A TBYT reader named Ivy wrote me the following message the other day. I share it with her permission:
Hi Mrs. Kim,
I am very grateful for your website. I know you are led to write under Holy Ghost inspiration. However if you ever are led please write a piece on feeling “Hopeless Against Food.” This is the strongest addiction because you don’t need drugs, alcohol or fornication, but you need food to survive. Quite naturally we will reach for (what) we like which pulls me out of portion control. As soon as this happens more than once the pounds lost come back. Thank you for your time.”
I empathize with Ivy because she is not alone. At one time, I felt like a hopeless food addict. But God showed me that a change of perspective can change everything.
If you have ever felt hopeless against food, or feel that way now then the following letter I wrote to Ivy will shed new light on this situation.
Thank you for writing me. What a challenge to write about feeling “hopeless against food”! The challenge wasn’t in coming up with words to write; the challenge was capturing all that the Lord was speaking to me about this.
You said that you think food is the strongest addiction because you don’t need drugs, alcohol, nor sex to survive. However, you must eat to survive.
You are right in that food can be a strong addiction to overcome, depending on how certain substances affect your brain. And food is unique in that you must face it several times a day.
But these facts don’t override the truth. I’ll share what I mean later in this letter.
Let me pause and ask you a question. Do you like feeling hopeless against food? It is a serious consideration.
You see, some emotions become like familiar spirits to us.
They are like an old, comfortable, raggedy bathrobe we put on.
We have wrapped ourselves in this robe for so long that the thought of going forward without it frightens us.
We fear we will be left without comfort if we leave that old robe behind.
In a way, feeling hopeless gives us permission to settle where we are. We may not be happy, but at least we are in a familiar place.
However, the following words will minister to you if you do not like feeling hopeless and want to know what to do when you feel that way.
Take a moment to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to bring understanding and show you how to apply these following words to your life so you don’t have to stay at Hopeless. He is our built-in Comforter!
You can’t conquer what you won’t confront.
So let’s confront the hopeless feeling.
In Proverbs 23:7, scripture says,
“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” So when you feel hopeless against food, what are your thoughts before that?
You likely think things such as, “There is no use in fighting. This is too hard. I might as well eat it. I’ve tried before and failed. Food is destined to defeat me forever.”
With thoughts like that, hopelessness comes.
What would be the natural action to follow such a feeling?
It is natural to act according to how you feel. You grab whatever food you are feeling hopeless against. It is easy because you can reach out and grab it, right? You could not do that if you did not keep it close to you.
You eat it as quickly as possible. Your tongue enjoys the taste, but in this case, the tongue’s enjoyment comes at a cost.
Joy and hopelessness cannot live in the same space. So when you settle at Hopeless, then joy is the sacrifice you pay for it.
A Bible story is a good example of people who settled at Hopeless.
Numbers 13:26 – Numbers 14:10 tells the story of what happened once God’s people arrived at the land of Canaan, which the Lord promised to give them.
Out of twelve men sent out to spy out the land, 10 of them came back with a bad report.
In verses 27-29, they listed the facts against them taking possession of the land. Now, nothing is wrong with acknowledging the facts.
In your case, you feel hopeless against food – a fact. The fact is that there are certain foods that you currently eat that make it difficult to control your portion sizes.
When you eat these foods, you overeat. When you overeat, you gain back the pounds you lost.
But are facts and the truth always the same thing? No. Feeling hopeless (a fact) and being hopeless are different things.
Being hopeless speaks to your identity and is a conclusion. It is what you choose to believe and settles a matter in your heart.
Scripture says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.
In the 10 spies case, they looked at the facts and made the following statement their conclusion: “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we (see Numbers 13:31).”
The problem is that the 10 spies left God’s word and presence out of their facts. So they drew the wrong conclusion!
In the absence of God’s word and presence, then people will use facts from what they see with their natural eyes or use the past as substance from which to draw their conclusions, their truth.
When you feel hopeless against food, Ivy – check your thoughts.
Are these thoughts based primarily upon what you see with your natural eyes or your past? If so, then you are in danger of drawing the wrong conclusion.
You can acknowledge facts, but don’t make the same mistake that those 10 spies made; don’t leave God’s word and presence out of your facts.
Remember these truths:
- You have Christ in you, who is the hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27). So you are never without hope.
- The Lord always make a way out of temptation (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
- If you lack wisdom in this area, you can always ask God for it in prayer (see James 1:5)
- God’s strength is always available to you to empower you to do what you know is right (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
In your message, you said that food addiction is stronger than others. I disagree because all addictions hijack the brain’s God-created reward center.
So it isn’t conducive to healing to have a contest of “my addiction is worse than your addiction.”
For everyone who suffers from them, the bondage of addiction is the same and is real.
You make a valid point in that food is needed to survive. The fact is that you have foods that cause an addictive response in you. These are best handled through avoiding or limiting them because of the harm they cause you.
It is the same as an alcoholic choosing not to keep a well-stocked liquor cabinet in their home, a drug addict getting rid of their secret household stash, or a sex addict blocking porn sites from their computer.
These are all wise means to protect themselves from further harm.
Regarding food, it would be terrible if the foods that cause you harm were the only ones that you could eat! After all, you’d need these foods to survive. You would die without them.
That is not the case though, is it?
You have other food choices available to you that enable you to survive – and thrive.
If you don’t remind yourself that you have other choices, then you will fixate on the foods you have chosen not to have.
I also advise not starting food fights with yourself over foods that trigger your addictive impulses.
You do that whenever you keep problematic foods before your eyes. Why waste energy fighting avoidable fights? You won’t have time nor energy to fight the unavoidable ones.
Whenever you have an unavoidable confrontation with a problematic food, consider it a weight that you must lift.
Just like lifting weights in the physical, your resistance to that food will be challenging. Breathe through it. Put on your Faith goggles and see past the challenging moment to your victory on the other side.
That future victory to come will give you strength in the present.
Hold on to your hope and never let it go. Be like Jacob in Genesis 32:24-29 in which he wrestled with an angel of the Lord.
Jacob would not let go until he received his blessing.
Ivy, you have already been blessed with all Spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus (see Ephesians 1:3).
But it is up to you to grab hold of them through believing in God’s word above what you see with your natural eyes and above what you have experienced in the past.
God wants you to succeed in this area even more than you do!
After all, you play a vital role in winning lost people to Christ Jesus. I ask you to memorize the following scripture and meditate on that today:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
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”
So true, Kimberly! I only recently admitted I could not continue to eat the foods that harm me. Kept saying, just a little won’t hurt me, but it does! It is amazing how much better I feel. Each day I avoid these foods, the easier it becomes to not eat them.
Praise God, Trina! In the final analysis, it’s really not much different than someone who realizes they have an allergy to a food and choosing not to eat it because they know of the harm it will cause. Of course, the person could continue to eat that food, but why? Typically, it is a misguided pride issue – “I shouldn’t be deprived of anything.” Well, you are choosing to take care of yourself, which is a good thing. You are choosing to avoid negative side effects, a good thing. Sometimes we tend to forget so we often have to remind ourselves of the truth. Praising God again for your break-through Trina!
I identify all to well with the addiction of food, thanking God for the encouraging words
Great Cybil – you are more than an overcomer through Jesus Christ!
I just read your comment about feeling hopeless… And I feel motivated !!
Awesome Anne – all glory to God!
Kimberly you give excellent answers to the problem of food addiction, gave pertinent scripture and asked some pointed questions that certainly gave me some things to think on and honestly answer. My biggest problem is playing food fights. I know that through Jesus Christ I am more than a conqueror!
The reference to the last verse given is 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
Amen and agreeing with you in prayer!
Thanks Kimberly that was so timely. Love the memory verse it is stacked. A friend joined me up to WW and hubby said I can’t pay to do TBYT while paying for WW. but I am going to incorporate the Godlt xwisdom you share with to help me overcome. Any advice or concerns?
Hi Kate – God’s word will give you strength no matter what program you follow. Weight watchers is a good program. It’s all about making healthy choices so that you become the person God desires you to be. Praying for you success!