5 Truths for Freedom for the Restrictive Eater!

Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Hi. A friend of mine who frequents this blog, sent me an email following my post last week on Truth Cards. I asked her if she would be willing to write a blog post to share her perspective with the readers of this blog. It is incredibly valuable, but one I have little experience with. I hope you will share the link with anyone you know who may need to see this!

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I find truth cards to be extremely helpful. But my truth, as someone who has suffered from years of restrictive food plans of my own making and through various anonymous organizations, seems to be almost the flip side of your truth.

One of your truth cards, which you shared with blog readers on 9/3/13, reads, “Today I will have to give up food I want to eat in order to follow my boundaries.” When I read that I immediately thought, “that is not true for me.” For me, I MUST eat food I want in order to follow my boundaries. 

I had so many years of telling myself the following lies:

LIE #1. I cannot handle sugar.

LIE #2. If I start eating that binge food, I will never be able to stop.

LIE #3. There is something wrong with me at a cellular level.

LIE #4. The fact that I crave carbohydrates is evidence that I can’t handle them.

LIE #5. Desperate wanting (craving) is one step on the path to sinning.

Maybe these lies don’t ring a bell with you. If they do, if you have been like me and felt like you were evil for wanting things, and then denied yourself those very things in order to be “good,” then you can place yourself firmly in the “restrictor” camp.

I have been underweight, at my ideal weight, and overweight. I don’t think all restrictors are underweight. When I was overweight, I felt like a hypocritical restrictor. But wasn’t it inevitable? As I grew and matured physically and spiritually, I began to recognize the lies inherent in my beliefs. But that recognition was at a somewhat unconscious or perhaps semi-conscious level, and that’s when I transitioned from full-time restriction to binge eating. For me, binge eating is best described as intermittent restriction. It was restriction on the path to healing. But it was a very hard place to be, and it didn’t feel at all transitional. It felt permanent, and in fact it seemed like direct evidence that there was something very wrong with me. I told myself the lies, shouted them to myself sometimes, until eventually the unconscious or semi-conscious part of me said “NO!” and I ate every item of sugar that I could possibly stuff into myself in a short period of time. Bingeing seemed to confirm the lies, “see, I REALLY can’t handle sugar,” and “see, there REALLY is something terribly wrong with me.”

When I was finally able to see that the binges were actually created by the restriction and by my belief in lies, and I started to let myself eat the things I actually wanted, I was amazed and full of awe at the truths that God revealed:

TRUTH #1. I can eat sweets in moderation.

TRUTH #2. I can eat what I truly want and be satisfied.

TRUTH #3. There is nothing wrong with me (other than the fact that I believed a bunch of lies for years and years).

TRUTH #4. The fact that I crave carbohydrates is evidence that either I have overdone it in the sugar department and need some protein to balance out my overindulgence, or more likely, that I have not been eating enough carbohydrates and my body needs some sugar or complex carbohydrates to operate effectively.

TRUTH #5. Desperate wanting (craving) is a way of God communicating with me through my body. I can listen to God, honor my bodily signals, and take loving and nurturing action. Craving sleep, craving a hug, all my other cravings signal real needs that can be simply met. I do not need to be afraid. Cravings can be satisfied.

It all seems like a lot and as a person who is recovering from perfectionism, I tend to want to get it all right and find it overwhelming and want to retreat into a food plan that someone else has constructed because I still sometimes believe the lie that I am incompetent in the food department. When this happens, then I try to center on just one concept: My one goal for eating today is SATISFACTION.

When I am satisfied, I have no desire to binge. When I eat to satisfaction, I forget about food until next time I am hungry. In all those years of restriction, I was almost never satisfied, which is why I thought about food all the time.

Satisfaction is scary. It takes me to the next level. It solves my food problem and opens up new possibilities for me. I have been eating to satisfaction consistently for almost four months now. I have been eating to satisfaction and have been binge free for that entire time. This is coming from someone who five months ago and for the past 10 years before that was bingeing on average at least three times per week, with brief forays of binge free living that lasted at most six weeks at a time. It’s both a miracle and an incredibly simple answer to what seemed like a hugely complex problem.

It takes a lot of trusting in God to eat to satisfaction. But God is faithful, as always. If weight is a concern for you, then take heart. I had been bingeing heavily when I started, so I lost five pounds within the first week or two, of what for me has come to be known as “binge weight.” Over the subsequent few months, I’ve lost another five pounds. I am now at what I would consider an ideal weight for myself, a weight that I have not been at for over 10 years. And I got there by eating to satisfaction? Yup. Praise God!

Post by – Name withheld by request

How About You?

Prayerfully consider if you are someone who needs to write a different kind of truth in your truth cards. What does God’s Spirit testify to your heart? Are you, like my friend, in need of pressing on all the way to satisfaction? Are you restricting your eating in a way that is not trusting the body that God has given you? What is true for you? Are you willing to step out in faith and trust Him today?

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11 Responses to 5 Truths for Freedom for the Restrictive Eater!

  1. Joan E. Rudloff September 9, 2013 at 5:22 am #

    Oh my goodness! this is me and my story. It explains why so much of what you’ve shared hasn’t touched base with me. Whoever you are, thank you so much! I don’t even know what to say. Your story is my story. I don’t feel quite so alone. Please friend me on facebook. I would love to talk with you further.
    thank you, Heidi for posting this. It has put into words what I was feeling but couldn’t put into words. Isn’t that neat of the Lord? I just love it when He answers prayer through one another.
    We, often, can’t see how He can redeem a certain situation in our lives until He brings someone to us facing the same thing, who needs what He comforted us with.
    hugs to all who need them today.

    • Heidi Bylsma September 23, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      I hope you were able to connect, Joan! She was willing to in email! I am with you…I know many other someones out there have been encouraged by our guest blogger. More to come from her as well as two others who have written for us! I can’t wait to share them with you! 🙂

  2. fireflyby September 9, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Fantastic post! Very much what I needed to read today! Thank you!

  3. Carrie September 9, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Thank you for sharing. I relate to a lot of what you have written. I was so restrictive in my dieting, that experiencing freedom of choosing what I want has been very important. I have celebrated drinking a milkshake (didn’t drink the whole thing) for lunch, forgetting to eat salads, leaving fruits and veggies on my plate, including ice cream in my dinner, etc. Once I “allowed” the foods (all things are permissible), they lost some of their allure – and bingeing as it was in my “old days” (not very long ago) is staying in the past. It’s definitely a journey and a process, but hearing of your wonderful successes is encouraging. Thanks again.

    • Heidi Bylsma September 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

      I celebrate your victory, too, Carrie!

  4. Mary Anne Endeman September 10, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    This is just what I needed to hear! So much of my life has been restrictive eating–until I can’t stand it anymore—and then I binge. And I binge on things I don’t necessarily even like, but it’s in the house and it’s either a carb or sweet. Then the guilt piles on. I feel it’s been a vicious cycle for so many years and I have had such a hard time realizing that I have the freedom to chose to eat what my body likes, and am afraid of those whole body pleasers because I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop with just a little. I have friends who turned vegan and they are constantly preaching at us about how bad meat, oils, nuts, and dairy are for our bodies that I find myself getting sucked into their way of thinking. But, then I realize God knows what my body needs & how much it needs, and He will guide me as I seek His wisdom in this area. Thank you so much for your prospective! I could so relate to it!

    • Heidi Bylsma September 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm #

      Mary Anne, I think many of us CAN relate. I am so glad that the guest post encouraged you!

  5. Sheila September 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    Thanks to Heidi and to the lady who gave her the green light to go ahead and post this to the blog.

    • Heidi Bylsma September 23, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      I am so grateful for willing servants. 🙂

  6. Christina September 11, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    When I first read that truth card (which I have now included in my own), I never thought of it as me restricting myself from certain foods. I thought of it more as I may have to turn down ANY food that was outside of my boundaries. Like a food I wanted to eat even if I wasn’t at a 0, or wanted to eat it standing up or while watching TV. But I can definitely see how that would get one thinking about restricting certain foods. That would make me crazy! Ha! But God has hallowed ALL foods! Praise God!

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