Don’t let a binge ruin your life!

I have been getting a few heart breaking emails lately from ladies who have lost some weight on programs and now find themselves back in the clutches of binging and purging. If you’ve deprived your body, or yearned for certain addictive food (because you still need to deal with the idol in your heart) then you might find yourself binging again at some point (even after months or years of eating right).

A binge is fertile ground for the enemy to come sow lies of shame and guilt. In that place we may start to believe that we can not recover from this binge, or that we might as well give up, or that our only option is to turn again to dangerous methods (starvation, purging, etc). I’ve re-posted this post here for you because it speaks of a way to become victorious over those binges and it has helped me and other ladies be victorious in this area.

Please read this post to encourage you that we all fall, but THOSE WHO GET UP, refuse to listen to the enemy, and carry on, find victory.

How 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 food struggles 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

 

 

 

Resources for you

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

 

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD. Great resource for small groups or for individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more


 

Please “like” my Facebook Page if you want to stay on top of updates and posts
Please follow me on Twitter
Please link with me if you have a professional profile on Linkedin


Christian Based Eating Disorder Treatment: Do you need it?

You might have seen my blogs about Christian based eating disorder treatment and wondered if you really have a  “problem”.  Maybe you just need another diet or need to pray more about this…

This question of whether one really has an eating disorder is actually quite common, also in Christian circles. It is plain to see that a person with anorexia or bulimia needs help, but other eating disorders such as compulsive overeating or binge eating disorder tend to be outright denied or minimized by the person who struggle with this as well as the people surrounding her life.

For years I wasn’t sure what to make of it either because as Christians we tend to do one of two things:

ONE
We look at our eating problem only from a spiritual perspective. We neglect to face the fact that God has made us stewards over our bodies and emotions: So we pray and we fast yet nothing seems to change and we stay stuck in a cycle of  promising ourselves and God that we will do better, just to fail again the next day.

TWO
On the flip side, we tend to totally deny that food struggles might have a spiritual root such as idolatry or gluttony. We play it down as something insignificant, something we have to take care of ourselves and not “bother” God with. We are convinced that we should just “find the right diet and get a grip” or “have some self-control already!” So we stay stuck in this place year after year, feeling condemned and convinced that we are “second-class Christians”


Have you considered that what you are dealing with might be an eating disorder?

You don’t have to vomit or sneak food to have an eating disorder.  A disordered way of relating to food can rear its ugly head in many other ways.

See if you can relate…

  • Every birthday we promise ourselves that we will start a diet as soon as the cake is eaten.
  • Every Christmas we wish that we could fit in a nice Christmas dress or sweater, but we drink our gingerbread-lattes, eat our pumpkin pie, stay hidden in our houses and promise ourselves that next Christmas we will be thin.
  • Every Spring we find ourselves staring at the breath taking summer dresses and we make plans to go on a diet that can take off 50 pounds in two weeks.
  • Every Summer we hate wearing Capri pants when others wear shorts, we hate wearing cotton shirts when others wear tank tops and we decide that we will try it too. So we buy it, but we cringe and we promise ourselves that next summer will be different.
  • Every wedding invitation makes our hearts skip a beat, not because of excitement, but because of stress. We get on the computer and search into the wee morning hours for a diet, the perfect diet potion, or the perfect pill to get us thin before the dreaded wedding date.
  • Every day we promise ourselves that tomorrow will be different, and every night we cry ourselves to sleep because we did it again…

If any of this sounds familiar then you might be at a crossroads with your eating. It’s time to face the music: You need the help of God and people who understand.

Overeating and food addiction are actually very common among Christians. For years gluttony has been the “acceptable sin”. The truth is that it hurts our relationships with God and it harms our health and our families, just like any other sin. You can read more about Weight problems in the church on my website.
If you keep denying that this is a sin or a serious matter in your life, you will stay stuck. Please let the Holy Spirit search your heart. Start today on your journey to freedom by facing the seriousness of this matter. Then bring it before God, repent and ask Him to show you which way you should take to get out of this sinful pattern.

From a girl who lived in denial for many years and wants you to be free as well
Heleen

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:

 

Please “like” my Facebook Page if you want to stay on top of updates and posts
Please follow me on Twitter
Please link with me if you have a professional profile on Linkedin

10 Years Free from Bulimia!

Here comes one of my candid heart-to-heart posts. Forgive me for being too open at times, but I do think that you ladies deserve nothing less, seeing that I’m always encouraging you to be real. It’s difficult to spill the beans about my own life, but I do realize that God can only bless me, especially in this kind of ministry, if I’m honest with you all.

Last month (July 2011) has been exactly 10 years since God set me free from diet pills and the binging and purging cycle of Bulimia!

I am so grateful to God! It took a journey and a lot of healing, but there was a definite time when I knew something happened and that I would never be the same again. There’s a song that Darlene Zschech of Hillsong sings  “I will never be the same again…” I heard this song years ago when God brought freedom to this area of my life, and I have been singing it every since. I especially held on to the verse “There are higher hights, there are deeper seas, whatever you need to do, Lord do in me, The Glory of God fills my life and I will never be the same again

I am not very patient and the hardest thing that I had to do was to wait for God’s timing for my healing. I wanted it yesterday and I wanted it all done at once. It didn’t work that way. I had to learn to trust God with His particular “plan of healing” for me.

I know He was trying to teach me patience, but He was really also testing my heart and testing my motives. I told you ladies before that my relationship with God consisted for a long time of me asking Him to make me skinny. It wasn’t a sincere relationship, but rather me bargaining with God. The biggest mistake I made was to think that He didn’t know. As if He’s not God Almighty who can see in the heart of every human. I am ashamed when I think of that, but I have asked God to forgive me and help me love Him in a way that is worthy of Him. A pure and genuine way that has all to do with Him and nothing to do with what I can get out of Him for my own gain.

But in spite of all of this I still get impatient, because I don’t feel that I can say “I will never fall again” and I so want to say that. In these instances I argue with God that surely I have suffered enough and have enough patience by now. Can He not just speak a word now and let it be done. But then there are times when I just come before Him, so in awe of His beauty, so in love with Him that I just blurt it out: “Oh Lord I don’t care if I will never be totally free from this, I don’t care if you never give me anything again, just let me love you like this for the rest of my life”

And indeed it is this “making peace” with the fact that I probably will have to deal with fall and getting up (obviously in a lesser fashion) for the rest of my life, that I’ve experienced the most peace. By not reaching for the perfect track record anymore, I have actually given things over to God’s time table. I am doing what I can to not fall of course, but if I slip, I don’t beat myself up anymore. I don’t go into a three year relapse anymore and I don’t think: I will never be free from this. Because, really I am free. Every day that I give this struggle over to the Holy Spirit I am free. Come to think of it: If God is using this to keep me close to him, isn’t it then a blessing in disguise?

Hard times with food during the last 10 years…

I know you probably hoped that I don’t fall anymore, and that I could tell you that for the past 10 years I have never binged or looked at a fad diet. What I can tell you is: Seldom. These times of falling seems to happen when there is some area in my life that God wants to work on and I refuse to let Him. During times like these I inevitably turn back to my old lover: food. So if I can just get a clue, that will be helpful right?

Let me tell you about two specific incidents these past 10 years when I picked up my crutch of overeating again. I’m so grateful that I never opened the back door of binging and purging again, but I have turned to overeating and “grazing” to help me cope with stress and life.

After my baby girl was born – 2006:
By God’s grace my eating disorders didn’t flare up during my pregnancy with my sweet little gift from God 5 years ago. However, after Christie was born panic struck me because of the weight I had to lose. I wrote all about this in my 40 day journal  in the members area of my 12 Week Online Program. The bottom line: I was looking for a quick fix because I hated the extra weight and I was scared that I would always look that way. After some kicking and screaming (again!), I finally got a clue and  followed the same steps I’ve written down for you throughout this program. Basic Biblical principals of repenting from all unbelief, pride, and denial and letting the Holy Spirit search my heart and heal the things that still needed healing. After trying a few fad diets I finally turned to a decent program – Weight Watchers, and slowly shook off the weight and regained my peace with God’s help and the support of friends and WW groups.

The past year (2010 – 2011):
My close circle of friends and also those of you who have been faithfully following my blog will know that this past year has been a tough one on our family. My husband lost his job, couldn’t find another, and as a result we started up a bunch of internet businesses. We have been doing webdesign just for fun before and had a few e-commerce businesses that didn’t bring in a lot of money in the past, but now this became our main source of income. You can just imagine having your business smack in the middle of your home while trying to home school your kids, and still support others… It was a nightmare at best. Our financial situation kept looking bleaker and the stress accumulated as the year went by. We are still pretty much in the thick of things, but I have at least found other schooling options for my children for the coming year and finally started surrendering this situation to God.

With all this busyness I started spending less time with God, and less time in the Word. I’ve warned you ladies many times that if we don’t get washed by the water of the Word and lay our cares at Jesus’ feet in prayer that we start to “stink” because of the filth and worries of this world. This is exactly what happened to me this last year, and I turned to an old familiar outlet – food. I’m so grateful to God that I never turned back to serious binging and purging, however I started eating all day long to get rid of the stress – only it didn’t help of course.

My husband and I each picked up about 40 pounds, and the shame and guilt I felt became my daily companion. FINALLY I turned again to my own program (after reading an amazing testimony of a member and bawling my eyes out!) I repented once more of the pride (that I could fix our situation by working super hard), the denial (that I’m still in control of my eating when I have not been for a year) and the unbelief (that God couldn’t not possibly save me AGAIN)

I also started crying out to God for a program to help both me and my husband lose the weight we have gained. Weight Watchers wasn’t working this time around – I tried doing it online but couldn’t attend a group meeting and because of no accountability I just dropped the ball every Friday afternoon. Our new schedule also left me with absolutely no time for regular shopping and menu planning, so after 12 hours behind the computer and going hours without food I kept just “giving up” and kept grabbing the closest junk food. My husband was actually the one who found us something that could help in the midst of our crazy busy lives. He told me that friends of ours at a neighboring church was doing a program and were losing tons of weight. I didn’t want to hear of it – meal replacements! It sounded like a fad diet to me if ever I’ve heard of one. I kept arguing with him about the price of the food and how I can just make similar healthy meals for us (as if I’ve not tried doing that many times before). Long story short, I reluctantly submit to my husband – the guy who in my mind “knew absolutely nothing about food stuff”. God ended up using this program to save us both. It was actually the same plan that a friend of mine have used to lose ALL of her weight and maintained for two years. I’ve watched her but was too proud to ask before. I then started hearing of other people I know who have had the same amazing experience with lasting results because of the coaching that goes along with it.  You can go read all about my “skeptical journey” on the members forum if you are a member of my program: Heleen’s Journal on Take Shape for Life

The results were MORE THAN I EVER EXPECTED. I was wowed by the variety of food, the “hands-and-mind-off-food” place that I’ve entered by not having to slave over the stove preparing meals, the difference it made to have a coach work with you every step of the way, the fast weight loss, and the surge of energy which came as a result of eating 6 meals packed with vitamins, calcium, and protein every day.  I’m so grateful to God for yet another tool that I can pass on to you ladies.

It has been months now that I’m walking free from the compulsive overeating that has been plaguing me the last year, and as far as the future is concerned… I know that as long as I do certain things consistently, stay far away from perfection and stay as close as humanly possible to God, I am doing great.
And days that I don’t do so great? Well I might finally be getting a clue that God is working in me,  and I pray that I will be working with Him more, because more than anything I desire to know Him more and love Him more…

 

Micah 7: 7-8

But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the LORD will be my light

Isaiah 61; 1-4

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor. 
They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.

 

Thank you Jesus that you came to bring freedom and healing to my life and the life of every person who might be reading this post today!

Amazed by Grace
Heleen

 

 

RESOURCES FOR YOU – Please click on the links to learn more:
  • 12 Week Online Program and Private Forum for Women Struggling with Food – Get the FIRST WEEK FREE to try it out
Please “like” my Facebook Page if you want to stay on top of updates and posts
Please follow me on Twitter
Please link with me if you have a professional profile on Linkedin

2 Things will Break the Yoke of Food Struggles

I have just walked through my 12 Week Program with a group of amazing women of God. We’ve walked out this journey on our Members Forum. I hope to do it again soon, but even if you have just joined my program you can write on this forum topic and receive encouragement, prayer, and support.

Week 12 of my 12 Week Online Program for Women Struggling with Food deals with 2 Crucial elements that will help us GO THE DISTANCE. We all know that this journey of overcoming food related issues is a journey of falling and getting up. There is victory for sure, but for most people it is a process. So in my last week I want to equip you with tools to help you keep going, and to make sure you know exactly what to do when you fall. 2 THINGS ARE SUPER IMPORTANT: CONSISTENCY AND SURRENDER

Here is a previous post I wrote that goes well with this week’s lesson:

In my years of struggling with overeating and bulimia I found two things that played a major role in my healing and gave me a huge shove toward victory and freedom on this difficult journey: CONSISTENCY and SURRENDER.

I so wished and prayed that CONSISTENCY would come natural for me. It seems to me as if some people are just rigged for consistency from birth. I can’t help to envy my husband’s consistent nature. He does not leave a project unfinished and he will keep at something long after I have given up. It has greatly benefit him and especially our family through the years. So I know it’s a good thing to have, it’s just that I HAVE TO WORK AT IT!

I discovered, after refusing to join the “consistent club” for the longest time, that if you can do 3 things consistently for one year, you WILL have a whole different life:

1. Make time for God 7 days a week NO MATTER WHAT!

2. Exercise 4-5 times a week NO MATTER WHAT!

3. Start doing one thing every day towards the purpose and longings God placed in my heart (such as studying, writing, teaching, painting etc)

But let’s be honest about this: It’s not easy to consistently do the “positive things” in life. As soon as we try to create habits that will bring us closer to God, glorify God, or aid us in holiness, we get resistance. The “negative things” seem to get a hold of us so easily, but try and do something positive and you have a fight on your hands with both the devil and your own flesh. We usually don’t “feel” like doing anything slightly positive, in fact it can feel down right unnatural at first. Changing our lives around is not a little thing. The enemy loves that we’re stuck in a rut of negative patterns and the moment we decide to move out of it, the attacks begin: Negative thoughts, problems to discourage us, and difficulties in our relationships. We have to literally get in there and fight for our freedom.

If you are finding yourself in the death grip of and eating disorder such as bulimia, binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating you might feel totally unable to consistently exercise or eat healthy. Certain issues might be blocking your ability to move forward and if you try to put certain habits in place might feel impossible. In fact, trying to “pull yourself together” or relying on will-power can easily push you deeper into a pit of despair. I recommend that you get some help from both a physician and counselor to help you deal with the root issues that are usually physical, emotional and spiritual. Once you receive healing from past pain and learn how to deal with your present relationships and circumstances you will find that you can also become consistent in the areas where you now only experience failure.

However, even if you are unable to put any consistent habits in place this very minute, you can do one thing consistently: SURRENDER to God. This surrender that I speak of is really simple: Let go of control and start asking God daily to help you get healthy.

Here’s what I found every time I’ve tried to “take control” of my own life:

– In spite of my best efforts, it takes only my haywire hormones, my hubby’s latest hobby, or an insecurity to realize I cannot control the eb and flow of my marriage.

– It takes only an illness or a remark from an insensitive peer to make me realize I can not always control my children’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being

– As someone who moved across continents I can tell you that yes, after all the work I’ve put into friendships, career, and church involvement, it only takes a new job in a different state (or country) to make your whole world spin out of control.

– I had to give up the belief that I can control my financial security by working more, sleeping less and investing in the right stuff. As we all experienced in recent months, it only takes a bad economy…

– The notion that I can control my weight with a fad diet is usually crushed within the first 3 days by a strong craving for the list of forbidden food, or the inability to stomach one more rice cake!

Of course I’m not telling you to just throw in the towel, neglect the kids, yell at your husband, abandon your friends, cancel your gym membership and head straight for KFC. God has made us stewards over many things, including our own bodies and we are accountable for doing our part. I am a huge advocate for consistently doing good things, as the Bible says, and the rewards will come. (Galatians 6:9)

I am simply telling you that if placing your hope in your own ability to control people and things are just an accident waiting to happen. In the end: God is in control, not us. After you’ve done your part the best thing you can do for your own sanity is to lay your kids, marriage, friendships, finances, health and weight ever so gently in His everlasting lap…

According to Jeremiah 17: 5-8, I will turn into a dry bush if I depend on another man or woman. However, I never realized how much I was depending on this woman (me). I was relying greatly on my own effort and performance. I was sure that everybody in my care (and not in my care) was my sole responsibility.

Please hear me on this one: If you want to stop overeating or binge eating, you will have to get off the “control train”. You may know by now that all your plans of taking control through will-power, diets, purging and starvation left you like a dried-up shrub in the desert. There is living water, it only comes from God and it can change you into a green tree that bears fruit and have shade for others to rest under.

In the end we need CONSISTENCY if we want to stop overeating, stop binge eating, and get rid of bulimia for good. But even more so we need to consistently SURRENDER our lives to God in order to see any lasting changes!

 

 

It all starts with ONE DAY – TODAY REALLY MATTERS!

Please go read these two posts if you’re having a hard time getting started on the path of consistency:
One sober day can change things around
One day I’ll be a beautiful butterfly

Love, Heleen

 

PS: If you are not a member of my program for Women Struggling with Food you might be interested to click here for my FREE EBOOK: “God will I ever be free?”
Click here if you’re struggling with overeating, binge eating, food addiction, or bulimia and want more information on becoming a member:  12 Week Online Program for women who struggle with eating disorders and food addiction – Week 1 is free – so you can try it out before buying anything:)

 

Consistency is your Friend: Perfection is your Enemy

One of the things that is you need to add to your life if you want to walk free, and stay free from eating disorders or food addiction is CONSISTENCY. Unfortunately there is something that will keep you from being consistent in any area of your life: Perfectionism. We’ve just completed Week 10  on the forum that deals with PERFECTIONISM. Please have a look at my 12 Week Online Program for Women Struggling with Food to find out more.

Here is a previous post I wrote that goes well with this week’s lesson:

 

How do you 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

Controlling People and Situations can Feed you Food Addiction

We’ve just completed Week 9  on the forum that deals with PEOPLE PLEASING and CONTROL. If you find yourself reaching for food because of stress and turmoil in your relationships then this week might clear up a lot of issues for you. Please have a look at my 12 Week Online Program to find out more.

Here is a previous post I wrote that goes well with this week’s lesson:

 

This past weekend I was reminded that self-control and controlling other people can not co-exist in my life. I was getting anxious about situations in our family and fell back into my old pattern of controlling people and circumstances.

Of course I’m pretty good at “whipping” everything and everybody into shape, but things started unraveling fast inside of me. I was restless. I wanted to eat all sorts of things and I was avoiding God.

Fortunately I’ve learned, through much tears and many heartaches, to recognize these patterns in myself.

So I was back at the drawing board with God:

The Bible clearly says that self-control is part of the Fruit of the Spirit and “should” thus be part of every spirit filled Christian’s life. According to John 15 we will bear much fruit (including self-control) if we are plugged into the vine (Jesus). So having self-control means staying close to God, OBEYING GOD, and daily asking the Holy Spirit to fill us and give us control of ourselves.

However, no where in the Bible will you find any kind of command or even an indication that we are suppose to control other people and circumstances.

Now if you are immediately thinking  “I’m not a control-freak” you might want to first read the following to make sure:

Controlling can be blatant or subtle. Trying to please people and keep everybody happy doesn’t seem like control, but by always pleasing others we actually try to control the way they see us, or even what they think of us.

Controlling others has a nasty side affect: It robs us of our self-control. If we learn to give the people and things that we can not really control over to God, we have enough peace to build and work on our relationship with God and as a result we see the fruit of the Spirit show up in our lives..

You girls know me by now: I want to know how it works in real life!
I’m seeing how every time I choose to give control over to God, I have more peace, more time (by not obsessing about others) and more self control.

Try it…next time you feel like controlling or pleasing someone else, ask God what you’re suppose to do. Something like this “Am I suppose to control/please this person Lord? Which part of this is my job and which is Your job?”

Okay, so I know it’s not that easy: What do you do with the anxiety, the pain and the stress surrounding the relationships you are currently trying to control?
Women have so much more stress that’s related to relationships than men. We want to fix everyone’s problems and keep everybody happy. But at what price? We loose control of our own lives!

capture16One of the things I found that works wonders for this kind of stress: Girl friend time!
Get into a group or ask God to help you find friends with whom you can be real. I found that it’s easier to join a woman’s Bible study or a support group. The kind of”realness” that we all desperately need usually starts in these kind of groups, and lots of times it flows over into lifetime friendships.

God gave us each other, and nobody understands the needs, stress and worries of a woman like another woman. Please find a place where you can talk about the stress in your relationships.

Most women I know constantly put their own needs and wants on the back burner. So I guess it’s almost “normal”, but it doesn’t mean that we can keep doing it without damage to our lives. Our anxiety sometimes reach such high levels that we start looking around for a crutch such as food, alcohol, pornography or drugs.

Do you feel that you have little or no self-control left?
Please have a look at your relationships and circumstances. You might have the best of intentions in controlling people and circumstances, but it still robs you from the ability to control your own self.

Find a quiet place today where you can think and talk to God about control. If you give the control back to God you will feel peace come back to your life. In the light of that peace, you will be able to talk to Him more openly, and He will tell you why He created you in the first place

Don’t think for one minute that this is selfish. The most wonderful gift you can give your family and friends is to start taking care of your own wants and needs (spiritual, emotional and physical). If you do that, you will regain your self-control and will be able to sow love into their lives without controlling them.

I don’t say this lightly. I have to remind myself daily that by controlling others I am robbing myself of self-control. I need all nine parts of the fruit of the Spirit desperately in my life, so I keep giving the control that belongs to God back to Him…

From a ex control-freak

Heleen

 

Here are some resources for you:

 

Please “like” my Facebook Page if you want to stay on top of updates and posts
Please follow me on Twitter
Please link with me if you have a professional profile on Linkedin

Choosing the right Food Plan for you

We’re on Week 4 on the forum and we’re looking into finding the right food plan for every lady.  This is a very personal issues, seeing that we all find ourselves in different seasons in our lives. God has the right plan for you and your unique situation. Do some research on different programs out there – the accountability and discipline is very important. REMEMBER: God can use any solid program to help  you break free from this disordered way of eating. However, if you don’t grow in relationship with Him and surrender this part of your life to Him, it will just be another diet failure. Please have a look again at my book on surrender if this is still a huge issue for you: “God will I ever be free?”

Here is a previous post I wrote that goes well with this week’s lesson.

 

ABSTINENCE OR MODERATION?

 

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 us on the Forum as we take 21 days every month to lay down at least one of those foods and habits TOGETHER. (See Week 3 of my program to learn more)

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’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.

Love,

Heleen

 



Here are some resources for you:

 

Please “like” my Facebook Page if you want to stay on top of updates and posts
Please follow me on Twitter
Please link with me if you have a professional profile on Linkedin



Is Food Addiction for Real?

I promised to re-posting some popular posts related to the 12 Weeks of my Online Program as we go through it on the forum. We are currently doing Week 3  and the topic is Food Addiction. So here is this post again in case you want to read it one more time, or you have missed it the first time.

 

Living with the “Brain Fog” of Food Addiction

People who struggle with Food Addiction use food in similar ways as others do drugs, cigarettes or alcohol. It is used to numb unwanted emotions and it actually does! If you have an overload of sugar, fat and salt in your system, you actually experience a “high”. It’s a state of mind where you just live for the moment, food is all that matters and for a few moments at least, it can make you forget about your sorrows.

Of course you always regret it afterward. However, it’s not necessarily a deep regret that brings you to repentance, but rather something similar to the alcoholic who cries when he is in a drunken state. It’s usually feelings of self pity and self loathing, but unfortunately mostly not the deep sorrow that makes you want to turn away from the addictive foods for good.

If you struggle with food addiction, you might recognize this pattern where you overeat at night, feel sick to your stomach, cry tears of despair, and promise yourself to never do this again, just to repeat the same cycle again the next day. It breaks my heart to see friends and family go through this cycle many times before they hit “rock-bottom”. I know the horrible feeling of utter failure.

There is another side to addiction that causes people to stay in the same rut, year after year: The “Brain Fog”. Food Addiction, as other addictions, covers your brain with a numbness, causing you to make wrong decisions, lack sound judgment, and not hear the voice of God. In my life, the feeling of numbness toward God and my loved ones became one of the big warning signs that I am slipping back into food addiction. Huge amounts of sugar, fat and salt can literally sap all your energy, make you depressed and pull a thick cloud of fog over your brain and your emotions. It is a horrible, empty life to lead: You pretend that all is well on the outside, but your heart has been stripped of all life.

Many books have been written about food addiction, but people still tend to make light of it. So even if you are skeptical about whether people can truly be addicted to food, I want to urge you to take a hard look at your own life. The enemy uses food to keep people in a lifetime of bondage. However, it is important to know that not everyone with an eating disorder suffers from food addiction, but those with food addiction usually have some form of distorted eating such as bulimia, binge eating disorder or compulsive overeating.

Also, hereditary factors tend to play a major role in food addiction. If there is a pattern of addiction in your family or you have been addicted to other substances at different times in your life, you have a bigger chance to also get addicted to food.

How then can this be treated?
From my own experience and the testimonies of other ladies, I believe that some people sunk so deep into food addiction that their spirit (deep inner being that connects with God) can not respond to God before they don’t first clear the “brain fog”. Now before you get upset with me, I do believe, and have seen God heal people from addiction in a moment. However, to forge a deeper, lasting relationship with God these people too had to become “clean” from high amounts of sugar, fat and salt and stay that way. It is sometimes necessary to first become abstinent from certain food before our past wounds can be healed, simply because the food that we are addicted to keeps us in a state of numbness.

That said, you should never just stop eating. You are setting yourself up to sink deeper into food addiction if you starve your body. You need your body to “help” you with the physical healing from this addiction. So you first have to get it strong. In my Program I help women go through the necessary steps to first get their bodies to work for them, not against them. I always recommend going through a period of “restoring” your body first. I’m simply talking about getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water, exercising, and eating enough protein, whole grains, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables for a few weeks before abstaining from anything. However, there is good news, it only takes 21 days to rid your body of certain cravings, and after the first 7 days it actually gets a little easier. I am always so amazed at how the cravings TOTALLY disappear after 21 days!

But far bigger than the lack of cravings for everything deep fried and smothered in chocolate is the joy of being able to FEEL again. Your senses come alive, and you can cry and laugh and feel the gentle touch of God as He heals your broken heart.

My 12 Week Online Program for Women struggling with Food might be an option for you if you need help to break free from Food Addiction. Please go have a look, your life matters to God. He is waiting to heal you and help you clear up the “brain fog” so you can enjoy life again.

PS: We are a group of about 30 ladies who are walking out this journey on the forum. It’s not too late to join in or just read along. Here is a link to the Members Forum.
If you are not a member you might be interested to click here for my FREE EBOOK: “God will I ever be free?”
Click here if you want more information on becoming a member:  12 Week Online Program for women who struggle with eating disorders and food addiction

Surrender to God and Resist the Enemy

As many of you might know, I’m currently going through the 12 Week Online Program on the forum with a group of women. As a result I don’t have much time to write here on the blog, but I thought it might be a good idea to re-post some popular posts that apply to the specific week we’re dealing with on the forum.

I’m re-posting this article (in step with Week 2 of the 12 Week Program) on resisting the lie of the enemy that we have to be “perfect” before we can come to God. This single lie can keep you in bondage for many years.

Maybe it’s time to get angry. I felt my blood pressure rise and a “holy anger” came over me while reading a few emails of ladies these past weeks. These were emails of pain, bondage, and hopelessness and while my heart was bleeding for each one of these precious women, I was also getting so mad at the enemy.

I’m angry because of a vicious lie Satan has been using for ages to keep us in bondage. It’s the lie of “you can’t possibly come to God in this disgusting state that you are in”

Do you realize how many women are kept in bondage daily because they believe:
“I can only go back to church once I’ve lost some weight”
“I will join that women’s Bible study once I’ve stopped gambling”
“I will talk to a pastor after I’ve ended this relationship”
“I can not pray while I still have these evil thoughts”
“I can not read my Bible while I still yell at my kids”

Ladies, IT’S TIME TO GET MAD AT THE ENEMY!

We don’t have the power to save or change ourselves.  So if the enemy can just get us to believe the lie that we have to fix ourselves before coming to God we are trapped!

I am adding this part about the prodigal son that I’ve posted before because it is so important to hear again.

God is calling you, just as you are. You might be dealing with incredible pain, shame, or anxiety at this very moment. You might have just eaten so much food that you are in physical pain. Maybe you just purged and you feel shame hanging like a cloak around your shoulders. Maybe you are past all these feelings and you just feel a great numbness inside of you…

Seriously, God is waiting for you! He saw everything you did and He is still waiting and calling…

The voices of condemnation, guilt and shame that you hear are not of God but of the enemy who wants to destroy you (John 10:10)

I would like to remind you today of our Father’s heart. The parable in Luke 15 about the prodigal son gives us a peek into the heart of our heavenly father. He is looking for you, waiting for you to return to Him. He doesn’t insist that you first clean up your act or that you get rid of your filth before you come to Him. On the contrary, when He sees you taking the first few steps, He will run to you with open arms, welcoming you and showering you with love.

Please don’t try to first get “better” before you come to God. It’s the enemy’s age old trick to keep us in bondage.

It is only in God’s presence that we are cleaned and changed. You can not change yourself, but He has all the power to heal your broken heart and help you change the habits and addictions you’ve picked up to numb the pain. Better yet… He wants to heal the pain you are trying to numb…

Listen to what the Amplified Bible says about the father of the prodigal son:
“So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently]” (Luke 15:20)(emphasis mine)

Do you see that the father was moved with pity and tenderness! Our heavenly Father has that same pity and tenderness towards us every time we come to Him, even in our filthy state. This might not be the first time you come to Him, but PLEASE don’t stop coming.

I found freedom from bulimia when I started crying out to God EVERY TIME I was binging or purging. I would cry and tell Him how bad I felt about myself, how ashamed I was, and how I needed Him to help me. He heard, He took pity on me, and drew me close to his heart with tenderness. You are his child too, He has no favorites, He wants to do the same for you!

Just run to Him my dear friend, repent, and accept His forgiveness. Jesus came so you can be free (Isaiah 61)

Your sister in Christ
Heleen

 

PS: We are almost 30 ladies who are walking out this journey on the forum. It’s not too late to join us or just read along. Here is a link to the Members Forum.
If you are not a member you might be interested to click here for my FREE EBOOK: “God will I ever be free?”
Click here if you want more information on my 12 Week Online Program for women who struggle with eating disorders and food addiction

Why is it so hard to OBEY and SHOW-UP?

I wrote a post  a few months back titled ONE difference between the FREE and the CAPTIVE

In that post I answered a question that many of you have been asking me: Why do some women break free and others don’t? Why can a group of women go through my program, or through 21 days of detox on the forum and some are victorious while others just can’t seem to make it.

The short answer to this: Some women OBEY and SHOW-UP while others DON’T.
Those who live in victory over their food struggle OBEY GOD: THEY SHOW UP DAILY IN GOD’S PRESENCE…  THEY SHOW UP AT WEIGHT WATCHERS OR OTHER HEALTHY FOOD PLANS… THEY SHOW UP AT CHURCH… THEY SHOW UP FOR COUNSELING…THEY SHOW UP AT BIBLE STUDY … etc

SO LETS TALK A MINUTE ABOUT THE NEXT OBVIOUS QUESTION:

HOW DO I OBEY? What if I want to obey, but instead find myself back on the couch, eating ice cream, and watching TV every day?

I wrote a lot about this in my program, but I was reminded of this fact again last night while attending a Bible study with some girl friends.

LOVE motivates OBEDIENCE and PERSEVERANCE

One important fact though: Only TRUE love will motivate obedience. So if we find it very difficult to obey God, we might need to take a second look at how much we love Him. In her well-known Bible study “Breaking Free” Beth Moore asks us to answer the next few questions to determine if we’re really in love with God:

IDENTIFYING TRUE LOVE:

  • Does God regularly circulate into my thoughts? (Ps 63:6)
  • Am I often drawn to spend time with Him?  (Ps 27:4)
  • Does my life demonstrate a love for God? (Rom 5:8)
  • Do I often enjoy God? (Ps 16:11)
  • Do I ultimately find relief or satisfaction in obedience? (John 14:12)

How did you score on the TRUE LOVE TEST?

Sometimes we really fool ourselves by thinking that we love God, when we simply don’t.

I have loved Jesus since I was a little girl. I see my sweet little girl praying to Jesus and hear her talk about Him and I can imagine myself at that age, growing up in a Christian home, praying to God in that same manner. So if you asked me in the past if I loved Jesus I would have quickly responded “YES, I’ve loved Him all my life”

However, through the years some questions formulated in my mind (much of these triggered by pastors an Bible teachers) about my LOVE for Christ: Do I love Him enough? Why do I still lack self-control? Why am I still rude and proud at times? Why do I not have patience in times of testing? Where is my joy and peace in trying circumstances? Why is it still so hard for me to obey…?

WE NEED MORE OF JESUS. When the night is dark and the valley deep WE NEED MORE! When our circumstances change and we can hardly breathe WE NEED MORE! When the waters are calm and we find ourselves almost bored with riches and prosperity WE NEED MORE OF JESUS!

Unfortunately our lives have become so busy and full of things that we hardly have time for anything, and sadly Jesus gets pushed down on our list of priorities.
However, if we want to break free and stay free from any kind of bondage WE NEED TO OBEY. Lasting obedience will always be linked to True Love. We might be able to obey once or twice out of obligation and legalism, but it never lasts and we always seem to slip back into our bondage.

NOW FOR THE BIG QUESTION:

IF I DON’T REALLY LOVE GOD WITH ALL MY HEART – HOW CAN I FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM?

  • Ask God to give you a love for Him. God is the source of  love, and the only one who can give you true agape love for Him and other people (1John 4: 7-8,19)
    Ask Him DAILY to increase your love for Him!!  Set an alarm on your cellphone to go off and remind you to pray. Even short prayers at first where you ask Him to give you a true love and desire for Him and His Word
  • Be accountable about your time with Him – Join women’s Bible studies on a regular basis to keep your accountable. Meet with other people to pray. Find a friend that will hold you accountable, and surround yourself with people who obviously love JESUS. THE MORE WE LEARN ABOUT GOD AND OPEN OUR HEARTS TO HIM – THE MORE WE LOVE HIM – AND THE MORE WE LOVE HIM THE MORE WE WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH HIM. Get yourself into that blessed upward cycle!

I need more of Jesus – the love that I had for Him last year can not sustain  me now. Fortunately there is so much more to my God than the little I have come to know up until this point in my life.

God is enough. His love for us is perfect and everlasting, however we have to keep asking and reaching to love Him more.

In His Amazing Love,

Heleen

 

We are currently doing the 12 Week Online Program for women who struggle with overeating, binge eating, bulimia and food addiction together as a group on the forum. Much of this program is devoted to nudge ladies to build relationship with Jesus and fall in love with Him. If our heart’s desires change, everything change! Please come join us on the members forum if you are a member or click here to get more information on how to become a member: Women Struggling with Food – 12 Week Online Program