Written by Bonnie MeChelle
Compulsive overeating, binge eating disorder and emotional eating are defined by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as, “. . .characterized by recurrent binge-eating episodes during which a person feels a loss of control over his or her eating.”
When you get down to the core of the issue, compulsive eating is about trying to fill a deep spiritual need with food, which is an impossible task. Every human being whether they believe in God, have any kind of religious tradition or sense of spiritual connection with a power greater than themselves, has an inherent spiritual hunger within themselves to know, love and connect with God. Matthew 4:4 says, “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[a]”
People were created to live in loving communities and each of us has a strong emotional desire to be loved, appreciated and respected amongst family, friends and peers. Everyone needs to be heard, understood and acknowledged by the people that we care about. When we do not get that positive feedback it can leave a gaping void in our lives that seems very easy to fill temporarily with food.
There can also be a physical component to compulsive eating. Food manufacturers create foods using specific chemicals and preservatives that make you addicted physically not unlike a drug addict to certain foods. Some people crave crunchy, salty, savory foods, while others can’t get enough of soft or creamy, sugary sweet foods. Either way, food has a way of altering our body chemistry and soothing jangled nerves when you are stressed or sad, and there is not a more comforting feeling than a nice, full stomach when you are feeling lonely and neglected.
As Christians we must remember that we must offer our bodies and our lives as living sacrifices to God. Our lives are to be a testimony to the faith that we have in God to supply all of our needs. If we look to food to comfort us, be our friend, make us feel happy when we are sad and entertain us when we are bored, then we are holding food up as a false god, which is idolatry. The Bible in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
We all have a void in our lives. Sometimes that void can come about because of past sexual abuse and we long to feel the genuine embrace of someone who loves us for who we are. That void can be caused by the loss of a loved one, and we wonder how we will continue to live and breathe without that person in our lives. You might be struggling with feelings of betrayal , or even the shame of poverty and insurmountable debt. Jesus said, in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Rather than looking to a physical substance to fill a spiritual need, learn to work your faith and trust that, “. . . he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
About the Author
Bonnie Mechelle is the author of Overcome Compulsive Overeating… Now and the executive producer of The Healthtopia Radio Show in Atlanta, Georgia. She has lost over 120 pounds naturally on her own and empowers women to live a healthier life through spiritual growth, love, support and prayer. Learn more at www.myhealthtopia.com