Do You Fear Rejection?

I was desperately afraid of rejection for the biggest part of my life. I was rejected early on for not being pretty enough, not quiet enough, and definitely not skinny enough. I was rejected by peers, boyfriends, and family members in both big and small ways. However, the most important rejection was one I was not even consciously aware of: I REJECTED MYSELF COMPLETELY.

The fear of rejection became the driving force behind my vow to avoid rejection at all cost. I remade my appearance to the best of my ability,  and surrounded myself with “safe” people who would or could not easily reject me; mainly people with wounds, obsessions, and weaknesses of their own. I also made sure that I became irreplaceable in the lives of these friends, so they would never want to leave me. Through manipulation and lies I kept this all alive. I pleased, begged, fought, over committed myself, did things I hated, smiled when I wanted to cry, stayed awake when I wanted to sleep, had long talks when I had nothing more to say, bribed, gave advice, bent over backwards, and last but certainly not least,  rescued everyone around me.

God saw all of this of course, and placed ever so strategically four little beings in my life who would challenge my authenticity from the start. They grew up way too fast, and as young adults refused  to any longer be coerced into Mom’s perfection and people pleasing. They wanted to spread their  wings and fly, and they especially wanted to love me on their own terms. So I felt again the stabbing pain of rejection that I carefully tried to dodged for so long. I cried before God, tried to think and rethink the situation, made a new plan, did everything I knew to keep the relationship intact, and yet, there was nothing for me to do, except feel the searing pain of rejection…

Finally after allowing God to untangle my heart from the huge mess of being tangled up with other people, I asked the question that needed asking a long time ago: Why am I so terribly afraid of rejection?

His voice was clear and the message so simple: You have to stop rejecting yourself. You have to start loving the girl I made, and give her some room to grow and live. You have to let Her breathe and start pleasing her God instead of people. Other people are fickle. The ones who love you today might reject you tomorrow, but through the years, and all of your life, you have YOU an ME.

This was the verse that spoke to my heart and reminded me that God has never rejected me, not even once…

I took you from the ends of the earth,
 from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:9-10

What about you dear friend?
Are you terribly afraid of rejection?
Has it maybe been the driving force behind so many decisions and actions in your life? 
Is fear of rejection maybe at the root of your desire to be thin at all cost? 
Is your obsession to please others maybe driving you to the numbing effect of food?
Have you rejected yourself and as a result need to soothe the pain with food?

If we reject ourselves, then other people’s rejection is just too much for us to bear. If we criticize and hate ourselves, then other people’s criticism drive us over the edge, and many times make us reach for a substance to soothe the pain. It is when we are secure in our God and truly accept ourselves that we can handle what others throw at us; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I implore you to open your heart before the King of kings if you also fear rejection. Fear is from the enemy. Repent and allow God to flush out that fear and fill your heart with His incredible love and acceptance.

Your sister in Christ
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

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
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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:)

 

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:

 

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EXERCISE: Sacrifice of Praise!

We are a group of more than 30 ladies walking out a 12 week 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

This week (Week 5) we’re talking about Exercise. Here’s a re-post that deals with one of the most important issues surrounding exercise – WE HAVE TO EXERCISE FOR HEALTH – NOT WEIGHT LOSS!


I know exercise might not be your favorite topic, it’s not mine either, but let’s face it: Spring is in the air and our bodies are itching to get moving, even if our minds are still glued to the couch!

My battle in this area is no secret, so fortunately I don’t have to pretend with you ladies. For many, many moons exercise in my book meant only one thing: TORTURE!

Every time I started using exercise to get rid of some unwanted rolls around my mid section, I found myself despising it with a passion. I would get up in the morning and mumble to myself “This is just not natural, nobody does this, I must be crazy…” Weekends were even worse… who would want to “spoil” a weekend with exercise?

WHEN YOU EXERCISE TO LOSE WEIGHT:

1. You might use exercise as a dangerous method to “purge” after a binge

2. It might become part of your “diet-routine”, so you only do it when you’ve gained weight but you never seem to keep it up.

HOWEVER, IF YOU EXERCISE FOR YOUR HEALTH THINGS CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY!

Come on…change with me…let’s do it to have more energy, feel healthier, have more confidence, enjoy our kids, dance with our husbands, have glowing skin and shiny hair!

Their are so many benefits to exercise. One of it is weight loss, but don’t let it be the reason you do it girl, IT IS NOT A LASTING INCENTIVE!

Think outside the box. Why settle for the ordinary? If you dig a little deeper you might find a tennis player, a swimmer, a runner, or a salsa dancer hiding in your heart.

Do it for the glory of God! Let it be your sacrifice of praise!

Moving for Christ!
Heleen


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

 



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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

The Good and the Bad of being Busy!

woman writing 8_194x188I must admit, I have a need to stay busy all the time! It’s more than a need actually, for years I have equated busyness with power, prestige and value. Fortunately, God has brought about a lot of change in my value system and way of thinking, and these days I’m ready for a slower pace.

However, moving at a snail’s pace without purpose or direction can cause other problems. Let’s have a look:

The Good:

I’ve written in previous posts about the absolute necessity for someone who struggles with food to find again her buried dreams and desires. Those dreams are given to us by God and it makes each one of us unique and our lives worth living. If we don’t follow our purpose and dreams, we will follow something else, even something destructive. So to get busy with your dreams is a GOOD THING!

If you often find yourself bored, not interested in anything, tired, depressed and without purpose, you might have lost vision and purpose for your life. This is not God’s plan for you.

Living in this hopeless state can cause a person to turn to food again and again. In fact, you might pick up many other idols along the way if you don’t find meaning and purpose in your life. Even good Christians who read their Bibles and pray daily can fall prey to idolatry if they don’t find joy in fulfilling the purpose God has for them on this earth.

The Bad:

Unfortunately anything we devout all of our time, energy, and money to can become an idol instead of bringing fulfillment to our lives.
Take for instance this ministry I have for women who struggle with food. I’ve had this yearning to help other ladies for many years, but I wasn’t sure how it should all play out. I’ve asked God to show me what He wants me to do, and when He opened the doors for me to start a website and an online program I was so excited. I had a new zeal for life. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning. I was like a kid with a new toy!

This part was great, but the I started overdoing it. I spent way too much time with my new found purpose. I started putting the needs of others in front of time with God and taking care of my own needs. Last year this time I found myself almost at the point of being burnt out. The “bad” side of busyness was knocking at my door.

I was slipping even with my eating, this shook me out of my denial and I cried out to God to show me how to balance these things. What I learned is that to keep busy from morning to night shuts out the voice of God. We fall back into quick prayers, even quick Bible studies, but nothing seems to get to our hearts.

I felt my heart grew cold and numb, a dangerous place for someone who struggles with food. If there is one thing a food addict knows it is this: If you get too busy, you get out of touch with your body, your needs, and your emotions, and then you start binging mindlessly.

Don’t get so busy that you lose touch with your own self .

These days I don’t go online every weekend, on purpose. I stop working at a certain time in the evening to take a bubble bath, on purpose. I go on hikes to the park with my kids, without a cellphone or a book, on purpose.

All these moments in time creates opportunity to meditate on the Word, think about God, figure out what is going on inside of me and hear Him speak to me in ways I could never imagine!

So where are you with all this?

Do you need to get moving, find your purpose, and live the life God planned for you?

or

Do you need to slow down, smell the roses, experience the people around you and feel the gentle touch of God restoring your soul?

If you need help in finding your purpose and dreams please read this post where I’ve provided some tips and resources:
Stop the nonsense, chase your dream!

If you are in need of some rest, do it now, don’t wait for a vacation!
Get out in the sun or the rain, talk to God. Or just sit in your favorite chair and do nothing. Just wait and listen…
You will unfortunately never grow an intimate relationship with God while running a thousand miles per hour. The Holy Spirit will keep calling and drawing you to that quiet, secret place where you can hear the voice of God. He’s been waiting for you, all you have to do is STOP and LISTEN.

Come on, I challenge you today: Do what you have to do.
Life is too short to waste it on an eating disorder or any other addiction. One of the major steps you can take toward healing is to find out if you need to MOVE or STOP. I’m not going to lie to you, IT’S VERY SCARY either way. However, it could be the thing that turns your life around…you can do it girl!

In His Love
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:

 

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EMERGENCY: I have to lose weight fast!

8How do you feel when you get an invitation to a friend’s wedding, or to go on vacation with family, or to come out East (or West) for Thanksgiving? Does your stomach turn and your blood pressure rise at the very thought of it? Special occasions can be absolute torture for someone with a food struggle. The worst part;  it happens all the time!

I receive emails of sheer desperation from ladies about this topic more than anything else: “How can I lose weight fast without jeopardizing everything “

The truth: This kind of anxiety is very dangerous. It will most likely make you look for a quick fix and a quick fix is just an accident waiting to happen.

The good news: You can use this “occasion” to start your journey, right now, seriously, by grabbing on to God and asking for help (counseling or prayer) to lay down the food (junk food and addictive foods) that always drag you down.

The bad news: You have to be honest with yourself, because it will be ONLY THAT, the start of a journey! Serious weight loss, without any regard for the consequences to your health and body, can not be your main focus. There are safe meal replacement programs on the market that I have used and that helped me lose weight pretty fast. However, if you only do this for a short time, without a coach or a support group, you are very likely to put the weight that you’ve lost right back on (and some).

I’ m sorry that I have to be so blunt, but I can’t lie to women who have already suffered so much. If you didn’t deal with some of the pain from your past or present relationships, you will most likely reach for the quick fix again. This dangerous method might cause you to lose  a few pounds (possibly) but it will not be worth the denial, pain and turmoil you’ll feel inside. It is this emotional turmoil, caused by fad diets or dangerous methods (purging, diet pills, etc), that makes people pick up lies, denial, unbelief and pride again. So in the end all it does is postpone your healing for a few more years!

So if you are still surfing the web, flipping through magazines and TV channels to find a quick solution to this long term problem, then you probably still carry a lot of “unfinished business”.

I know, because I have so been there. We once went back to South Africa for a vacation and because of some issues I still refused to deal with,  I was right back there, on the internet, looking to lose 60 pounds in one month! This was after I have been totally set free from bulimia! I am happy to report that it was 7 years ago, and it didn’t last long, but ONLY because I came back and dealt with my issues and for the first time 100% meant it when I told God “I now truly believe that ONLY YOU can heal me and that NOTHING and NOBODY else can. I am ready to lay down ALL the lies and start trusting you, one day at a time”

Let me try and help you if you find yourself in this very difficult place of needing to lose weight FAST for some occasion:

FIRST: LET’S LOOK AT THE FACTS

  • You will probably not be able to lose much weight before the special occasion, even if you try your best. All the stress doesn’t help. However, if you’re still a few months away from the occasion you do have time to shed a decent amount of weight on either a meal replacement program WITH A COACH in place or a safe program such as Weight Watchers IF YOU ALSO ATTEND A GROUP for support and accountability. Support will help you move forward after the occasion and make it a long term solution instead of a fad diet.
  • Also, when you get closer to the date,  find something you can wear that is slimming and “good enough’ (lower your expectations of perfection). This will take away some of the stress.
  • If you eat the right portions that are high in nutritional value and you exercise, you will get your metabolism to work for you (against the stress hormones) much more than any fad diet, diet pill, or extreme measure would.
  • A great plus point in starting to follow a program high in nutrition: You will have good hair and skin on top of losing a few pounds, and best of all, PEACE when you need to face the music (or the people)
  • However, if you follow a drastic measure  you will have exactly the opposite outcome: No significant weight loss and breakouts that usually goes along with irregular eating and stress. Also, depriving yourself like that can lead to binging, which can cause you to gain weight!


There are not short cuts, it takes a journey. However, this occasion can be the beginning of a journey to freedom for you…

Here’s a  prescription for you before the special event:

SIMPLICITY: If you feel like you have too many things to pull off every day it will just add to your anxiety. So make a commitment to yourself and God to just do 3 THINGS:

1. TIME IN THE WORD EVERY DAY, NO MATTER WHAT! Change that time every morning when you usually make plans for the day, and promise yourself that you will not eat sugar and carbs into a time when you are just honest with yourself and God. Tell Him that you can not do it at all, and ask Him to take over. I recommend you get a Bible study that can keep your attention, because you will probably find it extremely hard to focus on anything right now, due to the underlying stress. See my list of Recommended Books and Bible Studies

2. EXERCISE 3-5 DAYS A WEEK, NO MATTER WHAT! Please read last week’s post about Just Showing Up This is so important  because it will help you stay on track with your eating and emotional well being. Also read my other posts on exercise and have a look at the books I recommend to get you motivated. Even very moderate exercise such as slow walking will make the world of a difference in your emotional well being and your ability to resist temptation. Commit to doing this in order for you to stay sane; come rain or sunshine, whether you’ve binged the night before or not, whether you feel good or bad, whether you are depressed and have a lot to do. If you can do it first thing every morning, it will be great (also for burning more calories and having a better day food wise), but even if you have to go to the gym 9pm at night, just stick to your commitment.

3. As far as food: Sign up for a program that has GREAT SUPPORT AND ACCOUNTABILITY. All the programs that I’ve followed in the past (never mind how healthy and balanced) did not work for long when I was doing it all by myself. The ones that really stuck were the ones high in nutrients and variety, and where I had either the support of a GROUP or a COACH. Please have a look at Week 4 of my program if you need more information on this.

 

Now, after saying all of this, I have to remind you: There is no condemnation for you in Christ Jesus! God is so thrilled that you set your feet on this journey back to Him where your healing lays. If you fall, He will run to your aid, and if you can not overcome this specific situation due to all the stress and pain you still feel, He will be waiting for you… until you’re ready.

And seriously, there is no condemnation coming from this girl either. I know about the pain and how we each have our own time frame of when we’re ready to surrender. I also know that if everybody else gives up on us, GOD DOES NOT!

If you feel that you can not do anything I’ve said, then please have a look at my program or go for counseling. Talking to a counselor or a pastor who has some knowledge about food struggles can help you find the reason why you so desperately need to lose weight, while you still desperately need the food to “cope”. You might find yourself between a rock and a hard place my friend, and then you really need help.

I pray even now that this upcoming event will be the last straw for every lady who reads this post. I pray that it will be the thing that opens your eyes to the truth, makes you hit rock-bottom, and help you to surrender your food struggle to God, forever…

You are so loved dear sister… the Bible says His eyes are on you!

In His Love
Heleen

More 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
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How to Get UP when you Fall…

Seriously, let me get this off my chest and let you off the hook at the same time: It’s not IF we fall, but rather WHEN we fall. All of the people around you that seem to have it so together and make huge successes of their lives have learned only ONE thing that you didn’t: HOW TO GET UP!

We live in such a broken world, and yes it’s not fair that we have to carry our cross on our hips (literally) while others hide theirs under their tiny sweaters, but we all struggle with something. Everybody has bad days and EVERYBODY FALLS!

If you have an eating disorder or struggle with food addiction you need to realize that RECOVERY IS A JOURNEY, and yes, the journey can be long and exhausting.
In spite of great victories and years without sugar you might find yourself in front of the freezer, eating ice cream straight from the tub when life throws you a curve ball.

Now don’t think for a minute that I don’t believe in miraculous healing. I believe that God can and will heal you from food addiction in an instant if He so chooses. However, if His will for you is to walk out your journey to freedom, then I would advise you to not live in denial, but rather arm yourself for the journey. To say “I will never, ever, ever fall for that again” is just setting yourself up for failure, self condemnation, guilt and shame.

So now that we’ve established that you and I are not the only ones with wobbly legs, the question remains: How do you get up?

What is the first thing that comes to mind after you have fallen and your eating is spiraling out of control? I’m not talking about the pre-fall-stage where you’re still toying with a bite of this here and a morsel of that there, because at that point you might still feel that you have things under control. No, I’m talking about the flat-on-you-face-stage where you know you’ve once again lost all control, you binged for one week straight, all you can think of is your next meal and you’ve easily gaining five to ten pounds. When you hit that place, you know you’re on your knees, you don’t wonder anymore.

Usually I experience the following emotions and thoughts after a fall: First guilt, then shame, followed by it’s evil twin; self condemnation. Then I usually I start looking around for someone to blame. In the end despair and hopelessness will sweep over me, and the enemy will whisper in my ear “You will never overcome this, you might as well give up.”

I know all to well how intense these emotions of hopelessness can be and therefor I want to reach out my hand to you in your place of despair and tell you: VICTORY IS NOT FAR AWAY, BUT YOU HAVE TO ACT QUICKLY!

The enemy can gain so much ground in our lives if we stay down. The longer you stay in that place the deeper you will sink. That place where you have fallen can change into a pit of captivity that can be your home for the next few months or even years.

WHAT NOT TO DO:

1. Don’t look for a diet. Resist the urge to go on the internet and read up for hours on the latest diets out there. You will end up eating stacks of food while trying to find a “quick-fix” that DOES NOT EXIST.
2. Don’t go over every little detail trying to figure out how it happened. It probably happened gradually and you can not change the past. Rather spend you energy on getting up and moving forward.
3. Don’t blame your husband, your kids, your friends, my program! or God for your fall. Okay if you have to blame someone, start with the devil and then take responsibility. The blame game will just ruin your relationships and keep you laying down longer…

WHAT TO DO:

1. ALWAYS GET BACK TO BASICS! Diets don’t work, pills don’t work, excessive exercise don’t work, and starvation just end in binging and purging. So throw out those Chinese food and chocolates and go stock up on vegetables, fruit, lean meats, granola bars for those weak moments and oatmeal for those carb cravings. Make a few salads, cut up some fruit and cook a chicken to be prepared for the first three tough days. YOU ONLY NEED THAT FIRST DAY OF VICTORY TO TURN THIS THING AROUND! You might have a week of working it up to that FIRST DAY, and that’s okay, but keep trying until you get there…

2. TAKE IT TO GOD: Number One will not work if you don’t give it over to God! LIVING HEALTHY IS JUST ANOTHER DIET IF YOU DON’T SURRENDER IT TO GOD! Believe me, after a fall you need a good cry before God. You might not know it, but at this point you might be avoiding God because you are so ashamed and you might be disappointed in Him for letting you down, AGAIN.
Tell God how you feel, it’s not He who fails us, but He does understand that we feel that way sometimes, because He so understands our human nature. Not only did He create you dear sister, He became flesh and although He never sinned, He understands. ESTABLISHING A DAILY TIME WITH GOD WILL BE THE ONLY THING THAT WILL HELP YOU UP EVERY TIME YOU FALL, PLEASE TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!

3. GET MOVING! You know it, there’s no easy way to say it, YOU HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO GET ACTIVE! Read my article on “Hate to Exercise?”. Exercise is a huge motivator to eat healthy. It also helps you fight depression and lack of energy that usually accompanies this struggle. Don’t make anymore excuses! Never mind how great your obstacle, someone else has a bigger one, and God has an answer. So ask Him to help you find a way to get active DAILY!

5. TELL SOMEONE! After talking to God about it, tell a friend, a spouse or a counselor that you’ve fallen. If you don’t have anybody, please email me about it. I will be happy to pray for you and encourage you in any way I can. It is so important to tell someone else because there is freedom in getting the truth out there. It also gives us a clean slate to start fresh, and it always helps to be accountable to someone else. Don’t let the enemy have a field day because you are to proud to admit that you have fallen. We all fall! I write about all my failures and nose dives on this blog for exactly this reason: To not give any room to the enemy by living a lie, and to encourage you to NOT FOCUS ON THE FALL, BUT IMMEDIATELY GET BUSY WITH GETTING UP!

Don’t keep laying down sister, it only opens a door for bitterness and unbelief. You don’t need those in your life: YOUR GOD IS JEHOVAH RAPHA (THE LORD YOUR HEALER) AND HE’S STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU WITH HIS HAND EXTENDED, JUST WAITING FOR YOU TO TAKE IT, GET UP, REPENT, FORGIVE YOURSELF AND KEEP GOING!

Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)
“for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity”.

You can do it girl, get up again!

Heleen

 

More 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