“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).
God created us to be social. That means conforming to social expectations including social expectations on what we eat.
Throughout the Bible, people get together especially to eat. There was the Passover Feast, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Pentecost Feast, The Lord’s Supper (Passover Feast), the coming of the Holy Spirit (Pentecost Feast), and many others.
It’s no different today. Church fellowships with food are an important part of being the church.
We also socialize as families around food whether it’s at a restaurant, or a home cooked meal.
Friends socialize around food as well.
Business men and women do business at lunch around the restaurant table.
Food is a connector and can strengthen the bond between people.
Who would dare say “no” to an invitation to eat with others? We don’t want to be rude, different, or stand-offish. We don’t want to stand out from the crowd.
So, we accept the invitation and meet and eat. In other words, we conform our behavior to eat the food others expect us to eat.
Conformity to the pattern of this world the very thing that Paul was against.
But, there is an important Part B to this verse. Paul said, “But be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
This applies to eating too. Let me translate. “Be transformed in regards to what you eat.” Yep, it’s an eating transformation!
What do I mean?
(1) At a restaurant meeting with family, friends, or business associates, you can order healthy items off the menu like a healthy salad with oil and vinegar dressing. A side of steamed broccoli is a good choice (no cheese please). Order broiled chicken instead of fried. Lay off the bread. Forget the dessert. Transformative eating can be done.
(2) For goodness sake, don’t feel that you have to eat everything the server brings you! Restaurant portions are big enough to choke a horse! Eat half of what is served.
And skip the dessert.
(3) Eat slowly. Be the last one to finish. And when you’re finished, ask the waitress to take your plate. By the way, I never ask for a take home box. Eating left over restaurant food is yuk to me. I’d rather it be thrown in the dumpster than dump it in my body. It’s not a sin to throw away food.
(4) Respond to critical comments even though they may be well-intentioned. “What’s the matter, you not hungry?” You on a diet or something? You don’t like the food here?
It’s hard to maintain your healthy eating lifestyle alone because we are social creatures and don’t want to be the oddball. After all, birds of a feather flock together. We want to fit in with the flock.
You get the picture. Staying true to your nutrition plan is hard because of those well meaning people who push food on you.
How do you respond to food-pushers?
(1) You respond with transformative thinking. The mind is where it begins. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philip-pians 2:5).
Transformative thinking means to think highly of yourself. You are somebody created in the image of God. People who have a high self esteem are less affected by the social pressure and expectations when it comes to ordering and eating food.
(2) You can respond with a simple “No thanks.” Sometimes that is sufficient.
(3) Or, “No thanks. I’m so full that I can’t eat another bite.”
(4) Refuse to be guilted into eating unhealthy food. Essentially, food pushers are the annoying, distressing, guilt-tripping people urging you to indulge in treats you don’t want.
The aim of the guilt-tripper is to make you succumb to their will. It’s an effort to control your behavior. They don’t respect you the way you are. They want to change you,
What you don’t want to say to a food-pusher is. “I’m on a diet.” That can turn them into crazy people. “Oh, you look fine just the way you are. You don’t have to change for us. Here, one little bite isn’t going to hurt anything. Try it. You’ll like it.”
Saying “I am on a diet,” is like the kiss of death. You become a target. “What are you doing on a diet? “What kind of diet is it.” Why can’t you eat it?” “Oh, I was on a diet once. I lost some weight, but all of it and more came back on. I’m telling you, diets don’t work.”
You will be stressed out of your brain if you tell your group, “I’m on a diet.” It takes the power away from you and transfers it to them to argue and debate with you.”
Instead, say, “I don’t want to eat it” instead of “I can’t eat it.” The difference is subtle, but it gives you the power instead of giving your power to someone else. Never give your power over food away!
You never want to eat something to please someone else. It doesn’t make any sense to eat something for someone else. Remember. It’s all about you. It’s your body. Stand your ground! Don’t give in. It’s always on you and not them. You suffer the consequences of your weight gain, and they don’t.
You have control over you. You decide what to put into your body. Take responsibility for yourself because no one else will. You have to make the decision to eat what you need to eat in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, a healthy body, and to lose weight.Be confident in what you will and will not put into your body. It doesn’t have anything to do with your love for other people. You never should eat to try and make someone else happy. You practice discipline in your eating to make yourself happy.
Don’t compromise your weight loss goals! You’ve worked too hard, walked too many miles, and eaten small portions of healthy foods to allow others to ruin your progress!
No matter how much peer pressure is around you, it’s up to you to say, “No,” and that’s transformative eating that comes from a transformed mind.
Thanks for reading.