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

Friday, April 30, 2010

Appearance and Emotional Eating

I've often wondered if it's possible to break free from emotional eating if we're still worshiping the idol of appearance. I think it's often that need to look perfect that drives us to eat like crazy when we've been doing well for quite awhile and then all of a sudden start regularly breaking our boundaries.

We fear gaining all that weight back, and the fear drives us to eat because, and here's the problem, life will be terrible if we gain all our weight back. If we think life will be terrible just because we weigh more than we want to weigh, we're giving way too much power to appearance. And if you think about it, way too much power to living up to the expectations of others.

Breaking free from worries about appearance was just as big an issue for me as breaking free from emotional eating. Here are a few of my old journal entries that dealt with this issue.

Day 68 - 5/6/06

I am finally losing a little weight. I actually wonder if God kept my weight up when I was struggling so that I wouldn't give up the struggle too soon just because I was losing weight i.e. He wanted me to keep dealing with the issues, including the issue of failure, before I experienced weight loss.

And He has helped me with failure. If my goal is to be submitted to God in my eating then I shouldn't beat myself up when I fail (because God doesn't). Of course, I'm going to fail. This is an area of struggle for me. I don't have brute self-control.

On the other hand, if my goal is to have the perfect body, I will beat myself up - because major eating will really hurt that goal.

Day 98 - 6/5/10

Food - God - Appearance. Which will I allow to control me? Food is an idol when I say I have to eat certain things to be happy. Appearance is an idol when I say I have to be at a certain weight to be acceptable. And one idol fights against the other.

They're at cross-purposes with one another, a perfect situation to cause discouragement and despair. Food controls and prevents reaching the unattainable body, and Satan is watching and laughing.

Truth: 1) I don't have to have the perfect body. I am okay where I am. There is no standard I need to measure up to. This is the world's standard, not God's. 2) I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

The answer isn't resolve, determination, and starting a diet. The answer is to cling to God. To hold His word in my heart. To meditate on Scripture. And to renew my mind until I see life (including food and my body) the way He sees it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hi everyone, I'm continuing on with some of my truth journal entries from four years ago. I'm afraid I'm not a scheduled enough person to remember to post every Monday and Thursday (the week I had no entries we were camping and hiking in southern Utah), but I'm trying! Here's another entry:

Day 64 - 5/2/06

Things I need to drill into my head:

1. It is the regular application of the truth that will set me free, not adhering rigidly to an eating program. I have never been able to stick to a program long-term anyway, so it's a good thing that's not what sets me free!

2. I'm going for breaking bondage here, not perfect and prompt weight loss. It is much better to go slowly and make permanent change than follow everything perfectly (on a diet) and gain it all back.

3. Breaking boundaries aren't the end of the world. They're an opportunity to apply truth to my life to break the bondage of emotional eating.

4. "It's available" and "Everyone else is having it" are not good reasons to have treats.

5. "I deserve it" is not a good reason to eat. Eating will not meet my needs.

6. Ask myself, "What is my problem, and what will solve it?" The only time food will be the answer is when the problem is hunger!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Group Truth Journaling on Ning

I'm taking a break from my old journal entries to tell you about an idea I had. I was wondering if anyone would be interested in doing some group truth journaling sessions? I've done some of these with some of my friends lately, and they seem really helpful.

Here's what you do. Let's say someone has a hard situation they're dealing with. They would explain the situation and then we would all write down how we would truth journal about that situation. We'd need to be careful to change the details of the situation or not give too many specifics if it involves another person, but I think that would be pretty easy to do. We could also just make up a situation that we could all relate to and try journaling for it.

The value of doing this is that you can learn from what other people have to say about the situation. They might bring up some thoughts that you were thinking but didn't realize you were thinking. Or they might bring up some new truths that would be helpful.

It also helps in the learning-how-to-truth-journal process. The more real-life examples you see the easier it is to apply to your own life.

Kim has set up a Ning network that I think would be great to use for this. There's an area on there, I think in the forum section, where you can bring up a new topic. So we could try out our situations there and see if anyone wants to try truth journaling the topic or use another renewing of the mind technique to talk about it.

Anyway, I thought I'd throw it out there and see if anyone's interested. The address for the ning network is:

If you're interested in a topic, just list a topic and I or someone else could come up with an example for the topic that we could truth journal about. Here are some ideas for topics I can think of off the top of my head: insecurity, anger, regret, worry, self-condemnation, living up to expectations of others or ourselves, letting go of expectations for others, discontentment, etc.

I'll give others a chance first to see if they have something they want to truth journal about, and if no one has an idea, I'll try to come up with a situation in the next few days.

Hope everyone is having a great day. We had a big thunder and hail storm yesterday and today the grass is green, and I'm enjoying the daffodils and tulips!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 34 – April 2, 2006

Situation: We had friends for lunch, and my son made this incredible braided cheese bread plus we had brownies for dessert. I ate without thinking and ate too much.

Beliefs: It’s a party! It doesn’t count!

Truth: All things are lawful, but not all things are edifying. I can eat all I want at a party, but is it really good for me? No. Does it really make the party more fun? No. Will I be happy when the party is over? No.

The truth is what will set me free. I see the beginnings of belief change in me, but I know it will take a while to change because it’s such a big stronghold for me.

I haven’t been journaling every time I break this, much less every time I feel like eating when I’m not hungry. So I think, all in all, I’ve had some good progress.

There’s also the aspect of accepting my body where it’s at and not making a god of looks. I don’t have to be perfect, and I don’t have to live up to anyone’s expectations. If people see me with a weight problem, they’ll be seeing the truth – I have a weight problem.

I don’t measure up to the standards of society, but that’s okay. I only need to be trying to live for God’s approval. And although He is perfect, He does not demand perfection in others.

Day 50 – 4/18/06

The truth is starting to sink into me. I’m starting to lose the desire to overeat. But I’ve still not been losing weight other than a pound or two. I think this is the reason: I need to also rely on God for weight loss, not just the overeating.

I’m journaling the big things, and this is enough to maintain my weight but not enough to lose weight. So now I will try to journal each time I go over my point totals.

I can’t lose weight. I’m following this and not losing.

Truth: I’m not following it perfectly. Try to follow it perfectly for three weeks and then see if I still can’t lose weight.

Note: My 5/24 entry says that says I lost four pounds since that last entry.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Day 11 - 3/10/06

I’ve missed journaling the last three days, not because I’ve been perfect, but because I’ve been a total failure! The combined stress of all the time spent getting ready for the speech meet (and a bunch of other responsibilities) pushed me over the edge into a major “I deserve this” attitude.

But – I’m not going to give up and will try not to condemn myself. In order to become good at something you must fail at it first a bunch of times. If I only keep trying, I’ll eventually succeed.

When I journaled for anger, I didn’t condemn myself every time I felt annoyed. Instead, I brought my beliefs to the truth each time, which made the angry feelings go away. Today I still feel like eating.

1. I’ve already blown it. 2. I’ll never be able to stick to a plan and lose weight.

1. True. 2. I’ll never be able to do it if I give up at this point. This is something that will work if I see it through and keep journaling. The truth will set me free. Satan may have had a hand in the last few days since he seeks my defeat and discouragement. But the power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to me to free me from this bondage and deceit. I will press on to freedom and truth.

I also truth journaled my feelings about all my responsibilities in this entry, although I won’t include it here. The important thing to note, though, is that if I hadn’t truth journaled about the speech meet and the other things that were overwhelming me, I still would have been stressed out. It’s really important to truth journal emotions, and that often takes away your desire to eat, even if you don’t truth journal the beliefs about the food.

Day 25

Beliefs: 1. Life is too hard! 2. I'm going crazy! 3. I can't handle this. 4. I am a failure.

Prompted by: stepping on the scale and seeing a 2 pound gain after working out and eating pretty well for a week.

Truths: 1. On the world's "life is hard" scale with 100 being the easy life and 0 being the hard life, I'm at least at an 80. My life is not hard compared to the rest of the world. 2. I will not go crazy. But when I feel crazy, I have a few options open to me: 1) deal with the emotions by journaling and going to the Lord 2) call a friend and complain 3) eat 4) do something fun. The first option will give me more peace and bring me closer to God. Choose it! I'm not the only one who goes crazy. 3. That's right, I can't handle it, but God can. 4. I am weak in many areas, but God sees my heart, and He loves me no matter what.

Monday, April 5, 2010

2/28/06 – Day One

It’s my belief that a person can not only exercise self-control when it comes to food, but can also come to the point where they no longer have the desire to overeat. In fact, I think it is more effective to control the desire than it is to control the behavior. But how does one control desire? By controlling the beliefs that cause the desire in the first place.

If I believe that food will make me happy, make me feel better, and relieve my stress, then I’ll have the desire to eat even when I’m not hungry. But if I no longer believe those things, I won’t feel like eating for those reasons any longer.

So this is to be a journal of belief change. I will have a plan – three meals a day with no snacks, and I’ll journal whenever I eat a snack.

I know this worked with anger for me in about two months. But it was easy to journal every time I was angry, because I wasn’t angry that much. I used to think this wouldn’t work with food because I’d be journaling all the time. Journaling just for snacks should make it more manageable.

Day Four – 3/3/10

Situation: I was in charge of planning a speech meet and was tempted to eat to avoid planning it.

This speech meet is a trial. It could teach me:

1) To deal with procrastination.
2) To be willing to do what I don’t want to do for others.
3) To give up my time for others.
4) To accept less than perfection.
5) To organize and plan a big event.
6) To do something I don’t know how to do and persevere.

If I escape the trial by turning to an idol (food), I won’t learn from the trial. . . . God has a certain end result or outcome in mind for my trials (1 Corinthians 10:13-14, James 1). But in order to see this outcome, I need to yield fully to Him – not escape to idolatry.

So with this speech meet – God wants to use it for my good, but if I just eat out my frustrations, I'll miss out on all He has to teach me. Do I really want to do that? No.

I should mention that my theory on day one didn't quite prove true for me. Although I've had seasons when it's been easy to stick to my boundaries, it's not always that way. I think I won't get to that point until I carry all the other areas of my life captive to God that make me want to eat. And maybe not even then if I have good food around the house!

What did happen is this: I gained such confidence in the truth changing my desires, that I no longer worry about going back to my old ways. If I feel like my eating is getting out of hand (which almost never happens anymore - maybe a couple times a year), I just start truth journaling for it again, and I get back on track pretty quickly.