Break up with diets and workouts

When we look at how we spend most of our time, money, energy and thoughts, it becomes clear that we are in a bad relationship with food and exercise.

The truth is, any relationship with food and exercise is bad. We are not designed to be in a relationship with food or exercise because relationships take place between people who care about each other. A piece of cake or a quinoa salad will never say a single word to us at the dinner table. Food cannot give you a hug and exercise cannot give you a shoulder to cry on. You cannot be in a relationship with an inanimate object.

Perhaps, you don’t believe you are in a relationship with food and exercise. What if we dig a little deeper and see if you are.

If either food or exercise exposes feelings of guilt, shame, fear, despair, excitement, anxiety, pride, competition or judgment, then their place in your life is outside their design. If food or exercise exposes awareness of your weaknesses, strengths, and feelings, then they are exposing your vulnerable heart and this too is not normal or natural. Food and exercise should not have this type of power. Feelings of love, approval, comfort, value, acceptance, disappointment, sadness and anger should only happen in relationships.

Perhaps you aren’t looking for food and exercise to change your feelings but are you using them to tell you who you are? Who are you? I am a ________________. Did you fill in the blank with the way you eat or exercise or the way you look? Diets and workout programs are not supposed to give us an identity. They may be things we do, but they are not who we are. If something you do has the power to tell you who you are, then what’s the answer to the question when you are not doing that workout or eating that food? Who are you when there are no organic vegetables available or you blow out your back doing an overhead press? Giving anything the power to tell you who you will also give it the power to tell you what to do, which brings us right back to that bad relationship that I’m talking about. You are in a bad relationship with food or exercise, if they tell you who you are or what to do.

Food and exercise are gifts designed to nourish our whole-person and nourish a real connection with others. Food and exercise cannot be the connection that we need to establish real relationships. In today’s world, food and exercise are anything but gifts to nourish a real connection. Instead, we force it to be our connection. Our conversations revolve around food and exercise. We use it as a distraction to avoid our real selves and others. It helps us deny our loneliness, lack of connection, insecurities, vulnerabilities, weaknesses and fears. No matter how much or how little food we eat and how much or how little exercise we do, it is never going to make us feel okay about ourselves or establish a real relationship with others.

Food and exercise embody a false message when they fuel the belief that our bodies will bring us peace, hope, love, kindness, patience, goodness and self-control. Our bodies are not designed to get us those things, but to reflect that we have those things.

So, how do we break up with food and exercise and put them back in their designed place? Well, we can’t. The moment we take control and try to put them in their proper place, we are guaranteed to mess it up. Our bodies, lives and our relationships are designed to exist in balance and to flow in their own natural rhythm and order. When we develop the right relationship with ourselves and others, then food and exercise will take their proper places as gifts that we can enjoy physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and relationally.

As a result, we will give up using food and exercise to do something for us (lose weight, gain muscle, be our friend, to bring us comfort, or tell us who you are) and we will just enjoy food and exercise as gifts. Instead of stuffing a real conversation down with food or avoiding it with exercise, we can have that conversation with ourselves first and then maybe with a real live person. Instead of spending so much time and energy focusing on things that can never love us and tell us that we are enough, we will find people who can encourage and empower us.

VIVE Alchemy invites you to start a conversation that tells your truth and fosters real relationships with real people and connection in a real community that is not based on food or exercise but you.