Faith / Opinion / World

For the Girls Struggling with Self Care: Eating, exercising, and taking care of yourself Biblically

It is so much easier to encourage other people to get their lives together and start taking care of themselves than it is to do it yourself! But I know I am not alone in having done a terrible job myself. To let you all know a little bit about me, I have struggled with poor body image for ages, including having an eating disorder for a period of time. Thanks be to God I no longer suffer from the eating disorder, but I won’t pretend that I do not still struggle with eating regularly and with perceiving my self-worth correctly. I forget sometimes that my worth is inherent as a child of God. My worth is not derived from anything else but that.

While struggling with my eating disorder and body image issues, I failed to see my worth. But I also failed the charge that God gives us to take care of ourselves. This comes in two parts: first, we are temples. We are stewards of creation (and we ourselves are creation). Second, taking care of yourself can lead to a more accurate sense of self-worth, which is incredibly important because it shows that we respect the blood Jesus spilled on the cross for our sake.

First of all, we need to know why taking care of ourselves is important Biblically. 1 Corinthians6:19-20 says “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (NIV) While in the midst of my struggle, I forgot to honor Him with the way I was treating myself. We as believers have God within us, and He uses us to reveal His glory because we are His creation. C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given to you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own already.”

If we do not take care of ourselves we are failing His charge to do so. God calls us to treat our bodies well — not just because we are His creation and because we are called to, but also because it helps us bodily. It just is innately good to take care of ourselves for scientific reasons, which most of us are aware of. Eating regularly, drinking water, and trying to exercise. Your body is able to do so much more when it is fully engaged and being fed. I know from first-hand experience what happens when you don’t.

To begin with, I developed a lot of physical health issues that accompanied my mental health issues. My stomach was constantly upset, my skin was breaking out, and I had a series of ongoing issues that would have been prevented if I had been eating regularly. A similar situation goes along with the benefits of exercising. Your body works better as a whole when you exercise and move your body in away that you should. Something to bear in mind is that being healthy does not mean that you look a certain way and conform better to society’s standards. Healthy means your body works the way it’s supposed to and you feel different.

So how do we take care of ourselves? To fulfill the charge God gives us to treat our bodies as temples, to take care of creation, and to fully accept the gift we are given through Christ Jesus, we know we need to do better, even if it is hard. From here on out, I will give you a list of some things that I have used and suggestions that you can feel free to use to help take care of yourself physically. Cafeteria food is not always the best, so I have included some recipes that use very few ingredients and can be bought cheaply at the grocery store.

1. Eggs, toast with jam, and fruit
2. Toast with peanut butter and banana
3. French toast
4. Cheesy scrambled eggs
5. Smoothies

1. Grilled cheese sandwich with ham/turkey (and extras like tomatoes if you’re feeling it)
2. Fruit, cheese, and bread
3. Anything on either the breakfast or dinner sections

1. Spaghetti with meat and cheese sauce
2. Tacos: ground beef, salt, pepper. Toppings like peppers, sour cream, lots of cheese.
3. Frozen pizza
4. Cheese and chicken quesadillas
5. Rice and chicken, bell peppers, and broccoli

Snack ideas:
(Try to have a protein alongside a carb)
1. Spoonful of peanut butter
2. Pretzels and cheese
3. Cheese, crackers, and fruit
4. Apple and peanut butter
5. Popcorn

Conclusion: A final note would be, whether or not you do these things and choose to continue making progress in taking care of yourself, you are still valuable. Don’t forget that or let it be taken away that you are a beloved Child of God that Jesus died for.

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