The triggers are everywhere. Has anyone else noticed an issue with this or is it just me?
I’m just relaxing for the evening watching a show and then BAM: ice cream craving. No one in the show is even eating ice cream, someone just said the word. I hear the word and all other sounds disappear.
*whispers* ice cream
*louder* Ice Cream
*YELLING* ICE CREAM!!!!
Damnit, I want ice cream right this moment! Not just in the moment I am writing about, but like right now as I write this, I want ice cream.
It doesn’t take much to trigger my food addictions. Have you ever been to a 12 step program where one of the rules is not to use explicit language because it can be a trigger to others? For example, if someone started talking about getting high and they went into details about the trip and how it felt, etc. it could trigger a bunch of people in the group who then might go out that night and get high, so explicit descriptions aren’t allowed. If anyone feels like something is triggering them, they simple have to raise their hand and the speaker must stop their description.
So what do you do when your drug of choice is food and everyone talks about it, and eats it, and posts it on Facebook and Instagram, and advertises it, and, and , and, and!!!
I can tell you one thing, you do NOT binge watch Gilmore Girls! As much as I love that show I can guarantee that my coffee intake increases by about 50% and my junk food cravings sky rocket. The last time I watched that series I swear I put on 20lbs. Let me clarify something, this does not mean we need to get rid of the show Gilmore Girls (please God, no!!) or make people stop talking about food. This doesn’t mean that I get to go around telling people to stop talking about food. This means that I, Liz, need to start facing these issues I have with food. It’s MY problem when I hear the word, “brownie” and immediately need something to satisfy my brownie craving, it is not the fault of the person who said, “brownie”. Unless, of course their intentions were deceitful, in which case they will have to answer to God for their actions, but it is not my responsibility to change them and that’s going down a whole different rabbit trail.
Most nights after dinner, when Dean and I watch TV, I have to put my guard up and renounce every single food craving that emerges simply due to hearing foods named or seeing foods on set. It doesn’t even have to be real food! Does anyone remember Reptar Bars from the cartoon, “Rugrats”? What about that oozy cheesy pizza from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” or lollipops and ice cream from any cartoon?
Maybe I should just stop watching TV….
BUT cutting out TV isn’t going to cure me of my food addiction. It will probably set me up for more success at home than what I am having now, but what’s the real issue here? The second I go to the fair, or a restaurant, or the grocery store, or Sam’s Club…basically the second I step out of a controlled environment my food addiction is skewing my view of the world. My thoughts revolve all around food:
“When will I eat next? When do I want to eat?’
“What will I eat next? What do I want to eat?”
“Where will I eat next? Where do I want to eat?”
“Mmmm is that a waffle cone I smell? I want it. ”
“Oh man, they are just pumping that fresh bread smell into the air aren’t they? I want it.”
“Mmmmmmmm gaaaarrrrllliiiiiicccccc. I want it.”
Have you ever looked out a window with blinds? When I was a kid, I used to spy on my neighbors all the time from my bedroom window. At night my blinds were drawn and I had to lift up a single blind with my finger to see out. If an object moved out of my very narrow line of vision, then I had to lift up a different blind to find the object again; sometimes this very small, but significant movement, made the difference between seeing something happen and not seeing something happen. And every night, despite the enticing promise of scandal or a funny scene, I would have to stop spying because my arms would get too fatigued to keep holding up the blinds.
My food addiction is like a set of blinds over my eyes. Some days the blinds are open and I can see pretty well. Some days the blinds are shut and I have to use a lot of energy just to see a very small sliver of the real world through my thoughts about food. And that usually means I am missing a lot of life due to food. I spend so much time worrying where my next meal will come from I don’t enjoy what’s happening in that moment. What if I get hungry while I’m hiking? What will I do? And on top of that, all that energy I spend trying to navigate life around my food thoughts is enough to exhaust me!
Goodness gracious, Liz! You’re not going to die if you miss a meal! This is so embarrassing to admit because I have never once in my life gone hungry because food was not available. NOT ONCE! I’ve gone “hungry” because I refused to eat something at dinner as a child. And that hungry wasn’t even real hungry. I missed ONE meal…ONE! And I missed that meal out of my own ability to refuse a meal that I didn’t like the taste of! That in itself tells you I was not really, desperately, hungry. Even when I was in Kenya and we ended up not having lunch, we still had lunch, because guess what? I packed a bazillion Luna bars in my bag just in case something like that would happen.
What I really need is to look at these food addictions. What am I running from? What am I searching for? What am I scared of?
I want to be full.
I want a reward.
I want to taste goodness.
I want to be satisfied.
I’m scared of being hungry.
I’m scared of missing out on goodness.
I’m scared of regret: regretting not eating something and later wanting it; regretting eating something and feeling guilt or shame over it later.
I’m running from loss.
I’m running from inadequacy.
I’m running from imperfection.
I’m running from unfairness.
I’m starting to recognize that I have a HUGE issue with envy: “I want to be eating that too…”, “I want to be able to enjoy eating kale like she does…”, “I want to want to stick to eating foods that are healthy…” I so badly want to be skinny, healthy, active, etc. but I so badly want to eat junk and drink with friends; I can’t have both. I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to my looks and physical health (no stomach cramping due to too much sugar and bread), but I so badly want to feel good in my skin with regard to eating yummy things; I can’t have both. Not in my current emotional and physical state anyway.
I fear writing these things because I know I will receive messages, comments, and emails from other men and women that say, “Eat that donut! You can feel good about yourself and eat what you want!”, “Love yourself where you are at and redefine what healthy means to you,” “Don’t let society tell you that you aren’t beautiful and worthy just because you carry some extra junk in the trunk.” And although there is SOME truth in these words, it isn’t the complete truth, which means it’s entirely a lie. Here is the honest to goodness truth:
I cannot eat whatever I want and not feel guilt or shame because the guilt has nothing to do with the actual food and everything to do with the fact that I am running to food instead of Jesus. Don’t tell me to not feel guilty over worshipping an idol instead of my Lord. Don’t tell me that I should not feel shame when I worship food instead of Jesus, when I cry out to donuts and Frappuccino’s during hard times, instead of my creator. The guilt I feel is a helpful reminder that I am sinning when I overeat and thus that I NEED JESUS for forgiveness, love, and help!
“21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:21-25
As much as I try to make it so, loving myself does not come from redefining healthy. Sure there are some lies I believe about health, but guess what, redefining what healthy means for me isn’t going to change the fact that I have an insulin resistance problem and an addiction to sugar and carbs. I can tell myself that it is healthy to eat grain and sugar in moderation all I want and it won’t change the fact that, for me, it simply is not healthy physically or emotionally. Believe me, I have tried this for years! Four years to be exact. I can’t have sugar in moderation because if I have the smallest amount I need more and more and more and more and more. Would you tell an alcoholic to love themselves where they are at and redefine what it means to be healthy? If you redefine alcoholism then you won’t be an alcoholic!
Uhhhh no…that’s not how it works. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. This is called denial. And this here is a simple problem of acceptance. I am not accepting the body God gave me. I am not accepting that I have limits. I am not accepting that I am human and not God; I am desperately holding onto the position of ruler of my body and captain of my soul, BUT I am not the god of myself.
19 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;20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
6 Now this I know:
The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
with the victorious power of his right hand.
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm.
9 Lord, give victory to the king!
Answer us when we call! Psalm 20:6-9
And as far as not letting society tell me what should and should not be beautiful or worthy, that’s just a cop out, a scape goat, and blame-shift. Guess what? I am a part of this society. I judge others, because I AM A SINNER, because I chose to believe the lie that I have a right to judge others. Yes, I do believe that society has influenced me and the way I think, but there is so much more that needs to be done than “not listening to society.” I need to start listening to God. I need to start influencing our society by starting to let God heal the brokenness in me instead of denying that I have any blame in my own brokenness.
14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. 16From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. And as each individual part does its work, the body grows and builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:14-16
I don’t want my fix, I want HIS fix. I don’t want your fix, I want HIS fix. I want HIM to be enough for me, but when I run to food I never give HIM a chance to show me that HE IS. And when I run away from my part in the blame I just perpetuate the problem and ensure that it will continue to affect me and my community. And if you wave a donut in my face and tell me, “eat this, and you will be happy; surely you can eat this and feel no shame.” Then I will be forced to say, “Get behind me Satan!” Because God has told me I make an idol out of food, and I am sick of these stupid fig leaves of shame because I do not listen to Him. I wish to walk in the garden with my Lord once more. I wish to be completely exposed in his presence and feel no shame. He has given me a fix and all I need to do is accept it and press into Jesus. Easier said than done, am-I-right? But there is no better time than now. There is no better moment than this.
17So I tell you this, and testify to it in the Lord: You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. 19Having lost all sense of shame, they have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity, with a craving for more.
20But this is not the way you came to know Christ. 21Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in keeping with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4: 17-24
“Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35