What to Do When Food Takes Over Your Life | Ashley Varner
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What to do when food takes over your life | AshleyVarner.com | Health God's Way

What to Do When Food Takes Over Your Life

What do you do when food takes over your life?

When food becomes so important to you, when it takes over your thinking, you feel trapped. You feel hopeless.

I get it. The enemy really uses food against Christian women in particular. While it might be difficult for him to tempt us in other areas, food is acceptable and needed. So he entices us with food until it ends up taking over our lives.

It’s subtle, but struggles with food are really a bigger problem than we think. The problem lies with the reason behind our eating and the problems that our eating is covering up.

When food takes over your life, when food becomes more than life to you, it is become an idol in your life.

I hope that you will be encouraged by this post because struggles with food are something that touches the heart.

What I’m going to share isn’t easy to hear but sometimes it’s exactly what we need to hear.

Maybe food isn’t the idol in your life, but I’m sure there’s something else in your life that you know is taking over and maybe it’s not food but it’s something else that you can apply these principles to.

We want to serve the Lord and serve Him only. We don’t want anything to get in the way of that.

Listen to the podcast here!


Idols of the Heart

Idols will definitely keep you from living out God’s best for your life.

They will stop you from reaching new heights in your relationship with Him because at some point you will hit a wall. There’s no way around it. When idols become such commonplace in your life, you will start to live in bondage.

And if I’m being 100% honest, it’s the idols that are subtle, that are actually good things, that we don’t realize end up becoming such a stronghold for us.

Recently I shared a post about the dangers of seeking the healing instead of the Healer.  In that post, I share how the idols we have can actually come out of the good things in our lives.

The way that the enemy has used idols has really changed in this time and culture. We’ve been believing this misconception that idols have to be a little statue or something that we physically bow to when really an idols is anything that our hearts are bowing down to.

What to do when Food Takes Over Your Life | Health God's Way | AshleyVarner.com


You Can’t Serve Two Things at the Same Time

Most of us would agree that when we’re serving something else: when we’re serving money, food, or our families, we can’t serve the Lord wholeheartedly.

We may tend to think, “I don’t have any addictions, I don’t bow to any idols and so this idea of idols doesn’t apply to me.” But today I really want to get personal and talk about these idols that end up stopping us from really living out God’s purpose for us.

These idols cause us so much grief and the biggest one, the one that we’re going to talk about today, is food.


When Food Takes Over Your Life

Food can trap us in a lot of different ways and food can serve as an idol in our lives in a lot of different ways.

You have women that can be body obsessed, where it’s all about the selfie. It’s all about the mirror. You’ve seen the selfies I’m talking about. Maybe you’ve even taken on. The selfies women take holding their shirt up, showing their abs.

That’s a subtle way that food trap us.

If you’re an emotional eater, then you definitely know that food traps you in a cycle.

There are chronic dieters that no matter what their weight is, whatever their size, they are constantly looking for the next diet for self-fulfillment, they’re looking for the next diet to have validation and food has them in it’s snare.

And then, there’s the “I don’t care” eater. It’s partially based on the idea that “God accepts me no matter what.”

The danger is it because a rebellious attitude toward food. You begin to think, I:

  • can look however I want
  • don’t need to take care of my body at all
  • can eat whatever I want

And that kind of thinking is self-destructive.

If you’ve ever been at that place where it felt like everything was going great in your life except for your weight, then you know what I mean when I say that food takes over your life.

I was there for a long time. I would think, “My life is so wonderful, I have a wonderful marriage, I love my boys. The Lord has blessed us so much.. if only I was just skinny, if I was just thinner then my life would be perfect.”

Talk about a stronghold.

If you have ever thought that, then your weight and your relationship with food is probably an idol in your life.

This blog is all about creating a balanced and graceful life. It’s about living out God’s best and living with godly confidence.

And that’s impossible if you struggle with weight and food issues. The sad thing is, this topic has been taboo, and it’s not something that we want to talk about. But if we ignore it, it will just get worse.


Is not life more important than food?

If you struggle with emotional eating or binge eating or chronic dieting, you know first hand that the way that you view food can interrupt your life.

Food ends up being this constant state of worry for you. It’s something that you’re always thinking about.

You’re either regretting what you just ate, looking forward to what you can eat, worried about what you’re going eat and it really fights against what Jesus taught in Matthew 6.

Jesus was talking to his disciples and He tells them, “don’t worry about your life. What you’re going to eat or drink or wear.” In verse 25 of Matthew 6, Jesus says, “Is not life more important than food.”

I remember the first time I heard that verse, in the context of my emotional eating. It was like something clicked in my mind and I realized that food had been my life.

Food was meant to be a great part of life. God gave us taste buds for a reason.

I like to say that food was meant to be a great side dish of life, but it was never meant to be the main dish.

It has a purpose, but whenever it becomes your life, it will take over your life.

There is so much isolation that comes with struggling with food issues. It’s an extremely private issue that plays on publicly by the size that you wear.

I understand your pain. You feel like you’re never going to lose the weight. And you wonder if you’ll ever be happy with the way that you look. You want to diet but a couple of days into it and you’re back to the way that you were eating and you just feel hopeless.

I get it. And I want you to know that food doesn’t have to be your entire life.


Focus on What You’re Going to DO instead of What You’re Going to Eat

The first tool you can use to start taking back control over food is to change your focus.

I want you to focus on what you’re going to do today versus what you’re going to eat today.

I’m sure you’re used to constantly thinking about food. Most of your time is spent thinking about (worrying about) the next meal you’re going to have. Instead I want you to start focusing on living your life.

You’re so focused on the exact amount of food at the exact time of day, but as soon as you drive by a fast food place or as soon as you smell something coming from the office kitchen, right away you’re hungry and you pull in to grab some fries.

All you can think about is food.

So I want you to consider focusing on what you’re going to do today versus what you’re going to eat today.

That starts with, going to the Lord and saying, “God, I don’t want to be obsessed with food today. Give me something, give me some distraction that’s going to take my mind away from food and focus on living because I don’t want food to be the main dish of my life.”


Praying Before You Eat

The second thing I want you to start doing today, at your very next meal, is to pray before you eat.

Praying before meals is a lost art, but it’s so important to pray before you eat.

Here’s why: Anytime that you sit down to eat and you thank the Lord for the food that He’s given you, it is so hard to elevate that food to a place of idolatry in your life.

It’s difficult to binge when you’ve just asked the Lord to bless the food. When I think back to these times of struggling with binging and emotional eating, I was in this dark pit for years of my life.

And I can’t think of a single time that I binged after praying for my food.

If you’re a binge eater or an emotional eater, you CAN go to the Lord.

Praying before you eat ends up taking on a whole new meaning.

Instead of a simple, quick prayer, praying for your food ends up being a time where you start talking to the Lord about the food that you’re going to eat. Blessing the food changes to, “Lord, let this food be eaten for the right reason. If there’s anything in my heart that’s causing me to come to this food and eat it that’s not for fuel, help me to see that.”

When you go to the Lord, He will show you. His word says that whenever you draw near to Him, He’ll draw near to you (James 4). As you start praying over your food, you’re going to be able to recognize His voice so much better.

You’ll hear Him say, “Before you eat that, let Me help you deal with what happened today…”

If you are consistently going to food whenever you’re angry about something, you’re going to start to see that pattern.

The Lord’s going to bring it to your mind and you’ll be able to deal with that anger without going to food.

At the end of the day, trying to diet away food issues is like putting a bandaid over a gun shot wound.

When we go to food, we’re not dealing with the real problem. When you pray before you eat, you can say, “Lord, I want to be sure that I’m eating this food for the right reasons. I want to be sure that there’s nothing in my heart that is causing me to go to food whenever I should be going to You to fill that void.”


Your Relationship with the Lord Can Change the Way You Respond to Food

When you open your heart to The Lord and soften your heart to hear His voice, it’s going to change the way that you look at food.

Your relationship with the Lord can change the way that you respond to food and food ends up becoming more of a side dish to your life, rather than the main dish of your life.

Here’s one more bonus tip to conquer emotional eating that you can use whenever food takes over your life.

Anytime you’re tempted to eat a specific food, I want you to hold that piece of food in your hand and say, “Jesus, I love You more than this ice cream,” or “Jesus, I love You more than this macaroni and cheese.”

Whatever the food is that seems to take over your heart, whatever craving you feel hopeless against, when you start to put that up against your love for the Lord it pales in comparison.

And the foods that are difficult to say that about make you realize that they have been an idol in your life.

When I was really drinking a lot of soda, I decided to do this.  I kept holding up the soda in my hand and saying, “Lord, I love you more than this Coca Cola.”

It was easy to put it away because, while I knew there was nothing wrong with Coca Cola, in my heart it was holding a place higher than it should’ve been.

So when I spoke out the truth, it made it easier to put that soda down and to say, “I’m choosing to live rather than to eat.”


It’s Time to Walk in Freedom

If this post really resonated in your heart then I want to encourage you with this: Sister, it’s time to walk in freedom.

The enemy has had you tied up with food issues for too long. I know, because I’ve been there. I struggled with food for two DECADES. And when I finally found freedom, I had to shout it from the roof tops.

My friend, I know you don’t want another quick fix. You want the real freedom that only Christ offers.

What if you could live your life and food was an enjoyable afterthought?

Do you dream of the day when you can look in the mirror and like what you see? Did you know that can happen whether you’re a size 2 or a size 22?

Finally Free is a free short video series I created to help guide you to freedom with food.

You can get instant access to it, and I walk you through the steps that the Lord took me on to rid me of this emotional eating. He took me out of the cycle of dieting and binge eating and changed my heart to accept who He made me to be. But it didn’t stop there. Knowing that He accepted me, gave me motivation to make changes in my health for the right reasons.

Your body, your weight, your relationship with food is spiritual and it should be. The rule in our lives should that we go to the Lord for everything.

You will experience freedom when you go to Him for any struggle. You don’t have to compartmentalize struggles as being a mind set thing, or a heart thing, or a body thing, it’s not like that.

The Lord cares about your body. The Lord cares about your relationship with food and He wants you to experience freedom and it’s available for you right now.

It’s like you’re standing in a prison cell with a door wide open and you’re just staying there. There’s a way out, there’s a way to freedom and you can experience that through the truth of God’s word.

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