If hunger is not the problem, then eating is not the solution. ~ Author Unknown
When I became a full-time caregiver for my mother, I found solace in Pepsi and Chex Mix. Every time she called for help – which was dozens of times a day (and night), I would grab a handful of Chex Mix on the way to and from her room. Icy-cold Pepsi in a thermal mug was always within reach.
I didn’t think about the result of my actions; I just needed something to make me feel better. My weight crept up until I was over 200 lbs. Now, I’m tall – so I can carry a lot of weight without it being noticeable, but I knew it wasn’t healthy. I just couldn’t seem to stop.
What are your triggers?
I think you will admit that you overeat or choose unhealthy snacks because you are feeling badly about some person or situation. Until you become conscious of your stressors and responses, you will never defeat the unconscious habits of over-eating and poor food choices.
Anger, bitterness, resentment, frustration, pressure at work, disappointment or depression can cause a craving in your psyche. Tension builds. Then you try to fill the void or cure the pain with food or some other soon-to-be addiction. Physical comfort becomes a substitute for mental and spiritual peace.
The big problem is that poor diet leads to poor health. Plus, the stress in your mind and emotions (your soul) creates stresses and tension in your body. All of that opens the door to any number of preventable diseases. God has a different plan.
Love never fails.
Stress, anger, frustration, bitterness and other negative emotions are directly related to selfishness.
- “What about me?”
- “I hurt.”
- “I’m frustrated.”
- “They make me angry.”
Love, its opposite, is the answer to stress and tension. Love is not fretful or resentful. Love does not hold a grudge or take account of a suffered wrong. Love never fails. (I. Cor. 13) However, if you move out of love, you also move out from under God’s shield of protection – and straight into the devil’s territory.
The Bible is very clear that Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). He wants to steal your peace, destroy your body/relationships/finances and remove you from this earth. Whatever bad things are going on in your life – health, finances, relationships, mental torment – you can be sure he is behind it-including weight gain.
When Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, He noted that Satan had bound her, lo, these eighteen years (Luke 13:16). Jesus didn’t counsel the woman to grab a chocolate bar. He said she should be ‘loosed’. How do you get loosed? With the Word. When He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, He fought back by saying “It is written… ” (see Matthew 4).
Love requires a conscious decision to set aside your ‘wants’ and act in Love. The God-kind of love is an act of will, a decision of choice, not emotion.
The joy of the Lord is my strength.
Faith is a key element in controlling your appetites and cravings. In your own strength, it’s difficult to resist a bag of potato chips or a chocolate chip cookie. But the Bible says that we can be more than conquerors (Rom. 8:37) and that He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).
Instead of reaching for that comfort food, take a moment to center yourself by acknowledging that your body is the temple of God. That His love, joy and peace are your inheritance. Here is where one of the revelations I talked about [in the Preface to my book, Your Spirit-Body Connection] comes into play.
I heard Joyce Meyer, a world-renowned Bible teacher, talk about her battle with weight and health. She related her habit of having bread before dinner “because I was hungry”. You know, those warm crusty loaves that restaurants serve before your meal… Mmmm.
Joyce became convicted that, even though she really enjoyed that bread, her body didn’t NEED it. Instead, she needed patience to wait for her meal to arrive. In obedience to God’s prompting, she began telling herself, “I eat no unnecessary food.” Her desire to please God became stronger than her desire for bread and butter. She used her joy in pleasing the Father as strength to resist the temptation.
Ask yourself: “What is more important to me – God or food?” Be willing to lay the chocolate and potato chips ‘on the altar’, and really treat your body as His temple. I don’t belong to you! Use temperance – self-control – to say NO to what you don’t need, whether you want it or not.
Let peace be your umpire.
Peace is essential to your sense of well-being. It is both preventive and restorative.
You already know that stress is a major factor in most diseases, both physical and mental. Even the word, disease [dis-ease], means lack of ease or peace. Stress is the major reason for over-eating. Food (like alcohol, cigarettes and drugs) becomes a comforting substitute for other less-satisfying circumstances in your life.
Maintaining your peace is essential for good health. Peace of mind helps eliminate depression and anxiety. Worry is the opposite of peace, brought on by fears – either real or imagined. It blocks your recognition of the blessings in your TODAY. Worry kills your peace and opens the door to a myriad of problems. Worry pays the price today for something that might or might not happen in the future.
Recognize that Jesus gave you His peace (John 14:27), the same peace He used throughout His earthly ministry, so you can have peace no matter what. When you are upset with someone, acknowledge that God is your source and protection. You don’t need to battle or scheme to get what you want. God will take care of you. Instead, confess out loud: “You and me, Lord. You’re all I need. I receive your peace. I will not stress out, and I don’t need food to make me feel better.”
… be at peace among yourselves. (I Thess. 5:13) Striving to maintain peace is a worthy goal. In every situation, it should be your first check and balance – the umpire of your soul. It should determine your thoughts, words and actions.
Peace is inside you; it is one of the fruit of the spirit, like love, joy, patience, and self-control. Like everything in God’s kingdom, it starts as a seed. You can strengthen and grow it with exercise. Begin today to become more aware of the situations in your life where you can share peace, love and blessing with those around you.
And this is the victory that overcomes the world…
Faith, peace, love and patience are the keys to overcoming any issue in life, not just food. To find victory over your habit of overeating or mindless eating, make yourself conscious of the situations that trigger your food cravings. Those temptations are carefully planned by the enemy to create overweight and ill health, to keep you distracted from the power Jesus gave you to be an overcomer.
God has promised you the victory, but you still have to ‘walk it out’. Good choices hour-by-hour and day-by-day, affirming His promises and telling your body NO when you need to, will bring you to a place of health and peace. As you trust in Him and form new habits where food (and exercise) are concerned, the temptation to overeat will become a thing of the past.