Is freedom from food really possible?
You’ve tried, you really have. And each attempt to reel in that ravenous appetite leads to scars of brownie batter and a painfully overstuffed belly. But even that would be bearable if it weren’t for the loss of hope and the endless self-beratement that makes you want to hide under the sheets (or, in a sheet pan).
Sis’, what you need is a breath of God’s Great Hope.
That’s why, today, I want to tell you how to find freedom from food in three really unexpected steps. I think these steps will reveal why you’ve struggled in the past and how a shift and change in your focus (and the way that you try to manage this problem) are going to reap fantastic benefits for you…
Why We Get Stuck in Food
First, it will help us to distinguish why we get wrapped up in food. We came out of the womb completely connected to our hunger and fullness signals.
Yet time and tension have increased our likelihood to run to food for comfort, stress relief, happy occasions, or sad situations. You name it.
Food becomes an outlet for so, so many things. And a lot of the time, this relationship gets even more amped up because of diet talk and weight-loss worries.
When Food Stops Being Just Food
I remember when I first went on a diet and how food stopped being just “food.” It became something that I coveted and looked forward to. I pity the man who tried to take my seventh almond because I was “allowed” to have seven almonds.
I was restricted from the very thing I enjoyed and that I felt was essential for my survival, and it caused me to become hyper-focused on food.
Compile that food focus with an unrealistic media standard for our body’s shape and size and the never-ending obsession to lose weight– and you’ve created a bondage that feels impossible to break.
This dissatisfaction with our bodies causes us to make unhealthy choices– vowing to go on a diet to “fix” the problem and then eating more because of the pending restriction…
- We want food badly, but then we feel bad for wanting it because we also desire to fit into this societal standard of what our bodies should look like.
- The urgency to lose weight can cause us to make even more restrictive food rules. That then increases our likelihood to overeat, binge-eat, and even gain weight. That makes even more of a weight-loss struggle.
You can see how this is a really difficult cycle and how freedom from food starts to feel like an impossible treasure to find. It’s really a trap for those of us who face the struggle of food and weight.
Why Freedom From Food Alludes You
What comes first, the chicken or the egg? It’s really hard to know, but it’s all tangled up like the cords behind your TV…
It’s a ploy because you are prized.
We get wrapped up in food because the enemy wants to keep us distracted.
WHY? As a follower of Christ, God has a specific and unique calling on your life.
The moment He knit you together in your mother’s womb, He had a destination for you to reach.
- There are people for you to impact.
- Your body is made specifically for your calling.
- You have gifts and talents and character traits that are all part of that big old plan.
And so the enemy sees that– and he sees a prime opportunity to keep your full focus on self.
If we’re always thinking about who we are, we will always end up disappointed. If our eyes are always on our abilities and our gifts and our talents, we’re going to be stuck on a pride roller coaster of negative and positive feelings.
The enemy has taken advantage of this opportunity for so many amazing Christian women. He keeps them self-conscious and self-focused…stuck in self-hate because of the struggle with food.
Why You Keep Failing in Your Struggle for Freedom from Food
Now you see the reasons why you’ve struggled. Maybe you’ve been struggling for years or even decades. You’ve sought freedom from food in the past, and it’s becoming pretty glaringly obvious that diets are not the answer.
But you don’t know what else is. One of the reasons that our “seeking food freedom” fails is because we are striving and not seeking.
We’re striving in our effort.
- What can I do?
- How can I perform?
- What is my outcome?
- Where did I go?
We’re focused on striving and trying to earn this freedom from food and not seeking the Lord, and then we wonder why we can’t stop overeating.
If we could do it, we would have already done it. The strength that we need to walk in freedom from food is not going to come from our fleshly nature or from ourselves. It’s going to come from the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
Rather than striving to change your behavior around food, use that time and energy and emotion to seek the Lord with your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
We’re putting our hope in ourselves.
If I take credit for my successes, I also have to take credit for my failure. And that is rather painful.
We humans, we tend to fail. BUT GOD has known this from the foundation of the world and He made provisions for us…
This is exactly why He sent His Son Jesus. He knew that we could not meet His standard of holiness. And now we don’t have to. As we seek, rather than strive, we can find assurance in knowing that it’s Jesus’ performance that matters most.
So…are you ready to hear about the three unexpected steps to find freedom from food?
Step #1 to Find Freedom from Food: Stop Trying to Fix the Food.
You’ve tried keto, vegan, juicing, cabbage, grapefruit, and every other food plan imaginable. Each of these solutions only aggravated the problem and caused you to become more focused on food and more obsessed with your weight.
Research shows that each diet we venture into makes us a little less healthy and a little more overweight. So, it’s time to stop trying to fix the food.
The food is not the problem. The carbs, the fat, the protein are not the problem and they are not the solution.
We need to be focused on changing from the inside, out. This means prioritizing our heart state and addressing the idolatry of food.
The solution is to the seek the Lord. Seek Him with a genuine heart so that you can fall in love with Him. And then as you do that, your bondage to food will start to slowly slip away.
When we try to fix the food, we fix our grip even tighter on it. But when we focus on the Lord, overeating becomes less necessary, less attractive, and less a part of our lives.
The first unexpected way to find freedom from food is to stop trying to fix the food.
Step #2 to Find Freedom from Food: Eat at the Direction of the Holy Spirit.
There are a thousand diets out there, and each one has a different can and can’t eat list. Some focus on portions, some focus on macronutrients, and some focus on both. It’s enough to make your head spin.
How can one diet that yields incredible (short-term) results be the exact opposite of another diet that also has all of those “jaw-dropping” (short-term) results? The answer is that there is no one-size-fits-all program. Something that doesn’t fit you isn’t going to work for you.
And yet, if you can tune into the voice of the Holy Spirit, you are set up for success:
-He knows your health history, current health status, the calling that’s on your life, your hopes and dreams.
-He knows your responsibilities, available time and energy, and resources.
-We should allow Him to direct even our little steps.
Again, it’s an inside-out focus. And, it may not always be a food habit that the Lord is directing you to do, but sometimes it may be.
Step #3 to Find Freedom from Food: Let Your Success and Failure Enrich Your Relationship with the Lord.
In my six-month program, Grace Filled Plate Platinum, I encourage the women to create a NEW definition of failure.
For many of us, “failure” is…
- Not following my food plan.
- Missing a workout.
- Bingeing on pizza.
- Drinking too much coffee.
- Not doing the laundry.
- Not washing the dishes.
- Scrolling Instagram instead of doing housework.
- Not eating enough veggies.
- The list can go on and on….
There are so many ways that we can hit the failure mark, it’s painful. So much so that it can keep us from trying at all.
The same thing happens with success.
Success can hold such an important part and place in our lives. I spent my life wanting to be the best student, the best mom, the best patient, the best…everything. And, it was a trap!
- When I FAILED to reach those unsustainable, unrealistic marks, it DEVASTATED me.
- When I DID meet them, it only increased my SELF-RELIANCE.
In this process, I want to encourage you to let successes, failures, diet failures, and all the other mediocre stuff send you to the Lord.
If you have a great day, praise Him.
If you have a bad day, praise Him.
There’s always something to thank God for. If you have a food slip, if you have one of those all-or-nothing eating moments that go from a slip to a slide– it’s not a failure!
If you can, even at the end of a binge, seek God and find wisdom and understanding moving forward.
The enemy wants to cloak us with guilt and condemnation. And that puts a wedge between us and the Lord.
Allow those struggles to cause you to sprint to the Lord. Then, no matter what happened in the kitchen 15 minutes ago, it’s still considered a success.
Everything we need has been taken care of. We’re covered by the blood of Christ. And that, my friend, means that you can find freedom from food in three really unexpected ways.
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Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, Amazon #1 Best Selling 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.