When Your HEAD says, “I Want Food…”


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You have  courageously and energetically run errands all day.

The day has been productive! You are pleased with all that you accomplished.

Now, you are headed for home, returning as the “conquering hero” having defeated the “To Do” list that loomed larger than life at dawn’s first light.

Negotiating the curb into the driveway,  before you get to the front door, the scent of chocolate chip cookies wafts across the air, superseding even the floral scent of the gardenias. Instantly, your mouth is flooded with liquid anticipation!

Stepping inside, you survey the kitchen. Eyes scan the counter-top. Evidence indicates that your teen-aged daughter has dealt with her after school snack needs by making chocolate chip cookies which are still warm on the cookie sheet. Only one cookie is missing…your daughter’s modest “snack” which, you quickly muse, “She never learned that from me!”

Yummy food! Yours for the taking!

What happens next?

If this happened to you, what really would happen next?

We could have a plan in place for our victory! I would love to see in the comments below what plan, what action steps, might enable you to emerge from this altercation the victor!

Of course, this could become one of those “Yummy Food Eating” or “Good Food Eating” moments that we studied in Barb Raveling’s bible study. It is also what we might consider “Head Hunger.” The food is there, the moment is ripe, we want it. (I can almost hear Gollum from Lord of the Rings rasping his “The Preccccciousssss….we wants it we does…”)

There isn’t really anything necessarily deeper operating. No feeling of “I deserve this!” or “I am angry at my husband for the comment he made about my hips. I’ll show HIM!” 🙂 This time, there isn’t any “poor me” thoughts. No, we didn’t have a terrible day, we don’t feel sad, frustrated or have any other obvious emotion. We just see the food and want it. In fact, chocolate chip cookies weren’t on our minds until we smelled them.

What is true at moments like this:

1.) We don’t have to eat every good thing that  we stumble upon.

2.) If I am not physically hungry food–no matter how good it may be–won’t taste nearly as good as it will if I wait until I am physically (stomach empty) hungry to eat it!

3.) The chocolate chip cookies (or whatever food it is) are not going to disappear from the planet. This isn’t my last opportunity ever to enjoy chocolate chip cookies (or other tasty morsel of choice).

4.) Right now may seem like an opportune moment to violate my boundaries, but what will be my standard for upholding them? Will I ever feel like upholding my boundaries? If I wait until I never am tempted to break them to maintain them, what might happen? How will I feel and what impact will it have on my physical, emotional, and spiritual health?

Head hunger can come out of nowhere, so it helps to have a plan of action in place ahead of time. Remember these truths:

  • Giving in to desire eating (a response to head hunger) will not further me down the path of godliness and it will not work the changes inside and out that I desire.
  • Giving in to desire eating will not train me for the next time I am tempted. In fact, now is a great time to learn to say no to my flesh. If I keep saying yes to my desires, they will rule me.
  • If I say no to desire eating, I will be able to rejoice in my obedience and know I did what was best for myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • If I can find the strength in this moment to say no to temptation, the intensity of the temptation will subside.
  • I can act NOW while the willingness to be obedient to God is strong and either on my own or with the help from a family member (or friend, depending on the situation) remove the temptation. (At Halloween, this may mean flushing the candy down the toilet! With these chocolate chip cookies, it may mean sticking them in a freezer bag and putting them in the freezer).

What else is true when you say no to your flesh and yes to God by not eating in response to desire (when stomach hunger isn’t present)?

{Note: If you are someone who has a history of not eating enough to sustain your body’s needs, the authors of Healthy Eating Abundant Living encourage you to allow Head Hunger to get you on track again. I would suggest praying and asking God to give you the strength to eat when you need it and the food sounds appealing. Anyone with a history of overeating, you may be prone to want to see yourself in this category. Ask the Lord to show you if this does, indeed fit.]

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25 Responses to When Your HEAD says, “I Want Food…”

  1. Joyce May 22, 2013 at 5:06 am #

    Oh, this was me last night. It was not chocolate chip cookies but, left over Mexican white cheese dip. The very sad thing is I was hungry. I just did not pay attention to how much I ate and I did not stop when satisfied. I also participated in the “Oh, well I went this far let’s eat ice cream too.” syndrome. Why, why, why? I refuse to give in! I am having small victories, thank you God. God will be victorious in my life. His Spirit lives in me. I have grace thru Jesus. I am loved, cherished, and worthy to be successful. Today belongs to the Lord.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 25, 2013 at 7:45 am #

      Joyce, yes celebrate your victories and give credit to GOD! He is doing a new thing in you, working in you. The big battle is won one small victory at a time.

  2. Debbie DeRossett May 22, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    For me, this “desire eating” and eating simply because it’s THERE goes back to my childhood–I wanted to EAT those cookies or the ice cream because it would NOT be there later, or so I rationalized . Food was my anti-depression “drug,” making it hard for me to pass up any opportunity to “feel” better. When I am tempted by “opportunity eating,” but know I’m not hungry, I’m still that little five year old girl, trying to fill up the empty space and assuage the sadness. Now, for me walking past the chocolate chip cookies or other tempting food is about choosing to leave that sad little girl behind and deciding to grow up. I’m 48 years old, not five–I don’t have to keep reliving the past when it comes to food. The TRUTH is that cookie is just a cookie, not a means to make me feel better–the cookie when I’m not hungry only equals heartache and guilt and FAT. Growing up for me means allowing my needs to be met by the only PERSON WHO really can, God. 🙂
    So, I choose to decide before I get into any “cookie” situation that there is NO FOOD that will meet my REAL needs like Jesus, and the pleasure I will feel for a few minutes can’t even compare to FREEDOM I will experience by waiting until hunger comes. (This is where that RENEWING YOUR MIND deal comes in really HANDY!! 😉 )

    • Haley Templin May 22, 2013 at 8:00 am #

      Hope you don’t mind Debbie…..I wrote your statement out and taped it to my computer. Thanks for sharing!

      • Debbie DeRossett May 22, 2013 at 11:13 am #

        No problem, Chicken! 🙂

    • Melissa Clark Gier May 23, 2013 at 6:22 am #

      That’s my buddy, Debbie! 🙂
      Since *I* am the one who bakes cookies around here, they would never surprise me by suddenly appearing in the kitchen. However, I can see that happening if I go visit a friend or walking into Sunday morning Bible class where someone has brought snacks with an enticing aroma. My “battle strategy” is to ask myself if eating that cookie (or whatever) will give glory to God, as in I Corinthians 10:31. “Whether, therefore, you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If my tummy truly is hungry, I will enjoy a small portion of the goodie, but if it isn’t, then a simple “no thank you” is in order.
      I like having a plan ahead of time!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 25, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      AMEN AMEN AMEN, Debbie!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 29, 2013 at 6:05 am #

      Great insights, Debbie. THanks so much for sharing them. I can totally relate.

  3. Sue DeVecka May 22, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    I am at the point that I just don’t keep it in the house and do not bake goodies so I have to go to the bakery or store or whatever to get it. I am praying that by Christmas I will finally get to the point where I can have the baked goods around and eat small portions when I am hungry. I must admit at times it is hard to know when I am truly hungry and when it is just a craving. Christmas and Easter with all the goodies around is when I put all the weight I had lost back on last year and I am determined to let God be in control and have him be my focus rather than the goodies this year.

    • mariewhitemarsh May 22, 2013 at 10:30 am #

      Sue, I am the same way. I cannot have it in the house at least right now. I think for me it is a boundary I need to have. I might have some chocolate at the end of a meal or something but I cannot have a bag of candy in the house…it still calls my name too loudly and distracting. This bible study is helping me!!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 29, 2013 at 6:39 am #

      Sue, you aren’t alone in this struggle, certainly. But know that it IS possible!

  4. Michelle Renee Higgins May 22, 2013 at 7:59 am #

    Jesus loves me and food does not. Jesus is Lord of my life and food is not. I ask myself when I see treats,” if you eat that, then what?” If the answer is I know I won’t stop at one, or I am not hungry, I leave it. If I am truly hungry, I may or may not have it, depending on the time of day and when I want to be hungry again. For me it is about once I start, can I stop, Like Joyce said. Here are some quotes from Rita Hancock:
    I can wait, showing the Lord how much I have matured….
    I want to be a walking advertisement for God’s healing power……..
    Jesus is Lord, and food is not…….
    Have a blessed, peace filled day my sisters!

    • Heidi Bylsma May 25, 2013 at 7:47 am #

      Michelle, PERFECT! That question is excellent. “If I eat that, then what?” Wow…thanks for sharing that. Jesus IS Lord and food is NOT.

  5. mariewhitemarsh May 22, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    I think an action plan would be to hit pause before you eat. (there is actually a book by that name that I picked up a few yrs back) I think Heidi has pointed out that is we take these few weeks while we are doing this study and we be intentional about how we eat…so what I did is make a copy of today’s blog and cut out the questions and put contact paper on them…I now have a third sheet of laminated paper with these questions on it that I am keeping in my Bible. When I see food that I want to eat and am not hungry but want to eat just because it looks good–I can press pause before I grab the food and grab my questions and ask them to myself. I think that will snap me out of the magnetic pull to eat when my body is not calling for it. Praying this will work the rest of this week. Thanks for this post Heidi..it is helpful. We can have all the knowledge we need on this subject but the freedom only comes when we do the action plan… let’s do it guys!!!

    • Jamie May 24, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Amen! : )

    • Heidi Bylsma May 25, 2013 at 7:52 am #

      Wow, Marie. I LOVE the laminated sheet idea! That is great! Yes…I bet that is an effective tool for snapping out of the magnetic pull! I LOVE that idea! You ladies minister to me so much!

  6. Jamie May 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Nothing we do, no matter how small or routine, should be done without considering what it says about our faith. Every action we take, even eating and drinking, should be done with God’s glory in mind.

    1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV)
    “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

    I Pray and ask God for his will in the matter. Can I have a small treat? He may say yes my child or no my child at this time. Following the leading of the Holy Spirit in all things even when I buy something at the store. God will guide our hearts if we ask, seek, knock and listen for His voice to speak to our hearts. Amen.
    God bless all you lady’s today.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 25, 2013 at 7:54 am #

      I keep hoping that I will get out of the mindset that sweet foods are “treats” or “rewards” or “goodies” and just put them in the same category as all foods. Lawful, some more beneficial than others, some more tasty than others. I think my tendency to keep thinking of sweet foods as “super dee duper special” is part of why I struggle with them so much. I don’t know if that makes sense!

  7. CMK May 22, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Well, I just won a battle with temptation and decided to read some scripture to reinforce my armor. I was already sitting down with my iPad so instead of getting up for my bible study notes and scripture, I looked to see what the verse of the day is on biblegateway. Galatians 5:13. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love.” I read through 5:26 and fruits of the Spirit. Wow, I am also going to write 5:16-17 on my note cards (that the desires of the flesh are contrary to the Spirit and to walk in the Spirit) God is so amazing – He handed me exactly what I needed which was not food. I know that He is near all of us, holding us up, during this spiritual journey. Press on, friends.

    • Jamie May 24, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

      Thank you for your words of encouragement CMK…God blessings to you sister.

    • Heidi Bylsma May 25, 2013 at 7:54 am #


  8. Joan E. Rudloff May 24, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    This happens every sunday in sunday school class. Now I am usually truly hungry by then, it’s after church. But I don’t feel good if my ‘lunchh” is just a donut from that class. I bring a baggie and pick my favorite and take it home,. I ususally cut it into four small pieces , wrap and freeze three and have he fourth with lunch,

    • Jamie May 24, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

      That is a good idea and plan, and you still get to enjoy it! ; ) God blessings to you. 🙂

    • Heidi Bylsma May 25, 2013 at 7:55 am #

      Great strategy, Joan!

  9. N May 28, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I love the strategies shared here. Thank you, ladies. I will aim to implement them. However, I have to admit this is a personal weekness of mine — warm baked goods, especially chocolate chip cookies. I have to admit in this case, I think my best strategy would be to bend my boundary and say, okay, well you can have just one so that I don’t just attack them, or to just get back on track as soon as I can, because I have to admit these would likely be down the hatch before I even paused. I’m not making excuses, I just know that if they are warm and in my house and right in front of me, I would have a real problem resisting. Luckily, I am usually the baker, so I can plan my hunger, but yes, I would have real trouble with this trial. I would need some kind of physical barrier. Also, the only other adult in my household is my husband, and he would not be willing to “help” me with this weakness. He doesn’t like my weightloss or maintenence efforts. He’s coming to accept them, and he can’t argue with my following God’s lead like he can a diet program, but as far as asking him to remove them or such a thing, he would be doing just the opposite. That’s just the reality of the situation. I’m glad to know that this is a journey and one “mess up” isn’t going to throw the whole plan out the window.

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