Heather Creekmore tried all the popular diets, food plans and quick fixes in pursuit of the perfect body. But, she learned that 95% of diets end in failure! She discovered a different solution to gain all she really wanted in life: love, peace, joy, and rest.
Were you aware that, based on a 2022 Good Housekeeping study, 87% of participants have engaged in a diet with the intention, at least partially, of altering their weight or shape? In contrast, merely 6% of respondents strongly affirmed feeling generally content with their bodies, and a noteworthy 17% expressed a willingness to sacrifice a year or more of their lives to attain their dream body.
Have you ever struggled with body image? I have, and sometimes still do. Having a physical deformity, sometimes I struggle with angst of not having a normal looking body. So I chatted with Heather Creekmore on the podcast about unmasking the causes of body image issues. If you missed that episode on Your Hope-Filled Perspective, you can listen here (body image issues). I’ve asked Heather to share more here about why she stopped putting her faith in diets, food plans, and quick fix solutions for creating the perfect body.
Be sure to read to the end for a book giveaway!
Why I Stopped Putting My Faith in Diets, Food Plans, and Quick Fix-My-Body Solutions
By Heather Creekmore
In my late twenties, I followed a popular diet plan where you “enjoyed” two shakes and a packaged snack bar each day and then ate a balanced dinner. I wanted to lose weight before an upcoming vacation, so, like a gambler betting it all on black, I jumped into this new plan with gusto.
Until the day I forgot to take my snack bar to work. I snuck out to the drugstore and discovered a new flavor. Ravenous, I ripped open that bar in the parking lot. Its crunchy, peanut-buttery goodness enraptured my starving body. Then it hit me. It tasted just like a Butterfinger. How could that be? I went back in and bought more of my diet bars and several Butterfingers so I could conduct a blind taste test among my office mates.
Soon I’d made two discoveries. First, according to the label, my diet bar and the Butterfinger were nearly nutritionally identical. The diet bar was smaller, so it had fewer calories and less sugar, and it was fortified with vitamins that the Butterfinger lacked. But the actual ingredients list was almost interchangeable and ordered similarly.
Second, my coworkers could not tell the difference between the diet bar and the Butterfinger. While I believed I was making nutritionally excellent choices for my health by following this program, these “smarter” snacks were just shrunken candy bars. The truth hurts.
What hurt even more was that those diet bars cost four times as much as the candy bars. I could have saved hundreds of dollars by simply taking a vitamin and eating half a Butterfinger at the appointed snack time.
I never followed that program again. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t find another one that boasted even more superior health consciousness and better results, of course.
And this proves the depth of my faith in diets. Instead of questioning the legitimacy of the diets, I determined the real problem was me.
Faith in so-called “right” eating always lets us down. There’s no absolute truth in the dieting world. The rules always change. In college, you couldn’t have paid me to eat an avocado. Do you know how much fat is in one of those? Fat-free bagels dominated my mealtimes.
By the time I hit thirty, I ordered guacamole at every Mexican restaurant but schemed ways to eat it without the carbohydrate-laden chips. Are baby carrots on the menu? I tried being a vegetarian in my twenties because I worried about eating all that protein. But by age forty, I sustained myself with protein bars, almonds, and hamburgers without the bun.
Argue what you wish about what the “best” foods are for your body now, but one thing I know for certain: Fickle food trends haven’t made any of us healthier. Tracy Brown, a non-diet dietitian friend, appeared on my podcast to explain how the cycling of “acceptable foods” versus “bad-for-you foods” shouldn’t surprise us. There are only three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Each one gets a turn as king of the nutrient hill, while another gets booted to the naughty list. Tracy explained how when you suppress the intake of one macronutrient for an extended time, your body will eventually crave that nutrient more than any others. So by the time your body is weary of low-carb living, don’t worry—diet culture will label bread safe again.
Anyone else feeling jerked around? Like a bad boyfriend—it’s hard to actually break up with diet culture. What if everyone gets the body of their dreams and I’m left behind? Meanwhile, our nutrition suffers as we follow fads. Our quest for a thinner body can often lead to muscle loss, hormonal imbalances, bone density issues, infertility, blood sugar regulation issues, frequently feeling cold, and thyroid and adrenal problems. If your food plan makes you lose your hair, your period, or your sex drive, it’s not improving your health. Undereating, no matter what you weigh, can increase your heart rate and decrease your ability to fight infections.
Our decisions to follow diets aren’t flippant. They are deeply spiritual, emotional, and physical. Food restriction or an eat/binge/eat cycle may be born from trauma, rejection, or neglect in our past. We long for much more than body change, so we’re willing to do whatever it takes, hoping the plan will take the pain away. Strong emotions connect to our habits with food and eating.
But, I wonder if, as Christians, we’ve become too caught up in the way our culture relates to food. 1 Timothy 4 tells us that God gave us food as a good gift. Paul tells young Timothy to shut up those people who are trying to put food rules on the church. Here’s what he says in 1 Timothy 4:3-5:
They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
What Does the Bible Say About How I Eat?
This new year, instead of trying yet another food plan, or putting my hope in the next diet or supplement, I’m going to turn to scripture instead. What does the Bible really say about how I should eat?
Is God upset when I enjoy the taste of my food? I don’t think so, he’s throwing us a feast when we get to heaven and we won’t even need to eat!
Is God sitting in heaven waiting for me to lose a certain number of pounds before He can use me? Of course not. He wants to use me right now! I can love God and love others no matter what my size.
Does God want me to nourish my body? Of course, but what if nourishing my body has nothing to do with following our culture’s diet trends? What if there’s a better way to eat?
For me, the diets, the fitness plans, and the food rules became an idol. They were a place I put hope and trust in. I believed if I could just get my food “right” then the body of my dreams would be the outcome. And, that dream body would give me all that I’ve really wanted from this life: love, peace, joy, and rest. And yet, Jesus, is the only one who can truly give me that.
Adapted from The 40-Day Body Image Workbook: Hope for Christian Women Who’ve Tried Everything (Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing, 2023). Used by permission.
About Heather Creekmore
Heather Creekmore writes and speaks hope to thousands of women each week. Heather leads women on a journey to help them fight comparison, stop obsessing over their bodies, and entrust their self-images to the Savior. The host of the popular podcast, Compared to Who?, she has been featured on dozens of other shows and podcasts as well as on Fox News and HuffPost. She was a contestant on the hit Netflix bake fails show Nailed It. Heather and her marine-fighter-pilot turned pastor-husband, Eric, have four children and live in Austin, Texas.
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Heather is giving away a free copy of her book, The 40-Day Body Image Workbook: Hope for Christian Women Who’ve Tried Everything (A Journey from Insecurity to Positive Body Image and Self-Worth).
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about why dieting doesn’t work and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of his book.
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The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, January 22, 2024. Continental United States only.