Food has a proper place in our lives, yet it has the potential for getting out of hand, so it needs to be monitored. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6:12 said that even though certain things were permissible, he would not be mastered by them.
I have seen far too many people during the course of my professional life who allowed themselves to be mastered by food. In each case, their relationship with food went off track when they gave food power to provide them with something other than nutrition, either a sense of power and control through anorexia, as a salve for emotional wounds through bulimia, or as the ultimate comforter through compulsive overeating.
Food is designed to provide nutrition and fuel to power our daily activities. God designed it to be pleasurable and a blessing to us. Eating disorders and disordered eating moves food out of its proper realm into a role it was never meant to assume. Food today is used to relieve boredom, reward behavior, alleviate loneliness, reduce stress, provide companionship, and supply pleasure, as well as punish, withhold, and control. Food becomes the medium people use to fill their voids, vent their frustration, and funnel their rage.
For many Christians, it becomes an acceptable drug of choice, without the stigma of other addictive behaviors. To help you understand if food has moved out of its God-given realm and into an inappropriate place in your life, answer the following questions, and be sure to explain why you answer the way you do.
- How often do you find yourself eating something even when you’re not hungry?
- Are you concerned about your weight? Why or why not?
- Do you tend to think about food during the day, what you’ll eat and how much?
- Did you grow up in a home where you felt you needed to be perfect to be accepted?
- Did your mother or father express a high degree of concern about his or her own physical appearance?
- As a child, do you remember receiving comfort through food?
- When engaging in social activities, do you enjoy those where food and especially desserts are provided?
- Have you ever deliberately overeaten, even though you felt uncomfortably full?
- If you have a pattern of overeating, do you “make up” for it by either restricting, using laxatives, or excessively exercising?
- Do you regularly take diet pills or diuretics?
- Do you smoke or drink to avoid eating?
- What types of foods do you find yourself eating over and over?
- Do you hold a belief that you’re fat even though others do not hold the same opinion?
- Do you prefer to eat alone instead of with other people?
- Do you eat differently with other people than you do when you’re alone?
- Have you ever felt defensive about your eating?
- Have you ever felt tired of thinking about food and weight all the time?
- Do you find yourself repeatedly eating foods you know aren’t good for you because they feel good to eat?
Food can become an obsession, either the desire to consume far more than your body needs or the need to restrict what you eat in order to reach an ideal weight. You need not be rail-thin or morbidly obese to be obsessed with food, what you’ll eat, how it will taste, how you will feel, and fear that you’ll eat what you shouldn’t.
When food is disconnected from all the other reasons you eat and is returned to the realm of nutrition, you take back the power you’ve given it over your life.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, disordered eating, depression or anxiety, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help. Contact us today at 1-888-771-5166 and begin the healing process.