Can’t Quit Eating Once You Start? Resolving the Emotional Reasons, Part 2

In recent blog posts, we looked at the three most common reasons why women have difficulty knowing when to stop eating once they’ve started: 1) making up for deprivation, 2) not being hungry to begin with, and 3) eating for emotional reasons. And I’ve broken the emotional reasons into two categories: 1) food serving as a form of “medication” for soothing or suppressing painful emotions (addressed in the last post), and 2) food helping you stay larger because there are ways in which being smaller or thinner can actually be emotionally unsettling. In this post, we’re looking at this second level of “emotional eating.”

When I ask Weight of Grace group members to quickly list what’s good about being thin, they have no problem instantly coming up with a list of advantages. Then when I ask what’s bad about being thin, they find the question laughable. However, given a couple of examples, the fears and negative associations they have with being thin start bubbling to the surface.  Here are a few examples:

  • I’d be more likely to be “hit on” by men.
  • I’d be more tempted to flirt or engage in sexual sin.
  • I’d feel small and more vulnerable.
  • People, especially men, would take me less seriously.
  • I’d be tempted to feel prideful about my looks.
  • I’d be liked primarily for my looks.
  • Women would be jealous of me or threatened by me.
  • I’d have to constantly work at staying thin.

When women don’t acknowledge and resolves them, beliefs such as these will motivate eating more food than they are physically hungry for, eating past “full.”

When I listed all my fears about being thin, I took them to God and asked him to address them. He did, one by one, through the truths of Scripture about the new creation in Christ he has made me to be, a person who does not desire to engage in sexual immorality or prideful showing off. Knowing I already have God’s approval means not needing to use my appearance to garner the approval of others and not worrying whether I’m taken seriously.

Get honest with God about the fears that may be motivating you to eat more than you are physically hungry for, and let him minister to you and show you how you need no longer allow these fears to control you.

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