Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Food: Nourishing your body or your soul?


Some of you know I'm a recovering food addict.  Making healthy choices isn't as much of a struggle as it used to be, but I still have one downfall I to which I can easily fall prey:

Using food as a comfort to nourish my soul instead of my body.

Daily, I'm tempted.  I think I'll feel better if I had a chai latte after lunch.  I'm a bit sad when my coffee mug is empty.  Sometimes I'll think what's for dinner won't be enough to fill me up.  And sometimes, I let thoughts about my next meal to buoy or drown my excitement for the day.

It's an spiritual battle with emotional and physical consequences.

God created food so that we could enjoy nourishing our bodies.  We need food for energy and health.  Food also helps draw people together.  There is a reason Jesus broke bread with His friends.  But so often, food becomes a primary focus in our life that God wants reserved for Him.

Whether you find yourself eating too much or too little, God wants to bring wholeness into this area of your life.

After a conversation with friend, I came up with three strategies that might help her proactively keep her mind focused on how God intended food to be used in our lives.  They are similar to what God showed me to do as He was freeing my from my unhealthy dependency on food.  As with any new thing, it takes time and practice to build healthy habits.  It takes some experimentation to see what will work for you.

After you read the 3 target areas, I suggest taking them to God and asking Him how to customize them for you.  It was only through God that I realized why I was eating too much to begin with and only through His direction was I able to be satisfied with how He would have me eat in proportion to what my body needed, not my soul.

As with any addiction or area of struggle, this process is not based on willpower.  It's based on God's power.  And He knows there will be days temptation will get the best of you.  This is why He is One who offers grace and opportunity to get plugged into Him again.  This is not a process that is based on legalism, but on practicing habits that will give you life, energy, and joy.  This is also not a process about getting to look a certain way.  This is simply about putting food in its rightful space in your life.

3 Strategies to Keeping Food in its Rightful Place:

1.  Be consistent about what you eat.

2.  Be consistent about how much you eat.

3.  Be consistent about when you eat.

Over the next 3 weeks, we will discuss each one in more detail.  But between now and then, there is time to talk with God about your food habits.  What to discuss?  Maybe these questions will help:

{1}  What habits do you have that empower healthiness in your life?

{2}  What habits do you have that detract from being healthy?

{3}  When are the most notable times that you turn to food for something other than physical nourishment?

{4}  Can you correlate a desire for food with a desire for something else that you find missing in your life?

What other questions might be good to bring to God?  Will you share with us in the comments?

(FYI, most of you know I am not a doctor or a nutritionist.  I'm a simply a girl who works out this issue with God on a continual basis.)

Linking today with Tracy and  Michell.

Also, there is still time to support a new local business (and even if you don't live in Austin, TX, your donation goes to supporting the creation of new local businesses). Click here to read the powerful story of Stonebridge Coffee.

17 comments :

  1. Hi Jen, thank you for sharing these nuggets for overcoming food addiction. Your words it's a spiritual battle with emotional and physical consequences really struck a chord with me.

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  2. I'm a fellow "jen" who also struggles with using food incorrectly. It IS a spiritual battle and we often forget it. Thanks for the reminder.
    Jen :)

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  3. Wow oh wow... I'm completely struggling with this right now; and Philippians 4:13 has become so personal and powerful to me. When I look at portions, I just can't believe that that small amount would be enough for ME. I drink a ton of decaf hot beverages just to fill myself up. I'm pretty thin, so most people I admit my compulsive overeating to really don't believe it. But believe me; its a struggle and it is SIN. I am so very, very excited to have found your blog (Stopping by from DYWW!) and I look forward to hearing more words of TRUTH. This couldn't have come at a better time! Following along... xoxo and God Bless ya! Jules from http://www.bles-id.blogspot.com

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    1. We make so many assumptions about each other based on the way we look. Glad we can journey together!

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  4. OK. Now it's definitely official. Twins separated at birth. Period. Love you, Michelle - your long lost twin :-)

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  5. thank you so much for this!! fighting this battle daily

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  6. Jen, this grabbed my attention this morning and I finally have the opportunity to come back and leave a comment. I've struggled with an eating disorder for most of my adult life. I'm consistent with one thing when it comes to food...and it is not healthy. Your words and advice were greatly needed. If only I could allow myself to fully surrender this battle to God. Praying.
    Thank you for your kind heart.
    Blessings, Beth

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    1. I think doing it alongside sisters makes it a bit...well, maybe not easier, but less lonely? I am praying, Beth, for full restoration for you...for all of us.

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  7. Dear friend,

    As you know, this is something I struggle with every. single. day. I have lost my way recently and willfully engaged in unhealthy eating and thinking patterns, using any number of excuses to justify my behavior. Thank you so much for writing honestly and openly about this - I needed to hear it.

    So much love to you,
    Genevieve

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  8. I have been battling losing the 50+lbs for a long time. So long I've quite trying. I have labeled myself as an emotional eater and I think I have it in my head that it just won't happen for me. Although I'm not yet ready to do anything yet (for fear of failure) these tips are great!

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    1. I get the fear of failure part, for SURE! I'm praying for you, Barbie.

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  9. I'm not surprised that this topic gets lots of comments. The crux of the issue seems to be in this statement:
    God created food so that we could enjoy nourishing our bodies.
    Food was created to be tasty, but not an end in itself. I like so very much to cook and eat. The cooking is a creative act that often produces much more than we need to eat, and with many more calories than we need to sustain us. And the eating often happens well beyond the point of becoming full.
    This reminds me of some children we know who were adopted out of a situation during which they were starved as toddlers. They ignore, or do not recognize, the feeling of fullness and will eat until they throw up, then do so, then eat more. They take food when no one is looking and hide it under their beds. What they are doing is only an extreme example of what I am doing.
    The bottom line appears to be the ability to understand the purpose for which God gave us food and use that as a measuring line every time we open our mouths to eat.
    And you stated that purpose perfectly.

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  10. Dear friend, I was just journaling about this before I read your post. Specifically I was thanking God for taking me back to a healthier path via diet, that when my diet is in balance everything else falls into place (emotional balance, mental clarity, the desire to and capacity for exercise). It starts and ends with diet, which means it starts and ends with Him. As I wrote this morning: "my prayer is consistency, and I know I can't sustain this. I can't. You can. Please do. Thank you." Thank you for walking this journey with me - I need your help. Couldn't do it without you!

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  11. Thank you Jen for these great thoughts and sharing! I am going to re-read this post a number of times...and really meditate on it~ ♥♥♥

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  12. Some of you know I'm a recovering food addict. Oh boy...I have fought this realization for as long as I can remember. I'm not a compulsive overeater, or anorexic, or bulimic. I just like to eat. This has been my thinking for so long. And at 54 I'm just seeing the truth. I am a recovering food addict. It's a slow and sneaky addiction. But it is an addiction and I'm tired of the struggle, so I've handed it over to God. He is the only way that I can truly change. There is no shame in this, just truth. Blessings!

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  13. Great insight Jen! A subject I'm sure many women deal with on a daily basis. I'm sure your testimony will help them. Thanks so much for sharing and thanks for stopping by and linking up! Have a blessed weekend!

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