Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Nutriment Tuesday: Emotional Overeating

Today is the day I write about food and nutrition and I am going to talk about emotional eating. It fits into the nutriment category because it's an obstacle we have to overcome if they are going to eat nutritionally and feed our bodies properly.

I admit fully that I have struggled with emotional eating, and I still do. It has been a  big issue for me and something I am overcoming in order to lose weight. So what I am writing comes from personal experience. I do believe that I am overcoming this issue with God's grace. I sometimes will overeat but I catch myself before I go too crazy. I think it will probably always be something I need to watch myself on, to some degree.

Emotional overeating is when we eat for reasons other than nutriment, or being sustained. It is eating because we "feel" something and we need a way to react to it. Instead of reaching for alcohol or drugs, we reach for a food that will provide us with the same effect as a drug: to numb us.

A mother feeding baby is an experience of love ***
I want to make a careful distinction, though, between just emotional eating and emotional overeating. You see, it's not always wrong to eat for emotional reasons. Some of our best and earliest memories, hopefully, are of sucking at our mother's breast or being held while  we suckle on a bottle. Food is connected with love, and that in itself is not wrong.

Food has all kinds of good associations with family and connections, and that can be a beautiful thing! We eat and talk and feel close! I recently read an article that talked about the rituals associated with eating, and how those were a factor in maintaining weight. There is nothing wrong connecting food with emotions, as long as it does not lead to excess.

But for many of us, that line is easy to cross. We have learned to deal with emotions by eating, and eating turns into binging, which is being out of control.

Binging is the exact opposite of eating for nutriment. In order to feed ourselves properly, we have to learn to feed our emotions and hearts in different ways than with food. It is also about feeling stronger in our spirit and heart, so that we don't like we need to use food to deal with things.

For me, as a Christian, I believe that I have to let the LORD Jesus feed me, and to feast on the word of God. The Word is feeds us and sustains us.

This subject is a huge topic and I can't obviously cannot cover it in one blog post. There are many factors that lead to healing and I could probably write a book on it! But I just wanted to bring it up as an important part of learning to feed ourselves. 

I am going to recommend a book on the topic and post the link from Amazon. The book, "Hope, Help, and Healing for Eating Disorders: A Whole-Person Approach to Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Disordered Eating" by Gregory L. Jantz. Ph.d. This is one I read last summer but want to work through again. It is written from a Christian perspective and also deals with the related conditions of anorexia and bulimia. I have the old edition of the book but he has a newer edition that was published in 2010.

 This condition (binge eating) is something I am getting victory over, and I will continue to claim that victory, through the power of the cross. I am going to make it this time. I am not claiming I will never do it again, but I am claiming that, ultimately, the victory will be there and I will lose weight! This blog, which helps to keep me accountable and to share the struggles is part of getting the victory, too! Praise the LORD!

***Image by c r z

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