In the world of Food Struggles the search for the “perfect treatment” continues, and in Christian circles the question whether one should be abstinent from certain food or learn to eat all food in moderation is an ongoing debate.
What is a woman to do?
Say goodbye to sweets forever, or eat every thing, but only one bite at a time?
My Humble Opinion: Stop wondering about it and DO what you’ve gotta do girl!
Actually, both of these “solutions” have merit:
Gluttony, a sin that most ladies with food struggles deal with, is in itself a clear indication that we are dealing with eating too much and the solution should therefore be to repent and eat less, through the help of the Holy Spirit of course.
However, a struggle with food also points to the sin of idolatry. Certain food can become an idol when we turn to it to make us happy, calm our nerves, and bring meaning to our lives. In the case of idolatry we need to repent from idolatry and then remove the “idol” from the throne of our hearts and give our hearts back to God.
All of this can only be done through surrendering our food struggle to God. However, we have a part to play. Numerous verses in the Bible makes it clear that we are stewards over our bodies. Godly wisdom and common sense seem to apply here. An alcoholic would be wise not to work at a bar, and a person with a porn or gambling addiction would be wise to stay away from the computer especially at times when there is no accountability (late at night). In fact, I know people who got so tangled up in chat rooms and online communities that they had to get rid of their computers at home altogether in order to stay free. Shouldn’t we in the same manner be wise to remove the food that became a constant stumbling block from our lives? Are we being wise if we go to places where we could be tempted with food that always gets us in trouble?
Some scientists believe that the alteration of the brain, found in drug addicts and alcoholics, might also occur in people who have struggled with food addiction for a long time. If this is true then there should be a period of abstinence from the “addictive food” for our brains to repair before we can safely reach for those foods again (if ever)
Okay, so this is still a very controversial subject and not enough research has been done to say for sure. So lets not call it a “brain alteration”, let’s just call it a deeply ingrained habit. Do you honestly think that you will overcome this “habit” if you are daily surrounded by the food that are directly linked to past bouts of overeating or binge eating, or will you be pulled into the familiar path of your long standing habit?
Here is what I’ve learned in my own life through trial and error:
- If I keep my “addictive food” laying around the house, I’m not being wise.
- I’m playing with fire if I start to bargain, telling myself, “I’ve not eaten _______ for so long, surely I can eat some”.
- If I start to feel sorry for myself when I see others eat the foods I can’t, then I’m usually close to the verge of denial and in need of some truth to set me straight.
- I can eat sugar and dessert, but I know exactly which ones are “safe” for me to eat, and it’s no coincidence that those are also good for my body.
THE TRUTH: The food that is on my list of “addictive foods”, and that I need to avoid in order to stay free, are food that my athletic friends will not even dream of touching. In other words: It’s bad for my body anyway, and the sadness I feel for not being able to have it is an emotional attachment, NOT A LOGICAL ONE.
Now I don’t deny that some ladies just have a problem with eating too much. They don’t have an emotional attachment to certain food, they only desire a lot of food. In this case it will make total sense to repent from the sin of gluttony and find a healthy food plan such as Weight Watchers or First Place to teach you how to be a good steward and eat smaller portions of food.
However, for the most part, if we struggle with eating disorders and food addiction we have both the sin of gluttony and idolatry present in our lives: We love food and we want lots of it.
This brings me to “A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!”
YOU MIGHT NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT BOTH: You might need to learn how to eat the right portions as well as get rid of your addictive foods. I’m not saying this lightly at all, it is SUPER difficult, so please don’t try and do it alone. Join a 12 Step Program where others are doing the same thing (preferably a Christian program such as Celebrate Recovery or an OA group that is Christian based and meet at a church) ALSO GET ADDITIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNSELING IF POSSIBLE.
You can also join my 12 week program to learn how to lay down your addictive foods and surrender your food struggle to God.
WARNING: Of course the enemy will tell you that this is just nonsense, it sounds like a diet! Let me assure you, getting rid of addictive foods is NOT A DIET. You are not restricting any food group in order to lose weight. You are getting rid of food that usually don’t even belong to any food group, and that you will not dream of giving to a young child. Why? It’s usually sugar and fat coated poison!
I’m not trying to convince you that you have a food addiction if you don’t have one. So please don’t get mad at me if you believe strictly in moderation and a healthy non-restrictive food plan (plus surrender to God of course) has helped you find freedom in the past. I also make room in my program for ladies who want to take this route instead of eliminating any food, because there most certainly is not a one-size-fits-all approach for everyone. I discuss the different options in Week 3 of my program.
I’m just asking you to be honest with yourself on these few matters:
- Has your life become totally unmanageable again in spite of following a healthy food plan?
- Do you have a constant sadness and depression that lingers under the surface of your life again?
- Have you been free of this oppression before ONLY when you got rid of your addictive foods and given your heart back to God?
In the end, you know yourself, and if you let the Holy Spirit search your heart, YOU WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO!
Hope this helped you ladies make sense of the big debate over Abstinence and Moderation.
If you are looking for Christian based eating disorder treatment, you will find a bunch of free material and a very affordable 12 Week Program on my website. Here are some resources for you:
- God will I ever be Free? - Download my free ebook
- 12 Week Online Program and Private Forum for Women Struggling with Food
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