Food addiction is a real thing.
That’s one reason I wrote the book, Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction, releasing January 3, 2017 with Moody Publishers.
Visit www.thefull.life today for a free sample chapter and some fun pre-order goodies!
Health scientists have recently published studies showing that sugar has the same effect on our brains as cocaine.
And although I know that… I still reach for the ice cream bin and scoop myself a generous four scoops when I hear bad news. I still munch on animal crackers while working on an intense article. I still sneak an extra bite or two of that yummy pizza while packing away leftovers.
For those of us who have been on diets for years and have seen our weight go up and down like gasoline prices, we know that simple head knowledge isn’t enough to battle food addiction. This is a REAL BATTLE with my emotions and my genes and chemistry, and the longer I fight it, the more I feel like it’s a losing battle.
Well… no more! This is the year of living in Grace and Truth, and I invite you to take up the sword of the Spirit to overcome food addictions. Jesus has already won the war over sin, temptation, demons, and darkness so we can go forward and claim His victory in this area of our lives.
These are fighter verses, sisters! Let’s go and conquer in Jesus’ Name the food cravings that have been haunting us for far too long! We WILL overcome food addiction in our lives!
(Note: Some of these verses do not specifically mention food, but are geared toward spiritual battle. As you read the verses, apply them to your own personal struggles with food, however they may look in your own life.)
God cares about every aspect of my life, including what I eat and drink, and there’s a way to eat and drink that brings more glory to God. That’s what I want.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31
It’s pointless to go on new diets or just “try harder”; I will experience victory over my food cravings when I rely on God’s strength instead of my own.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves. Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Psalm 127:2, 1a
I’ve been stuck in a vicious cycle of defeat for long enough; it’s time to follow God’s directions into the Promised Land of freedom from food addiction.
You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.
I will not allow my cravings to master me; instead, I will master them and bring them to Jesus.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Though battling cravings is hard, it is a chance to see Jesus Christ’s power working in me through my weaknesses.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
When that chocolate bar calls my name, I will rely on the strength of God to carry me through the temptation; I can’t do this on my own, but He certainly can!
Blessed are those whose strength is in you. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
Psalm 84:5a, 7
If I’ve slipped back into old habits, I will not wallow in despair; instead, I will remember that God rescued me from darkness and His forgiveness and mercies are new every morning. There IS hope!
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
When I’m tempted to compromise, I will look beyond the immediate gratification of the food before me and focus on the long-term satisfaction of living in a healthy body, ready to serve God.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.
1 Corinthians 6:19
When there’s a special event, I will prepare by putting on the armor of God to stand my ground and claim God’s victory over my food addiction.
Therefore put on the full armor of God. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Just because I CAN eat something doesn’t mean I SHOULD. If it’s not part of my healthy eating plan, I’m going to leave it on the plate.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial.
“I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.
“I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 10:23, 6:12b
I can’t trust my own thought process in the moment of temptation; I need to set up boundaries to protect me from my own weaknesses.
The heart is deceitful above all things
and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and examine the mind,to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
God never intended for me to be trapped by my taste buds. Food is good when I receive it as a good gift from a loving Father.
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
Genesis 1:29, 9:3
Before putting something “iffy” in my mouth, I need to stop and prayerfully ask the Lord to search my heart. Am I eating out of boredom? sadness? anger? cravings? real hunger?
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
When I’m angry at food and view it as an enemy, I will remember that God sets the table for me and invites me to come and join Him. I feast with the Creator of the Universe.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
When I’m tempted, I will walk away from it or get rid of it.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13-14
I was created for freedom, not slavery to food addiction. Jesus set me free!
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
I will not judge someone else’s diet based on my own, or justify my bad habits based on what others are eating.
Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.
When I’m surrounded by bad food choices, I will look for the few items I can enjoy, even if just a glass of water.
See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.
Sometimes it’s hard to overcome years of bad eating habits, but Jesus calls me to say “no” to my selfish desires and “yes” to Him.
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
My food choices matter to God, so I will set wise parameters to make healthy eating easier for myself.
Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
My soul was made to crave God.
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
I view my self-imposed boundaries not as restrictions but as safety rails that allow me to enjoy all permitted food groups freely.
Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.
Jesus came to give me life. Lots of life. Abundant life. Life overflowing with joy and gladness in Him, not food.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We will overcome food addiction by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross and by daily living out His victory, which is our testimony.
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.
If you think this post will help you overcome food addiction, will you share it with a friend so it can help others? Simply Tweet, pin, or share on Facebook using the links below. Thanks!
If you’re looking for encouragement and accountability in your journey toward healthy living, Faithful Finish Lines is exactly what you need! Find more information here.
*This post contains my affiliate links. Thanks for helping to support the ministry of One Thing Alone to help overwhelmed women find joy in Jesus!
“The experience of trying to change my diet reminded me of the emotional process I underwent when quitting drugs, there were physical and emotional withdrawals.”
As a young teen I promised myself that, even though I was surrounded by friends who made drugs a large part of their lifestyle, I would never do so. However, in my later teens drugs gradually took over my life. Over time, I became convinced that I could not live without the escape that drugs provided from a lonely existence. The psychological term for this is “association.” I made a powerful pleasure association with drugs, bonding a destructive behavior to positive emotions. Breaking the strands of addiction at nineteen years old was a spiritual moment, allowing me the freedom to begin to grow away from the need to do drugs. But it was not easy; it took some tuff inner work.
Table of contents
Food Addiction Means Money
The food industry is well aware of the power of pleasure association, and they shamelessly use it in advertising. “Eat this and you will be cool and happy. “Nothing is said about whether the food is healthy, other than a token gesture of touting their offerings as “low fat”, yet hiding its highly addictive qualities. The psychological aspects of food addiction are just the beginning, the entire homeostatic balance must adapt to the processed sugars, finely ground white floor, transformed fat, excessive salt, and manmade chemicals which are associated with these so-called foods. When trying to eat healthy, you are faced with a double whammy. Emotions demand the associated positive feelings that an apple will not provide, and the body cries out for a deadly food that it has become homeostatically adapted to.
Overcoming Food Addiction Hurts
The experience of trying to change my diet reminded me of the emotional process I underwent when quitting drugs, there were physical and emotional withdrawals. It felt wrong. There were days I experienced terrible emotional withdrawals, and as a result I fought strong doubts that the changes I was making were healthy. The good news is that it did not take long until I began to experience positive results. Physical withdrawals were the strongest, but the first to go. It took much longer for the more cunning emotional ties to junk food to be recognized and broken. The process of developing new pleasure associations to lighter healthy food took time. Today, if I were to eat a fraction of the junk food I ate years ago, I would feel sick, foggy minded and weak. Over time, my body has adapted to a healthy nutrient-rich diet and no longer has the tolerance for addictive food.
Within one week of changing to a healthier diet, many see a remarkable improvement in health, needing less sleep, and feeling greater vitality. Unfortunately, at the beginning this is overshadowed by withdrawal. Within weeks, however, the cravings disappear, leaving in their dirty wake joyous new health and vitality. Then fresh emotional associations can develop—crunchy carrots or a sweet mango will be a treat to look forward to.
The Joy Of Breaking Food Addiction
The experience of a colleague of mine is a great example of how radically we can adapt and even control how we change. Cathy went to Weight Watchers to lose forty pounds of unwanted fat. They put her on a much more restrictive diet than she was used to. I saw her in the staff room with salads, fruits and whole wheat pitas, stuffed with low fat meat and alfalfa sprouts, looking severely miserable. Two months later, I saw Cathy again when she came back after the summer holidays. She had lost all her weight, yet there she was, eating the same healthy foods for lunch and looking blissfully happy! When I asked her about it, she joyfully said, “You know, I used to drive home after work, all excited about deciding where I was going to eat supper. It was like a game for me, would it be fish and chips, pizza or a Big Mac and shake? Now when I drive home all I can think about is the healthy supper I’m going to make for myself.”
She was beaming at me when she said this. It was like she had been released from a prison. And she looked great—everyone told her so.
Was it easy for Cathy, especially in the beginning? No. But if you were to ask her if it was worth it, she would say an enthusiastic yes! Cathy took life by the horns and made tough changes to redefine herself as a new woman. She became an active participant in who she was becoming instead of being a victim to addiction and compulsive behavior. And with this freshly discovered mastery, she is looking forward to new challenges to further her enlarging potentiality.
We are always adapting, changing, being recreated, being reinvented. Choice is the God-given power to control how you are changing and what you will become. And the possibilities are endless.
Related Article: The Emotions Of Changing Your Diet
Overcoming Food Addiction and Substance Abuse
For someone who has suffered the debilitating effects of addiction, overcoming can feel impossible. But, with God all things are possible! There is hope. Deliverance from the mental trap of addiction comes by focusing on the solution rather than just trying to stop the problem. Just as light dispels darkness, so meditating on and believing the solutions from God’s Word enables the believer to overcome bad habits. One of the biggest health promoting principles of the Scripture is the power given to believers when they renew their minds with God’s Word to overcome the lusts of the flesh and practice self-control.
2 Peter 1:3-6b:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance;
It is the “divine nature” that gives power to escape corruption. Galatians 6:8 says that, “he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” Flesh is used in this verse to refer to the old man nature, characterized by weakness, sin and death, which is said to be “corrupt according to deceitful lusts” in Ephesians 4:22. This is the nature that defines every man until he is born again to receive the new nature from God. Though all believers become new creations in Christ the moment they are saved, ingrained habits from their old manner of life can still accompany them until they choose to change them. Regarding food addiction and substance abuse, if one makes a practice of yielding to the lust of the appetites it can result in accelerated physical corruption. Sickness is fundamentally a result of corruption in the body, the beginnings of physical death and can be caused by many things. The following verses also speak to this subject:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
When Eve’s lust was conceived, she saw that the tree was “good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes.” When she ate, she sinned by disobeying and that resulted in death.
Romans 6:12, 16-19:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Any number of substances could potentially be used for the wrong reasons and wrong effect. If eating, drinking, smoking or using a substance enslaves or controls a person (makes them a “servant” to it) then it is unprofitable according to 1 Corinthians 6:12. Some good questions to ask yourself are: Does desire for that thing become a consuming interest which all other activities are planned around? Does it affect sound thinking? Do you use it to produce an emotional effect that replaces that which God desires to supply? Does it interfere with your fellowship with those close to you? Is it a financial drain? If so, it can become idolatry.
This is just an excerpt from “Food in the Bible.” For the full chapter, you may download the book here.