Do you ever wonder if the Bible can teach you how to stop binge eating? These truths and tips from the scriptures will give you the inspiration, power, and motivation to live a life full of freedom and good health!
My pastor sat across his desk from me. The outside light behind him blinded my eyes as I heard his words. My heart was pierced. Deflated, it fell like a rock into the pit of my stomach.
I was there to speak with him about my challenges with food, or as he called it, my sin. What he shared left such an impression that I carry it with me every day- on victorious days and those that miss the mark.
The things he spoke that afternoon serve as the foundation for what I have found as a way to become “binge proof.” This is no magic answer but this can and will change your life when you grasp on to it.
The next few sections are a little heavy but hang with me, relief soon follows!
What Makes a Binge?
Dictionary.com defines a binge as “a short period devoted to indulging in an activity to excess, especially drinking alcohol or eating.”
I suspect most of us have been there at least once in our lives. But, the way I define a binge is a little different. To me, the most notable and painful part of a binge is feeling out of control.
If you have had experiences with binge eating, you are probably familiar with this dreaded moment:
The battle of “to eat or not to eat” rages when it feels as if you have “snapped.” A ravenous desire to eat evaporates your logical actions and good intentions.
In those moments of helplessness, pacing the kitchen and eating without restraint, you’re convinced an alien has taken over your body.
This scenario played out innumerable times for me. For years I blamed bingeing on certain foods, but as my diet became healthier, so did my binges. Changing the food didn’t change my heart. I have binged on cupcakes, cookies, and carrots. Seriously.
By this definition, a binge is less about the external behavior (although this is what leads us to change) and more about the condition of our hearts.
Basking in Binge Eating
No one toddles into their first binge expecting their extreme eating to become a habit they just can’t shake. The first time you ate like that, you looked for comfort, escape, and a break from the rat race.
And each subsequent instance is the same. It doesn’t matter what story it is you tell yourself before you start eating- bingeing is good and not bingeing, well, it’s just too hard. Our fleshly vision, at the moment, is vastly limited.
“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”-C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
Over the years, I have always been amazed at how short-sighted I can be when it comes to food. I consider myself a hard worker, someone who is willing to do difficult things for a greater end result.
But, when it comes to food, I can put my sensibility behind me. I have to watch out that the perceived relief does not outweigh the realization of impending regret.
After Binge Eating
In a logical mind, no one likes to binge. Yes, there are rewards but do you really enjoy eating the food? While the first bite may have been magical, the subsequent bites become less appealing and more compulsive.
And, I can tell you from experience, food eaten on an already stuffed stomach does not taste good.
And while being overfull is uncomfortable, the negative self-talk and guilt that settle in are horrendous. Regret is a painful emotion. Feeling like a failure- it’s enough to dissolve your last shred of joy.
But yet, to a tormented mind, the momentary break from reality is worth it.
Where Binge Eating Lives
Over the years, I’ve worked with numerous clients who struggle with how to stop overeating. In their lives and mine, I’ve seen a commonality– it’s the hot spot the binge likes to hang out.
Take a moment to think of the last time you binged. What words would describe your physical and mental state?
Exhausted, stressed, angry, overwhelmed, hurt, wired, impulsive, worried, depressed, hopeless, anxious, unloved, tense, frustrated.
How about your spiritual state? Much the same?
When you examine your list, is it any wonder why you binged? Let’s pause here for a moment and have compassion for you… you needed relief. You were just looking for love in all the wrong places.
What He Said About How to Stop Binge Eating
Back to the story about my pastor. After he (lovingly) addressed my sin, he continued to tell me how to overcome it. His Biblical solution was simple, but it felt as if he described a fairytale– Clothe yourself with Christ, put on His strength to be victorious.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.Romans 13:14 (NKJV)
I’d heard this shared from the pulpit before, listening intently, nodding my head in agreement, but I could never put the instruction into action.
There wasn’t a lack of want-to. What I needed was a how-to.
Where Binge Eating Dies
Fish suffocate on land and humans suffocate in the water. God has designed each of us to live in a specific, God-created landscape. If bingeing thrives in darkness and unrest, where does it die?
(golden nugget alert)
Bingeing can’t live in a peaceful environment. If you want to beat the binge- introduce God’s peace.
Just as Jesus calmed the storm with a word, “peace, be still”(Mark 4:39), the Spirit of Life and Peace (Romans 8:6) brings calm to our hearts. It has been said, “rather than fighting the darkness, turn on the light.”
Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.Psalm 34:14 (NKJV)
In the same way, you can stop wrestling the binge (because we know how that ends) and pursue peace.
And while fighting our flesh is exhausting, God does not make His peace difficult to obtain (John 14:27). In the question of choosing our battles, the answer seems pretty clear.
How to Stop Binge Eating With God’s Help
So here you are, like me sitting in the church auditorium, nodding your head in agreement while feeling a little confused about how to put these exhortations into practice. It all makes sense but how do you DO it?
I’ll be the first to tell you I do not have all the answers but I know Who does– as you read these concepts, pray the Holy Spirit reveals how you can put feet to your faith in the battle against bingeing.
Here are 4 simple steps you can take:
1. Pray for peace.
You do not have to wait until the heat of the moment to prepare! Add a request for God’s peace to your regular prayer time, remembering He is a good Father who gives His children good gifts when they ask (Matthew 7:11).
2. Practice being peaceful.
We live in a hectic world where distractions and racket abound. For many, bingeing is a quest for rest. You know, the desire to zone out from all the endless demands of life?
When you meet your need for rest and quiet, you preempt the call to binge. As a bonus, you hone skills for when cravings hit. To practice, schedule some time where you are completely unscheduled.
3. Be intent on peace.
To do this, intentionally turn off the noise and do your best to be present in any given situation. Maybe you play a simple game with your child and discipline your mind to stop thinking about your to-do list.
Or, maybe you grab a seat in the warmth of the sun and reflect upon an attribute of our Heavenly Father. Whatever it is, be there.
4. Meditate on Scriptures about peace.
The Word of God is a powerful weapon (Hebrews 4:12) and The Equipment Christ used in His opposition against Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). To build your arsenal, research Bible verses on peace.
Break out your concordance and dig until His promises of peace feel real to you. Memorize those verses that excite you so they become part of your being.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, HANG ON.
Download Your Free How to Stop Binge Eating Printable
Good intentions are good but a plan is far better. When you are faced with the temptation to binge, what are you going to do? If beating the binge is important to you, leave nothing to chance. Use this form to create your own plan of action.
- Download your FREE Binge Proof Action Planner.
- Set aside at least 30 minutes to complete the workbook.
- Let it simmer. How was your plan? Realistic and helpful or do you need to make some adjustments?
- Rinse and repeat.
The Missing Peace
Has it become as clear to you as it has to me that peace is the missing piece? If we are honest with ourselves, a binge isn’t worth pursuing. Yes, the idea of zoning out from life and its endless responsibilities is appealing, but the consequences are more than we can bear.
God has provided another, a better, option that gives LIFE.
And while being “binge proof” may be your motivator to seek peace, a deeper relationship with your Heavenly Father is what will secure you there.
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.