Christian, are you troubled by your eating behaviors and food-related thoughts? Are you struggling to understand them?
Are you ashamed and afraid others will find out how much time and mental space is preoccupied with things like your weight, eating habits, food, and body image?
You probably have heard of Eating Disorders but you don’t believe you fit into any of those categories, such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia. Yet, something still isn’t right. You recognize that your food and body thoughts deeply affect your life. Perhaps more than you think they should. Well, I hear you loud and clear, sister!
Even though you may be dealing with a bona fide Eating Disorder in your life, you might be living with something termed Disordered Eating.
I often talk about the struggle I had with disordered eating for decades. However, I didn’t really understand what I was dealing with back then. I knew something wasn’t right, but I’d also observed similar behaviors in most other women, Christian or not. This allowed me to excuse my concerns and tell myself I was just doing what women did…
Whether or not we really need to. We diet. A lot.
And the more extreme, the better.
So, I was shocked when I learned that I was the walking definition of a Disordered Eater. To give a general description of Disordered Eating, it means eating and food behaviors that are mentally and physically unhealthy or dangerous for the body, especially in the long term. But the meaning also includes perceptions and thoughts about food, eating, and the body. It is an unnatural and fully damaging way of life that can take over.
Unfortunately, many Disordered Eating (DE) behaviors are not identified for what they are because we live in this diet- and image-saturated culture that seems to expect (or require) these cockeyed behaviors and perspectives.
This type of disordered relationship with food and one’s body is a massive and growing problem, even in the church (I am living proof). But when a believer lives with a problem like this, which isn’t discussed openly in the church, a great sense of shame, guilt, and hopelessness can result (Psalm 32:3). Christians battling DE often have no idea where to turn.
I’ve explained some of what DE is. Do you identify with this? If so, you are certainly not alone. As mentioned, it is becoming more common and is my personal story, as well. In fact, I’ve even created an ebook to help Christian women overcome chronic overeating, and you can get your HERE for free!
4 Steps to Disordered Eating Freedom
If you’ve recognized that you may be a disordered eater, I want to give you 4 helpful steps to start on your journey to freedom from disordered eating.
Start identifying and acknowledging what the underlying problems might be.
- Why are you bent toward these behaviors of disordered eating?
- What are you able to identify as triggers?
You will most likely need experienced help with this, both from someone specializing in DE and from a biblical counselor. If you are ready to get the help you need, click here to get started.
The second thing you will want to do is to take the individual reasons you’ve uncovered and separate them into heart and habit issues.
- Heart issues have to do with the thoughts, motives, desires, emotions, and goals you have. Sins are included in this category.
- Habit issues are not moral behaviors necessarily, but just daily actions that have been ingrained in your life. But keep in mind that sins can be in this category, too.
Begin to take the things you’ve recognized as heart issues to the Lord (see Luke 6:45). These belong under God’s domain, and you will want to bring those to God in both repentance and faith, asking for His help in prayer and finding His truth in Scripture. Remember that He cares for you and does not want to be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12).
Finally, for those things you identify more as habit issues, set 1-2 goals each week to work through. Don’t overreach here. Make the goals doable so you can have success each week. You have been given fruit of self-control by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7), so don’t believe the lie that you cannot achieve goals. Goal-setting can be tricky, so you may need help to set effective, measurable goals that work well. If you want personalized, biblical help for goal-setting, food, eating, and body issues, simply click here to get in touch with me and get your FREE Kickstarter Plan.
And as always, please remember you are not alone. Many Christians deal with this, as I have (1 Corinthians 10:13). And our God is faithful and wants to grow us in the peace that He alone brings.