Day 218 - Overcoming Food

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

—EPHESIANS 4:22-24 [NIV]


How often we have seen a child with an imaginary friend until, with growth, the day comes when the child lays aside the pretend friend for a real one. The idols we hold such as withdrawal, bitterness, people pleasing, depression, and more are merely pretend gods. With growth we will lay them aside for truly God. Some idols— coping mechanisms—present themselves uniquely, such as food. A drug addict who decides to stop taking drugs can withdraw from the drug scene and never have anything to do with it again. How successful would that addict be if it were impossible to withdraw from the drug scene? What if man’s body were created in such a way that it had to have drugs every day, and drugs were freely available? He could walk up to the table three times a day and take all he wanted. It was up to him to take only the amount needed for survival. He would have to discipline himself not to take so much that he derived any pleasure from drugs, just staying at maintenance level. Pleasure could be obtained easily by taking just a little extra three times a day, but he must not. This illustration somewhat helps us see the daily struggle of the overeater. It would be easier to conquer overeating if it were possible to walk away from food altogether. If you cannot relate to what I am saying, then please feel free to move on to another article. This article is for overeaters, those among us who have a skinny person within screaming to get out!

How does the abiding life apply to overeating? We will peer deeper into the problem. An interesting array of feelings can come from food, such as wellbeing, reward, and security. However, after eating too much and looking in the mirror, euphoria is replaced by worthlessness, punishment, disgust, self-hatred, and self-rejection. Food for the overeater carries three messages with each bite: maintenance, pleasure, and worthlessness. Often the worthless feeling is followed by obsessing on not eating, though obsession will without fail increase the desire for food, for it is impossible to be free from something when constantly thinking about it! Since attempting to stop the spiral by focusing on food is not productive, why not focus on the feelings of worthlessness, countering them with truth? “The worthless me was crucified with Christ. What is true of Him is true of me. I take up the cross daily, keeping dead, worthless me in the grave.” When food comes into our minds, we determine neither to think of getting food nor staying away from food. Instead, we say to our mind, “I will not go there,” and change direction to pray and think of something else.