When Food Consumes You

FOOD.  We love the smell.  We love the taste.  We center our gatherings around it.  We need it to survive.

We all have our favoite foods — you know, the ones that you just can’t pass up even when you aren’t the least bit hungry.  Food is a large part of our lives.

What happens when food becomes something different?  What happens when food takes control over a person’s life?

God has a funny way of  making me do something even when I don’t want to or am just not ready.  Today’s post is an example of that.  Just yesterday I responded to a comment of someone wanting to hear my testimony.  I said that I wanted to wait until my book comes out where I share things I’ve never shared with anyone before.  Today, within 2 hours, I met with 2 different people who out of the blue started talking about their struggles with food, or eating disorders as it’s labeled.  Out of nowhere, these two people that I’ve known for a long time just felt the need to confide in me that they have or still do struggle with an eating disorder.  God was talking, and I was listening.  Although my stomach is in knots as I type this, I know it’s God’s timing for me to share, so please bear with me as this is very . . .very difficult.

I want to share with you a small part of my testimony that I share for the very first time ever in my book, Attainable Perfection.  First I want to say that I usually refer to struggles like this as a food addiction rather than an eating disorder.  I am not a doctor, so anything I have to say is from my own thoughts and perspective.  I call it a food addiction because I truly believe that’s what it is, and that will become more apparent as I write my story.  Just as drugs or alcohol can consume your every thought and move as it becomes an addiction, some people don’t realize that food can do the same thing.  It can take control of you in a way no one outside of the addiction can ever understand.

My Story

I grew up a tiny little thing.  When I say tiny, I mean tiny.  I wasn’t what people would call thin.  I was skinny — bones showing skinny.  One year, I remember being sick with what they ended up diagnosing as a stomach ulcer.  Several times at the doctor’s office I heard similar questions:  Do you skip meals during the day?  How many meals do you eat?  Do you ever throw up after you eat?  What does a typical meal look like?  I couldn’t figure out why they were always asking me things like that.  I had a very healthy apetite, and I was incredibly active but just couldn’t seem to gain weight or even get the muscle tone I was looking for as a cheerleader.  To them, I looked unhealthy.  To me I looked like myself, and there was nothing I could do about it.

Then, college hit, and I was no longer cheering and no longer going 90 miles an hour.  Instead  I ate boxed meals, raman noodles, Taco Bell, pizza and whatever that greasy stuff was they offered in the cafeteria all while going from class to class and coming back to my dorm to sleep.  I had no energy to do anything else.  Before I knew it I had gained literally almost half of the total weight I left high school with.  Take that in — Take my total weight, divide it by 2 and then add it to the original total weight, and that’s where I stopped weighing myself.  I hated looking at myself, and I hated having to choose what to wear every day because nothing fit.  I found myself wearing sweats and a T-shirt every day of the week.  Usually I wore whatever I slept in the night before.  I didn’t care anymore.

Then, without realizing it, I went into a serious depression.  I tried whatever I could in college.  I tried not eating anything, and I tried throwing up after eating, but neither worked.  You see, I thought about food 24 hours a day 7 days a week.  I had become obsessed and literally controlled by food.  I would wake up in the morning, lie in bed, and picture my pantry and refrigerator.  I went through everything mentally and determined what I would eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  If I mentally saw chips, my weakness, I had to have them immediately.  I crave crunch, so anything I knew I had that was crunchy would be devoured before the day was gone.  And I hated myself.  I truly couldn’t look at myself in the mirror and see anything but an ugly, unhealthy person who was spiraling downward.

Once I graduated college, I began cooking my own meals paying attention to the types of food we were eating.  And our new home had a swimming pool that I pretty much lived in all summer long.  After 1 full year, I noticed that my pants weren’t fitting me right.  Had they stretched because I wore them so much?  I had no idea what happened, so I decided one day to pull out the dusty scale.  I hadn’t weighed myself in years, so I was surprised we even still had one.  Once I stepped on, I thought it must have been broken.  The numbers were showing that I had lost more than half of the weight I had gained.  How did that make sense?  I saw the numbers on the scale, and I felt the pants falling off of me, but what I saw in the mirror was still a depressed and very overweight person.  It took years for me to realize it was the addiction that was clouding my view.  I couldn’t see myself the same as what others saw.  I saw what the food addiction and depression were allowing me to see.  It was almost as if I were looking through a funhouse mirror.

The misconception of  food addictions or eating disorders is that it’s all about a person wanting to lose weight.  That may be true for some people, but it’s not always the case.  People fall into food addictions for so many different reasons: to lose weight, to gain weight (yes it’s true), depression, the love of the taste and feel (which is where I fell in), and control.  Control and poor self image are what I think are the top reasons for struggling with food.

Regardless of how the food addiction begins, it really skews your view of yourself.  It takes control of your mind, just like a drug, and you can’t see yourself how the world sees you.  You see a completely different person staring back in the mirror, and it’s not a pretty person at all.  I still find myself struggling with seeing myself the same way people see me.  I find all the imperfections in my body.  But then God’s sweet voice whispers to me reminding me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, and there is no such thing as an imperfection in the body he created.  I smile during those times because I know he is completely right, and then the cloudiness goes away.  I know that those thoughts are simply lies from the enemy because he is fearful of the confidence God has given me.  I have confidence in who I am in Christ.  Sure the thoughts sneak in on occasion, and sure I still find food becoming the center of my thoughts every so often. . . then I come back to God’s word.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Sweet friend, I pray that you never deal with these kinds of struggles, but if you do, please understand that you are not at all alone.  The best thing you can do is to reach out to someone.  Let them know what you’re struggling with, and ask for help before it consumes you.  If you already feel consumed, reach out today to someone you trust.  You can turn it around with God’s help.  Nothing is impossible with God, and he wants you to see the amazingly beautiful perfection he has created, and yes I am talking about you!

Your Voice Counts!

You as my readers have a voice. . I’ve been playing around with the look of this blog.  Which do you prefer — this one or the old one?  Poll ends Saturday June 4.  Thanks for your help!

Taken Captive by a Warrior Princess

I was talking to someone yesterday who I dearly love.  God loves us so much that he gives us people in our lives to be lifelong friends.  These are the friends who you will be close to forever and through everything.  Even after weeks of not talking to one another, you can pick up right where you left off and not feel like strangers.  This is the type of friend I met with yesterday.

As my friend and I visited, I could tell she has been hurting.  Thoughts are overtaking her, and they are clearly not words from God.  Although she knows they aren’t the voice of her Daddy God, she is almost tortured with them, and I know so many girls and young women face thoughts like these every day.  I’ve heard similar thoughts before, and I know how much energy and life it takes out of a person.

What kind of thoughts have you been bombarded with?  I’m not pretty enough.  Nobody likes me.  I’m alone.  No one understands what I’m going through.  Things would be better if I could just. . . .  Maybe you’re overtaken by anxiety or panic attacks.  Maybe you have fears that are deeper than what most others have (fear of illness, death, people, speaking).  Maybe you even have thoughts of suicide to get out of the situation.

It’s something many people deal with — probably more than you could ever imagine.  It’s one of the ways the enemy gets in.  Don’t underestimate the intelligence of Satan who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), and he’s looking at us!  He knows how to get into our heads and skew our judgement.  However, the bible tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). 

When those thoughts like what I wrote above come into your head, take it captive.  Realize that they are not truth, and take hold of them with a firm grip.  You are a warrior princess, and you have a sword sharper than anything the enemy can throw at you.  God’s word gives you truth for every lie that comes through your head, and with his strength you have the power to take that thought captive and crush it.  This is why it’s so incredibly important to get in the word and learn what the truth is.  It literally is one of the most important things you can do to hide his word in your heart in order to fight off the devious tactics of the devil.

Philippians 4:8
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Fill your mind with truth, and in those times where negative or downright rebellious thoughts come into your mind, remember this scripture.  If the words in your head don’t fit into this scripture, start praising God in whatever way you enjoy most: speaking, writing, singing, reciting scripture.  Fight those lies off with truth.  Clothe yourself in the armor of a Warrior Princess for Christ.

Wardrobe of a Warrior Princess
You might wonder how you can prepare for battle by clothing yourself with the wardrobe of a Warrior Princess.  God tells us what the perfect battle attire is in Ephesians 6: 10-20

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For weare not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the BELT OF TRUTH and the BODY OF ARMOR OF GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS. For shoes, put on the PEACE THAT COMES FROM THE GOOD NEWS so that you will be fully prepared.  In addition to all of these, hold up the SHIELD OF FAITH to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.Put on SALVATION AS YOUR HELMET, and take the SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, which is the word of God.

 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.  I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

You are a real-life warrior princess, and with God’s help and the right wardrobe, you can fight ANYTHING that comes your way!