These are very weird times. And I have a feeling I don’t need to tell you that.
There are a lot of things going on right now that are completely outside our realm of control. And, if we’re not careful, the chaos going on out in the world can seep into our private lives and start to affect us on a personal level.
If you have a history of disordered eating, or if food restriction and body insecurity have been part of your daily reality, living through this global pandemic probably has an added layer of difficulty for you.
Like most people, you are learning to deal with social isolation and feelings of loneliness, adapting your daily routines, and trying your best to stay positive. But with a barrage of home workouts posted by friends on social media, news stories showing rows and rows of empty grocery store shelves, and more time to be alone with your emotions, any pre-existing issues you’ve had around food are likely to be intensified.
I know for me personally, feeling a lack of control used to drive me to control what I could, and my own body was my primary target.
While COVID-19 is quite obviously terrible, it is presenting us with opportunities we may not have gotten by any other means. Most notably, I think, it is giving us the opportunity to recognize the miracle and fragility of our existence, and in turn, to ask the question, “What am I meant to do with these gifts I’ve been given – these gifts of time and life and energy?”
Yes, there are many things outside of your control. But there are also many things you can and ought to control. Your weight doesn’t have to be one of them, and I argue, it shouldn’t be.
I can’t help but think of this passage from scripture – and even if you don’t own a Bible or call yourself a Christian, these words are still relevant:
“Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? … Therefore, do not be anxious, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For… your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”
Images of barren grocery stores are scary. Losing your source of income is scary. But we humans were made resilient and ready to adapt.
While many influences in the media would have you believe that this time is for doubling down on your workouts and finally getting to your goal weight, perhaps this pandemic is an invitation to relax the reins of control on the meal plans and workout regimens.
Give yourself permission to eat imperfectly, not just during a global pandemic, but always. And recognize the limits of your control.
Maybe, instead of emerging from the other side of COVID-19 ten pounds lighter, you could emerge ten times happier, or braver, or calmer, or more disciplined.
You may not be able to find the ingredients you need for your usual meal prep at the grocery store, but you already have everything you need to be the person you were created to be.
If you need some help finding those pieces of yourself, be on the lookout for my free 5-day audio course, 5 Steps to Food Freedom, launching later this month!
P.S. This is my favorite prayer, and I’ve found it especially useful for casting away my coronavirus-related anxieties:
Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.