Obsessed

Recently, I’ve noticed a pattern in my behavior. I get up in the morning, read my Bible and exercise, and then I eat a healthy breakfast. I eat a decent lunch. I track all of this food and will be well within my calorie range for the day and feel good about my choices.

Then the afternoon comes.

I think about food all afternoon. I don’t know if it’s because I am sitting at my desk answering phones and don’t have much else to occupy my mind or what, but it’s like once I am done with lunch, I can’t stop thinking about what I will eat next. I usually bring a snack with me for the afternoon, and so all I can think about is that snack. Most days I have to tell myself I won’t eat the snack until 2:30 or 3:00 or until I’ve completed a task I’m working on. And then I look at the clock constantly until that time comes. Some days I am strong and don’t even eat the snack unless I am really and truly hungry. But other days–and every day recently–I eat the snack. It’s not so bad if all I have brought with me is a 120 calorie fiber bar, but right now I have a bag of animal crackers in my desk, and buying those was definitely a mistake. Instead of portioning them out, I find myself just reaching into the bag intermittently throughout the afternoon. If I’m not eating them, I’m thinking about them sitting there in that drawer. Yesterday, the Girl Scout cookies I ordered from a coworker came in, and all afternoon it was as if they were literally calling my name. I ate two of the Tagalongs, which was a serving, but it took every ounce of mental tenacity I possessed not to eat more. I was so relieved when 5 p.m. came and I could go home and eat dinner. But then I ended up eating much more than I should have, and I felt guilty for a good chunk of the evening.

I know that part of the solution is to only bring to work a snack that I have pre-portioned, so I won’t be able to eat more than that. I am so thankful there is not a vending machine at work because I know it would be so much harder to avoid. But I also know that controlling the size of my snack is only part of the problem. I get derailed at other times besides just the afternoon, like on the weekends or after dinner.

For a while, I felt as though I had my eating issues under control. Like I told my husband, I kept thinking to myself, “I’ve lost a lot of weight, so I must be doing okay, right?” Lately, however, it’s clear to me that I have not fully confronted this issue but have only stuffed it away. I am obsessed with food, and I don’t know how not to be. I have found myself having thoughts about sneaking food, which is something I used to do all the time but have not done in a while, and I can’t help but wonder if this struggle is the reason my weight loss has slowed so much. I can exercise all I want–run a half marathon, even–but if I eat so much that I negate those burned calories, I’m only harming myself and my efforts.

The truth is because I have lost so much weight, I have become complacent, and for many months I have not truly turned to the Lord for help in this area, and it’s clear that I need help. I have been making too much out of food, giving food too much power over me. I need to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ, so that I serve Him and not my flesh. I need to “taste and see that the Lord is good” and know that He alone satisfies all my desires.

Do you struggle with an obsession with food? How do you fight it?

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12 thoughts on “Obsessed

  1. I totally get it. When i'm trying really hard to do well, it's all I can think about. I wish I had an answer for you- I'd be much thinner and healthier if I did! 🙂 Let me know what you find.

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  2. Maybyour lunches are not filling or satisfying enough. Are you eating a lunch balanced with protein, carbs and fat? I think changing your snack may help too…try having a snack of fruit with dairy ot crackers…may actually satify your belly so you're not constantly thinking about eating your next meal. I had to play around with food until I ofund what worked for me…it takes some practice and experimenting:)

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  3. Oh I get it! I feel the same! I can control myself very well till noon. Once I am back from college at around 4:30, I totally give in and start snacking like a lunatic. I know its wrong but I cant stop myself. Its bugging me as well. Maybe a healthy mid afternoon snack could do the trick?

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  4. I completely understand what you mean. I lost weight and gained it back for similar reasons. I ran but it wasn't enough because my food habits didn't evolve and I didn't surrender and repent. For me, it's still kind of hard to equate this “habit” of overeating as a sin..because soooo many people do it. Not just people, but Christians!

    Trying different snacks may help but, like you said, what is at the root of the problem? “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 The devil knows our weaknesses…he's playing mind tricks with us–pushing us to our boundaries. BUT, I don't think we will always struggle with it. God is all about liberation, but He's also about faithfulness. And trust me, I'm telling this to myself 10 times more than you! 🙂

    I hope this comes across as encouraging and not holier-than-thou because my intentions are good. I've “stalked” your blog for the longest time and you've encouraged me to finally call this overeating by its' true name: sin. Thank-you for that–I've known that's what it was for years but until I saw someone else call it out, I just wasn't able to see it.

    “God knows our situation; He will not judge us as if we had no difficulties to overcome. What matters is the sincerity and perseverance of our will to overcome them.” ~C.S. Lewis

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  5. Awesome comment left by Jessica. I can totally relate. I am struggling right now and I feel like I am at the end of my rope. I do fine in the morning and after lunch. I have trouble when I get home. As soon as I walk through the door I am fantasizing about what I am going to eat…even when dinner is planned. I eat dinner and settle down with my jug of water and then visions of food start dancing in my head. I am not sure what's going on but I will definitely pray on it.

    Sorry, not much help.

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  6. Oh afternoons are the worst!!
    The snack you bring with you should probably be high in protein instead of carbs (I'm such a sucker for animal crackers! Those stupid things are so good.) so that it will help you make it until dinner.

    I've been hardcore working on my calorie intake over the past few weeks. I've had some success and the more success I have, the more stringent I am, but sometimes I wonder if I'm just putting a band-aid on a bigger problem.

    During my quiet time each morning, I literally pray that God would help me not to choose gluttony today. I don't want to worship food. When I put it that way, it's embarrassing that I let myself be controlled by crackers and cookies and chips. What's hard to balance, though, is the worship of eating the right foods.
    A long time ago I read an article written by a friend from college who wrote plainly about her obsession with food. It was eye-opening and convicting to me back when I read it. Maybe something in it will encourage you.
    http://solofemininity.blogs.com/posts/2007/07/slave-to-food.html

    The book “Love to Eat, Hate to Eat” by Elyse Fitzpatrick is supposed to be really good. I let a friend borrow my copy so I haven't read it yet (which may reflect the real problem…Hhmmmm…)

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  7. Oh how I understand this… I did it all today. I ate my breakfast (kashi cereal, skim milk, and strawberries) then went to work. I allow myself two 100 calorie snacks each day, one at 10 am and one at 3 so I'm eating a bit every two hours. I was seriously fantasizing about food all morning…had taco bell for lunch, then fantasized about dinner (some of the quiche I made last night) then just thinking about what i would bake this weekend! I have been doing better but today was just HARD. And I definitely idolize food. It's so clear in my books and magazines and what I write and read about in the blogs. ridiculous! I need to remember to connect it mentally to my faith. I tend to separate weight issues from something that God can work in b/c I feel like it's just vanity, but at this point it's about health and idols–not glorifying to God at all!

    Hanging in here with you.

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  8. I had a really bad struggle with this last month. Usually I have this around the time of my period. I have tried Full Bars. They really help. You just eat and drink a glass of water. When you are done you had something sweet and you also feel full.

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  9. Yes. I struggle with this too. Definitely the busier I am the easier it is to deal with b/c I'm preoccupied. But I struggle the most at work too. For whatever reason, I don't struggle as much at home. Maybe b/c I'm happier and busier there?

    I do what you've talked about: only bring a certain # of healthy snacks, portion them out, etc. But it's hard not to sneak to our office lobby and grab a snack. But if I'm REALLY hungry I'll do it (esp. now that I'm pregnant). I don't have the self control to bring a bunch of snacks and not eat them all at once!

    We ordered GS cookies too, and they are all sitting unopened on my kitchen counter. I know as soon as I open a box I'm a goner. I've even asked my DH if we can give some away so I'm not tempted as much. Ugh. I wish I could just have them around and be moderate about eating them. It's just really hard–I want MORE than 2 cookies!

    So just know that you aren't alone. We're rooting for you.

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  10. I can completely understand this post. I too had to continually fight against complacency. It was so easy to think, “I have this under control,” and then – just like you described I realized I really didn't have it yet.

    If it makes you feel better know that I still find myself thinking about food more than people who have never had a weight struggle. I just know how to control it now, and so do you!!

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