What IS preventative eating?

Well, it’s what you do when you are preparing to go into a situation where you know you won’t be able to have food: a courtroom, a class, a seminar, church service, classroom situation, doctor’s appointment, DMV line, etc. Since you know you will not be able to have food for an hour or two (or longer) and you are concerned you will get hungry and not be able to eat, preventative eating is stocking up ahead of time–eating when you aren’t at a 0 or eating beyond 5 in preparation for the situation that may be ahead. It is eating so you won’t get hungry when you don’t think you will be around food.

There are some obvious problems with this. 🙂 Like there is nothing about it that respects the 0 and 5 boundary that God has asked us to respect!

We also have no idea if we will get hungry then or not. Not for certain!

This video explains a bit of what I am talking about. (If you are an email subscriber, please visit the blog if the video isn’t viewable.)

We often discover that if we are careful to give ourselves permission to eat to prevent hunger, it often leads to “I have broken my boundaries once already, so I may as well break them the rest of the day” sort of eating. Or “I have blown my boundaries” or what Barb Raveling calls “Failure Eating.”

As I shared in the video, there are a couple of ways of handling a situation like this.

  1. Plan your hunger so that you are at a 0 with time before the event to have a meal that will be likely to sustain you for the period of time you won’t have access to food.
  2. Carry a small bag of nuts with you to “shave the edge” off the 0 if you do land there during your class, appointment, or flight. A few cashews or almonds can go a long way and then you will have the pleasure of enjoying a meal at 0 after your class, appointment or flight.
  3. Renew your mind about being hungry before you actually are and then allow yourself to pray your way through “0” to the “other side” and enjoy that while you are hungry, your body is likely using its very efficient stores to fuel you!

When you are tempted to stock up and eat before you head off to a situation where you may not have access to food for a few hours, consider using these questions:

Preventative Eating Questions

1. Why do you feel like you should eat now?

2. Would you break your boundaries if you chose to eat now?

3. Are you willing not to eat right now?

If yes, consider what God’s solution might be to this situation. What do you think HE wants you to do?

If no, consider doing the justification or entitlement questions. It sounds like this is more about having an excuse to eat than it is about a legitimate concern to eat.

3. Should this be an exception to your 0 to 5 eating boundaries?

Yes – Why?

If the answer is YES, then how will you know when you are justifying eating and when you have a legitimate reason to eat? What will be the standard?

Given what you know about yourself and your history, do you think you can trust yourself to be honest about breaking a boundary?

No, if not, then do you really need to consider this option any further? What options are available to you instead? Are you willing to do one of them?

4.  Are you afraid of being hungry? Why?

Where does fear come from?

What would God want you to do to deal with this situation?

5. What options can you consider to avoid being hungry during the class, appointment, or seminar without breaking your 0 to 5 boundaries?

6. Is avoiding hunger during your appointment, flight or class a need or a desire?

If a need then what possible solutions are there that you can use while respecting your boundaries?

If a desire, consider doing the justification or entitlement questions.

  1. Are you willing to experience discomfort if doing so means honoring the boundaries that God has established for you?
  2. Is alleviating your hunger or the possibility of being hungry worth the spiritual, emotional, and physical consequences that you will face if you break your boundary and eat to prevent hunger?


Much of my “preventative” eating has been rooted in fear. Maybe you can relate! We may be afraid of being uncomfortable …hungry… and not able to get to food. When we dismantle this fear and evaluate it, it really helps to diffuse the emotional volatility that is a part of it.

For me, I feared being hungry and without food because of abuse related to my childhood.

God wanted me to allow myself to get hungry…and to experience his presence in the midst of my fear and my physical hunger. He wanted me to see that there was nothing to fear. That my fear was rooted in lies that I believed.

Renewing my mind about this was vital to break free from “preventative eating” and so I have to review truths such as these when I am tempted to eat to prevent hunger ahead of time:

  1. Being hungry is not so painful that I can’t manage it.
  2. When I am hungry there is nothing terrible that will happen to me.
  3. It is TRUE that I will have food sometime relatively soon.
  4. The comfort that I need and that I sometimes turn to food to give me is only found in the Lord (and he sometimes uses people).
  5. No alleviating of my potential discomfort is worth the violating of my boundaries.
  6. Who knows? Maybe I won’t even BE hungry before the event is over with. I just don’t know!
  7. Food will be available when the event is over. If I am at a 0 I will be free to get food.
  8. If I am hungry for a while, I will be ok.

Look up the following bible verses and write down what you learn about the need for preventative eating:

  1. Psalm 37:25
  2. Psalm 81:10
  3. Psalm 73:23-26
  4. Isaiah 41:10, 13

Can you find any others? If so, share them with me so I can add them to this list.

What blessings are in store for you if you stand against the temptation for “preventative eating?”

Do you have any events this week, any appointments, errands to run, meetings to attend where you might be likely to engage in “preventative eating?” What strategy will you prayerfully employ so that you don’t break your boundaries?