There’s no way I could run a marathon in eight weeks, even if I really wanted to. Why? Because I’m not a runner. Not only am I not a runner, I don’t even like to run.
It would take me far more than eight weeks to develop the discipline to run on a regular basis, much less the stamina to run 26 miles. I’d only be setting myself up for failure if I set out to complete the process in eight weeks.
It’s the same with emotional eating—you can’t expect to conquer it in eight weeks if you’re not used to doing what it takes to gain victory.
What I’d like to do today is compare a person setting out to run a marathon with a person setting out to gain freedom from emotional eating. Both goals require lots of effort and work, and both goals will require different amounts of time depending on the individual’s starting point.
I’ve listed below six possible starting points for a person setting out to run a marathon.
1. Couch potatoes
2. Casual exercisers
3. Regular Exercisers
4. Casual Runners
5. Faithful runners
6. Marathon runners
I think it’s obvious that the further up the list you are, the less time it would take to prepare for a marathon.It would be almost impossible for me to run a marathon in eight weeks, because not only am I in the casual exerciser category, I have no desire to do the things I’d need to do to move up to the marathon runner category.
Sure, I’d like to be in shape enough to run a marathon, but I wouldn’t be crazy about all the work required to get there. I’d either have to move very slowly so I developed that desire, or I’d have to have someone hold me accountable to doing even the things I had no desire for.
It’s the same way with breaking free from emotional eating—the further up the “list” you are, the easier it will be to gain freedom. Let’s see what a list might look like for breaking free from emotional eating.
1. Couch potato
• Never has quiet times.
2. Casual exerciser
• Has an occasional quiet time or may have a short little devotion each day.
3. Regular Exerciser
• Has an intimate relationship with God and enjoys regular times with Him each day.
4. Casual Runner
• A person who has an intimate walk with God, plus uses God’s Word at least every once in awhile to break bad habits or strongholds. (This could be through truth journaling, Scripture prayers, specific Bible study, etc.)
5. Faithful runner
• A Christian who has an intimate walk with God and is using God’s Word on a regular basis to break bad habits and strongholds.
6. Marathon runner
• A person who is applying God’s Word on a regular basis to break the stronghold of emotional eating.
Now here’s the problem. None of us would expect to run a marathon if we only read books about marathons and went on runs occasionally. We’d expect that we’d have to train and suffer for it, right?
But when it comes to so many other things in our lives, we expect it to be easy, and then get discouraged and give up when it’s not. It’s the same way with emotional eating. If you’re back at the first or second stage in your relationship with God, it’s going to be hard to make yourself spend the time required to break free from emotional eating. That’s okay, though, as long as you don’t expect results without the work.
You may just want to work on doing the Bible study right now and skip the truth journaling. Whatever you do, don’t expect yourself to move from the #1 to #6 in a few weeks. You’ll only get discouraged and want to give up.
When I started working on emotional eating, I was already at level five—and it was still hard. I’m not trying to discourage you—I just want to help you dispel the myth that it’s going to be easy.
If you’re gung ho for the whole process, go for it—the more time you spend with God the better. The more time you spend truth journaling and praying through Scripture the better. You will definitely change faster if you put more time into the process.
But if you’re like me with running, you may not be capable of adding Bible study, Scripture prayers, and truth journaling to your life all at the same time. You may need an accountability partner just to get yourself to do your Bible study.
Remember, God is a God full of grace and mercy and strength. He’s not the perfectionist father waiting to yell at you as soon as you mess up, but He's also not the laid back dad that says, "Sure, do whatever you want - as long as you're happy, that's the main thing."
He does want you to keep moving forward. Go slowly if you need to, but keep going. Because that’s the only way you’ll get where you want to go.