You Are Not in Control of Your Body

This is pretty much the story of my day today. . .

This is pretty much the story of my day today. . .

Neither am I for that matter.  Can’t believe it took me this long to fully figure it out.  I mean I have known aspects of this for sometime now.  Watching loved ones die of cancer, or develop dementia is all that it takes to drive the reality home.  No one would choose to let their body or mind turn against them in that way.

Yet, I found that I had fallen for a subtle illusion of seizing complete control over my body.  In following an ancestral health way of eating, (which has helped me greatly) I found myself swayed by some of its more zealous proponents claims: “If you just do A, B and C, (oh and D-Z as well) you will not suffer from cancer, allergies or even the flu; not only that but you will be your ideal body weight and free from any skin blemishes!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a huge believer in living a healthy lifestyle.  What I came to realize, however, was that I was pursuing it in an attempt to bring back the Garden of Eden and in the process setting myself up for some major disappointment.

Dramatically cleaning up my family’s diet has greatly improved my asthma  and allergies and my families overall health, but we still get sick from time to time.  In fact as I write this my son Sammy and I are having a horrible day where allergies are concerned (side note, he asked me today to get the “itchies” out of his eyes and nose, it was pretty funny).  And now I am finally realizing that to some degree, that is part of life.

Nutritious food and exercise just aren’t capable of reversing all of the physical consequences of sin.  No matter how many new vacines, or anti-biotics are developed, disease will remain a fact of life.  The possibility of perfect health in this world has been sadly lost.

Now, I am not saying that we should give up on our health altogether, or not to use the means at our disposal to improve it.  Quite the contrary, I know that I need to seek to live a healthy lifestyle to be a good steward of the body I have been given.

What I am going to change, however, is my vainly pursuing physical health out of a desire to gain perfect control over my body; seen in that context, good health can easily become an idol.

While I won’t ever gain perfect control over my body, I do of course exercise control over it.  Which brings me to face the scary reality:  all that I am in control of is my will.  It is how I exercise that control that will determine my destiny.

Have you ever experienced great health benefits from a certain plan of eating or exercise?  Have they ever been a distraction for you?  I would love to hear about it in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “You Are Not in Control of Your Body

  1. Blue Henn

    Wonderfully expressed! I’ve been pondering that for a while now, whenever I hear claims of a new miracle food. Glad I’m not alone. I hope you all feel better soon!

  2. Sara Perts

    I’ve had some very bad experiences with the concept of “control”, having struggled with an eating disorder for half my life now. In my personal experience I’ve found that trying to follow rules or prescribed plans when it comes to eating and exercising is only a sure way to set myself up for self-deprecation when I don’t follow them. For therapeutic reasons many years ago, I went on a fast from all rules when it came to eating and exercising, originally thinking it would be a temporary thing until I could get a mental grip on my own personality, and it was one of the best thing I’ve ever done. (Some great books which I’ve read and reread, probably at least once every year, are The Weigh Down and anything written by Geneen Roth. Maybe a little offtopic? lol) In fact, until only two years ago when I found out I was gluten intolerant, I have taken none other than that approach. Cutting out the gluten was the first “rule” I’d experienced in quite some time and even that one continues to be a struggle, despite how much better I feel when abstaining from the stuff.

    This past Lent, I had one of the best confessional experiences in my life while confiding in the priest (not my regular confessor) my particular struggles with “control” over food. He recommended that I stop focusing so much on “control” and “gluttony” and instead look to the virtue of temperance.
    First, we need to UNDERSTAND what temperance what it is (and what virtues are in general) by some serious study of what is written about it in the Catechism. We also need to understand that virtues are gifts, not things that we can go out and get for ourselves.
    Secondly, to DESIRE it. Sometimes when it comes to food, we don’t really WANT temperance, even if we really DO want whatever follows it (nicer bodies, optimal health, etc). We need to ask God for the actual desire for a gift before we can properly receive it.
    Thirdly, We need to humbly come before our Father and ASK for what we want. If we truly want it and it’s truly what we need, we can have confidence that He won’t deny us.
    And Fourth, we need to RESPECT that gift when He gives it to us. Thank Him daily for it and ask that He continually instruct us in how to best use our gift.

    1. kscottkscott Post author

      Great thoughts Sara! There is so much good stuff in that comment to digest (sorry, bad pun, couldn’t resist). Thank you for sharing your personal experience and the book recommendation. I just went and bought it off of Amazon and am looking forward to reading it. I have to say that my foundation with how I mentally approach food is in flux right now. I am not sure what the final outcome will be. I know that there are certain rules that I need to follow, like no gluten or else I can be pretty miserable. Right now with my diet and exercise I am trying to establish a healthy attitude with both. For diet that means focusing on eating really nourishing foods (and making them taste really good) because that is what I need to help my body heal from some long term damage. For exercise I am trying to exercise because I want to and not view it as something that I hate and have to force myself to do. For me that means only doing exercises that I like, such as soccer every week, T-Tapp, walking, shinkendo, and hikes.
      That is really good information on temperance. I am going to have to start applying it. Thanks for sharing!


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