound. I needed to take care of, maybe even heal, my handicapped siblings. I needed to help my husband find his next job so I wouldn't have to remain the steady breadwinner. I needed to shower grace and mercy on in-laws who held me in contempt. Where was God when it mattered? I wondered, as I shouldered those burdens.

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Renee James

Renee James is a regular contributor for TCW, Leadership Journal, and the Gifted for Leadership blog. She lives in Toronto, Canada, and is the communications director for Baptist Women of Ontario and Quebec. She blogs infrequently at ReneeJames.org.

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