Southwestern Indiana's Catholic Community Newspaper

Your Diet Isn't Just About What You Eat

Megan Erbacher

Summer is right around the corner – whoa – somehow it snuck up on me. While my seasonal allergies would rejoice with a little less pollen, I live for this time of year. The days continue to get longer, the smell of fresh cut grass drifts through the air and the weather is warming up.

What’s not to love?

One thing that always seems to be on my mind this time of year is how much I would like to lose a few pounds. You know, get that summer body everyone is always talking about. I’m not sure I’ve ever had ‘that summer body;’ I’m built a little curvier and – let’s face it – I love pizza, carbs and the occasional adult beverage.

You know the old adage, ‘You are what you eat?’ Man, oh man, if that were true I’d be some sort of pizza, macaroni and cheese, chips and salsa, beer hybrid – ha, sorry for putting that image in your head.

Too bad we can’t bring back the days when being pale and pudgy meant you were royalty or part of the upper class. Since I don’t anticipate that happening any time soon, I’ve accepted the fact I’ll never be model-size. And, most days, I’m perfectly OK with that.

The older I’ve gotten the more I try to be cognizant of what I’m putting into my body. I eat more salads, vegetables and fruits. And now I typically say no to that last slice of pizza, even though my college-self wouldn’t have hesitated to chow down.

But, isn’t the problem that we all focus too much on our outward appearances?

Hollywood and society repeatedly get the blame for it; but I believe it’s true that if more movies, ads and models were realistic then maybe we wouldn’t feel such pressure to be a certain size to be considered beautiful. Yeah, I admit some companies are trying to do a better job of including people of all sizes – which is wonderful and needs to continue – but it still isn’t enough.

A friend shared something with me the other day, and it’s made me rethink my annual “it’s time to try for that summer body” mindset: “Your diet is not only what you eat. It’s what you watch; what you listen to; what you read; the people you hang around. Be mindful of the things you put into your body emotionally, spiritually and physically.”

Your diet isn’t just about the food you put into your mouth; it’s also about how you choose to nourish your mind and spirit. Instead of focusing so much on the insecurities we may foster about our outward appearances, let’s remember God “created mankind in His own image” (Genesis 1:27).

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

God gave us this one body, mind and spirit; let’s love it and not tear it down with nasty thoughts and words. Would you tell your best friend or loved one they should shed a few pounds? No. At least, I hope not. So why do we so often tear ourselves down in a way we would never do to someone we love? Don’t we love ourselves?

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

While we should strive to put the right foods into our body, isn’t it just as important to properly fuel our mind and spirit? Let’s cherish this one body, mind and spirit God gave us.

Dust off your bible and reread your favorite passages. Stop neglecting Mass on Sunday mornings and make your best effort to go this week. Join a bible study.

“After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:29).

Instead of allowing our insecurities about our outward appearances take center stage, let’s focus our energy on surrounding ourselves with good people who lift us up, filling our minds and ears with positivity and, occasionally, indulging in that last slice of pizza.