Many people use food to meet some emotional need in their lives.
So if you ever find it hard to remove a particular food from your diet, it's probably because of emotional attachment.
Your change likely won't last long if you don't identify and address food-related emotional attachments.
Otherwise, separation anxiety will have you running back to that food.
Here are two questions to think about regarding an emotional attachment to food:
- What need do you believe that food is meeting in your life?
- Is there a better way to meet the need if that specific food(s) is causing damage to your body?
Here's why you must consider that second point: God designed the human body to function with a particular fuel:
"Then God said, 'See, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is on the face of all the earth and every tree which has fruit yielding seed. It shall be food for you'" (Gen. 1:29).
Later, He gave mankind permission to eat meat after the flood:
"Every moving thing that lives will be food for you. I give you everything, just as I gave you the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood" (Gen. 9:3-4).
These specific instructions are comparable to a car manufacturer telling you which type of fuel and oil your car requires.
Do you feel deprived if a car manufacturer tells you that you should put gasoline in your car and not kerosene?
Do you want to revolt because he tells you that your car requires 10W30 oil and not 20W50?
Of course not. Why do you obey the manufacturer's instructions without question?
Because you respect the car manufacturer's word.
You believe the car manufacturer understands more about the car's inner function than you do.
After all, you don't know about all the engine parts and how they work together or the physics behind the car's operation.
Since the manufacturer does understand the car's technical aspects, then you trust he also knows which type of fuel will make the car function at its best.
So you follow his instructions without question. Logical, right?
Since the exact same principle that applies to our cars also applies to our bodies, why do we often ignore God's instructions about the foods we eat?
Because of an emotional attachment to that food. The enemy has been preying upon mankind's emotional attachments to food since the beginning of time.
But God calls His people to wisdom. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says:
"'All things are lawful to me,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be brought under the power of anything."
So while you can eat anything, you should be selective about what you choose to eat. The wisest thing to do is eat according to the Creator's instructions.
If your heart is to follow God's instructions in this area, I believe your first line of defense is to humble yourself and pray, asking for His daily help to make wise choices.
Here are four common emotional attachments people have to food and ways to handle them:
1. Food as Love: A person feels they lack love in their lives so they use food to comfort themselves.
The solution is to experience real love in the following ways:
- Experience God's love. God created you on purpose and for a purpose. So you need to learn to see yourself through His eyes and develop a daily relationship with Him.
- Love yourself. Learn to love the person God created you to be. That means eliminating deadly comparisons with others, envying what someone else has, or insulting yourself because of your shortcomings.
Get excited about the work the Lord is doing within you to transform you into the image of His Son.
- Love others. The Lord created us to live in community so that means joining with a local, fruit-bearing church to fellowship with other believers and to use your Spiritual gifts to build up God's kingdom.
2. Food as Escape: The person is experiencing emotional hurt from their past or in their present and uses food to numb themselves. Food becomes their emotional Novocaine.
The problem with this is that food may numb you from pain, but it also keeps you from experiencing joy.
The wisest thing to do is pour out your emotional pain to God and ask Him to heal you. You may take time to heal (just like a physical wound), but you will come out on the other side stronger, healed and whole.
You will be able to enjoy your whole life, not just settle for half a life (or less).
3. Food as Entertainment: You are bored with your life and food has become something to do.
The solution is to connect with your purpose. The Lord created you for more than eating, right? He gave you unique talents and gifts to benefit others.
That is one of the reasons to connect with a local fellowship of believers through a church. You can discover your spiritual gifts and use them or engage in outreach projects to meet community needs.
While entertainment has its place, you'll end up with a meaningless life if your sole purpose is to seek amusement.
Make your life count since you only get one.
Pursue your purpose and you'll add passion to your life.
4. Food as Belonging: Ah, now this is one I struggled with big time. Food is a means to gather together socially, so there is pressure to eat the way other people around you eat.
If you don't, then other people may comment on it or even try to make you eat things you don't want to. You fear standing out or being rejected so you give in to fit in.
The solution is to decide that you do want to walk in wisdom in this area and follow the Creator's instructions. You recognize that other people have the right to choose what they will or will not eat.
And so do you!
While you will not judge them, you will set boundaries if they try to judge you for doing what is best for your body.
Now sometimes people will pressure you in this regard because they feel convicted when you start to eat healthy. It may make them look at their own habits.
However, it is their responsibility to manage their own feelings, not yours.
Your responsibility is to love people. But draw the line in practicing destructive behavior in a misguided attempt to make others love or accept you.
Find your value and identity in God, not in the opinions of others.
Whew! I know I've given you a lot to think about.
However, I believe if you do this daily work of reviewing and resolving your emotional attachments to food, you will find it life-changing!
Once 240 pounds and a size 22, Kimberly Taylor can testify of God's healing power to end binge eating. She is an author and the creator of the Christian weight-loss website takebackyourtemple.com. Visit today for inspirational health and weight-loss tips.
This article originally appeared at takebackyourtemple.com.
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