Spiritual Calories and Body Image

What is your daily spiritual caloric intake? What is your spiritual body image? We scrutinize our daily physical caloric intake to the point of obsession. I bet most of us know our daily physical caloric intake.

And men…I know women aren’t the only people that obsess over calorie…I work with several men that are very careful about what they eat, exercise, and worry about whether or not they are giving their physical bodies the nutrition needed for healthy living.

As a woman who has trained for and finished a marathon, I have studied nutrition and movement until those were the only subjects I constantly thought about, and while taking care of my physical body is essential to running, the best nutrition I could give my whole self is spiritual. I find that any physical exertion always requires spiritual exertion. I didn’t finish a marathon because of physical fuel, but only because of spiritual fuel.

Recently, I gave up my physical caloric intake obsession. I started eating butter daily (gasp!) and I also have given myself a four month break from running. Physically, I have never felt better. I decided to stop obsessing over ‘calories in / calories out’ in an attempt to re-focus my heart, mind, and soul. The main reason I have stopped this obsessive, damaging, controlling mindset is because I viewed food as my enemy.

Stop! Just think about that last sentence. Food is not the enemy. Food nourishes our bodies. Food keeps us alive! Food brings us together. Food makes us happy! Food is a beautiful gift from God that influences all of our senses. We touch food, we taste food, we enjoy looking at beautiful plates of food, we smell food, and when the bacon is sizzling in the oven or in the frying pan, we hear food.

Now, re-read the last paragraph, and instead of thinking of physical food, read it as “spiritual” food.


Restrictive eating or restrictive dieting has warped our view of food. The diet dogma that you may only eat what you are able to burn off is not how God created our bodies. It leads to obsessive compulsive eating disorders.

I believe that our restrictive view of nutritional calories directly affects our spiritual caloric intake. Instead of setting time aside for God, make your whole life about God. Stop the restrictive spiritual caloric intake!!! Your whole self was created to glorify God! You are not your own…you belong to God. Stop looking at yourself in the mirror through your own eyes, but through the eyes of your Creator. Just in the same way a mothers negative body image manifests into her daughters’ negative body image, so does our negative “BODY IMAGE” manifest a negative “Body Image” for our faith family.

If we are truly made in the image of God, consider these words from Psalm 139:

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God-you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.” (The Message)


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