There’s a disease sweeping the nation.

Every time you get on a “health blog” or open a fitness magazine, you are faced with people dealing with this popular disease.

The sad thing is that many people don’t know when they have this disease. They fall into it subtly, and then they are consumed with these black flames quicker than you can say, “clean eating.”

I’m going to make a bold assumption and say that you most likely agree with the fact that everywhere you turn, there’s a friend trying out a new diet, meal plan, fitness regime or healthy lifestyle.

You stand by, powerless, watching them as they share their guilt-free recipes to the world, influencing others to create their own black and white beliefs toward food.

I admire people who decide it’s time to improve their quality of life by incorporating more self-care or health-benefiting routines.

This is different than what I’m worried about.

On one hand, you have individuals trying to make a legitimate life change that leads to beautiful outcomes, such as a healthier heart, better sleep, a more efficient metabolism, fertile loins, and a positive mindset. Let’s hope they keep their eyes on that prize the whole way through.

On the other hand, you have individuals who fall into the same trap I did… time and time again.

These individuals may begin their “lifestyle” change with some basic goals such as wanting to improve their running time, lose some poundage, eat better, and so on. Cool, right on.

But then- then it happens.

Morality gets mixed up with food choices. These two very different and separate things become one in the mind of the victim.

In other words, how “good” you are in the kitchen directly relates (and exemplifies) how good you are as a person.

The word that comes to mind here is self-righteous. When I was a fitness competitor, I would dwell in my own self-righteousness out of fear. I feared that people would see through me and know full well that I was just like them…meaning, yes I too suffered with body image and nutrition. In fact, I suffered more than the average person, but yet all I wanted was to become an icon of “will power” and “determination.”

But no, I wasn’t this magnificent unicorn-like creature that could somehow easily resist all sugar, salt, and crunchy goodness without a second thought.

I once spent three months pondering if I should allow myself to have a slice of pizza.

On the outside, all I wanted others to know is that I, Madelyn Victoria Moon, was above all in the realm of nutrition spirituality. I was a nutrition goddess. I was the queen of deprivation, clean eating and rigidness.

I wanted to be seen as the woman that was born with an extraordinary gift to ignore anything that wasn’t gluten free, sugar free, non-fat, low carbohydrate, non-gmo, and of course, anything not on my meal plan.

In reality, I had some deep-rooted issues.

I was confusing food with morality.

I was mixing up my status as a human being with how prompt my meal timing was.

I was associating the leanness of my abs with how helpful of a human being I was.

I developed something called…kitchen spirituality. I began to idolize and, dare I say, worship my physical appearance. And my physical appearance was absolutely dependent on every morsel of food that entered my mouth. A blueberry more, and I would freak about my lack of control, meaning, my lack of character as a human being.

A bagel threatened my relationship with my body- the most important thing I had.

A slice of pizza could take away my license to feel justified about my self-righteousness.

My kitchen spirituality controlled my life. It took my farther away from my faith, it threw my confidence for a loop, and it disconnected me from my ability to tap into my intuition.

As long as I was using the kitchen to validate my “goodness,” I would never be good enough.

Any time we put all of our faith and trust into a worldly thing, we will fail to achieve the absolutely fullest and richest level of love possible.

“Obsession with self is a dead end.” –Romans 8:6

Obsession with your body will always lead to a dead end. An obsession with your food will also lead to a dead end.

Your obsession with counting macros will lead to nothing good. In fact, it will take you away from all that’s available to you because you’re too busy missing out on life so you can attach yourself to your phone.

Your obsession with morning ab checks…let’s talk about this one.

If you wake up every morning and check your tummy…don’t worry. You are not alone. I’ve been doing this since I was in seventh grade and it breaks my heart to think about that. Some mornings I still reach for the bottom of my shirt and stand in front of the mirror for a good two minutes tugging the end of the top up and down.

“Don’t do it Maddy….you don’t need to start your day like this!” my inner mentor will say.

“Come on, you have to check. Even though you’re already aware that you have NO abs, you should go ahead and look, just to remind yourself that you need to get a move on with those. It’s time to get that six pack back, or else everyone will think you have no will power,” my inner critic will mutter.

As if will power has anything to do with anything.

They go back and forth, back and forth, until one of them wins. Usually it’s the mentor, but every so often that critic’s voice gets so loud and I give in.

Now, does it serve me to let the inner critic win? No. Never. Absolutely not.

Any morning that I allow my inner critic to win, I give it a piece of my time and energy…a piece I can’t get back.

If you are letting your inner critic take that piece from you in the mornings (or at night), I dare you to write the scripture I gave above on a sticky and put it on your mirror.

Don’t let the critic win. Don’t waste a moment of your precious time giving into these self-shaming tactics.

Obsession with self is a dead end.

An obsession with kitchen spirituality is a dead end.

Let go of the concept that how good you are in the kitchen is how “worthy” you are as a human being. My worth comes from something much bigger. My worth comes from God, and because of this, I have to work a whole lot less trying to prove myself.

Where does yours come from?

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