Emotional Eating

I plan on returning to summaries of The Lord’s Table soon, but today, I could tell I needed to deal with some things. I turned to “Freedom from Emotional Eating,” by Barb Raveling, instead of working on The Lord’s Table.

Yes…this is what I needed. What I need. Present tense.

Yesterday, I struggled a lot with urges to eat and to revert back to drinking soda. I didn’t give in to the soda drinking. (I will write about this another time, as I think diet soda has been a huge stronghold in my past…one I never totally resolved to give up, but have now…hopefully, permanently.)

I was amazed at how drawn to food and soda I felt all day.

My accountability partner asked the right questions of me and prompted me to allow God to help me work through this. My tendency was to just “blow it off” as “Ok, so I am feeling emotional.” But to be honest with you, calling it emotional eating without DEALING with it, isn’t even as good as throwing a band-aid on it. It is like seeing a wound and saying “Yup, it is bleeding” and leaving it at that.

In Barb Raveling’s workbook, “Freedom from Emotional Eating,” the reader is urged to go beyond recognizing there are emotional triggers, to actually doing something about it…to speaking TRUTH into the situation. This is done through “truth journaling.” This is a remarkably simple thing to do, I found, yet profound.

The enemy seeks to take us captive by messing with our heads…the old “You deserve to eat this…” or “You will feel better if you have that…” thing.

Truth journaling happens in a couple of ways. One is to call a lie a lie regarding this notion that food will make me feel better when I am emotional. It doesn’t. Not only does it NOT make me feel better five minutes from now (after I have inhaled it), but it makes things worse. I still have to deal with the emotions, but it is then compounded by the guilt and frustration with myself for trying to numb it with food. Truth journaling exposes this. And it does so very specifically…not generally, as I have just done in my explanation.

For instance, if I am tempted to eat a chocolate muffin when I am not hungry and it is because I just survived my son driving us through the canyon together (he just got his permit), I write down how I am feeling, “I want a chocolate muffin right now. I am not hungry. I want it because it will make me feel better. I deserve it for enduring the stressful drive through the canyon.” I then go back and number the thoughts: 1. I want a muffin. 2. I am not hungry. 3. I think the muffin will make me feel better. 4. I deserve the muffin.

Then, for each, I label if it is a truth or lie and what the corresponding truth is for that lie:
1. True. I want the muffin. 2. True. I am not hungry. 3. LIE. The muffin will NOT make me feel better and will, in fact, make me feel worse because of how I feel when I violate my boundaries of eating only when hungry. 4. LIE. I don’t “deserve” the muffin. The muffin isn’t a “reward.” Knowing that I have hung in there doing what God has called me to is a very great reward and I will praise God for my safety and delight in his joy over us!

Another approach is to deal with the emotions…this goes to the heart of it. I spent some time this morning doing this very thing and I feel better equipped to handle the day.

I am emotional with good reason. 1.) My son is driving now and living where we do, the roads are windy, narrow and everyone on the roads is insane. πŸ™‚ 2.) My horse, Breezy, gets seen tomorrow by a specialist for what may be cancer in his eye. 3.) My schedule is so jammed full of things this week that I am overwhelmed. 4.) I have a website I am developing that has taken on a life of its own for a client who I have worked out a “trade” with and now I just want it done.

I have a strong emotional response to each of these things. This morning, as I truth journalled about some of them (and I will go back and do the others), I was able to invite God to expose the lies that are at the heart of some of my emotions about them. Certainly, while worry about Breezy is understandable, it won’t help matters. In fact, Breezy senses my anxiety and it adds to his own, making it more difficult for the vet to treat him. I have anxiety about the money this will cost and, again, worry won’t help this. It is what it is.

See how this works? As I allow God to speak truth into these situations, I am better equipped to pray through them and not to yearn for food which doesn’t help matters anyhow. God is my healer and my helper. He knows all things. He knows right now about Breezy’s eye and what is causing it.

This seems so simple right now as I share it. I almost want to delete this post because I assume people might say “Duh!” But it really IS profound.

The trick is, in the moment when I feel tempted to eat or to guzzle a diet cherry pepsi, I must be willing to stop and evaluate what is TRUTH in the situation? It isn’t likely that drinking or eating something will EVER be the TRUTHful answer to what is going on.

How about you? Can you take stock and see what the truth is about why you are drawn to food? Or, at the very least, evaluate whether having this candybar or that second helping of enchiladas will *really* make you feel better, happier, whatever an hour from now? πŸ™‚

I want to live out my freedom. As Beth Moore said last week, we can’t have our milestones until we can take captive the moment. I see Barb Raveling’s truth journaling idea as being an invaluable way of capturing the moment for the Lord and allowing my mind to be renewed with his truth…

I hope you do, too! πŸ™‚

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