One of my biggest hurdles for getting healthy and feeling better about myself (and is for most people I think) was my battle with food. There were SO MANY excuses that I could list that were encompassed in the category of “food” such as being the cook of my family – they surely wouldn’t want to eat healthy with me-, how to eat in social situations where food was a focus of a gathering, and my addiction and craving for sweets.
I began a Bible Study called, The Lord’s Table, which was recommened by a girl I follow on Instagram. Days one and two of this study rocked my world and shifted my feelings toward food in a dramatic way.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
I learned that my whole “why” was wrong. The reason I wanted to lose weight and why I was choosing to make a change in my life. It was for selfish reasons, and I instead, had to shift my thinking and my purpose to be that all I do is ultimately to give God glory. I realized that the way I was living my life and the way I was struggling with my sweets cravings wasn’t giving God any glory at all. I was craving sweets more than I was craving time with my God.
There were a few excerpts from this study that really spoke to me…
One of the reasons we overeat is because the human heart craves fullness and satisfaction. We may turn to food for fulfillment and/or satisfaction, but we must admit that we are not truly satisfied, nor are we “full” after even a big meal.
I’ve found this to be so true. For me, it was Reese’s Eggs (at the time of this study, but it’s always something for me.) I craved them and loved that chocolatey-peanut butter taste. I tried to limit myself to one a day (which even that would be considered excessive to me now), but when the day was rough, I would want two or three. And one especially really stressful morning, I finished off a bag of the smaller ones. Even as guilty as I felt for doing that sort of thing, I was still not satisfied. And then if I had none left, I felt the need to go to the store and get more to have some for the remaining days of the week. That, my friends, is the reason that I use the word addiction when I’m referring to my battle with food.
Jesus Christ describes himself as “true food” and the “bread of heaven” in John 6:53-58. We can understand, then, that feeding on Him gives us life and fills the emptiness, not in the stomach, but in the heart and soul. These verses tell us that feeding on Him brings not just fullness of the belly, but life for the soul. When we feed on Christ, we are full and satisfied, and we have everlasting life!
Get used to discerning whether you are experiencing physical hunger (hunger pangs) or soul hunger (the desire to be full and satisfied). If your belly is not growling, and yet you are tempted to eat, have a Bible nearby that you can pick up and read. Begin calling out to God for help to be able to turn from food, when not hungry, to Christ.
I had to learn the theory of “replacement“. When I found myself craving foods and sweets of any type, I had to learn to crave Jesus instead. So whenever I had a craving, I would pray instead, or open up and read the Bible. And this happened a lot, so I learned over time to replace my sweet treats with the sweetness of Jesus and his words. And it was beautiful. And you know… I began to crave sweet treats and Reese’s eggs less and less as the days went on. And I began to crave my sweet Jesus more and more.
During this time, I also had decided to clean up my diet and eating habits as well. (Note: There are many different ways to eat healthy and so many diets and ideas out there about this. I’m not saying any of them are wrong, but this is the way that I chose to do it.) I spent time learning about and focusing on the macronutirents in the foods that I ate. Not only prioritizing the clean and simple proteins, fats, and carbohydrates – but also looking at the timing of my meals and snacks throughout my day. Before I was eating “healthy-ish” (if that’s a thing), but I pretty much only ate my three meals a day plus whatever I was “craving” for a snack in between. In the very beginning I had to make myself eat more often than I was used to, by timing my meals and snacks to at least every three hours or so. It was odd for the first day because I didn’t feel hungry yet, but by two or three days of this I was hungry, starving even, between those meal and snack times.
I must also note that at the time I began this journey with weight loss, I was also breastfeeding our little girl. I was very careful to not do anything that would jeapordize that, as I was her sole form of nutrition at the time. I was actually eating way more food than I was accustomed to. I really wasn’t sure if this would even work for me to lose weight this way. My body had always been the kind that held on to the extra weight from pregnancy to keep those fat stores for my baby, it seemed. It just wasn’t in my genes for the weight to just fall off while breastfeeding like some moms. I didn’t understand how I was supposed to lose weight if I was eating MORE FOOD than before? But you know what? I did! I lost weight that week and continued to lose weight as I continued to eat more often and ultimately more of these healthy foods that my body (and also my baby) needed. I was speeding up my metabolism by eating more often, and my body was using the nutrients I was feeding it to sustain it and burn energy I needed and used daily. In my experience this diet was amazing for breastfeeding because I was eating more of the foods that not only I needed, but she needed as well. So with this, I actually noticed an increase in my milk supply and also lost weight at the same time. I didn’t know it was possible for me to lose weight while breastfeeding, but I’m so glad that I’ve found out why and how to combat that now.
3 Things that Had to Change for me to Find Victory in my Battle with Food:
“Change is not change until there is a change.” This is a quote I recently heard from our lead pastor, Van Ducote, in a leadership meeting. I love it because there can always be great intentions and wishing and hoping, but unless action is taken – it’s all just good thoughts and no real change will take place.
1. My Why Changed – My reason for doing this became all about giving God glory. I don’t want any accolades for this, but I want to get rid of any hang-ups I have and any areas of my life that aren’t giving God glory so that I can be the best me I can be. I want to fulfill my purpose in this life, and I can’t do that well if I’m hanging on to things like sweets addictions and insecurities.
2. My Cravings Changed – I went from craving sweets and looking to them for satisfaction to craving the sweetness of my time spent with Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I still love an occasional sweet treat, but I’m choosely them more wisely now, they are planned for the most part, and it’s done in moderation – a much healthier way than before.
3. My Eating Habits Changed – I learned to discern whether or not I was really hungry for real food or if I was just in the mood to eat something to satisfy me. Learning this made all the difference.
If we begin to focus on the glory of God, we will inevitably change. And, change is exactly what happened in me. I did change. I’ve had a heart change, and I’ve seen outward results as well.
Where the spirit is, there is freedom. And this has been true for me as well. I’ve experienced freedom… freedom from stress and emotional eating, from my addiction and craving for sweets, and freedom from other issues such as insecurities I was dealing with.
When we turn to God, we are transformed into an image of his likeness, from glory to glory, piece by piece. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
I just can’t even describe to you how much I love this verse. I have seen it manifested in my life in so many ways, this year especially. I’ve seen an inward transformation. I’ve seen an outward transformation. I’ve faced fears. I’ve faced hurts. I’ve seen battles won in my life. I have found victory!
Challenge: Write this down somewhere, and post it where you will see it often, especially in those times when you are craving food or feeling the desire to eat for satisfaction.
“No food will satisfy my heart, nor fill the emptiness in my soul. That is what Jesus Christ is for. He is the “real meat” and the “bread of life”, and I am to feed on Him.”