Stress-Eating Is Stressful
By Julie Morris –
Do you take out your frustration on the refrigerator when things aren’t going your way? Do you arm yourself with a candy bar as you face an overwhelming task? Do your resolves to lose weight dissolve when you’ve had a bad day?
If so, you’re doing what I used to do: refusing God’s invitation in 1 Peter 5:7. This verse says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” Instead of turning to the Lord, I turned to food when stressed. I didn’t realize that I was turning my back on the One who was standing there with open arms, ready to help me.
I remember when I first recognized that fact. I was reading the little booklet “My Heart God’s Home.” It describes Jesus waiting alone in the living room for our time together. As I read, I pictured myself too busy in the kitchen to spend time with him. I remember confessing that even when I did grab a few minutes to pray, my mind was elsewhere–usually on what I was going to eat next, how much I weighed or some new diet I wanted to try.
Is my god my stomach?
Not too much later Paul’s exhortation in Philippians 3:19 got my attention: “Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach…their mind is on earthly things.”
Of course, since I was a Christian, I knew the destruction he was talking about wasn’t hell. But I was experiencing a taste of hell on earth because of food. Here’s a prayer I wrote after reading that passage many years ago:
I know you’re right. I’m harming my body with food. My blood pressure is sky high, I’m tired all the time from dragging around all these extra pounds, and I get short of breath when I climb the stairs. I’m just in my 30’s, Lord! I’m headed for destruction and I know it.
Overeating is harming me emotionally, too. I hate how I look. I think about how fat I am all the time. And I get grouchy with my family when I’m dieting and nervous and irritable when I’m not.
Reading Philippians 3:19 today was the final blow. Overeating is harming me spiritually as well. I hate to admit it, but I do think more about my stomach than I think about you, Lord. I have let food take your place in my life.
When I wake up in the mornings, my first thought is about what I’m going to eat. When I go to bed at night, I think about how ashamed I am for having eaten so much. When I try to read the Bible or pray, my growling stomach distracts me. Lately, I haven’t spent much time with you. I guess I’m ashamed because I keep falling off my diet when I know what these extra pounds are doing to me.
Forgive me for thinking about my stomach more than you. Help me to find a way to change.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Are you like I was? Is your god your stomach? Are you devoted to filling it? Do you obey its commands and think about it night and day? If so, reread the prayer (above) and sign your name at the end.
God will help you to deal with stress so you will stress less and eat less…if you let him.
Julie Morris (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of 12 books and founder of two Christian weight-loss programs, Step Forward (www.stepforwarddiet.com) and Guided By Him (www.guidedbyhim.com), a lighter and easier version of Step Forward. She would love to hear from you! © 2010