How to Overcome Emotional Eating

I once had a patient say to me that the reason he was so concerned with his body weight was because every pound of his body fat was really a pound of pain. Those words continue to stick with me to this day. 

This patient along with several others would often elaborate that trauma resulted in eating for pleasure and in the moment, each food seemed to distract them from their situation and cancel out the discontentment and resentment that would creep in everytime they were alone with their thoughts. But shortly after overindulging in  sweet or savory foods they would be left with guilt,  along with  another “pound” that reminded them of why they ate in the first place. 

At the core of such conversations, my patients and I often come to realize that what was keeping them in a  toxic cycle of self soothing with food, was an inability to allow God to lift their burdens. In essence, they did not trust God with their burden, as they saw Him as the cause.  They become stuck in a place where they don't understand why God put him through the things that He did and as a result they have lost all trust in Him.

This distrust puts them on the path away from finding God’s calling in their life. 

Dear whoever is reading this, I am not you, and I know that whenever we are in a hard place in life, it seems everyone gives the same advice, or they can’t relate, but I hope these verses give you comfort. 

Know that ”It is the glory of God to conceal a thing, but it is the honor of kings to search out a matter Proverbs 25:2”

God works in the hidden things. In fact, His Glory and power comes through His revealing of the hidden things at the perfect time.  As where your reward lies in you trusting Him as you patiently search out His perspective and wait for His revelation. 

All throughout the Bible God boasts of His ability to see far into the future, while yet still being present in the moment to observe the choices you make with your free will. He is truly omnipresent. A concept that is often hard to believe or understand since we are on a completely separate timeline from God. 

But He often allows “Unhappy happenings” to occur in our present reality so that He can set you up to be a better person,or in a better place in the future. His hope is that when you get to the future, you will see through the rear view mirror that He was curating a better plan for you all along.
And in  that moment, you will see just how real God is,  and so too will everyone around you. 

But remember, that though he sees into the future, and therefore knows the choices that you will and can make, He also allows you to make your own independent choices in the moment. If you choose your fleshly qualities and live in  anger, and resentment, you may be unknowingly walking on a course that puts you in the opposite direction of your blessing. 

God is incapable of being found with eyes filled with resentment. You will never find him there, and you will be forever searching but never able to come to the truth, and never able to  see the Glory of God manifest as  joy in your life. You must trust him, and know that good things come to those who wait (lamentations 3:26). 

And all though you may have heard this before, you must remember that your trauma is also now a story that can be shared with people who did not have your same strength in the moment. The adage that misery needs company is very true, but God knows that not any person will make good company.

The truth is that many of us are too weak for burden. But you were able to bear it, and now your pain may bring peace to someone else who is destined to share the same hardship.  Hearing your story and your triumph can give strength to the broken. Many of us will get to heaven and wish we had gone through more hardship, wish that our character had been tried more by the fire, yearn that we had trauma to build faith, and unwavering trust, and we will look at people like you and see how greatly God rewards you for how you sought to find His joy through the suffering.

So remember, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
 “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 peter 4:12-13).

Notice that again, the end result of trauma or hardship= God's glory being revealed. 
And when you bring forth  God’s glory he will reward you with inner joy and then some. 

This is a Biblical promise that serves to  remind you that God’s intent for your heart ache, is joy, but how you respond to the heartache is the key to finding it. 

My prayer for whoever is reading this, whether you are burdened by  a broken marriage, sexual trauma,  a recent break up, a lack of funds, a lack of success, a horrible job, or even physical pain or whatever it is, I pray that God will give you a “softened heart” toward Him.  I pray that he will comfort and strengthen you with the Holy Spirit allowing you to overcome the pain of resentment or lack of trust that you have. I pray that he will drop little reminders throughout your day to encourage you that you are getting closer to seeing His beautiful revelation. Lastly, I pray that He is patient with you as you grow to trust and love Him.   In Jesus's name. Amen

So, What Happened to My Dear Patient?

And as for my dear patient, I am happy to say he began using scripture to cultivate a deeper trust and understanding of God. He also eventually conditioned himself to pray when his negative thoughts triggered him to reach for food. Not only did he allow the Holy Spirit to replace his negative thoughts with positive thoughts through prayer, but he also cultivated the willpower to grab healthier foods that sought to better serve him physically. 

This process takes time, but with venting to God through prayer, and hearing him through scripture, your relationship with him will slowly but surly be mended. He will become your rock, your friend, your emotional crutch, and not food, or any other earthly pleasure, and soon you will see His perspective and find His calling for you, through it all. 

If you suffer from emotional eating, please reach out to us. We can connect you with Christian mental health therapist, and provide faith-based nutrition coaching to help encourage you fuel yourself as wisely as possible.

Much Love.

Written by
Ciara Dove-Reid, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

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