How to End Your Food Cravings So You Can Stop Overeating
- Friday, January 03, 2014
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Rhona Epstein’s new book Food Triggers: End Your Cravings, Eat Well, and Live Better (Worthy Publishing, 2013).
While you meant to take just a taste of ice cream, you found yourself consuming the entire container in one setting. You intended to eat only a few chips, but ended up downing the whole bag. At parties, you load up on food – eating much more than you know you should, but unable to stop yourself.
Sound familiar? If so, the food you’re eating is eating away at you, damaging the good health that God wants you to enjoy. You may have tried diets and exercise to get your health back on track, to no avail. That’s because willpower alone isn’t enough to solve an overeating problem. In order to truly stop overeating, you need to overcome the food cravings that drive you to eat too much.
Here’s how you can end your food cravings so you can stop overeating:
Recognize the purpose of food. God created food to nurture and sustain people’s bodies, and he intended people to enjoy it for that purpose, eating what they need for good health and stopping whenever they feel full. Keep in mind that food is just fuel for your body, meant to promote its health. God never intended for people to struggle with food.
Understand how unhealthy patterns of eating can contribute to food cravings and upset the right balance in your brain chemistry. Food cravings can be fueled by unhealthy eating that knocks brain chemistry out of its proper balance. If your brain chemistry has been altered from the way God intends for it to be, you can be prone to overeat and even become addicted to food. But the good news is that, by changing the way you eat, you can change your brain so that it becomes healthier, which will eventually stop your unhealthy food cravings.
Figure out what triggers you to overeat. Reflect on your memories of experiencing food cravings and ask yourself questions to determine what may be triggering them. Consider: what food(s) you craved, what was happening in your life when you experienced the cravings, how you felt about what was happening in your life then, and how you felt while eating and after eating. Think and pray about significant events in your life and consider how you’ve responded to them. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you identify the patterns in your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that trigger you to overeat.
Seek healing through practicing your faith. Putting your faith in action (in ways such as praying, reading and meditating on the Bible, and participating in church with fellow believers) can bring you healing benefits that include: greater health for your overweight body and overburdened mind, power to overcome any challenge, peace as you face your past, and a community of people to support you. Keep in mind that you don’t have to clean up your act before coming to God for help. God loves you unconditionally and completely, and he will meet you wherever you are to help you move forward in the healing process.
Recognize the differences between physical and emotional hunger. Understand that: emotional hunger doesn’t notice signs of fullness, but physical hunger can be satiated so you can stop eating when you’re full; emotional eating leaves you feeling unsatisfied, ashamed, and guilty, while physical eating satisfies you without guilt; emotional hunger must be fed by what you crave, but physical hunger can be satiated by most any food; and emotional hunger arrests you suddenly, but physical hunger grows gradually. If you discover that you’ve been eating to fill emotional needs (like for love or a sense of purpose), remember that only God can reliably meet those needs, and food is meant simply to provide the physical nourishment your body needs.
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