When I was shown in 1999 how to “rein in my eating” – how to elliminate the overeating – it felt like freedom to me to follow these simple guidelines. It didn’t feel like rules. I felt like someone had handed me the greatest secret!! It was like – “Phew, now I know what normal eating is!!!!!” After 30 years of abnormal eating (dieting, binging, gaining, losing, focusing on food, bondage, misery, trauma, pain, hating myself, self-flogging, etc) it was a relief to have someone hand me the secret.
What was the secret? – eat like thin eaters (wait for hunger – do NOT eat outside of true physical hunger, eat what I wanted most, focus on the food and enjoy it, stop eating before full at a point of satisfied). Now, I realize that for some people these feel like rules. To me they felt like boundaries of freedom!!!! Wow, I can eat and know that I’m not overeating!! Wow, I can eat and know that I’m not sinning or gluttonous. Wow! I can eat my favorite foods without any guilt (even chocolate!). Wow, I can eat like this AND lose weight! WOW!!!
So it was like I stepped off a plane into a new land! I entered the land of the living. I started the process and really poured into the scriptures, journalled every one I could find, prayed into them, met with God daily. . .
And yes, at first I couldn’t WAIT to eat!! – meaning, I was really looking forward to being hungry. I would basically fast until the hunger came. And then I’d eat (sometimes it was emotionally driven and I knew that, but since I was physically really hungry, I went ahead and ate. . . this was the permission slip!. . . burning hunger). After taking care of myself this way for awhile, it became more natural.
But I was very strict with myself. The reason I took it so seriously was because I WAS SO SICK AND TIRED OF THE WHOLE THING. I HATED IT. 30 YEARS OF MISERY. I WAS DESPERATE. WHEN I JOINED THE WEIGHT LOSS CLASS, THE ONE QUESTION I HAD WAS – DOES THIS WORK??? DO PEOPLE REALLY GET FREE??? CAN I GET FREE FROM THIS WHOLE MESS?? CAN GOD HEAL ME?? CAN I REALLY HAVE A DIFFERENT LIFE????? I was told “yes”, so I jumped in with both feet. I was totally ready to do whatever it took to get free. (Can you imagine – 30 years of this hell??? Hell on earth, that’s for sure).
So I didn’t see waiting for hunger and stopping at satisfied as rules. I saw them as the yellow brick road to the City of Oz where I could finally come home!!!! And since that time, I’ve read a lot more about thin eaters. I’m convinced this is the only way to eat if you want to gain the freedom that nonstrugglers have – which comes eventually over time.
But the other huge piece is the spiritual part. YOU MUST REPLACE YOUR ADDICTION WITH SOMETHING ELSE. AND I BELIEVE THAT MUST BE – EXPERIENCING GOD’S LOVE FOR YOURSELF. These counterfeit answers (food, sex, porn, shopping, drugs, whatever) are because your love bank is running low. You have to meet with God and let Him pour His love into your heart. You must become a receptacle of His love and Grace. With this, the need to run to food will diminish. It’s a critical piece. As you discover His love for you, you gain a healthier love for yourself as well as an ability to love Him and others more fully.
Because I was a person who wanted to eat all the time (food was my crutch), I had to stop eating for lots of reasons. I had to say “NO!” when I wanted food. I had to say “NO!” to “just a little taste” and “I’ll eat because others are eating” and “I am going to have seconds because it tastes so good” and “I really want to comfort myself with food right now.” That’s when I had to learn to depend on God’s grace because my willpower wasn’t strong enough. That’s when I fell on my face in desperation for Him to do in me what I was unable to do in myself.
Because I had lived in hell on earth for so long, I was very motivated. I had a dream. The dream was freedom from compulsive eating. That dream motivated me to stay on the path and to get back on the path when I fell. I never lost my dream. It was constantly before me. It was calling me forward. It gave me the courage to put off want I wanted in the moment (food) for what I really wanted – my longterm goal of freedom.
It was worth every “NO!” I put on my life!! The obsession with food gradually faded away. I have eaten this way now for 9 1/2 years. And I haven’t struggled! It’s been very natural now that the obession is gone! And the weight just gradually fell off like the obsession did. And it stays off because I’m not obsessed with food.
However, I know that if I again began eating whenever, I’m sure I could easily lose my freedom. So I keep on keeping on. . . eating like a thin person. It keeps the bondage and obsession away as well as the extra weight. It really is true that Jesus sets the captives free! I am living proof of that. As I made the decision of pursuing the goal, He did His part by coming along side of me, empowering me to change my behaviors and changing my heart motivations and passions as I submitted my heart to Him.