In my last blog, we looked at the three most common reasons why women have a difficult time 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. In this blog, we’ll look at the first reason and how to resolve it so that it is no longer a motivator for eating beyond the point where physical hunger is satisfied.
Thanks to the current “diet mentality” of our western culture, along with the idolization of health and health-related studies and gurus, nearly everyone has adopted a number of food-related rules, regulations, and taboos. However, according to Colossians 2:20-23, such regulations do nothing to help us control “sensual indulgence.” In fact, according to Romans 7:7-8, the rules actually arouse our desire to break them. (What do you crave most? Whatever is forbidden!)
In contrast to the food rules we think we should follow, Jesus actually declared all foods “clean,” and Paul made it clear that it is natural for us to choose to do what is best for our own bodies. (See Mark 7:19, Acts 10:15, and Ephesians 5:29.) It is only when we remove the “illegal,” “wrong,” or “bad” labels from foods that we’re able to decide for ourselves what does and does not work best for our bodies. We can also make informed health-related choices without labeling a food “off limits” and thereby making it “forbidden fruit,” which results in wanting it all the more. (See 1 Corinthians 6:12—it’s when you know a food is permissible that it no longer has mastery over you.)
If you are convinced that you may eat absolutely anything that is out there, then there is no need to eat too much of whatever you’re eating right now. It won’t be forbidden tomorrow. You can always have more later when you’d enjoy it more because you’re hungry for it. When you’re over-full, food is just not as enjoyable as when your body actually craves it.
Your fear may be that if you take the restrictive labels off foods such as chips, salted nuts, chocolate, or ice cream, you’ll eat it all the time and blow up like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. However, the opposite is true. You may go “hog wild” for a while, but it’s only because you’ve deprived yourself of that food for so long. After the initial “full emersion,” you will realize that you’ve had enough and are craving other, equally delightful foods—even a few that are considered “healthy”! And you will experience how the grace of God, not food rules, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and to live self-controlled lives in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).