Open Letter to a Food Addict

A recent exchange. Used here for the edification of others with the writer's permission.

Dear Marie,

I am struggling again. I do not know where to start with putting this idoltary away. I have been runnign to food, and stuffing down to avoid feelings. I am afraid that there is no hope for me.I seem to not get myself of solid ground. Then the issue of support, I ssem to be alone in this.. I am at my whit send. where do I start??? I feel sick in my heart and in my body.

I am desperate for answers, but do not know where to begin. I know that I need to start in God's word.

My response:

"Well, first off I am really sorry that you are struggling; this is a real mountain to move, I know. Eating is such a major part of our lives, and (especially around this time of the year) it is so hard to keep it in perspective. Please don't say that there is "no hope" for you, because that is what Satan would want you to believe and there is ALWAYS hope for those who are in Christ Jesus.

The thing about the support...don't rely too much on other people for your breakthrough....... I had to repent of the bulimia completely without my husband even knowing, and I was TERRIFIED. When God really is all you have, you find that He is enough and sufficient to meet all your needs.

The place to begin would be, IMO, before your next meal. Seriously, get used to putting on the full armor of God before your meal - plan ahead - and pray for guidance and self-control. And then the next one, and when you are tempted to binge in between. As you know, it is not a physical hunger you are trying to feed, so get used to disciplining yourself to SEEK HIM FIRST. Then commit to eating a normal, healthy thing (use common sense as well as prayer about food choices - I know you know what constitutes healthy food and normal portion sizes) and rely on His strength to stick to it.

The thing is, it's so common to mess up - over and over. But the more you despair and stay in shame, the more you will give up and stay in defeat. That's where grace comes in - you have to just pick yourself up, repent as you would of any other sin, and accept that He loves you and knew you would fail before the temptation was even before you. Christ has already made provision for the failings of your flesh, and you cannot redeem yourself to the Redeemer (nor should you try). Just seek Him once again, and lost in that love, move on. Even if it's "seven times in the same day", go back to Him and repent (Luke 17:4).

Do not have the triggering foods around. Simply don't. I always compare this to someone who struggles with lust - shouldn't they be careful what they put in front of their eyes? In the Catholic church, you hear mention of "occasions of sin". The phrase itself isn't biblical, but the concept certainly is - don't put yourself in situations where you know you're going to be particularly tempted. You are much more likely to fall.

Whatever the feelings are, deal with them...it's better than continuing on in disordered eating, which will only give you one more painful burden to carry. If there is something in your marriage that needs to be addressed (I know that is the toughest one, especially for us, the women), please try to do so - with or without a counselor. If it does not relate to anyone else, still bring the burden before God - even if initially it seems much more painful to face it head-on, dealing with your feelings and circumstances will ultimately bring you much greater relief than medicating them with food.

Please just take it one meal at a time; one prayer at a time. Commit to spending at least 15 minutes with your Father first thing in the morning; before you even eat breakfast. Yes, you need to be in the Word, but just as badly, you need fellowship with Him. This is the TRUE hunger that you are trying to stuff with a counterfeit.

He loves you so much, and bids you come to Him - flaws and all. Please don't give up."

I hope this advice is helpful to someone...please e-mail me if you want prayer support or to talk one-on-one.

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