Do you eat for emotional reasons or because of your cultural belief system? Growing up, I ate because I was angry or anxious, and I ate all the time. That was normal in my Italian-American culture and it’s why I weighed 207 pounds when I was 17 years old.
Thankfully, God rescued me and realigned my thoughts with His healthier ways. To make a long story short, I lost 75 pounds, went on to study nutrition and obesity psychology at Cornell, and eventually became a medical doctor that helps other people overcome pain, illness, addictions, and obesity.
Now that you know my background, let me summarize what I’ve learned about weight control: it’s better to eat for physical rather than emotional or cultural reasons. Here are ten steps that can help you do that:
TEN STEPS THAT HELP YOU OVERCOME EMOTIONAL EATING:
1. Find a nice, quiet place, where you can have private time with God without interruption.
2. Identify the overriding emotion that is bothering you. I.e., take it “captive” in your mind. Literally, name it. Is it “fear,” “anger,” “anxiety,” “sadness,” “emptiness,” “boredom,” “guilt,” “shame,” “worthlessness,” etc?
3. Out loud, proclaim that you accept yourself in spite of your feeling that emotion, “Even though I feel [name the emotion], I totally accept myself, just as God accepts me fully.” The spoken word is a powerful thing, especially when it lines up with the Word of God.
4. While focusing on God in prayer, directly experience the negative emotion in His presence. Even if it feels uncomfortable to do this, remember that the emotion itself won’t actually kill you. Your emotion may not even be based on truth about you, but rather your perception of the truth! (E.g. just because you feel fear doesn’t actually mean that you’re in danger!).
5. Choose another activity besides eating if you feel the urge to “do” something with the emotion. Perhaps you can exercise or take care of something you’ve been procrastinating about. Willfully do this “in spite of your feeling this emotion.”
6. Thank God for the revelation that it’s okay to feel negative emotions. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Thank God profusely for this. Thank Him out loud.
7. Forgive yourself if you believe you’ve done something wrong (to create those emotions) and forgive others whose actions might have led to those emotions. State your forgiveness out loud. “In spite of my feeling [name the emotion], I fully release and forgive [name names!].”
8. Prayerfully come to the point where you’re willing to separate yourself from those thoughts and emotions. “Thank You, God, for allowing me to separate from this problem so I can move on with my life.” Say it like you mean it and say it over and over again if need be.
9. Find something better to think about than the thoughts that led to those emotions. Focus on positive thoughts. Then, you can more easily feel the fruit of the Spirit.
10.Breathe. As you deal with these emotions, take deep breaths, occasionally, exhaling out your stress. Let your physical body relax as your mind relaxes. You may choose to journal about your experience.
For more help, download my condensed Christian weight loss e-booklet on Kindle, anytime between May 7th-11th, 2012, TOTALLY FREE, as my gift to Enliven! readers and their friends and families. The link is shown below. There is no limit to the number of e-booklets that will be given away during these five days, so feel free to share the news with anyone and everyone!
About the Author: Dr. Rita is an author and writes about how the mind-body-Spirit connection affects a person’s physical health. Look for her new book on that subject to be published by Strang/Charisma House in January, 2013. Dr. Rita is also passionate about the beneficial effects of osteopathic manipulation on your physical well-being.