As long as I can remember, I have always been an emotional eater.
Feeling sad? Eat some ice cream.
Bored? Eat some chips.
Stressed? Eat some Twinkies.
PMS? We are going to need some M&M’s, STAT!
But food is about more than emotions to me.
Food is also an event. A celebration. Something to do. Somewhere to go.
Something I deserve.
Running to the Pantry
I know that no matter how bad my day was at work, how whiny the kids are being or what’s going on my marriage, I can always come home, make a lasagna and for a moment let my problems fall away while I savor the meaty, cheesy goodness.
I mean, what’s wrong with that?
The problem is in the fact that I look for food to do more than just fill me up. I look for it to make me content, satisfied not just in appetite, but in everything.
And it, like any drug, gives me the momentary high that I’m looking for. Then it drops me right back where I was, except now I have shame and guilt over my binge to deal with on top of the original problem that drove me to food in the first place.
What did Einstein say the definition of insanity was again? Oh yeah, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
Every day I feel like I am in a constant game of tug of war with my desires. I want to be this fit, hip person and yet I have a constant overwhelming urge to do things that work directly against that. Food is driving a wedge between who I am and who I want to be.
I spend so much time and energy hating myself for what I just ate or what I ate the night before that I have nothing left. My shame and self loathing is leaving me emotionally drained and without the energy to actually do anything about the problem.
Hi, I’m Amanda and I’m a food addict.
It is something I dealt with for the past eight years and continue to deal with on a daily basis.
Food addiction can feel like an uphill battle, but there are some things that I’ve found make the trek easier. If you struggle with food addiction like I do, or simply have a problem with occasionally overeating, I challenge you to try doing these things and see how it enriches your life:
- Stop with the all-or-none attitude. You know…the whole “I had a piece of cake for my coworker’s birthday today so the whole day is ruined anyhow; I might as well go ahead and pig out at dinner” thing. It makes no sense if you stop and think about it. If you have one flat tire, why would you slash the other three? Nobody is perfect; Learn to give yourself the same grace that you extend to others.
- Let go of excuses. If you look for an excuse, one will always be there. If you wait until you aren’t under so much stress at work or until the kids are older or until after the holidays, the ball will never get rolling.
- Stop playing the shame game. All self-criticism does is keep you stuck with emptiness and pain and drive you back to food, continuing the viscous cycle. Just be more conscious of your choices and then whatever you choose (To eat the brownie or not to eat it), decide to be happy with that choice.
- Find a mantra to say before each meal or whenever you feel like giving into temptation. I like to remind myself daily that “My food is my food and nothing more”. It helps take the power away from food and gives it back to you.
- Acknowledge and accept that food does not solve any problems – it just makes them worse. Those feel good binges will cause weight gain, health problems, fatigue, mood swings, and plague you with guilt. Stop to think about the damage that it will cause in the long run and you may stop after that first bowl of ice cream.
- Pray that God will give you an appetite for him. Pray that you will stop trying to satisfy your hunger with the wrong things and for the understanding that no matter what else you may try to substitute for him, it will only bring passing pleasure.
Find True Satisfaction
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)
He does not want to see us go through this endless cycle of self loathing and despair. He wants to make us whole, to make sure we never hunger or thirst again.
So when you don’t want to feel like a slave to food anymore…when overcoming addiction is not simply a matter of a food plan and willpower…when you feel like the struggle is more than you can handle…I encourage you ask the Holy Spirit to fill you up; to give you greater love for yourself, self control and the desire to love him more than food.
It’s time to end this love affair with food and seek a more fulfilling relationship; one where we are always loved, accepted and provided grace. After all, isn’t that what we were really craving all along?
Amanda Wihebrink is married to her favorite person, Brad, and they have two bright young daughters, Sage & Ivy. She is a self proclaimed lyricist, coupon nazi, and would monogram everything if she could. She loves making people laugh with her goofy sense of humor and quick wit. Her happy place? A beach with a book and mess of chocolates. Read Amanda’s posts here.