No masks allowed! Gotta “GET REAL”

To finish your journey of breaking free from food addiction, you will need a few key elements. One that made all the difference to me is bringing TRUTH back into my life. You can not afford to wear a mask anymore. You need to GET REAL in the full sense of the word in order to complete this journey.

I was in a very legalistic church for about four years. Not the “in your face” kind of legalism, but rather the kind that almost intoxicate you, drawing you into the relentless pursuit of “sticking to the rules” without you even realizing it. I always felt awkward and out of place. Unlike me, the other moms were so skinny and well put together. The few odd ones that didn’t quite qualify as one of the “beautiful people” somehow didn’t make it into leadership.

At one point the church went through a major split and many yucky things were revealed. I realized for the first time that this nagging feeling of inferiority that I had (because of a few extra pounds on me) didn’t exactly aid me in my pursuit to freedom or holiness. I never told a soul about my struggle with food, because no one ever spoke about their struggles, and no one ever admitted to being “only human”. Everybody was so spiritual, so driven to win the lost, so focused on not wasting time with frivolous things such as building friendships or finding personal healing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for evangelism, but I also know that God never intended for us to stop being real, give up on friendship and neglect our hearts.
I never felt so alone in a congregation and I never felt so incapable of ever overcoming my food addiction. You see I had to keep it secret, because admitting to it would have been to admit to what everybody already suspected: “I was an immature Christian who should have had my act together years ago”

After the split things changed gradually and I started a small group for women who struggle with food issues. I found that there were actually a bunch of ladies who were just waiting to talk about this “thing” they were carrying around.

How great was my relief when we moved and were swept up in the loving arms of the people in our current church. They invited us to small groups where people wanted to get to know us, care about us, and most of all, they were not afraid to be real! Our church also sets high standards for holy living and growing in relationship with God, but although we have our problems like every other church, I personally never felt that cloud of condemnation.

I want to encourage you: If you suffer from an eating disorder or any other addiction, please find a place where you won’t feel afraid to be real. A place where you are encouraged by other women and where you experience the Holy Spirit’s presence to heal you and change you. Yes, we have to build our own relationship with God, but He also created us to be part of a community and to have genuine friendships. These friendships are best know by their “giving and receiving”. In these friendships you will experience acceptance of both your good and “not so good” parts. You need to be loved for who you are to break free from this disorder. Pretending to be perfect or okay when you are not will keep you in bondage. Pleasing others and not being truthful about your needs and fears will prevent you from finding the healing you so desperately need.

I know change is hard, and I’m not telling you to give up your church either. I just want to nudge you to keep looking for a church or even just a group where you can receive love and support. Start today. If your church doesn’t offer any support groups, start your own. You can use my program for your support group if you want, or look for the following groups in your area that focus on freedom from food struggles and other addictions:
Celebrate Recovery (look for a group in your town)
First Place (look for a group in your town)

You can stop overeating or stop binge eating by taking my hand through the online program I offer, or by taking the hand of a friend. Believe me, it’s almost impossible to do it yourself.

Stop Binge Eating: Turn off the TV!

watch tvResearch shows that most women complain of feeling inadequate, insecure and depressed after watching Fashion Shows or TV programs. There is an undeniable link between gaining weight and watching too much TV.

Please read this scenario from my Online Program for Women Struggling with Food and see if you can relate:

“You start watching a movie where the main character, miss Wonderful, is a slender, sexy blond.

She has everything anyone could ever want: She has the man of her dreams slobbering all over her, she lives in a mansion and drives a sports car. She is popular, smart, funny and she is an impressive career woman.

She has no children, no financial problems, no dirty laundry, no acne and definitely no PMS. She makes you sick with envy: You hate your life!

Your mind starts to drift to food: What can you eat to numb this pain of dissatisfaction and inadequacy?

Then, as if someone in the marketing industry could hear your thoughts; a commercial break.

The screen starts dripping with thick, luscious chocolate. Another miss Perfect slip a perfect square of chocolate in between her red Botox lips and whisper to you that chocolate will make all your dreams come true.

You run to the kitchen and discover your secret stash – a pack of old peanut M&M’s behind the frozen veggies. You also grab some ice cream and graham crackers.

You arrive just in time to see miss Wonderful zip up her tiny mini skirt: She looks so great! You sigh, then shove a handful of M&M’s in your mouth and swallow it down with tears of failure.

Sounds familiar?”

TV watching is linked to certain eating disorders such as Binge Eating Disorder. It’s not just the lack of physical activity that causes weight gain, but the food commercials trigger cravings, and the images of perfect bodies cause feelings of dissatisfaction and inadequacy which in turn are “medicated” through binging.

If you have an eating disorder you want to be especially aware of your surroundings and in touch with your body when you eat. Sitting down at a table, talking to others or enjoying a great view is the best way to do this.

Eating on the run, or in front of the computer or TV is just downright looking for trouble. You may not even be aware that you are trying to numb feelings of stress, pain, inadequacy and dissatisfaction, because you loose touch with reality and your own body when you’re eating and watching TV or surfing the web.

What you really need when these feelings wash over you is to find someone to talk to (God, a friend or a counselor). I know it’s difficult, but let your feelings be a red light, warning you to not turn on the computer or TV when you’re not feeling okay.You already know what will happen if you give in and take the easy way out: Your mind will start wondering to food (all the commercials will be right there cheering you on) and you will find yourself in the kitchen anxiously tearing open bags and loading up on food in no time.

It took me a while to give up this idol. TV and food were definitely connected in my personal struggle with food: As long as I mindlessly watched TV to escape reality, I could not shake of my eating disorder. I was not even a “big” TV watcher, but when life got tough I would run to a “mind numbing” activity such as watching TV while binging. I was really hiding from the world and my own scary feelings.

If you need more reasons (and research) to give up TV, please read the rest of this article: Food Addict : Beware of the TV!

However, if you already know that this is a problem for you, and you have tried countless times to walk away from the TV and stop binging without any success, then it might be time to get some help. Please have a look at my program for Women Struggling with Food and find out How to Stop Binge Eating and break this vicious cycle forever.

Looking for Trouble?

Everybody knows that one should not go “looking for trouble”. However, if you’re struggling with food addiction, or any addiction for that matter, it might not be such a bad idea. You need to become a regular detective and have your ear on the ground for the slightest rumbling of trouble in your heart.

This past Easter weekend I detected some trouble and fortunately found it before it found me. None the less, it still scared me, and it was a sure reminder that I desperately need God. In fact, I will probably always need Him in this area of my life, something I’m starting to see as a blessing in disguise.

To get to the trouble, I feel that I should first give you an update on the previous few months of 2009: It’s actually been a very good year as far as my struggle with food is concerned. I have remained steady. I have been consistently doing things that really matter, ignoring the things that don’t matter so much, and I’ve been letting go of the notion of perfection (for the most part). It’s been a year of freedom, some weight loss and plenty of spiritual breakthroughs. Of course you know better than to believe that I didn’t have my share of down days, trials and battles, you ladies have after all been reading my blogs!

However, I didn’t experience any slip-ups or downward spirals. I was truly singing the song of the redeemed. Now, don’t worry, I’m still singing, but this weekend I got a wake-up call, something we probably need every now and then.

It started with financial pressure. I know that many of you can relate. My husband didn’t loose his job, but there were some pay cuts and our online businesses are suffering. In comparison to many friends and family members, we have it easy though, and I am seriously counting every blessing. However, like many others, we too had to face reality and change our lifestyle, and it’s taking it’s toll. So this weekend started with our family having communion together, surrounded by God’s amazing love on Good Friday, and it ended with stress and heated discussions by Easter Sunday.

Of course I knew what to do: It was Easter Sunday, what better day to grab onto the life of Jesus that He so graciously extended to us? Church was great, but inside of me there was trouble brewing. When we came home from church, I wanted to watch a movie, I didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to go anywhere, I didn’t want to cry (although I sure needed it), I didn’t want to talk to God and I wanted a second and a third helping of desert… mmm…. trouble…

My own personal journey to freedom taught me a few things: If I smell trouble, there’s trouble. If I keep it in, it will grow. If I keep quiet about it long enough, it will blow up in my face. Most importantly, if trouble comes knocking, I don’t really know what I need at all, and what I want is definitely not what I need.

So I had a very long phone conversation with a friend (crying and the works). I dragged my husband out in the rain to go for a walk-and-talk (mainly me talking). Afterward I took a bath and talked some more to God. I talked and talked, the thing I didn’t want to do, until my head cleared and I stopped making a list in my mind of things I wanted to binge on!

It’s not easy to struggle with food, but as the years pass and you keep giving it back to God things change. You start to smell trouble a mile away, but most importantly, you know what to do, you have tools, you have support, you have the Holy Spirit and you get through it quickly so life can go on.

However, to get to that place, you need to start the journey to freedom and healing. It takes time, but no more time that you might have wasted going around and around with this addiction. An addiction, such as food addiction, steals your life, it robs you from relationships and it reduces you to only a fraction of who you really are.

Please hear this today: You are so much more than this eating disorder. My 12 Week Online Course for women struggling with food can get you started on your own personal journey to freedom. Come have a look and see if this course is a good fit for you, if you are ready to stop bulimia or stop overeating for good.

From an Ex Food Addict who understands all too well.

The Case of the Missing Adventure Gene!


I read about this lady who claims to have no “adventure gene” and I laughed so loud! Oh my goodness, she was talking about me! I’ve tucked this little secret away, hidden from the eyes of my friends who are adrenaline junkies and nature lovers, but I think it’s time for me to come clean on this one…

I really wished that I liked all the adventurous things in life, but seriously, I don’t! Not that I didn’t try. When the pressure is on and you have to impress one will act like you are a regular dare devil, but seriously though, I’m not!

So I’ve gone snowboarding! Ugh! I tried windsurfing! Oh boy! I even ventured out on a motorcycle (as a passenger of course) and cruised the mountain passes at 200km/h (not miles!) Let’s just say that I was young, in love, and seriously desperate to impress. There were the times when I stayed at the beach for a whole day, almost killed myself on a surf board, burnt my very pale skin to a crisp and suffered for many, many moons. Yeah, you know it, I did not like it! I even went on big, scary roller coasters and pretended to have fun, but where, I beg you, is the fun in almost having a heart attack!

Did I mention that I’ve tried camping, with the mosquito bites, the dirt everywhere, the scary sounds, the zero bathrooms and the lack of sleep. No offense to all you campers out there, but it’s a nightmare!

People have been trying to convince me of the existence of this “adventure gene” in me since I was a kid. I remember vacations in the Kalahari dessert, going up and down sand dunes in a jeep without any regard for my motions sickness! I wouldn’t even talk about the hunting, I’m still trying to forget. Did I mention horse back riding? I don’t know who was the most terrified, me or the horse. I even rode calves when I was younger! What was that all about!?

Don’t think for a second that I have a chip on my shoulder. To tell you the truth, I admire all the adventurous people out there. This explains the lost years of trying to forge this non-existent gene. I so desperately wanted to be adventurous, but seriously, I’m so not.

I think I may finally, as the big 40 is creeping closer, be ready to give up, smile, and enjoy the slow ride. It’s not that I don’t like people, but I love to mingle with them in a more natural habitat, like the mall! It’s not that I’m not fond of animals, but they are so peaceful in the zoo. It’ not that I dislike water and sand, but I prefer to enjoy it from a distance, in a sandbox or a swimming pool. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the ocean, but I would rather walk on the beach, pick up shells, or just sit on a rock and meditate on life, while the sun is not so very bright. I seriously believe camping can be fun, but in my backyard, with the toilet and the microwave close by.

People are still talking to me about bungy jumping, rock climbing and river rafting. These days I say “wow!” and block their emails. I’m just kidding, I’m not that brave yet, but I do decline politely, mumbling something about “too old” and “weak knees”.