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!
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?