And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. John 8:32


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Anatomy of a Binge

Today I’d like to walk you through a common eating situation and show you how to renew your mind with truth journaling.

Picture if you will a woman named Tabitha. Her boundaries are three meals a day and one snack. Before she eats each meal, she plans what’s she’s going to eat for that meal, based on what a reasonable amount would be.

Tonight’s dinner is pizza—her favorite. She plans on eating two pieces and a salad, but it’s so good, she decides to have another piece.

After dinner, Tabitha is cleaning up when she remembers the brownies in the freezer. She eats one brownie while she’s cleaning and later that night, she eats more brownies . . . and some cereal . . . and the leftover pizza.

Tabitha has clearly broken her boundaries. She’s tempted to condemn herself; in fact she’s already halfway there, when she remembers that she’s supposed to truth journal. So she pulls out her trusty notebook (or truth-lie chart) and makes the following entries:

(Note: She will actually be making three different journal entries, because she ate for three different reasons. If Tabitha had taken the time to journal right after dinner, she probably wouldn’t have eaten the brownie. If she had journaled after the brownie, she probably wouldn’t have binged. Still—better late than never, and if she journals now, it will help her to eat well the next day. I’ll list the truths for you under each lie entry so you can follow it more easily.)

Pizza: This is so good, I should have another one.

Truth: This is so good, I should fully appreciate every bite. Two pieces of pizza, well savored, are actually more enjoyable than three pieces of pizza eaten without care.

Brownie: Since I already broke my boundaries, I might as well have another one.

Truth: Since I already broke my boundaries, I must be very careful the rest of the night, so I don’t break them again. Breaking my boundaries once makes me vulnerable—I should pray through some Scriptures or have a quiet time, so I don’t break them again tonight.

Binge:
1. I already blew it, so I might as well eat more. 2. I’ll just eat what I want tonight and start again tomorrow.

Truth: 1. I haven’t actually blown it—I’ve only eaten one extra piece of pizza and one extra brownie. That’s probably not even enough to make me gain any extra weight. If I were to stop right now, it would be an incredible victory. 2. If I eat what I want tonight, I’ll feel horrible tomorrow. If I feel terrible tomorrow, there’s a good chance I won’t stick to it then either. The sooner I stop, the better. If I stop right now, even though I’ve already eaten an extra piece of pizza and a brownie, it will still be a victory. Learning to stop in the midst of a boundary-breaking session would be a major accomplishment.

Note: If Tabitha is feeling like she’ll never change, it would also help her to journal those thoughts. It would look something like this:

Beliefs: 1. I am such a failure. 2. I will never get over this problem.

Truth: 1. I am a child of God who had a bad night of eating. This isn’t surprising. I can’t expect to overcome this without going through some struggles and failures. 2. I will never get over this in my own strength. However, If I continue to apply the truth to my life and go to God for help, I will get over it. His truth will set me free.

Here’s an example of a Scripture prayer Tabitha might pray based on Galatians 6:9, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up:

Scripture prayer: Lord, I failed again, and I feel like giving up. It seems I will never get over this problem, yet you tell me I’ll reap a harvest if I don’t give up. Lord, help me to persevere. Help me to keep bringing my thoughts to you for renewal. Help me to keep trying to follow my boundaries. Teach me what I need to know to overcome this problem. I’ll persevere, Lord, even though it’s difficult, because I want to reap that harvest. Give me strength and help me follow my boundaries today.

Do you see how this works? The thing you always need to remember is that God changes us from the inside out. It’s not the boundaries that will change you. It’s not a certain style of eating. And it’s not your will power and determination.

What will change you is the truth. And you learn the truth one situation at a time . . . by the renewing of your mind.

6 comments:

MizB said...

Hmmm... You wrote: Binge: 1. I already blew it, so I might as well eat more. 2. I’ll just eat what I want tonight and start again tomorrow. Truth: 1. I haven’t actually blown it—I’ve only eaten one extra piece of pizza and one extra brownie. That’s probably not even enough to make me gain any extra weight. If I were to stop right now, it would be an incredible victory....

But, I wonder, when you said "that's probably not even enough to make me gain any extra weight", isn't that kind of a lie that would drag you down, too? I know that it would drag me down... I much prefer the bit you said AFTER that: "If I were to stop now, it'd be an incredible victory" -- to me, this is a much better "truth" to apply to this scenario. The other just kind of gives permission to go ahead and eat more... you've given yourself (if you struggle with worrying about food making you gain weight) permission, in a sense, to eat it 'cause it "won't hurt you" -- but the "it won't hurt you" thinking is a lie.

Just my 2 cents. ;)

Barb said...

Actually, I don't really think only one piece of pizza and one extra brownie would make me gain weight. Now, if I had an extra piece of pizza and a brownie every day, then that would probably make me gain weight! But not one day. For me, telling myself this would help me see I haven't really done much damage if any to my weight if this is all I eat, and it would make me want to eat less (because I hadn't really blown it after all) rather than more. Does that make sense?

MizB said...

yep... I guess it's just different for different people, right? One person may see it one way (like it's permission to eat more), while others see it as "Hey, I didn't do too bad, after all". ;)

Thanks for clarifying, though. ;)

Barb said...

Yes, I think you're right - which is the beauty of truth journaling in a way. It deals with our own specific weaknesses. Two people might journal the same situation completely differently because of their different experiences in life and how those experiences create their own set of lies. The truths they come up with may be different, which is okay as long as none of them go against Scripture.

I was also going to say in the pizza situation, though, that if before I ate it, I was saying to myself, "It won't hurt me," I would agree that that would be a lie, because it could very well hurt me and cause me to eat all night. When I said, "I haven't really blown it," I didn't mean I haven't broken it (because I had) -what I meant was that I hadn't had a major pigout session.

Angela said...

Lord, I failed again, and I feel like giving up. It seems I will never get over this problem, yet you tell me I’ll reap a harvest if I don’t give up. Lord, help me to persevere. Help me to keep bringing my thoughts to you for renewal. Help me to keep trying to follow my boundaries. Teach me what I need to know to overcome this problem. I’ll persevere, Lord, even though it’s difficult, because I want to reap that harvest. Give me strength and help me follow my boundaries today.
amen amen amen
Well it know it was not by chance i found your blog as I was doing a bit of binging...
Thank You Lord and Lord thank You for Galatians 6:9, just confirmation again from last night's Bible Study..amen amen amen

((thanks)) awesome prayer.

Barb said...

God has a sense of humor, doesn't He? And He knows when we need help. I'm glad I was able to be a part of that help today, Angela. (And I like your daycare - I just checked in out on your website. It looks fun!)