Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Food: Nourishing your body or your soul?, Part 2

We've begun a journey here.  Just for full disclosure, I never meant to start blogging about food addiction again.  Briefly, I wrote about it for Blissfully Domestic, and I thought I was done talking about it, but apparently God has other plans.

Maybe I was hesitant last week to bring it up because it's still something with which I struggle.  So often, I think "I'll just wait to talk about it once I've made it firmly to the other side.  I'll wait until I'm fully healed, until it's all packaged so nicely, and my written words will be the bow placed on top."

But no.  That's not how God works in me.  There is a beauty when we bring things before our sisters, our friends, our families, when they are still in pieces.  Sure, some of me is put back together regarding this food addiction, but I am not fully whole in this area.  And honestly, it may always be a struggle, but that's okay.  Because in my weakness, I lean on His strength.

Last week, I gave you some things to discuss with God regarding your eating habits and we laid out 3 strategies for keeping food in its rightful place of physical nourishment.  Let's recap:
Today, we are going to focus on #1:  Be consistent about what you eat.  

When I took the first steps to overcome my food addiction (eating too much and fearing there would be too little to satisfy me), I knew I had to develop a routine that would help me acquire a taste for what was good for me.  I wanted to learn how to crave things that would nourish my body instead of craving things I thought would nourish my soul.

(Something to pause and think about -- what do you crave the most?  What is the biggest food temptation you face?)

Then, I created a list of healthy things I would like to eat for 3 meals, plus snacks.  Oftentimes, it takes practice to learn to like certain foods, especially those I held disdain for as a kid.  As such, I decided I would consistently try foods to which I previously had turned up my nose.  Turns out, those first impressions we make as kids (or even teenagers) can be wrong.

Darya, author of Summer Tomato, writes:

Knowing about this bias can help you overcome aversions to foods you think you don’t like, and even learn to love them. The first step is deciding that there is value in enjoying a food you currently do not enjoy. I’m not saying you should develop an appreciation for frozen pasta, but most fresh, natural whole foods are worth rediscovering for both taste and culture.  (for full article, click here)

So, perhaps you could call this first strategy, "consistent, with a flair for adventure."  For example, let's say for breakfast, you love omelets.  Could you live without the bacon so to cut down on fat/calories?  And instead, you know you like spinach, but you are unsure about adding mushrooms or bell peppers?  So you could consistently add spinach to your omelet, but try out other veggies to complement it and grow your taste in something that is good for you.

There is so much that goes into a well-balanced meal -- protein, vitamins, minerals, good fats, etc. It can all be overwhelming.  So start small.  Get used to a few whole foods that you love.  Concentrate on adding those in.

What are those things you crave you know are not good for you?  My husband, in a battle to regain perspective on the role food should play in his life, decided he needed to cut out desserts entirely.  Other people are more successful if they set a limit (so they still get the taste of the sweetness without the indulgence).  Talk with God.  What is His recommendation for you?  If you think you will be more successful incorporating a bit of the "tempting foods" into your diet, set a time, place, and amount for what you are to consume.  Boundaries can go a long way in shaping our relationship to food.  God is really good at helping us to become spiritually sensitive to when we are going too far.

Remember, this is not a race to lose weight.  This is learning how to feed ourselves nutritiously while at the same time allowing God to fill those voids we have used food to fill.  Although our food choices can have a positive impact on our health, and possibly our shape, the deeper issue is the contour of our spiritual heart.

Will you share with us?  Do you have  food you turn to so to provide comfort?  Do you have strategies you use to propel you closer to God for refuge rather than food?

Linking today with Tracy and  Michell.

photo credit: BurgTender via photopin cc (words added by Jen)
photo credit: atomicshark via photopin cc (words added by Jen)


  1. Started a journey to lose 30-40 lbs this week - and menu planning is so important to me - it creates boundaries and limits - and I don't find myself at the last minute reaching for something that blows all my efforts. I discovered chard with asiago cheese last year:) Always looking for ways to make my choices enjoyable:)

  2. Thank you so much for writing this! I am not one that uses food in replacement of God, but I am one who loves anything that is bad for her and eats when I am bored. I would rather go to Mcdonalds than eat the tons of fruits and vegetables we have in our fridge. I've gotten better since I realize I need to start eating better because of family health issues. In my blood line, I have diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. I was told at my last cholesterol test last year that my bad cholesterol wasn't that high but it was elevated. I don't want to be one to take medicine so I decided it's time to change my ways. I've started to eat more at home, eating fruits and vegetables rather than convenience of going to Mcdonald's. But I still got a ways to go!

  3. Thank you so much for being open about this, it really helped me! Bless you!

    Ashley from

  4. I feel like such a piker because the whole conversation about food just goes over my head. A small group at church recently completed a study on eating...can't remember but it was by Lysa T...? They kept talking about poor eating habits...substituting food for God...what does that even mean? Aren't they having devotions every day? Aren't they reading their Bible's every day? Jen, I'm so dang busy keeping farm, home, animals, vehicles...everything...held together I don't have time to do what I need to do much less what I'd like to do. I celebrated my 60th birthday last month...I am admittedly on the opposite end of the spectrum but help me understand, Jen. What am I missing?

    1. I can't answer for everyone, but for me, food filled a void starting from when I was a kid. My parents didn't have a very stable marriage and I ate for comfort. I think a lot of people's relationship with food begins as a child, although sometimes as adults, things don't turn out how we planned. Food is almost always easily accessible and brings a "feel good sensation" in the moment. It's a quick fix. Sometimes we still hold strongholds back from God, even if we are having devotions, etc. It's about being able to control something.

  5. Jen, You said the key here:"the deeper issue is the contour of our spiritual heart." I can relate to sometimes going to food for comfort instead of to God because it seems more tangible...really being mindful of why I'm eating helps me...


Don't go yet! Leave me a note with your thoughts.