It is no secret that I struggle with emotional eating. As a result, this Proverbs 31 devotional really hit home with me!
When I first joined Weight Watchers in October 2008, I did not know anything about trigger foods or emotional eating. All I knew was that food made me feel better. Food made me happy and was there for me when no one else was around. I knew that most of the weight I had put on was because I was lonely and depressed. However, I was shocked to learn that I had a problem with emotional eating.
For the last three years, I have been battling my triggers. I have been trying to learn to recognize the things in my life that trigger me to eat. I also began to learn to deal with my emotions in other ways than just eating. Am I perfect? No. I still have days, even now, when I know I am emotionally eating. However, I am proud of myself for being able to recognize that I am emotional eating. This has been a huge step in the right direction!
If you struggle with emotional eating, like me, take some time to think about the triggers in your life that have you running to the pantry. I had to begin to turn my emotions over to God. He really is the only one who can handle them. Begin to pray that God would give you strength and wisdom to recognize your triggers and to resist them when they come along.
. . . . . . . . . .
January 19, 2012
“So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Ephesians 3:17-18 (NIV 1984)
I was elated one day when the number on my scale dipped below the plateau weight I’d been stuck at for two weeks. I did a little happy dance and thought, “Finally, I’m making some real progress in this journey. It’s going to be such a great day. I’m super motivated. Bring on the raw veggies. Nothing’s gonna stop me now!”
Too bad things didn’t stay that way. Life, like math, can be unpredictable. I’m no math whiz, but I do remember there being these things called polynomials. Polynomials are algebraic expressions that include real numbers and variables.
That’s the way my food issues are—they contain real numbers and variables. I suspect yours do as well. And while we must pay attention to the real numbers by eating less and moving more, we would do well to consider the variables in our lives as well.
Variables are those daily triggers we didn’t account for but will detour even the best of intentions. Triggers can be as large as the stab of loneliness from a broken relationship or the memory of a childhood trauma. Triggers can be as small as a discipline “chat” with a teen out past curfew or stumbling across fresh doughnuts in the office break room. They can prompt the thought, “Life will be better if I eat that.”
Triggers have nothing to do with physical hunger or the need for legitimate nourishment. They are lies that we’ve thought so routinely they’ve become well-worn paths to careless eating. Life is not made better because we overindulge in an unhealthy choice.
The best thing we can do in these triggered moments is to pause. Pause and ask ourselves, “Do I want to eat this right now because I need nourishment or because I’m feeling empty emotionally or spiritually?”
If I need nourishment, I can choose a healthy option. If I’m just feeling empty, I must realize food can fill my stomach but never my soul.
The only way to negate an emotional eating trigger is to match it with truth. The truth is this: “I’m not physically hungry right now, but I need to be filled in another way.”
The Bible tells us that we can be rooted in love, not emptiness; that we have power to choose truth; and that as we comprehend the love of Christ, we will be filled to the measure of all the fullness—not of that brownie—but of God (Ephesians 3:17-19). And here’s the great thing about truth: it contains no variables! Truth is stable, secure and a surefire way to get me through the unpredictable moments of life.
Take time to pause and use God’s truths to challenge your triggers. And, when you’re truly physically hungry, that pause will give you the moment you need to choose a healthy snack. Then you will be truly full.
Dear Lord, please help me to battle each of my triggers today with truth. Your truth. Moment by moment. I understand that food can fill my stomach but never my soul. Only You can fill my soul and I am thankful for that. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.