Have you ever feared replacing a particular food in your eating? The resistance is likely from emotional attachment.
The dictionary defines emotional attachment meaning this way:
Emotional attachment refers to the feelings of closeness and affection that help sustain meaningful relationships over time.
However, many people use food to meet an emotional need; therefore, they resist changing their eating habits for fear of unmet needs.
If you suspect this may be an issue you are facing, here is how to confront it and begin to heal.
Emotional Attachment to Food: 2 Questions
Here are two questions to think about regarding an emotional attachment to food:
- What need do you believe that food is meeting in your life?
- Is there a better way to care for that need in a helpful and not hurtful way?
Here is why you must consider that second point: God designed the human body to function with a particular fuel:
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.”– Genesis 1:29
Later, He gave humanity permission to eat meat after the flood:
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.”– Genesis 9:3-4
These specific instructions are comparable to a car manufacturer telling you which type of fuel and oil your car requires.
Do you feel deprived if a car manufacturer tells you that you should put gasoline in your car, not kerosene?
Do you want to revolt because he tells you your car requires 10W30 oil and not 20W50?
Of course not. Why do you obey the manufacturer’s instructions without question?
You follow the car manufacturer’s instructions because you believe their words.
You believe the car manufacturer understands more about the car’s inner function than you do.
After all, you don’t know the engine parts, how they work together, or the physics behind the car’s operation.
Since the manufacturer understands the car’s technical aspects, you trust that he also knows which type of fuel will make the car function at its best.
So you follow his instructions without question. Logical, right?
Since the same principle applies to our cars and bodies, why do we often ignore God’s instructions about the foods we eat? Because of an emotional attachment to a particular food.
The enemy has preyed upon humankind’s emotional attachments to food since the beginning of time.
But God calls His people to wisdom. 1 Corinthians 6:12 says:
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
So while you can eat anything, you should be selective about your choices. The wisest thing to do is eat according to the Creator’s instructions.
If your heart is to follow God’s instructions in this area, I believe your first line of defense is to humble yourself and pray, asking for His daily help to make wise choices.
4 Signs of Unhealthy Emotional Attachment to Food
Here are four deceptive emotional attachments that people have to food and ways to handle them:
1. Food as Love: People feel they lack love in their lives, so they use food to comfort themselves.
The solution is to experience real love in the following ways:
- Experience God’s love. God created you on purpose and for a purpose. So you must learn to see yourself through His eyes and develop a daily relationship with Him.
- Love yourself. Learn to love the person God created you to be. That means eliminating deadly comparisons with others, envying what someone else has, or insulting yourself because of your shortcomings.
Get excited about the work the Lord is doing within you to transform you into the image of His Son.
- Love others. The Lord created us to live in community, which means joining with a local, fruit-bearing church to fellowship with other believers and use your Spiritual gifts to build up God’s kingdom.
2. Food as Escape: The person is experiencing emotional hurt from their past or present and uses food to numb themselves. Food becomes their emotional Novocaine.
The problem with this is that food may numb you from pain but also keeps you from experiencing joy.
The wisest thing to do is pour out your emotional pain to God and ask Him to heal you. You may take time to heal (just like a physical wound), but you will emerge stronger, healed, and whole.
You will be able to enjoy your whole life, not just settle for half a life (or less).
3. Food as Entertainment: You are bored with your life, and food has become something to do.
The solution is to connect with your purpose. The Lord created you for more than eating, right? He gave you unique talents and gifts to benefit others.
That is one of the reasons to connect with a local fellowship of believers through a church. You can discover your Spiritual gifts and use them or engage in outreach projects to meet community needs.
While entertainment has its place, you’ll end up with a meaningless life if your sole purpose is to seek amusement.
Make your life count since you only get one.
Pursue your purpose, and you’ll add passion to your life!
4. Food as Belonging: Ah, now this is one I struggled with big time. Food is a means to gather together socially, so there is pressure to eat the way other people around you eat.
If you don’t, other people may comment on it or even try to make you eat things you don’t want to. You fear standing out or rejection, so you give in to fit in.
The solution is to decide that you want to walk in wisdom in this area and follow the Creator’s instructions. You recognize that other people have the right to choose what they will or will not eat.
And so do you!
While you will not judge them, you will set boundaries regarding your health choices.
Others may try to tempt you because they feel guilty when you eat healthily.
However, others are responsible for managing their feelings, not you.
Your responsibility is to love people. But draw the line in practicing destructive behavior in a misguided attempt to make others love or accept you.
Find your value and identity in God, not in the opinions of others.
Whew! I know I’ve given you a lot to consider.
However, I believe that you will find it life-changing if you do this daily work of reviewing and resolving your emotional attachments to food!
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.
“Prayer for Weight Loss”