Many years ago, I watched a special on the TLC network called ‘I Eat 33,000 Calories a Day’ about four people who were in bondage to food addiction.
Their weights ranged from 468 pounds to over 700 pounds. Here is a clip:
The two men were confined to bed and had to rely on others to take care of their most basic needs.
One of the women lived her life in the small area between her bed, the kitchen, the bathroom, and a recliner parked in front of the television.
And the “lightest” of them all, a woman at 468 pounds, was still mobile but stated “I’m killing myself slowly every day.”
These stories illustrated to me the terrible toll emotional and stress eating can have on people if left unchecked.
As I listened to their stories, a clear pattern emerged as to what was going on with them.
Although they were different sexes and races, they were all confined to the same prison.
I recognized it so well because I had once lived there. I came to call it the “Loopy” cycle.
Here’s how it went: Food became the way I dealt with life.
I experienced stress and emotional upsets, which led me to crave sweets (candy, cookies, cakes), refined carbohydrates (breads, pastas, white rice), and high fat foods (chips, french fries, burgers, and other deep fried items).
I would feel good immediately after eating, even high, but then came the crash—I would feel drugged, lethargic, sleepy, irritable, anxious, and depressed.
Lacking energy made it difficult to even try to exercise.
All I wanted to do after work and caring for others was crash in front of the television.
Of course, living this way made me gain weight. This led to stress and feelings of emotional upset. And this led to more food cravings.
Do you see why I called the cycle “Loopy?”
After I had the chest pain that ended up being the motivation for my own weight loss, I begin to come out of the Loopy cycle and into the Power cycle.
I want to share with you some of the things I learned that set me free.
Here are three questions to ask yourself to determine if you are caught up in the Loopy cycle:
1. Is Food a Stronghold in Your Mind?
In the special I watched, one of the women stated, “Food is one of the first things I think about when I wake up. It’s one of the last things I think about before I go to bed.”
Are your thoughts occupied by thinking about what you are going to eat, anticipating how it is going to taste, and craving how it makes you feel?
I must admit when I was struggling with my weight, that is exactly how my thoughts went.
Back when I weighed 240 pounds and was a size 22, I decided to get a piece of paper and place a checkmark on the paper each time I thought about food.
At the end of the day, I counted the marks. I counted 77 times!
In Isaiah 26:3, the scripture says,
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”
I did not have perfect peace because food was occupying the place in my mind where God should have been.
2. Is Food Making You “Loopy”?
Do you experience stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, and emotional upsets frequently?
If your diet consists mostly of sugar, high fat, and refined carbohydrates, then it is likely these foods are interfering with your brain function.
To maintain emotional stability, the brain must maintain a delicate balance between these chemicals:
- Glucose (blood sugar)
- Serotonin (a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of calm and relaxation)
- Dopamine (the body’s natural pain relievers, pleasure chemical)
Processed foods can foods disrupt that balance.
To get out of the cycle, you must eat foods that stabilize the production of these chemicals to return the brain to balance.
Those are the types of foods we emphasize in the Take Back Your Temple program.
It’s wise to focus on foods that not only taste good, but make you feel good and do your body good!
3. Are limiting beliefs keeping you trapped?
Your words create your world.
Every person in the special I watched spoke in negative, victim language: “There is no cure.” “There is nothing I can do about it.”
Take the following test to see if limiting beliefs are holding you back:
Stand in front of a mirror. Take a few deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. When you feel relaxed, say these three statements:
- I am a size____________ [Make the statement the size you want to be rather than what you are now]
- My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit
- I maintain my ideal size easily and joyfully
As you spoke these statements aloud, did any negative or doubting thoughts come up?
Did you experience increased tension in your body? If so, this points to limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
This conflict causes you to say you want to lose weight, but do things that lead you in the opposite direction.
Limiting beliefs also contribute to stress and anxiety, which feeds the cycle of compulsive overeating.
The enemy would like nothing better than to take God’s people out. His plan has always been to steal, kill, and destroy.
But Jesus wants us to enjoy abundant life in Him, free of everything that keeps us bound.
It’s time for people of faith to take back our temples and walk in the power God has given to us!
Lately I have been thinking that the only way I am going to lose the weight is go to a bootcamp style program where i would be controlled by others to eat and exercise ( this worked wonders when I was in the Navy!) Now decades later I can relate to the lady who lives in a small area between her chair ,kitchen and living room. Currently I have a electronic scale that sends the weight data right to my nurse/coach, even that isn’t motivating me! .Food is tangible. I read your blogs and it does make me try harder to put my faith into practice. it is not only a day to day struggle but moment to moment struggle
Wow. Lots of useful nuggets….I like how u kept track of your food thoughts. I am going to start that. As always you hit the nail on the head with what you are saying here.
So glad you found it helpful, Kathy. Yeah, I do believe that was a God idea to keep track of my food thoughts. Author Earl Nightingale said once, ”You become what you think about.” But the Bible had that idea first: ”For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…(Proverbs 23:7). So once I saw how many times I was thinking about food in a particular day, it was no longer a mystery as to why I became obese. To change my destiny, I had to change what I was thinking about every day.
Good Morning Kimberley!!
As I opened my email, this is what I found,, OMG it was just what I needed!
I was actually feeling slightly depressed because at the beginning of 2018
I was determined to take back my temple!!!!! I lost a total of 68 pounds got down to 202 my starting weight was 270
However, August I went through a very stressful trial and lost my fight .. and turn to Food to cope not Jesus, Prayer ,or the Word
As a result I’m now back up to 244
I did not want to end 2018 like this !!!! It was my goal to get out of the 200 range!!
I was so close!!!!!! Why didn’t I press in
Now I have to start all over
I feel so disappointed in myself , I’m having suicidal thoughts of just wishing my life was over to end this obesity struggle!! I battled all my life with it and can’t seem to get the victory!!
You truly are a beautiful Blessing and God sent to the Help set the captives free !!
Don’t know how I stumbled across your blog
But I’m glad I did
Please pray for me
God always has a right now word just when we need it. Glad it spoke to you 🙂
I know what you mean. I too went through a period of taking back my temple and I was able to shed about 30 pounds and then several stressful life events happened and not only did I gain the 30 pounds back but I gained an additional 25. I am now slowly losing again and I give all glory to the Lord. Holy Spirit is helping me keep my focus on Him. My advice is to try turning your thoughts now…You know like the article stated…”I am closer to my goal now at 244 than I was at the beginning of the year, when I weighed 270. I can do this with the help of the Holy Spirit”. When we ask for the Holy Spirit to help us, He will, this does not mean He does the hard work for us though. Ask for the Holy Spirit to come and help you move forward; He will!
I will be praying for you. 🙂
Thank you so much for this message. The Holy Spirit has informed me to speak the word into existence as well. This is my confirmation. Since I have been monitoring what I put into my mouth as well as intentionally exercising, I can now see curves rather than a round body. Do you have any tips for the stomach area? Keep posting and Thanks
I still wish you would do a book!
Wow, Rita – It’s funny you should mention that. Ask and you shall receive! I’ve written over 12 books – praise the Lord. You can visit my Amazon author page here: https://amzn.to/2RjzmVt
God bless you 🙂
Thank you so much for this great blog, Kim! You’ve done a good job of simplifying a very complex issue with explaining how food affects brain function. It was a great reminder for me!
You are welcome, Nancy! I think its important to understand this so we can eat in a way to maintain our emotional stability and not give the enemy access to that pathway to control us.