“Oh my gosh, I’m stuffed full to the gills. I can’t eat another bite!”
This isn’t just the statement that every self-respecting foodie utters after consuming their favorite meal or a Thanksgiving feast – but what the average food/sugar addict, weight challenged/obese individual (okay, ME) utters on a near daily basis. At least – this WAS me up until a year and a half ago.
Actually, this very common food related statement was the topic of much intense discussion at a recent Weight Watchers meeting. One member relayed a conversation he had with a WW leader while visiting in another state. It was noted that those who battle weight issues and struggle with eating addictions, look at food and meal time completely differently than someone who has no such issues.
The stark comparison came when the WW leader shared the story of her “thin friend.” While at lunch, the thin friend ate a portion of a burger and a few fries and then pushed her half-eaten meal away, even asking the server to remove the plate altogether. The WW leader asked her thin friend, “how can you push that food away? Why didn’t you finish your meal?”
“Because I’m no longer hungry and I don’t need to keep eating,” the thin friend replied.
The conversation was certainly eye-opening. The clear distinction between those that struggle with obesity and those that don’t is one group eats until they are full (or over-full), the other group stops eating when they are no longer hungry.
My first thought was, NO LONGER HUNGRY! When has that ever stopped ME from eating myself into a food coma? My second thought was, why would anyone waste all that food? In all honesty, until recently I’d be hard-pressed to actually identify what REAL hunger looked or felt like. I spent so many years living life as an emotional eater. Regardless of whether I was hungry or not, I ate my way through depression, loneliness, heartbreak, boredom, rejection – pretty much every emotion under the sun. In many situations I would eat merely because it was expected; everyone else was eating. I ate because somebody brought donuts to work or there was leftover cake after Bible Study or just leftovers. More often than not, though, I used food as an emotional salve for my splintered feelings, rarely eating for the sole purpose of satisfying a physical hunger.
Many overweight people are more likely to “live to eat” rather than “eating to live.” Oftentimes most of us who struggle with our weight are no stranger to eating to the point of discomfort and are certified, card-carrying members of the clean your plate club.
If we’ve lived our whole lives as people who live for their next meal, or their next binge … how can we change our habits so we can become one of those people who eat to live and only use food as nutrition?
None of us can expect to change these lifelong habits overnight and change will require something much more powerful than willpower. Few of us are capable of experiencing long-lasting weight loss success simply because we possess strong willpower.
Once we decide to live according to the Word of God and realize that we need to take care of these temples that God has entrusted to us, we need to live knowing that Jesus should be first and foremost in our lives. We don’t need willpower, we need God’s power. We need to give God complete control of this part of our lives. We need total surrender.
Along with surrender, we need to use the common sense that God gave us and seek out whatever help WE need to reset our lives and get off the food addiction/bingeing hamster wheel that’s destroying us one bite at a time.
Our journey may not resemble anyone else’s. My path may not look like your path. BUT we can share some of the same stops along the path we take.
Turning to a weight loss organization; joining a gym, hiring a trainer; seeking the help of a doctor or nutritionist, medication … whatever works for you! I encourage you to get the help you need and take the steps necessary to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
At some point, you are going to need to change your thinking. Rather than living as someone who must “live to eat,” you need to become someone who wants to “eat to live.” That’s going to mean you will have to endure some discomfort. Going to bed with an unsatisfied, grumbly tummy might need to become your new normal. It won’t take long for your body to adapt to fewer calories and in the end, you’ll discover that going to bed with a hungry tummy is far more tolerable than going to bed with an over satiated one.
Every time we fall into sin and give in to another emotional eating binge we are giving the devil one more victory; one more notch on his soul sucking yardstick. The food coma is the enemy’s playground and he delights in our shame and guilt.
I look at food completely differently now. For so long, food was my god, and I worshipped at the alter of the fast-food drive through, the candy aisle at the Mini-Mart and the all-you-can-eat buffets. Now, I’ve learned that I WANT to live according to God’s Word.
We may be tempted to argue that “the devil made me do it,” when it comes to stuffing our faces full of unnecessary calories. The fact remains that WE ALWAYS have a choice. Do we choose eating until we are stuffed? Eating ourselves stupid to the point of a food coma? Living to Eat?
OR … do we choose to eat to live and train ourselves to recognize that we are no longer hungry and push the plate away? It’s our choice …
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25 (NLT)
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