How to Overcome Food Fixation

Every evening around 9 p.m. the cravings begin.

I want chocolate. I want Cherry Pepsi. I want All The Things that are not good for my body, especially that late at night.

Looking back, I see how that habit developed. When our children were younger and my husband worked second shift, I would reward myself for getting through the tough evening hours alone with some “me time” in front of the tv.

Of course, I couldn’t leave out a bedtime sweet, or two, also part of the reward.

Thus food became intimately connected to my idea of relaxation.

It’s taken years of the Lord dealing with me in this area of satisfaction and contentment for me to realize that I use food in all of the wrong ways a majority of the time! And to be honest, I’m still learning.

Do you suffer from food fixation? Do you swing between diet restrictions and food freedom?  If these are questions that consume your thoughts, then you need this book! Full by Asheritah CiuCiu authentically addresses the issue of food fixation that plagues our society today! food|Full|book review|weight-loss journey|healthy eating|food obsession |diet|organic|overcoming obesity

*Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book Full in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. This post also contains affiliate links*

I recently finished reading Full by Asheritah CiuCiu, who writes about my very struggle – to find satisfaction in Christ alone.

This particular book took me three times as long to finish as it should have because at first, I just plain didn’t want to read it.

In fact, I spent the first half of this year in full out rebellion against what the Lord had previously taught me about caring for my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. I ate whatever I wanted. I exercised only when really motivated.

And I picked up and put down Full about ten times over the course of several months.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I decided that I didn’t want to submit to the Lord in the area of healthy eating.

It was just too hard!

Enter Full and Asheritah CiuCiu’s humble yet truth-filled approach to “Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction.”

It’s easy to relate to the author because I am her, the woman who can’t stop putting brownies in her mouth even when she’s full. I’m also the woman who sometimes feels confused about the role of food in my life.

I recognize that food is a gift from our Heavenly Father and that all things are permissible in moderation, but how that plays out in my life isn’t always clear-cut.

Is it okay to eat this chocolate today or not okay?

In fact, often avoiding sugary sweets results in an unhealthy obsession about when I might be able to have them next!

This is precisely the conundrum that Asheritah describes in her book, and she rightly refers to it as “food fixation.”

According to CiuCiu, Full isn’t just for those struggling to honor God with their food choices, but it’s also for those who have an unhealthy obsession with food in general – the crunchy mama who will only eat organic, the woman fighting against gluttony, the one obsessed with body image and every morsel she puts in her mouth.

The author points out that any type of food fixation (whether the fixation is on brownies or wheat grass) leads us into slavery – it’s a form of idolatry that even committed Christians often fail to recognize.

By the time I came across the sentence “Food is not the enemy,” I understood that this was a book I desperately needed.

My battle to overcome in the area of my health and weight led me to a place of extreme control rather than a place of freedom, which explains my six-month rebellion.

The battle to overcome food fixation

Rather than succumbing to food fixation, Asheritah suggests that we learn to find satisfaction in Christ, to take in the Bread of Life and to be full. Her research into food addiction and the Bible itself help us to see that food fixation is, at its core, a spiritual issue rather than a physical one.

As a spiritual issue, we must learn to address the root causes of our food fixation. We must learn how to find fullness and satisfaction in Christ alone, how to meet everyday temptations with spiritual truth.

Is it okay to eat this chocolate today or not okay? How can I eat a friend's home if she doesn't serve organic? If these are questions that consume your thoughts, then you need this book! Full by Asheritah CiuCiu authentically addresses the issue of food fixation that plagues our society today! food|Full|book review|weight-loss journey|healthy eating|food obsession |diet|organic|overcoming obesity

The final section of this book, in particular, teaches many practical ways to overcome food fixation:

  • learning to recognize past patterns
  • overcoming temptation through scripture memory and prayer
  • celebrating every little victory

Aside from the first few chapters, this was my favorite section of the book. With these tools and the power of the Spirit, we can break the chains of addiction and find our way to freedom!

If any type of food fixation keeps you in bondage, if you long for food freedom, be sure to pick up a copy of Asheritah CiuCiu’s book Full.

Above all, keep seeking your Heavenly Father and invite Him to release you from the bonds of food fixation once and for all.

He is able!

Jen :)

Not By Might: The Power to Persevere

Walking shoes laced tight, I stand at the bottom of the fog-topped hill.  Already I’m weary and I haven’t yet begun the climb. With a sigh, I put one foot in front of the other and I’m on my way to the top.

Halfway up, I find myself breathless with calves and knees complaining, but I’m determined. I must be ready for the race in two weeks, and the hill I will face there is twice as large, twice as steep.

A few feet more and doubts start to creep in about my abilities, about my body’s abilities. And then I remember that persevering isn’t just for the spiritual realm but for this physical world, too, for my straining muscles and my apathetic mindset.

Music pulses through the headphones into my ears…

 “Greater things have yet to come,

Greater things are still to be done

in this Ci-tyy-yyy-y”

If I look too far ahead, I see only the fog stretching before me, creating the illusion that the hill stretches on forever. It will never end, I hear the voice in my mind and it grows louder with each step. This weight battle will never end for you. You might as well just give up now. Did you really think you could do this?  Do you really believe you will succeed?

I face a choice.

I can listen to my cramping muscles and the voice of that snake, the Enemy, or I can buckle down with God-dependent effort, determined to persevere even in this as long as the Lord allows it.  It’s the story of my life, really: keep fighting or give up.

Is there any middle ground between the two?

Often when we face life's "mountains" we feel the need to power through in our own strength. Whether we are on a weight-loss journey, a habit-kicking journey, a faith journey, whatever journey we are on, we depend on ourselves for success. What happens when our strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

 

I hear the chorus again,

“Greater things have yet to come..”

And another voice echos in my mind.

Greater things not just for this city but for you, Daughter.  You will reach the top. By my power, you will see success. With My strength, you will persevere. You CAN do this.  And greater things will come, but you must fight for it. You must fight the whispers of the Enemy and the desires of the flesh.  You must learn to lean on Me, even in this. I will give you the power to persevere.

The fog clears as I near the top and my strength is renewed. When I round the corner and the incline levels off, I feel a sense of relief, but I also want it to be over. I long for rest.  However, the walk isn’t finished yet. In fact, it’s only just begun.

I keep plodding ahead, one foot after the other, asking the Father’s glory to be revealed in even this small thing, asking for knees that bend without pain and breath that comes easier.  A few blocks later, I realize I’ve come full circle to face the hill again.

But this time, I have faith.

I know I can do it because I’ve done it before, with His help. And no matter how much my body protests, I drag it up the hill once more.

It strikes me then, the connection between the spiritual and the physical. How I often run straight to complaining when I face “hills” in life. I start out grumbling and already thinking about giving up.

Believing I might be able to “power through” until the trial is over if I could just see the finish line, I search the foggy path ahead, eyes straining to see through to the end.

But the end is not for me to see.

What I am given is just a few feet ahead of me.

As long as I focus on those few feet in front of me, I remain strong, but when I look ahead to the stretched out future, my resolve falters.

 It’s then that I turn to the Father.

I’m reminded of the prophet Zechariah, faced with the task of encouraging the Jews to rebuild the temple and re-establish themselves in Jerusalem. They faced many obstacles and nay-sayers, as well. In fact, they were just the remnant of the Jews who lived there before, only a few compared to the former.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground…”

Zechariah 4:6b-7a

In this passage, Zechariah experiences a vision. Through this vision, the Lord Almighty reminds the prophet that the work needing done would happen not by human strength, but by the power of His own hand.

He also promised to give the remnant the power necessary to complete the construction of the temple.  Even more than that, He reminded Zechariah of His almighty power to remove any obstacles (mountains) that might get in the way of completion.

Continuing on, verse nine contains a promise that He will complete the work. And the next verse down in that same chapter we read this powerful phrase:

 Who dares despise the day of small things…?”

Zechariah 4:10

According to Nelson’s Quick Reference (Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary),

“To the eyes of men, the temple project was but a small thing…but to the eyes of God, it was a source of great joy.” (p. 614)

My friends, we will face many hills in life, and mountains will stand in our way. Often, we’ll be tempted to quit before we’ve even really begun. The power to persevere on our own quickly walks out the door when the going gets gruesome.

It’s when we turn to Him for strength that never ceases and the will to persevere that we finally hit our stride.

Often when we face life's "mountains" we push through in our own strength. What happens when that strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

Keeping in mind that He delights in even the small things, small acts of obedience, small steps up a great hill, we cling to that power to persevere.

Even more, those hills that we face can feel like level ground in grip of His grace.

But not by our might,

only by His Spirit.

Greater things…

Jen :)

Sharing this with: Tell His Story, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

Help for “Waist Watchers” ~ #GraceTruth Week 3

As soon as I saw the title of this post from Sarah Ann in the link-up last week, I knew I had to read it. I’m ever so glad I did because her words and the verses she shared encouraged me as I persevere in my health goals! Of course, after reading her post, I knew it had to be my feature for this week because it fits right in with the work the Lord is doing in my life lately.

I think all women could benefit from what she has shared here, so be sure to stop by and visit Sarah Ann at Faith Along the Way this week.

Yesterday, I wrote about a setback I had in regards to my workout regimen. I’ve been slowly regaining strength and endurance, for which I am very thankful. I know the Lord is teaching me to persevere, my word for the year, even in this area – especially since my track record has not been great. As soon as I hit a road-bump in working out or weight loss, I tend to get frustrated and give up. By the grace of God, not this year!

I hope you all will join us for the link-up below and receive some encouragement. Next week we’ll announce the winner of our fabulous giveaway!

Jen :)

 

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My Fat Girl Insecurities

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.

He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a strong girl, a tom-boy with a hearty appetite, a girl who loved sports and climbing trees and running races.

My feminine side appeared on occasion, though, and like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, to be liked.  I never saw my body as much of a hindrance to those desires until that day, the day he called me fat in front of the whole lunch table.

I acted like I didn’t care about the word, but my eyes burned and so did my face.

I stuffed the word way deep down inside of my junior high self and tried so hard not to hear it anymore.

Not long after that, I remember surpassing my own mother’s weight on our bathroom scales and shame nearly smothered me.  How could I, at thirteen years old, weigh more than my mom?  It didn’t seem fair, somehow.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

 

During my high school years, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t built to be tiny.

I would never be a size 2-4-6 girl.  My healthy hangout would be the 10-12-14 range.

But my legs were built thick and strong for soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball, so I called a sort of truce with myself.  I ignored the word within me and began to find things I actually liked about my body.

I liked my blue eyes and  long, dark hair.  I liked my smile. I even began to like some of my curves.  I liked my brain (it’s a good one!) and my athletic abilities.

So the word remained hidden for the most part, only whispering to the surface when my friends were all asked to attend banquet (missionary kid date night) and I sat at home by myself or when we tried on clothes at the second-hand shops in town, shops filled with clothes from China and other countries where my size seemed non-existent.

Nevertheless, by junior year, I was growing in the confidence that comes from Christ alone and the word bothered me less and less. I thought I had won the battle, defeated the Enemy.

When I met my husband a few years later, I never felt more beautiful.  Even though I couldn’t call myself thin, I knew I was healthy, and I was alive in Christ.  He was tall, dark, and handsome, and he loved the Lord and he loved me.

And then I conceived our firstborn not long after our summer wedding and I found myself alone in our country home. My parents and siblings had returned to the mission field, and my husband kept busy with classes and work and ministry.

I grew depressed.

I used my pregnancy as justification for eating anything and everything I wanted.  

Instead of filling myself with Christ, I filled myself with food.

I had already gained about 20 lbs. before our wedding because like any girl in love, I spent all of my free time with my soon-to-be husband, not realizing I was failing to take care of my body.  By the time our sweet son was born, I had gained about 80-100 lbs. (give or take) in a little more than a year.

I can’t really be certain because at some point, I quit weighing myself.

I just gave up.

For much of my life, I struggled with my fat girl insecurities. I learned early on that I would never be the skinny girl.  But I'm learning that I'm not the sum of my insecurities, that my worth comes from Christ alone!

Then, one year our church offered a First Place for Christ class, focusing on putting Christ first in all areas but especially in the areas of nutrition and wellness.  It was just what I needed.

The idea that my body had been purchased at a price convicted me.

I knew I needed to quit filling my God-sized hole with food.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

who is in you,whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Since then, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercise… and fallen right off again. And back on, and then off, and back on, and so forth.  Healthy living will probably be a lifelong struggle for me, my personal thorn in the flesh. It’s been a lesson in perservering, overcoming obstacles. :)

In the meantime, I’ve birthed three more children, including a set of twins, my body changing with each pregnancy.  My weight and health are still a work-in-progress, and I’m okay with that.

The word still haunts me on occasion, it does.  It sneaks up on me when I walk at the gym or play soccer with my kids.  Occasionally, I hear it faintly in my ear when I look in the mirror, tempting me to give up, quit fighting, resign myself to the word.

Fat.

But I recognize the Enemy for who he is and even more, I know the power of Christ within me.

I know the Father promises to never give up on me, but to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6).  I know that man considers the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I trust in my new creation status.  I believe His Word when He calls me “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He says the same thing about you, too, my sisters in Christ!

We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!

We’ve talked before about how insecurities keep us fearful, and that’s just how the Enemy wants us to feel – alone, afraid, unworthy.  My sisters, our God is greater than he who is in the world.  He is greater than our deepest shame and insecurities.  Our God loves us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us His beloved.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

Nothing can separate us from His love, not even our layers of fat. :)

We are daughters of the One True King, and the value He has placed on our lives is the blood, the life force, of His one and only Son.

Let us then live as children of the Light!

Jen :)

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions

The Loft is open, come on up!

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
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UPDATE: The Loft is now hosted by Leah Adams.

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you? What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)


Next Week’s Topic: “Something Funny” (Laughter is good medicine and after this week’s topic, we all need a belly laugh. Or as one co-host put it, we need to spit in our coffee. Tell us a funny story, share a funny quote, post a funny picture or video, crack a funny joke. Just be careful with that coffee because this is going to be good :) )

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Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions, Jennifer Dukes Lee, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Wholehearted Home, Teaching What is Good, Sew Crafty AngelMessy Marriage, Missional Women, My Freshly Brewed LifeBeauty Through ImperfectionsRich Faith Rising, Beautiful Ashes, Grace & Truth Christian Living