“What do you think is the main issue involved in overeating?” Over the years, many people have asked this question. The answer isn’t a succinct one because there is not just one main issue.
The reasons why women overeat involve three layers of issues with one bedrock factor underlying them. We can liken these layers of issues to a body of water that gets deeper and murkier until you hit the earth underneath.
The layer that is closest to the surface, that is most obvious, is one’s relationship with food and dieting. This is what most women tend to believe is the “real issue” and where they usually concentrate their greatest efforts to “solve the problem” of overeating, usually through dieting.
Next, there is a less obvious layer of issues that’s at a deeper level, the “medicating emotions” layer. Here food is used to comfort, distract from, suppress, or calm unpleasant emotions, or it’s used as a pick-me-up or even a punishment.
The deepest, often unseen layer is the need many women feel to stay large or “fat.” This is the layer that most women have no idea exists, but most women who overeat have deeply held beliefs about themselves and what it means to be “fat”and “thin” that serve as tremendous motivators for their overeating, overriding (though not usually consciously) even the strongest desire to be “thin.”
In addition to these three layers of issues, there is an underlying bedrock factor, a woman’s relationship with God and her understanding of his character and intimate, loving involvement with her and her struggles, even her struggles with overweight and overeating. Seeing God as a participant in each layer of issues is crucial to experiencing healing and freedom.
No matter how much you try to control your food intake or weight, you will not succeed for any length of time until you have prayerfully considered and sought God’s input on the deeper issues involved in overeating.