So for ten days now, I have not had sugar or white flour (deciding to cut just these two things from my diet for starters) and have not eaten when I have not been hungry.
And I have been surprised by the strength of my desire for sweet things (for the first 4 days) or to eat when I have not been physically hungry (still struggling). Wow!
* * *
To break an addiction, we have to say NO and we have to say YESES we did not say before. Subtraction alone won’t work for long. AND what we say YES to has to be as powerful and pleasant as what we say no to.
We live by bread, we are physical beings, but not by bread alone. Our personalities have other powerful components–our minds, our emotions and our spirit–and they each need their own food, and it is not chocolate.
It takes time to ride out the desire to eat–instead of using food as an unimaginative Band-aid, whatever the wound–and instead to slow down and locate the source of the discomfort: Am I bored with my work, or weary, or stressed, or low blood sugar-y, and so wanting comfort and pleasure? Is my struggle with a particular writing task making me feel inadequate? What is prompting this desire to eat—conflict, self-doubt, tiredness, emotional discomfort, or a biggie: habit?
And it takes time to choose other sources of pleasure. I’ve lain down and prayed in tongues till I have felt filled with the Spirit and joyous again. And I believe this will be the slow and delightful way healing will come. Through being filled with the Spirit, just gulping in the Paraclete, literally Him who walks beside us; the Comforter, who is for us. In Him lies my healing, and in him I hope to find delight.
He is healing and food, without money and without price.
Without actual price, though not without perceived price. Seeking the filling of the Holy Spirit when I am tempted to eat involves introducing a hard full stop in my day and my drivenness, laying my writing aside for Him.
* * *
My personal trainer who is very savvy about the emotional aspects of health says that when people put too much pressure on themselves in every area of their lives, eating can end up being the area in which they relax.
So I am trying to restock the treasure box of my heart with things to do when the urge to eat to calm down, to relax, or because I am sad, or stressed, or bored, or flagging in my work becomes strong.
I’ve read a light delightful book Marley and Me and a book of adventures, physical and spiritual, The Resurrection Year by Sheridan Voysey. I’ve joined a book group and am reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly which is as stimulating as chocolate. I’ve read and commented on blogs, always a great source of stimulation and pleasure.
I’ve watched Junebug (which has an eccentric William Blake character transported to the American South) and, at my teenager’s insistence, for the first time ever, four episodes of Friends. And had real life Friends over to coffee. I have run, which makes me feel great, and I have walked, listening to the book of John, and the book of Joshua—fresh ideas, fresh grace.
I might try gardening, which is a joy I have largely given up.
So breaking the habit of munching when not hungry has involved a broadening and deepening of my life.
* * *
Oddly, relinquishing my eating to God will also mean relinquishing my ambition to God, taking time to appropriately feed my mind, spirit, body and emotions, rather than burrow away writing, while neglecting other parts of me.
And so by the grace of God, the daily manna God gives us, when tempted to eat sugar or eat when I am not hungry, I will eat the word of God, either by blogging about it, or listening to it when I walk, resisting temptation with Scripture as Jesus did. I will pray, filling my soul with the water of the Holy Spirit—which fills my soul completely as nothing else does. I will read good spiritual books, which make me as hyper as chocolate does (honestly!)
I will slow down, remembering I am not just a body, not just an ambitious human doing, but I have a mind, and spirit and emotions, and I need to feed all of these appropriately, with means better fit for purpose than calories.
My name is Anita M. and I am a recovering sugar addict and recovering emotional eater and I have been free for 10 days.
I am a free woman, set free by Christ.
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