Gratefulness: A Mighty Weapon!

iStock_000003267787XSmallA friend’s Thanksgiving email reminded me of how important it is to be thankful.

We tend to think of being grateful as just one of those little Bible “niceties” that all good Christians should uphold.

It turns out that it’s an awesome weapon at our disposal to defeat the enemy when he comes at us with bitterness, discontentment and self pity.

The Bible tells us to be thankful in everything. In Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place she tells about the unbearable circumstances in Nazi camps and how she learned there to be thankful in all circumstances and for everything (including the lice!) It’s and amazing book that I totally recommend.

It turns out that true thankfulness doesn’t surface in the pretty place of prosperity. The same goes for faith, love, forgiveness and many other Christian attributes. The place our light shines the brightest is in the darkness.

So when we seem to have no reason to be thankful, it is the most opportune time! Not in order to impress someone or keep a straight “Christian-face” but rather to trample on the enemy and keep pressing forward to victory!

I thank God today for the blessings I have. I hope to use thankfulness more often as an offensive weapon against the enemy’s attacks. Sometimes we need to stand on the truth of God’s Word, sometimes we need to worship God at the top of our lungs in spite of how we feel, sometimes we need to fast and pray for answers, but sometimes we just need to count our blessings…

You are such a blessing to me! Thanks so much for reading my posts!

With lots of love and thankfulness

Heleen

About Fear, People Pleasing, and more Surrender…

I didn’t want to share this really. Sometimes I start feeling uneasy about sharing so much of my life. Sometimes I just want to be a little phony again, wear a mask, pretend I’m always doing great. But then I think of every lady out there who has to deal with an eating disorder in the real world, and I drop the mask…

A friend recently shared about going through a period of mourning. She said she felt a deep sadness for her body, and more specifically the fact that no one took care of it and made sure it stayed healthy. At the time I assured her that this type of sadness and mourning over “lost years” and “lost dreams” are normal when you’re breaking free from an eating disorder.

Little did I know that some of that “mourning” was coming my way…

capture22It’s actually related to Thanksgiving so I thought today will be the perfect time to share this.

I recently became aware of the very familiar feeling of “spiraling down”. I still experience this from time to time especially during the holidays. I can go a couple of years with an average weight that leaves me comfortable in my own skin, and more importantly, causes me to have PEACE IN MY SOUL AND SPIRIT. However,  just when I think “Man this is it, I have arrived” something goes wrong…

I’m sure many of you can relate: When you initially experience some real breakthrough in the area of food addiction life is TOTALLY DIFFERENT! You are so excited and so hopeful. You’re eating well, you’re making time for God, you get some exercise and you FEEL SO MUCH BETTER.

And then, somehow, someday out of the blue, it all changes and you start slipping and sliding and before you know it you’ve picked up all the weight you’ve lost and you’re right there begging God to help you! You keep telling yourself “This is not possible. I was doing so well. I have to get a grip. I will do better tomorrow” Only to find that day after day and week after week you keep spiraling down…

Fortunately I know by now how to get back up and I don’t stay long in that pit. I know and believe that SURRENDER IS THE ONLY WAY OUT OF THE PIT. (Please go read Week 12 of my program again if you need some tools on how to get back up and complete your journey or read this article How to get up when you fall)

However, what I wanted to know is WHY DOES IT STILL HAPPEN? Is it just God’s way of keeping me humble or is there something I’m still missing?

I’ve wanted to trace this back to the source  for quite some time, but I haven’t been able to put my finger on the most important issue. However, this week something happened… I experienced an overwhelming sadness, just like my dear friend. I was crying about all the Thanksgivings and other special occasions when I worked my body into the ground, neglected my time with God, stopped exercising, and did everything in my power to PLEASE OTHER PEOPLE.

It is not just when I have people over to my house but also when I have an important meeting, have to see old friends, or have to go on a trip. I get consumed. I shop, I plan, I think about it all day long and I throw all my consistent efforts out the window.

For the first time this week the Holy Spirit put all these things  in a row for me, to make it impossible to miss the underlying theme: PEOPLE PLEASING. I was so sad… I felt a deep sorrow for how I treated my body during those times. I felt an intense anger for the need to please people that run so deep in me that I would stop taking care of my health, my family and my relationship with God.

I was again reminded of the apostle Paul who told us in no uncertain terms that we can NOT be a servant of God if we’re still trying to please men.

I want to be a servant of God. So many of my dreams and desires are linked with serving God, and I if you think about the things you truly desire (deep under the desire to just be thin at all cost) you will find the same thing. I want to serve HIM with the talents and abilities that He gave me.

However I can’t seem to get away from the ever nagging “What will they think of me?  Will I be good enough? Will I be totally humiliated? Will I be rejected?”

I realized today that it will take some more “praying and guarding” during these times, but also a deliberate effort on my side! So I put my feet up today, drank more water, refused the urge to overeat or “not eat anything so I can look good” and I cleaned only the most important areas in my house.

I plan on reading again Joyce Meyer’s book Approval Addiction this weekend.

I also started praying today for a deeper love for God, the ability to love Him with such an undivided heart that there will be no place for people pleasing.

SO AGAIN IT COMES DOWN TO SURRENDER!! IF I’M TOTALLY HONEST WITH MYSELF I KNOW THAT I AM STILL TOO FEARFUL TO TRULY SURRENDER THIS THING TO GOD. I WANT PEOPLE TO THINK WELL OF ME…

SO THERE, I’VE SAID IT, NOW IT’S YOUR TURN… WHAT DO YOU STILL CLUTCH IN YOUR HAND?
WHAT IS THE THING IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU ARE SIMPLY TOO SCARED TO TURN OVER TO GOD? IT MIGHT BE DIRECTLY RELATED TO YOUR EATING DISORDER…

Please remember this holiday season to purposefully turn away from people pleasing.

IF YOU TRY TO CONTROL WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU, YOU FORFEIT YOUR SELF CONTROL!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving my friends. Enjoy the good food that God made, but remember to enjoy Him more…

Love, Heleen

 

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Turn the Titanic around!

Some of you awesome ladies are doing a 21 day detox with me on our Members Forum. I am getting such good material out of it all, thanks ladies. One thing that keeps popping up is the question of “How do we turn this thing of Food Addiction or Eating Disorders around?”

It is huge really, and like the titanic it turns slowly but surely!

Right now you might feel like a baby who is trying to walk on wobbly legs. You might be dealing with your issues, but don’t see any weight loss. You might be eating better but can’t seem to get a grip on exercise. Or you might not quite get a handle on this surrender-your-life to God thing yet.

Let me remind you of something: To find true victory in this area of your life, you need to MAKE UP YOUR MIND. Just like Daniel we find ourselves in a world full of temptation and we need to go into the battle every day with a heart that is set on doing what God wants.  Like Daniel we have to decide ahead of time: “I will not eat this stuff anymore. I will not defile my body. I will not sin against my God”

However this is easier said than done. I’m sure some people wake up one morning with this kind of RESOLVE. Other humans like me have to walk it out a bit. I came to that place of resolve with the help of God before and stayed there for years at a time. However, other times the enemy stole it from me and I started bargaining again (it’s not so bad, I can eat what I want, I don’t need to spent time with God every day, I don’t have to exercise every week, I’m strong enough…) I’ve came to realize that I would keep feeling out of control (even if it’s just not quite getting a handle on things) until I found that place of firm resolve again.

So what I’m trying to tell you is this: It takes a while to get there. You will very likely first go through a PREPARATION PHASE of falling and getting up when you first make up your mind. Remember the baby learning to walk though: Keep getting up, and keep making up your mind to do the right thing until  that resolve resonates in your heart.

You might have to go through a few 21-days-of-detox or 40-days-of-committing-your-life-to-God, but  NONE OF THOSE COMMITMENTS ARE IN VAIN. Not even the ones where you failed miserably.  It is all preparation to get you to that place of resolve.  As you walk through the struggles and sort some things out with God your resolve gets stronger.

If you get through a few months now, you might be at that place of strong resolve in January. If you start with a detox or 40 day commitment on January 1st, it might take a few months of preparation into the New Year to get there.

It’s hardly ever just about “turning the corner”. It takes time! However, when you do get to that place of strong resolve you will have “grown” a stubborn Daniel-attitude of: I will spend time with my God NO MATTER WHAT. I will exercise NO MATTER WHAT. I will not eat the things that harm me NO MATTER WHAT. Solving problems or stress with food is NO LONGER AN OPTION!

It’s important to note that in that place of resolve weight loss happens, and it sure is a pleasant by-product!

So PLEASE don’t give up ladies. You might be in the PREP PHASE  right now but you are getting there!

Remember Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (NIV)

In His Love!

Heleen

PS: Week 11 of my 12 Week Online Program deals in more detail with Temptation and setting our hearts on God for good.

Break the Power of a Binge!

iStock_000000600602SmallHow do you prevent a Binge from turning into a whole day (or month) of overeating?

A friend asked this question on our forum, and I realized that it is a very common question that I might best answer here on my blog.

Of course it would be best to not binge at all. However, preventing a binge is easier said than done. If you are on a journey of finding healing for the root issues behind your eating disorder, you might not quite be at the place where you recognize the early signs of a binge (starting in the thoughts and emotions) and thus find yourself still binging from time to time.

You can easily undo all the progress you’ve made with one lousy binge! So how do you keep a binge from taking over your life?

The answer lies in TURNING YOUR BACK ON PERFECTION FOR GOOD!

In Week 10 of my 12 Week Online Program for women with eating disorders I speak about the huge link between Perfectionism and Eating Disorders. If you have strong perfectionist tendencies then you might have a very difficult time trying to break away from binging. The reason: You want to have a 100% perfect day or NOTHING – No middle ground.

In order to find healing in this struggle and to BREAK THE POWER OF THE BINGE, our focus has to shift. We have to ask the Holy Spirit DAILY (maybe even hourly) to help us shift our focus from:

WEIGHT LOSS     to     HEALTH

AND

24 HOURS OF PERFECTION     to    A YEAR OF HEALTH

So what am I trying to say?

If you can change your focus (only with the help of God of course) to not see your life in 24 hour compartments of  “today-I-will-have-a-perfect-day” but rather view your progress over a period of a year, you will not be so devastated by a binge. As soon as a binge loses it’s power over you, it will start fading into the background of your life, until you don’t binge anymore.

We are so scared of those binges because it makes us spiral down. But if we remember every day that a 90% successful day will give us a 90% month, which in turn will give us a 90% year, things will start to change.

Do you realize that if you throw every binge in the 10% “failure-basket” and just get on with doing the 90% of healthy eating, exercise, rest, and drinking a lot of water YOU WILL HAVE AN AMAZING YEAR? You will be healthy, stronger, peaceful and yes some weight loss will be on the agenda.

However, if you keep having “100% success days” and “100% failure days” (the days when you binge and just keep eating because you’ve already “failed”) then you either end up at the same place after a year, or worse…

Ask God today to help you change your focus FOR GOOD! A binge has no power over you if you know exactly where to “file” it and remember that it’s just a drop in your big sea of 365 days!

Don’t wait for January ladies, start asking God now for that CHANGE OF FOCUS AND CHANGE OF HEART. Even if you don’t do everything perfect (like eat some pumpkin pie), if you start focusing on ways to get yourself healthy 90% of the time, you’ll feel peace return to your life!

Lots of Love to all of you beautiful women of  God!
Heleen

PS: Please check out our brand new forum if you are a member and have not done so yet. Lots of ladies have joined in and God is using it for His glory!
Here’s a link:  Member’s Forum

I Challenge you to stay “sober” this Holiday Season!

The above title does not refer to alcohol consumption over the holidays (although it’s not a bad idea) but rather a challenge to stay “sober” in your quest for freedom from Food Addiction.

If you have this problem I don’t have to convince you that binging on high fat and sugary food for a few months (the holiday season) can have serious repercussions. Weight gain, depression and strain on relationships are only a few of the side affects. In fact some people end up in the hospital with serious health issues while others isolate themselves from society and experience severe depression because of the shame that is somehow felt more acute this time of year.

Please take the challenge that I’m extending to you. It’s two days after Halloween and you might have already dipped your hand in the candy bowl, but it’s not too late.

The new year is not the best time to turn this ship around: Right now is the best time for you, please believe me!

Please note that I am not talking about going on a diet! We all know by now that diets don’t work. No, find a program that can set you on the right track and change your life for good. I offer a 12 Week Online Program that can be of great help to you during the holidays, but there are also lots of other great programs out there.

Hear me on this one: EXERCISE IS ONE OF YOUR BIGGEST ALLIES THIS TIME OF YEAR! Consider joining a gym or find a friend who wants to walk with you.  Ask God for wisdom in this area. You will find yourself come up with any excuse possible, but remember IT IS JUST EXCUSES. You need exercise now more than ever. Don’t let the enemy fool you by telling you it makes no difference. People who exercise for at least 30 minutes a day have less cravings and are much more motivated to make healthier food choices.

All of this said: This time of year might be terribly sad and lonely for you and food might be your only friend. However, this “friend’ is false and will turn on you to pull you deeper into a pit of despair. Start reaching out to God and to other people today. Please ask for help, find a group, find a Bible study and find healing. Don’t try and fix this yourself, it’s too difficult!

Please go read these articles on my website where I encourage you to have a different kind of Holiday:
Getting through the Holidays
Eating healthy during the Holidays
Tips to minimize Holiday stress

Come on this can be the first year of many where you have a “sober” holiday season.  A Thanksgiving full of  joy and thankfulness. A Christmas where you enjoy loved ones and God’s presence without the “brain fog” of overeating weighing you down. It can be a holiday season without the physical pain of overeating and without depression knocking at your door.

I dare you to take the challenge! Come on dear sister, you know you want it… a sober Christmas! Jesus came to set the captives free, that includes every person struggling with eating disorders and food addiction

Lots of love

Heleen

PS: If you are a paid member of my program then please have a look at our new Forum at the Member’s Area. There is a challenge on there for you, and we will be encouraging each other throughout the Holiday season.