Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Is More Better?

A few days ago I read an interesting article while browsing the internet. A fellow believer writes that his wife deals with “chronic and super high pain levels” in her back on a daily basis. While my back issues have not elevated to this level, I can relate to trying anything and everything to diminish back pain (read Painful Rest – article link under my profile). With a doctor’s recommendation and under a doctor’s supervision, she decided to start a 500 calorie per day diet with the intent of losing weight to reduce pain. Her supportive husband is joining her on this venture. Please note: I am not advocating a 500 calorie per day diet for just any willy nilly reason. I repeat: her situation is unique and this couple is under a doctor’s supervision.

The author, Jason Elkins, lists a typical day’s diet. As one who has researched healthy foods and how different foods affect our bodies, I am impressed with how this couple stretches their calories to include such a varied list of good-for-you foods. (One more time, I am not saying you should start a 500 calorie per day diet.)

What struck me (and the part that relates to this blog) were the reactions from Mr. Elkins’ friends.

The comments from some well meaning friends have been interesting:

You can’t live on that.”
You’ll gain all of your weight back right away.”
500 calories is starving yourself and it won’t work.”
That’s not healthy dude.”

I thought for a long time about that last statement. “Not Healthy”… I calculated what I ate a few Saturdays ago.*
At this point, the author recounts meals from a day before beginning this diet. The pancakes, eggs, Quizno’s sandwich, take-out pizza and dessert add up to around 4000 calories. Wow.

Why are his friends suddenly take an interest, negative at that, in his food intake? Mr. Elkins theorizes, ”I think it’s part of our culture to ignore excess in things but be very concerned about lack.”** Ironically, Mr. Elkins’ more recent low-caloric diet probably has more nutrition than his previous high-caloric diet.

I think we become uneasy around something abnormal. We don’t know how to respond to behaviors that are “out of the box.” As a society, we are conditioned to believe that more is better. Therefore, less must be bad. So a 500 calorie diet must be worse than a “normal” diet (which may be up to 4000 calories). We don’t even stop to ask what the content of the diet is before drawing our deductions. Do you see the lie (more is better) and false conclusion (less is bad)?

Let’s re-condition our thoughts. Remember that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.

Additionally, “’Everything is permissible for me’- but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’- but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Cor. 6:12) Let’s not be mastered by our diet, be it good or bad, high in calories or low.

You can read "Lessons from a 500 Calorie a Day Diet" by clicking the article link under my profile.

* Elkins, Jason. "Lessons from a 500 Calorie a Day Diet." Transparent Christian Magazine When our lives reflect the brightest light, we become Transparent. . N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2010.


1 comment:

Laura said...

What struck me most about this posting was the statement about our society ignoring excess, but being uncomfortable with "lack" - I'd never thought of it in those terms, but it is so true! I could also relate to the situation where well-meaning loved ones assumed that a "different" diet (in this case, the 500 calories) was somehow "bad" - I've been a vegetarian for almost 2 years now, and heard many of the same comments when I told friends and family that I had made that switch. I think that, sometimes, it just boils down to the fact that we may be uncomfortable with anything that is not familiar to us ... we have a tendency to interpret someone else's new behavior as a challenge to change ourselves ("Well, if that person is doing such-and-such, does it mean that I should be doing it, too??").