I know what it is like to live with a harmful mindset regarding food, dieting, weight changes, and body image. I spent decades judging where I was on the “good and bad” meter based on the net calories I ate that day. The number on the scale determined my mood for the day. Somehow I allowed a very strange belief to take over my mind, that thinner equals more valuable.
Now that I have, by God’s grace, escaped this trap, I see these thought patterns as the bondage they really were. Even as a Registered Dietitian and a Biblical Counselor, I can sometimes let those thoughts creep back into my mind.
Throughout my lifetime, it seemed my mind and body had different ideas of what size and shape I was supposed to be. Many times I was able to go on a restrictive diet and lose weight. But you know the rest…I also gained it back every time, sometimes even more than I started with.
In fact, each time I went on a weight loss diet (promoted as a “sure thing”), I found it harder to believe I could get lasting results. Each time the weight came back (as it inevitably did), I felt like a failure, guilty, and embarrassed. This cycle replayed many, many times.
The Cultural Norm
Let’s face it, we live in a diet-obsessed, image-based culture that causes unnecessary stress to us all. Because many American women live this type of yo-yo-diet-life, I really had no idea that this was an odd way of relating to food and my body. I assumed this preoccupation was beneficial simply because it was common. So, you can imagine how shocked I was to discover that I had most of the traits of “disordered eating” as defined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (click here).1
I spent far too much time and mental space focused on food, weight, dieting, and body image. OK, obsessing really. Although I didn’t see it clearly at the time, I eventually came to see the bondage of it all and couldn’t stand the constant battle anymore. Once I recognized how much time I had spent focusing on such superficial things, I knew something had to change. For real this time.
Why Am I Struggling with Food Freedom?
I am a Christian, which means my life’s goal is to please and glorify God. But really, my focus and decisions had much more to do with pleasing and glorifying myself. I came to see that what I was dealing with was a lot of idolatry. Weight loss, appearance, opinions of others, and food control were all objects of my devotion.
But God is gracious and He opened my eyes. Through His Word and wise biblical teachings, I grew to put off this form of thinking and behavior and put on a new, correct understanding. I have been freed from the enslaving chains that bound me and the obsessive thinking that plagued me for so long. It’s not always perfect, as my old thoughts still slip in and try to take over from time to time. But I have truly found food freedom, peace, and joy through Christ!
My Pathway to Food Freedom
Now I want to share some of what has helped me along the journey! Because of my history with disordered eating and the years I took to break free from it, I am passionate about helping other women do the same.
The first thing I needed was to become aware of my problem. As I mentioned, I really had no idea that I had one for most of my life! I thought eating Fibre Trim pills for meals in high school was an acceptable way to lose weight (I’m not sure what weight I was trying to lose looking back). It didn’t occur to me that the growing depression and inability to stay awake in school were very clear consequences of starvation. I dismissed my more drastic attempts and efforts to undo the “bad” eating I did. And I really had no misgivings about the time and mental space I used tracking every single calorie. It didn’t occur to me to question whether there was a better alternative for my time and focus.
Once I saw that I had an unhealthy relationship with food and my body, I had to do some very deep work. It was important that I searched for the root of the issue in my heart. Why was this so important to me? And this, my friends, brought me to and through some difficult times of soul-searching and realization…and repentance. You see, by God’s kindness and grace, He was opening my eyes to see many idols in my heart and different forms of sin that needed addressing.
You will hear me say this a million times: It is a wonderful thing to call sin “sin.” It is freeing. It is healing. Sin has a remedy, Jesus Christ. Repentance of sin brings help by the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we have far more hope for healing than any worldly therapy can offer. We have a heart and mind Remodeler who knows us and is with us!
You Can Have Food Freedom
This process was a long one for me. Although yours might not be, the path to spiritual, mental, and physical health can be hard and tricky. Every person will have their own issues to work through. And everyone will have different physical and nutritional consequences to rectify. Get started on your path to food freedom with my free ebook, “Escape the Binge! The Christian Guide to Stop Overeating” HERE.
If you relate to what I’ve shared and are enslaved by similar thinking and actions, you don’t have to go through it alone. I am devoted to helping my sisters in Christ find true freedom in the areas of eating, dieting, food rules, weight obsessions, and body image issues.
You can work on your own journey towards food freedom with me! Consider scheduling a free consultation to get started. I hope to serve you well as we walk this path together!
Anderson M. What is disordered eating? Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published October 26, 2018. Updated February 2020. Accessed October 2, 2021. https://www.eatright.org/health/diseases-and-conditions/eating-disorders/what-is-disordered-eating.