Many people wonder, “Why do I have no self-control with food?” However, for believers in Jesus, this is a flawed question.
Discover these 5 Biblical principles to help with eating self control!
God revealed a key principle in the following scripture that I’ve never seen before.
The scripture is Proverbs 23:1-3:
“When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
Consider carefully what is before you;
And put a knife to your throat
If you are a man given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies,
For they are deceptive food.”
It was the phrase “given to appetite” that caught my attention.
The Difference Between Hunger and Appetite
A question popped into my mind: “What is the difference between hunger and appetite?”
You need to understand this so you’ll know why and how the prescription works.
According to the definition, hunger is the stomach’s feeling of discomfort caused by a lack of food intake.
On the other hand, appetite is a strong desire or liking for food or drink whether you are hungry or not.
Appetite is a God-given gift when used the way He intended: to satisfy the body’s need for food.
However, your appetite is out of control if you are eating often when your body is not physically hungry.
You can find yourself eating whenever the opportunity presents itself, such as from emotional hunger, boredom, or simply because the food is there!
What is Lack of Eating Self Control Costing You?
Failure to control your appetite is the same as failing to control an undisciplined child who throws a tantrum when she doesn’t get her way.
Think again about the phrase “given to appetite.”
When you give something away, you do it voluntarily.
Ask yourself: ”If I am giving myself away to appetite, what is it costing me?
You see, it costs time, attention and money to practice overeating or binge-eating behaviors.
When you give yourself away to your appetite, are you taking away from:
- Your relationship with God
- Your family or friends
- Fulfilling your destiny
- Pursuing a cherished dream
- Receiving joy from using your talents and gifts
What if you instead gave yourself away to God instead of giving yourself away to appetite?
If you want to do this, the eating self control in Proverbs says to put a “knife to your throat.”
Obviously this is not literal, but if someone puts a knife to your throat, they will have your full attention, won’t they?
Not only that, but you’ll do what they say!
Re-focusing Attention in Eating Self Control
The command is to focus your attention so that you can exercise self-control when your appetite throws a tantrum.
The problem is that many of us, from habit, are used to going unconscious when a thought to eat comes to mind.
We’ll give ourselves away to food mindlessly by:
- Running to food for comfort or to numb ourselves when we feel emotionally unsettled
- Choosing to keep eating brain-hijacking foods instead of those that keep us healthy and emotionally stable
- Placing large portions of food before ourselves that our body doesn’t need
- Returning to the kitchen automatically even though our stomach is already full
Refusing to submit to God concerning food and appetite is a subtle manifestation of pride.
It takes humility to obey God’s will because humility recognizes the authority of One greater than yourself.
Obedience also takes His grace:
“But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”James 4:6-7
5 Principles to Regain Eating Self Control
Here are the 5 steps to take back control of your appetite and the habit of eating when you aren’t hungry:
1. Pray at the beginning of your day, asking,
“Lord, I’m giving myself to You today, not to my appetite. You said that if I lack wisdom to ask You and You will give it to me liberally and without reproach.
Open up my Spiritual eyes so that I see any way I’m making provision for my old habits and show me a new way to make it easier to eat in a balanced way today.”
Decide in your heart that you are presenting your body to God for His purposes. After all, your body is His temple! Because the Holy Spirit lives in you, you DO have self-control as a fruit of God’s Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-23).
The issue is that you need to grow your self-control through practice, relying upon the Holy Spirit through His wisdom and strength.
Visualize giving yourself away to God as a gift easily and joyfully.
Romans 12:1 encourages you: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”Romans 12:1
2. Since desire drives the appetite, declare to God in prayer that you want your desires to become His desires. Ask Him to change your desires into Godly ones this day, replacing brain-hijacking foods with those that support emotional stability.
3. Declare to God in prayer that you believe His word in 1 Corinthians 10:13:
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”1 Corinthians 10:13
4. When your appetite tempts you to eat when your body is not hungry, re-affirm your decision to give yourself away to God. Pray to Him, saying that you expect to see an escape route according to His word and that you will wait to see the escape route that He provides.
Wait and then take action on what He tells you to do.
If you do this, you’ll learn that purposeful action can captivate you as much as eating used to!
5. Thank God at the end of the day for helping you to control your appetite as His word says.
You will feel great when you see that it is possible to control your appetite with God’s help!
He will give you the grace and strength to do it each day. So praise Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:33-34:
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things…”
Take one day at a time, one moment at a time even as needed.
As you give yourself away to God rather than your appetite, you will experience increased peace and joy in your life – the blessing that comes from right thinking and right living.
You are on your way to permanent transformation as you renew your mind day by day, God’s way!
Be Blessed with Health, Healing, and Wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. Do you struggle with overeating sugar? If so, you are not alone!
Overcoming sugar addiction was a key factor on my journey to losing 85 pounds and dropping from a size 22 to a size 8.
In our 14-day Sugar Detox Challenge online course (inside the Take Back Your Temple program), you’ll get the same success strategies and support to gain peace in your eating habits and achieve lasting weight loss.
Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program.
“Prayer for Weight Loss”
Thank you so much for your time in this subject…it has blessed me so much…Pastor Troy Price
You are welcome, Pastor Troy – may the Lord bless you abundantly!
This was exactly what I needed to start a new! Thank you For your faithfulness and diligence in this area. I pray to take this one day at a time.
Amen, Nneka – Living life one day at a time is all the Lord asks of us. We can overcome with His help!
This is SOOO good, Kimberly! Calling to our attention the phrase, “given to appetite” is very impactful. I want to be very intentional not to be “given over” to any carnal influence. I want to be a partaker of HIS divine nature! (2 Peter 1:4)
Thanks you, as always, for being sensitive to share and share again with God’s perfect timing!!
I appreciate that feedback, Shana! It’s up to us to know where our weaknesses are and seek the Lord’s wisdom and strength each day for protection against the enemy so that “no weapon formed against us shall prosper!”
To Mike, I like the “vote” option here. My dream request is that this could be implemented for all comments on the TBYT site. Thank you for your consideration.
Hi Vicky – That is an excellent idea! Mike is currently away and will be back Monday. I am going to pass this request on to him as a top priority. Hopefully he will be able to get this implemented quickly. Thanks again.
I just woke up from a dream where I was in a buffet line adding food to my plate. When I sat down to eat, an unknown man at the next table across from me asked to pray. He asked in prayer that the Holy Spirit would master my appetite, and I felt my spirit agreeing with him in prayer and I said Amen. In all my years of reading and studying the Word, I have never heard from God about the Holy Spirit mastering, but leading, teaching, helping, comforting, guiding, etc. But if He does all these things and I submit and receive them, then He is mastering. We are God’s masterpiece being conformed to Christ. I found this site after the dream from God and it blessed me.
Praise the Lord, Hazel! I am thankful He led you to us. I relate to what you said because I did not know about the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives for the first 9 years after saying the prayer of Salvation. So I lived defeated. But once I learned, oh boy what a journey. We are victorious in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will visit again and check out the articles on our blog to learn more. Plus, under Programs, we have free prayer classes too. May the Lord bless you abundantly!
I found this while trying to help a Christian friend who is expieriencing a small problem as she goes thru losing weight. I find it to be amazing and love the backup with scripture! Your advice, Kimberly, is wonderful and so helpful. I have posted this on my FB page, for other’s who may need help and spiritual guidance. Thanks so much, and God Bless You!
I appreciate your kind words Deloris and give God all the praise!
Hi. I have PCOS, so losing weight is extremely hard. I am quiet active but i need to follow an extremely strict diet to lose any weight. The amount of effort that goes in to make such little progress makes me feel hopeless. It has been years of struggle. being overweight has robbed me of so much. I have prayed for healing and breakthrough over and over
but nothing changes. Im at the point where I cant seems to get myself to even try again. I know God loves me but I have lost faith that He will rescue me in this area. I have lost any belief that i will ever gain victory..and I am so tired of trying…
Hi Des – The Bible says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds (read Romans 12:1-2 aloud). The Lord would not say to be transformed if change were impossible for you. However, it is a transformation that take place inside BEFORE it shows up on the outside. The Lord is the focus, not your weight.
Your body needs care, not matter what size it is. The same steps that you are taking to reach a healthy weight are the same ones that you will need to maintain it. Ensure the steps you are taking are ones you can live with.
I recommend this article also:
Beware of Scale Worship
God bless you!
I have a dear love one I’m extremely worried about and even myself concerning our eating habits. I want us both to be here on earth to enjoy watching our grandchildren grow up and enjoy life in general together as one. We warring against our flesh food desires and need to be the victor over our lives and not let food defeat us. Food addiction is a horrible strong hold and I am building a hatred for the very bodies we live in. But God gave us these temples and I’m begging Our Father to help us in crucifying the Flesh. That we may Be pleasing in God’s sight and free from this filthy flesh Food of sin. GOD HELP US LOVE YOU MORE THAN OUR FLESH LOVES DISOBEDIENCE AND HELP US POWER WALK IN YOUR HOLY WORD AND YOUR WILL FOR OUR LIFE. THIS IS MY PRAYER ❤️
Hi Georgeania – Remember that the Lord loves you and will meet you and your dear one right where you are. Through His grace, you will be victorious. Please check out this prayer and meditate on its truths. The Lord will lead you into the next steps to take. God bless you! https://takebackyourtemple.com/prayer-to-overcome-food-addiction/
Strength is what I desperately need
You have it, Jennifer! Isaiah 41:10 makes us a promise: Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
I pray for God to guide me in all ways
He will according to His promise, Theresa – Isaiah 48:17 Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, The Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you by the way you should go.”
Eye opening its really empowering thanks Kim
I appreciate your feedback, Pamela – all glory to God!
This message is amazing and right on time! Thanks for blessing me with me
Excellent – glad this blessed you!
This is amazing! I’ve been meditating on 1 Corinthians 10:13 all day!! This is my favorite scripture.
I love how God confirms His word, Taris – He is right on time 🙂
Good articel but one thing struck me when i read “ creatorof take back your temple” makes me think who is getting the glory… no judging sister in Christ just sharpening each other
Hi Nadia – I appreciate your feedback. God gets the glory in it all! Stay blessed, Sister 🙂
Amen Nadia [Noted!]
We are going to change that to “Author” of Take Back Your Temple so that it is not misconstrued in any shape, form or fashion that we would dare to take credit for the glorious task God has entrusted to us.
To God be the Glory!
Thank you fir the reassurance!
You are welcome – all glory to God!
Hi ive been struggling with issues with smoking heavy and drinking cokes most of my life I do take a antipsychotic medication called redperdone 40% of mentally ill patients in the world smoke due to mental pressure but have taken things to help me quit but sometimes seem to go back to it and my sister has a severe loss off appite for 4 years now and feel like she is getting sicker and also my faith has failed a lot and feel like I pray and God does not hear me and cry daily because feeling that I caused a lot of pain to my family and friends because of my smoking and hurt my body and also afraid of dying one day of lung cancer at an early age what can I do to help my family and to not feel regret all the time and to restore my relationship with Jesus I want to do the things I use to when I first gave my life to jesus how can someone go back and show sincere sorrow for what they did and not go back to it thankyou for takimg my request
Hi Marla – my husband Mike and I have prayed for you. Do me a favor. Watch this video first because I believe it will show you how special you are to God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QCkBL2DfVg
After you watch the video, read the following scriptures out loud:
* 1 John 5:14-16 says, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
So your feeling that God does not hear you is a lie. You are praying for the restoration of your relationship with God through Jesus and healing for your sister. Both of these are requests that are according to God’s will so he hears them:
* Romans 8:38-39: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
God loves you and as you draw near to Him, He draws near to you. He never leaves you nor forsakes you.
* Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.”
God also did not give you a spirit of fear:
* 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
God gave you power, love, and a sound mind. It is up to you to renew your mind to this truth. I believe God is bringing restoration to you so that you can sound the alarm (Marla) to those you love, encouraging them to come to know the love of Christ for themselves!
Here is an article I wrote about how to walk in health. I pray it ministers to you: https://takebackyourtemple.com/7-rules-of-christian-health/
May you walk in the blessings you already have in Christ!
Ahh… dear sister! Again you have encouraged me.
After being freed from sugar addiction by your wise councel, I was able to fast for 40 days for the first time ever, and it was easy. I did it for spiritual gain, but the weight loss was the better outcome.
Unfortunately, I found myself ‘mindlessly eating’ after the fact. Distraught, I have been seeking help from the Lord, and He has led me back to you.
I googled ‘Bible appetite’ and here we are ‘coincidentally’, again. 🙂
But you and I both know it’s no coincidence – it’s another little miracle where God is working through you.
I have often repeated the scripture to myself over the years “If you are given to GLUTTONY, hold a knife to your throat.” (this is the word used in the TNIV) but I didn’t mine the pearls of wisdom from it as you have.
The root word that the word gluttony comes from means ‘to gulp’… and here I am being releaved of my ‘gulping’ of food…. and ALSO… my ‘gulping’ of scripture itself.
“Slow down, Candy. Chew your food – and you will find that it is nourishment to your bones.” Is the lesson God is teaching me on physical and spiritual levels through you.
With love in Christ,
your sister, Candy.
What a blessing to hear this.
Truly God gave you the strength to do that fast
Wow, I am arrested reading this. I know God’s purpose, calling for me requires me to give of my body for His glory – using movement & the knowledge of health & image I’ve gained through school & life. I’ve struggled for years with food, I thank God for you & what He’s revealed to me through your writing.
God bless you & your ministry
I found your site today, and thank the Lord for guiding me here. I am overweight and have been trying (in vain) to lose weight and change my lifestyle for the past 5 years in my own strength. I now realise I can do nothing without God! Thank you for the pivotal role you play in guiding people like me to the Lord. God bless you.
Thanks Kimberly for share this with us God bless you and your ministry!
Thank you for the article. Powerful! I have not thought about it being an issue of serving two masters. God really spoke to me this your article! God had shown me that I was selling my “birth-right” for a bowl of soup because of my eating issues. And this article filled in some of the missing pieces to what God wants me to do & how to do it. Thank you for the encouragement!!! Blessings to you and your ministry
I have been suffering from another type of eating disorder for years now. For the past year I have only eaten rice and drank instant breakfasts. I have lost a lot of weight and am very weak and malnourished. I can’t find help because I have no medical insurance. I’m afraid I am going to die. Any suggestions for me ?
Hi Kim – I am praying for you. Just based on what you said, it sounds like you need immediate help to deal with this eating disorder. I recommend you check out the resource at https://www.mentalhealth.gov/what-to-look-for/eating-disorders/anorexia/index.html. It can give you access to public health resources in your state.
I also recommend you check out my post here for Spiritual resources to help you with this issue. You can overcome with God’s help!