Link Between the Church and Weight Problems

Did you hear about the new statistic that links attending church with obesity?
I was both sad and angry when I heard the anchor person say on the news last night that “church might be good for the soul, but it might not be so good for the waist line” She went on to describe how research has shown a greater weight gain in people who attend church at least once a week than those who don’t.

I can’t say that I was surprised about this announcement, but I sure was angry at the devil for humiliating the church like that, and I was sad for the thousands of Christians who struggle with their weight.

I have written a lot on this subject so I’m adding one of my earlier articles below. It’s a bit long, but something I think every Christian should be aware of.

Please Read:

I recently stumbled upon an article “Lard have Mercy: The Christian obesity epidemic”.

It was very interesting and although the author sadly showed an obvious prejudice towards Christians, I couldn’t help but agree with some of the points being made. The author based the article on Ferraro’s most recent study, published in the June 2006 issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, a follow-up to a study he published in 1998, where he found there were more obese people in states with larger populations of folks claiming a religious affiliation than elsewhere, particularly in states with the most Baptists.

I grew up in a Christian home, and I love the church, but even I can not shut my eyes to the fact the we have grown, to put it mildly, “bigger” over the years. Now of course this problem is widespread. Everybody knows by now that obesity has become an epidemic in America with more than half of the populations suffering from this. So the church has not been isolated in it’s denial of the eminent dangers associated with obesity.

The truth is that we as Christians did, for a long time, tolerate the sin of gluttony in our midst. I grew up seeing a lot of overweight people in church, including the pastors, and I never even gave it a second thought. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way condemning overweight people, that would make me a hypocrite seeing that I have struggled with food for many years, and still have to fight off the enemy in this area.

I’m afraid the church’s denial of this problem didn’t help though. We don’t allow alcohol at our meetings, and preach against the dangers of drunkenness. Some congregations have even switched to grape juice for communion to not give alcoholics the opportunity to stumble. All kinds of addiction programs sprung up over the years, and we have reached out a hand to help people overcome these. Pastors do their part by preaching against the lusts of the flesh that the Bible warns of. However, for a very long time, we ignored the fact that food can also become an idol; something to numb pain and help you deal with life; a drug of choice.

Until a few years back I found it so hard to keep my food addiction at bay while being actively involved in church. It is true that we can not pin it all on the church, then we will be no different than the people blaming MacDonalds for their obesity. But we also have to wake up to the truth that to beat obesity in our generation will take a team effort. Yes, individuals need to change, and families need to take a hard look at their lifestyles, but big institutions and government agencies have a role to play in winning this war against obesity. So the church can’t just passively sit by, refusing to change with the times.

It is true that the church, like the rest of the world, gather around food for all occasions. Granted at a secular party there would be alcohol too, but there will always be room for rich food and decadent desserts on the menu. Likewise, every meeting and gathering at the church have been a place for the ladies to bring their best dishes to the table, and best would hardly ever equal healthy in years past. In fact, if I brought a plate of vegetables to a church function a few years back, nobody would probably eat it, and I would have opened myself up for some serious criticism.

Have things changed? I think so. We’re getting there, slowly but surely, just like everybody else. There are more fruit, vegetables and healthy dishes at the meetings these days. It’s still fun to gather around food, and lots of times our meetings are right at lunch or dinner time anyway. However, our church gets it meals delivered from Subway these days.

There is also an awakening in many churches to the fact that God made us to move. Many churches have added gyms to their complexes, and some small groups are dedicated to help people get fit and loose some weight.
In recent years many books have been written to help Christians get their weight under control and programs such as First Place have been gaining popularity with their excellent material and support groups.

So I do think the church are realizing that our casual take on overeating is not good for us and it’s hurting our children. However, we still have a long way to go. Not everybody is convinced, and one can’t help but wonder why not, if all the evidence are on the table. Can it be that the love for food has become too big to let go of the rich decadent dishes? Also, habits don’t change over night and certain food became part of our traditions, making it all the more difficult to let it go. But I, for one, will encourage people to grieve these “food traditions” and start new traditions in order to save their lives and the lives of their children.

I am joining many Christians in the war against obesity in the church. If you are a Christian struggling with food, my heart goes out to you. It is not an easy struggle, in fact it can be very lonely in a church where people don’t talk about it and still pile the tables high with rich, fatty foods.

You can find help on my website that I created especially for women and moms dealing with eating disorders and food addiction. Make no mistake, it’s not just people with anorexia and bulimia who have an eating disorder. Anybody who doesn’t eat in a normal, healthy way needs help in this area. Come see for yourself, it’s online so you can do this program in the safety of your own home and at your own pace.

I must admit that after I heard that “proclamation” on TV last night, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me again to bring my own “crutches” that I’ve picked up recently and lay them down. The world is watching us, and the fact is, we do have the answer; His name is JESUS and he came to set the captives free!

In His Love,



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How do you find victory in your WEAK MOMENTS?

I wanted to share this excerpt out of the new Breaking Free Bible Study by Beth Moore with you:
“God has reserved momentous victories and great rewards for us. But we’ll never make it to our milestones if we cant’ make it through our moments.”

Isn’t that so true? We set these milestones, and we even have faith for it – but then we get to that ‘MOMENT”, that painful moment of temptation or weakness, and we cave… and then we lose hope.


Beth goes on to say that two reasons exist that we don’t take the “exit” God offers in our weak moments (1 Cor 10:13)

1. We don’t want to

2. We don’t feel like we deserve to

We have to ask God in that MOMENT:

“God I don’t want to stop eating, but please change my WANT TO.”
“God I don’t think I deserve healthy food/taking care of my body, but please help me see that I am a princess of the only true King and I do deserve it.”

If you have been following along on our MEMBERS FORUM, you will know that I am struggling at this time in my life with “keeping my mouth under control.” Our family life has become very challenging because (as I mentioned before) my husband and I have a few businesses that we now run from home, and I’m still homeschooling two of my kids. So I tend to lose my temper and reach for some unhealthy snacks in those very stressful or weak moments during the day.

Sometimes it’s an “I just don’t want to” thing like Beth mentioned, and I’ve been crying out to God to change my heart’s desires in those times.

However, sometimes I even “want to,” and plan to do the right thing, but when I get to that MOMENT… I just DON’T!

Paul speaks about this struggle in his own life, and he concludes that it is indeed ONLY GOD who can save us and help us overcome in those times.

So what can we do if we even want to do the right thing, but we DON’T?

I will tell you about the only thing that has worked for me even in the hardest of times:
I have to recognize that my thoughts of “it doesn’t matter” or “what difference does it make” in those weak moments are LIES OF THE ENEMY. He knows my weakness, and he will present those lies to me every time I feel stressed or weak – FOR AS LONG AS I BELIEVE IT TO BE JUST MY OWN LITTLE THOUGHTS.

So we have to first of all SPOT THE LIES – those are not your thoughts, and most certainly NOT YOUR WANTS – and then RUN INTO GOD’S PRESENCE. Listen, girl, you will only find victory in those weak moments if you get out of that situation and find a place to pray. Rebuke the enemy and read those note cards with God’s truth out loud so your ears can hear the truth. The Bible says that in God’s presence the veil is stripped away, and as we look into the truth of His Word, we are changed (read this in 2 Corinthians 3: 16-18)

But what if you have 20 weak moments a day?
Don’t worry, even though daily time in God’s presence is the only way to remain free, you will not have to run and pray 20 times a day for the rest of your life. BUT FOR NOW – LET’S FACE IT – THAT MIGHT BE WHAT YOU NEED TO DO.

If you feel yourself going around in that cycle of making promises to t do better, even wanting to do better, and then failing every day at that same weak moment then it’s time to surrender yourself to God, resist the enemy, and he will flow from you (James 4:7)

Please go read WEEK 2 and WEEK 11 of my 12 Week Online Program for women with eating disorders again if you have forgotten (or didn’t realize) that you’re not just fighting your FLESH but also a very real enemy. I talk about these issues in greater detail, and also give you some tools to find victory in those weak moments.

The following passage of Scripture underlines it all:

1 Peter 5:6-10 (New International Version, ©2011)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

In His Love

PS: I highly recommend Beth Moore’s Bible Study “Breaking Free”  – it is life changing! Find a group near you or start a small group yourself, it is so much more effective if you do it with the accountability of other women.

Kind regards

Heleen Woest, MA
National Certified Counselor

NEW: INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING online or in Beaverton Oregon
Call Heleen at (503) 914-2749 or Schedule online:

Please click on the links below to learn more:

2011 – This can be your Year!

Maybe you had a Horror Holiday, jam-packed with frivolous activity and out of control eating. Mine did not exactly go as planned either, to say the least. So at this point I’m so grateful that God’s mercies are not just new every New Year, but in fact every day…for you and me

This is not a new post, but the truths remains new. I needed to hear it again myself. Please come join us on the forum as we walk this journey out together if you feel compelled to surrender your 2011 to God after reading this post:

The New Year is almost upon us, and I’m here to encourage you that this can be your year to break free from eating disorders and food addiction. I’m definitely not talking about another New Years resolution to lose weight that falls apart after a few days! No this can be your year to surrender this food struggle to God once and for all, but you have to be serious about taking it slow and giving it the whole of 2011…

PLEASE HEAR THIS: When you have nothing to prove, no one to please, nowhere to go, and no specific reason to lose weight YOU ARE IN THE BEST PLACE FOR VICTORY. It’s in this place where we start doing things for the right reasons : A HEALTHY BODY, MIND AND SPIRIT – NOT TO LOSE WEIGHT!

So don’t do this because you want to lose a certain amount of weight before that June wedding. Rather commit to doing it God’s way because you want to be healthy for the rest of your life and go to every future wedding and celebration with the peace of God inside your heart, a glowing complexion, shiny hair and yes…the size dress your were supposed to wear…

I am committing to another year of doing 3 things every day to keep my body, mind and spirit healthy:
1. Spending time with God (for a healthy Spirit)
2. Exercise (to keep my body healthy)
3. Chase after my dreams (to keep my soul healthy)

365 Days to Change your Life!
DON’T LET ANYBODY FOOL YOU. IN YOUR STRUGGLE WITH FOOD AND WEIGHT TIME IS EITHER YOUR FRIEND OR FOE. EVERY DAY COUNTS! Just think how quickly your next birthday or Christmas rolls around, while you still find yourself stuck.

All the promises that you can loose 20 pounds in 7 days are simply not true. Even if you find that “perfect” diet and loose 20 pounds in 30 days, it’s bound to backfire, leaving you with more weight in the end and an even slower metabolism.


I have been at that place where NOTHING SEEMS TO WORK! Even after I dealt with all my issues, I kept looking for ways to loose the extra weight I’ve gained over the years. It was a constant battle because after years of dieting my body was just not doing quite what it was suppose to.

So a while back I took up the challenge that I set before many ladies in my small groups and the ladies who joined my online membership site: GIVE IT ONE YEAR – 365 DAYS OF HEALTHY HABITS.

Now this way of eating has absolutely nothing to do with FOLLOWING A DIET. No food restrictions (except if you have a food addiction), no perfect eating required (a treat every now and then is okay) and especially no focus on weight loss!

It’s about changing your life AND ESPECIALLY YOUR HEALTH by consistently eating healthy EVERY DAY FOR ONE YEAR. It’s especially about making up your mind to not be side track by SLOW OR NO WEIGHT LOSS, STRESS, SICKNESS, HOLIDAYS, RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS AND A BUSY LIFE. These things are difficult, but I’m afraid it’s part of life, so you can not let it become your excuse. During this year it is important to COMMIT to CONSISTENTLY eat healthy NO MATTER WHAT!

Of course I knew this would benefit me, and sure enough it did. I lost weight, slowly, but I didn’t gain it back, even though I had a few “weak moments” of turning to junk food.

I also anticipated more energy, and sure enough, it happened.

However, there were other benefits that caught me totally by surprise. After eating vegetables with lean meats and fruit as the main course of every meal for about six months, I realized that while people around me got colds and illnesses, I didn’t. This was huge! We have a big family and as the mom I always got sick with my “patients”, but not anymore.

Another surprise in my gradual transformation: Cravings actually VANISHED!
Not in my wildest dreams would I ever have guessed that there would come a day that I would NOT WANT CAKE! After six months of eating some whole grain cereal and low fat milk when I had sweet cravings, I really STOPPED CRAVING SWEETS altogether. So yes, sometimes I still eat sweets there have been times when I got myself in a bind and had to go through a time of resisting again, but my body is now working with me not sabotaging me. Getting up after a short relapse is so much easier, because for the most part (at least 90% of the time) I eat healthy. Please note: You can fool others and even yourself, but you can not fool your body. If the food you eat is not truly healthy and in it’s purest form, I’m afraid nothing will change. I learned this the hard way:)

I also picked up the challenge to exercise CONSISTENTLY for one year. Not the kind of exercise where you work out like a maniac for 3 days and then take a break for three months (been there, done that). No, rather the kind where you exercise 5 to 6 times a week, NEVER MIND WHAT HAPPENS AND NEVER MIND HOW MEDIOCRE THE EFFORT!

I agree that merely walking slowly forever will not help much, but it is really the consistency that changes your life. After six months, I wanted to up my efforts. I was tired of walking on the treadmill, I wanted to start running! I never thought I would actually like exercise. However this would never have happened if I didn’t FIRST make it a part of my life. Make no mistake I felt sorry for myself EVERY DAY FOR THE FIRST THREE MONTHS and I called out to God every day to help me because I was not going to make it. Guess what, He did, and I am so glad I didn’t give up!

Come on girl, take up the challenge! Consistency in your Spiritual life WILL TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE TOO!

I always thought that this “pray-and-read-your-Bible” every day was just a legalistic thing that we don’t really have to obey. Turns out, we don’t have to, but just like healthy food, it can transform our lives. Sure it might not feel good at first, and it might get “boring” after a month or so, but if you keep at it you will not believe what it will add to your life.

Every day the enemy, the world and the people around us pin “things” to our lives. We get saddled with stress, loneliness, pride, responsibilities and temptations. Imagine yourself walking around with those things, and getting more piled on for a month or a year without being washed by the water of the Word or letting Jesus heal your broken heart with His Word and by his Spirit. It’s unhealthy, like eating junk food for a year. It clogs your spiritual arteries and it leaves you depleted and sick. TIME IN GOD’S PRESENCE AND IN HIS WORD IT’S NOT FOR GOD’S BENEFIT, IT’S FOR US!

Eating healthy, exercising and most importantly, spending time in God’s presence are gifts He gave us. However, the enemy blinds our eyes and the eyes of the people around us so that we believe those gifts are burdens.




If I could do it dear friend, so can you! I’m just another girl like you with a lot of issues, but we have an awesome God!


I WILL SEE YOU ON THE MEMBERS FORUM to walk this year out together!

Love, Heleen

Faith Can Move Mountains

I received a fantastic testimony this past week. I asked the author if I could share it on here because it boosted my faith and I hoped it would do the same for you.

I have written you in the past of my horrible struggles with my food addiction and would love to share with you my story of how I am 100% healed. No longer addicted to food. And it’s not just that I’ve stayed away from eating my trigger foods. I am a normal eater now. Through the power of prayer and God, I was healed six months ago. I’ve spoken about it in my OA meetings but because everyone is stuck on believing that food addiction is a disease they will have their entire life, they hardly heard a thing I said. I am now able to eat flour, sugar, fats, anything without feeling a need to binge or even give a second thought to food. It’s amazing! Truly a miracle. With God ALL things are possible.

WARNING: Please don’t get discouraged if you have only been finding freedom from food addiction by staying away from trigger foods, seeing a counselor, a doctor, or attending a group. God USES ALL OF THOSE things (and people) in the lives of those who love Him and seek Him first.

However, I’ve been challenged by Natalie’s letter to ask myself if I still believe that God can set me TOTALLY FREE – NO MORE STRUGGLES. I have accepted that I might have to keep an eye on my eating and pray for self-control for the rest of my life, but did I maybe in the process give up on the dream of running 100% free from this struggle?

How’s your faith level these days?

  • Do you remember that the Bible says “without faith, it is impossible to please God”?
  • Do you remember that we as children of God walk this journey on earth by faith and not by sight?

Please know that this is not meant as an accusation. I forget too, and yes, I still struggle, if not with food then with other stuff. We get so swept up in what we see, what demands our attention, and what’s going on around us that we lose sight of our faith and God.

Throughout my own rocky journey, two Bible passages keep stirring my heart. In fact, I always get a little teary-eyed when I read about the woman with the issue of blood, and the woman at the well. They were both instantaneously changed by an encounter with Jesus. Both of them were in bondage and suffered for a long time mind you. The one spent all of her money on doctors for YEARS; the other one lived in bondage for a long time (through five husbands).

My heart always aches when I read letters of women who are not so young anymore and feel that they have wasted so many years of their lives on this struggle. However, if I look at these two women in the Bible I want to encourage you today: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!

So what happened on ‘THAT GLORIOUS DAY” that changed everything for these women?

After exhausting all of their other resources (doctors and men), they found unwavering faith in Jesus-  FAITH THAT HE ALONE COULD HEAL THESE WOUNDED AREAS IN THEIR LIVES. That faith moved them to a place of action and freedom.

Note how both these women faced humiliation and had to let go of all denial and pride. The one crawled through the filth and we’re probably scoffed and trampled on, yet she believed if she could only touch the hem of His garment, she would be free. The other faced humiliation from other women and had to lay down her denial when she came face to face with Jesus.

However, both found true healing through the act of surrendering to the only true Healer and Saviour (Remember the Bible says in Isaiah 61 that He came to “set the captives free” and “bind up the brokenhearted” )

Now you may still have to “crawl through some crowds”, maybe by finding a counselor or program to help you deal with the pain behind your eating disorder.

You may still have to lay down some layers of pride and denial, but God has freedom in store for you.

Keep an eye out for YOUR “Glorious Day” when freedom will come to your house!

Your sister in Christ

Note: I discuss the process of laying down denial and pride and surrendering your struggle to Jesus in my 12 Week Online Program. Please have a look at the Free Week 1 and see if this is a good choice for you. This program is suited for ladies who want to find out how to stop binge eating, stop overeating or stop bulimia for good.

NEW: Individual Counseling ONLINE or in BEAVERTON, OR Call Heleen at (503) 914-2749 Schedule online:

ONE “SOBER” DAY can turn things around

Are you familiar with the AA saying of “one day at a time”? There is a lot of wisdom packed into those few words.

The truth is undeniable: TODAY IS ALL WE HAVE. TODAY WILL SHAPE OUR TOMORROW AND AS A RESULT, OUR FUTURE. But let’s face it, dealing with TODAY is not easy. It’s easier to spend planning today and shopping for that “perfect plan” or “perfect diet” than to CHANGE TODAY.

So that said, let me get to the more important matter of “HOW ??????? How do you change TODAY?”

Let’s first of all look at your today:

  • Are you thinking about how and where you can get your hands on diet pills (even some “natural” pills?)
  • Are you desperately looking online for a new diet that WORKS?
  • Are you watching hours of TV while crying and eating at the same time to not think about this anymore?
  • Are you wondering again if God cares and if you’ll ever be free?
  • Are you binging and hiding in your house again, afraid that people will see how much weight you’ve gained?
  • Are you finding yourself in a cycle of binging, purging, and hating yourself again?
  • Are you afraid to write on the forum or email me because you feel like you’ve failed yourself and me again?


There are so many ladies from around the world, some of them living around you, that feel the same. Some of the brave ones write to me or on the forum, but most of them are hiding, too ashamed to show their faces, let alone live their lives.

But don’t give up yet, there are also many ladies living around you who have had ONE SOBER DAY! These girls are coming out of hiding. Even after one day, they feel as if they can breathe again. They are laughing again. They stopped fighting with their husbands. They can tend to their children again. They’ve rearranged their closets and gave themselves a pedicure. They have gone back to church. They are spending time with God and friends, and they feel HOPE for the first time in decades…


What is a “sober” day?
It’s not rocket science really. It most certainly has nothing to do with complicated diets and hours of planning. It’s simply a day where you eat enough food every time you’re hungry, but only food that you will NEVER dream of binging on. If you have 21 of those days stacked on top of each other, your body will not be craving the binge food (usually food high in sugar, fat and white flour) and your need to binge will have diminished.

How do you have ONE SOBER DAY?

Call out to Jesus! There’s no other way! You can’t do it on your own! Without God’s help, it’s just another diet, and another failed attempt to control your weight. But when He helps you, YOU KNOW IT’S A MIRACLE!! You know it has nothing to do with some “magic diet,” and you are not afraid that it might not last… because it’s not up to you anyway.

I know I make it sound so easy but it’s not. However, when I feel sorry for myself for having to deal with this struggle, I remember all the other “addicts” out there. Why do alcoholics, drug addicts and even people addicted to pornography get the message so much clearer? – I CAN’T CHANGE MYSELF; I NEED JESUS.
Many people have to cry out to God to help them not take another drink or smoke another cigarette, surely I can cry out for the Holy Spirit’s help to not open that first bag of chips that will send me into a mindless spiral of binging.


  • Start believing today for that FIRST SOBER DAY!
  • Start calling out to God for that FIRST SOBER DAY!
  • Wake up every morning and expect that FIRST SOBER DAY!

God doesn’t love me, or any addict who found freedom, more than He loves you! He wants to set you free.

Your sister in the struggle and the faith




NEW: INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING online or in Beaverton Oregon
Call Heleen at (503) 914-2749 or Schedule online:


Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD.
A great resource for small groups or individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more:

Can Facebook Pack on the Pounds?

Let me immediately kick off with a disclaimer:
The title of this post was meant to grab your attention, I obviously didn’t mean to imply that the entity “Facebook” can (in a direct way) have anything to do with anybody’s waistline.

I also want to assure you that I am in no way a Facebook hater, on the contrary, like many others I found FaceBook to be a great source of communication with friends and family locally and especially overseas.

So why write this post?

Well, unfortunately, if you struggle with food or any other addiction for that matter, you might be adding Facebook to a long list of “‘mind-numbing activities”. In other words, you might be using certain objects or forms of entertainment to escape from reality and put off dealing with your problem.

If you want to break free from this struggle, it is crucial to learn to live in the present moment. You can not afford to put off surrendering this struggle to God until tomorrow or even for one hour! Every moment matters! The way you live TODAY is a clear indication of what your future will look like.

We have to take back our lives with the help of the Holy Spirit, and it’s impossible to do if we constantly “disconnect” from our minds and bodies. The enemy would like nothing more than to bring an innocent little thing such as Facebook into your life and use it to entangle you. Many people with food struggles find themselves spending hours on Facebook, in front of the TV, on weight loss websites, or on forums.

Now, most of you ladies already know that I have a Facebook page, a blog, and a forum for this ministry. These things can all be used powerfully by God if we go on there with the intention of finding or giving encouragement, but then get off quickly and get on with the business of living free in this world of seduction.


  • Surfing other people’s pages or “walls” can leave you dissatisfied with your own life, and make you reach for food to ‘numb the pain’
  • Spending too much time on places like Facebook can steal valuable hours of your life that could have been better spent in the Word, on your family,  exercising, building relationships, or following your dream and purpose in life

If you already have a problem with this, I would recommend you get out and buy yourself a Bible study so that you can get back into the Word of God and surround yourself with the truth. The enemy set up lies around our lives and the ONLY WAY TO REFUTE THESE LIES IS WITH THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD (2 Cor 10: 1-5)

Remember, other people, showcase only the best parts of their lives on places like Facebook. However, if you don’t surround yourself with the Word of God you might not see this and buy into the enemy’s lie of  “everybody has a better life than me”

I’m calling all of you ladies to join me in resisting the enemy when he ever so subtle introduces “mind-numbing activities” into our lives (James 4:7) I assure you that I also have to fight the good fight daily.

It will probably always feel easier to flop in front of the TV or computer than picking up your Bible. But please believe me when I tell you: Long hours in front of the TV and computer is sure to bring death to your life and circumstances. On the flip side, time spent in the Word and God’s presence will ALWAYS, without exception, fill you with LIFE AND PEACE.

Please go read again all of Romans 8, but let me at least quote this passage to remind you that how we spent our time and what we focus on shape our lives.

Romans 8: 5-8 (NIV)

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God”

Love you ladies




NEW: INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING online or in Beaverton Oregon
Call Heleen at (503) 914-2749 or Schedule online:

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD.
A great resource for small groups or individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more:



Should I Give up Dessert Forever?


In the world of Food Struggles the search for the “perfect treatment” continues, and in Christian circles, the question whether one should be abstinent from certain food or learn to eat all food in moderation is an ongoing debate.

What is a woman to do?

Say goodbye to sweets forever, or eat everything, but only one bite at a time?

My Humble Opinion: Stop wondering about it and DO what you’ve gotta do girl!

Actually, both of these “solutions” have merit:

Gluttony, a sin that most ladies with food struggles deal with, is in itself a clear indication that we are dealing with eating too much and the solution should, therefore, be to repent and eat less, through the help of the Holy Spirit of course.

However, a struggle with food also points to the sin of idolatry. Certain food can become an idol when we turn to it to make us happy, calm our nerves, and bring meaning to our lives. In the case of idolatry, we need to repent from idolatry and then remove the “idol” from the throne of our hearts and give our hearts back to God.

All of this can only be done by surrendering our food struggle to God. However, we have a part to play. Numerous verses in the Bible makes it clear that we are stewards over our bodies. Godly wisdom and common sense seem to apply here. An alcoholic would be wise not to work at a bar, and a person with a porn or gambling addiction would be wise to stay away from the computer especially at times when there is no accountability (late at night). In fact, I know people who got so tangled up in chat rooms and online communities that they had to get rid of their computers at home altogether in order to stay free. Shouldn’t we, in the same manner, be wise to remove the food that became a constant stumbling block from our lives? Are we being wise if we go to places where we could be tempted with food that always gets us in trouble?

Some scientists believe that the alteration of the brain, found in drug addicts and alcoholics, might also occur in people who have struggled with food addiction for a long time. If this is true then there should be a period of abstinence from the “addictive food” for our brains to repair before we can safely reach for those foods again (if ever)

Okay, so this is still a very controversial subject and not enough research has been done to say for sure. So let’s not call it a “brain alteration”, let’s just call it a deeply ingrained habit. Do you honestly think that you will overcome this “habit”  if you are daily surrounded by the food that is directly linked to past bouts of overeating or binge eating, or will you be pulled into the familiar path of your long-standing habit?

Here is what I’ve learned in my own life through trial and error:

  • If I keep my “addictive food” laying around the house, I’m not being wise.
  • I’m playing with fire if I start to bargain, telling myself, “I’ve not eaten _______ for so long, surely I can eat some”.
  • If I start to feel sorry for myself when I see others eat the foods I can’t, then I’m usually close to the verge of denial and in need of some truth to set me straight.
  • I can eat sugar and dessert, but I know exactly which ones are “safe” for me to eat, and it’s no coincidence that those are also good for my body.

THE TRUTH: The food that is on my list of “addictive foods”, and that I need to avoid in order to stay free, is food that my athletic friends will not even dream of touching. In other words: It’s bad for my body anyway, and the sadness I feel for not being able to have it is an emotional attachment, NOT A LOGICAL ONE.

Now I don’t deny that some ladies just have a problem with eating too much. They don’t have an emotional attachment to a certain food, they only desire a lot of food. In this case, it will make total sense to repent from the sin of gluttony and find a healthy food plan such as Weight Watchers or First Place to teach you how to be a good steward and eat smaller portions of food.

However, for the most part, if we struggle with eating disorders and food addiction we have both the sin of gluttony and idolatry present in our lives: We love food and we want lots of it.

This brings me to “A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!”

YOU MIGHT NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT BOTH: You might need to learn how to eat the right portions as well as get rid of your addictive foods. I’m not saying this lightly at all, it is SUPER difficult, so please don’t try and do it alone. Join a 12 Step Program where others are doing the same thing (preferably a Christian program such as Celebrate Recovery or an OA group that is Christian based and meet at a church) ALSO GET ADDITIONAL CHRISTIAN COUNSELING IF POSSIBLE.

You can also join my 12-week program to learn how to lay down your addictive foods and surrender your food struggle to God.

WARNING: Of course the enemy will tell you that this is just nonsense, it sounds like a diet! Let me assure you, getting rid of addictive foods is NOT A DIET. You are not restricting any food group in order to lose weight. You are getting rid of food that usually doesn’t even belong to any food group, and that you will not dream of giving to a young child. Why? It’s usually sugar and fat coated poison!

I’m not trying to convince you that you have a food addiction if you don’t have one. So please don’t get mad at me if you believe strictly in moderation and a healthy non-restrictive food plan (plus surrender to God of course) has helped you find freedom in the past. I also make room in my program for ladies who want to take this route instead of eliminating any food, because there most certainly is not a one-size-fits-all approach for everyone. I discuss the different options in Week 3 of my program.

I’m just asking you to be honest with yourself on these few matters:

  • Has your life become totally unmanageable again in spite of following a healthy food plan?
  • Do you have constant sadness and depression that lingers under the surface of your life again?
  • Have you been free of this oppression before ONLY when you got rid of your addictive foods and given your heart back to God?

In the end, you know yourself, and if you let the Holy Spirit search your heart, YOU WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO!

Hope this helped you ladies make sense of the big debate over Abstinence and Moderation.



Here are some resources for you:

NEW: INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING online or in Beaverton Oregon
Call Heleen at (503) 914-2749 or Schedule online:

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD.
A great resource for small groups or individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more:

Why does it hurt so much?

Emotional pain is no stranger to someone with a food struggle. In fact, if you struggle with food, you probably find yourself stuck in the following painful cycle day after day:

  • Uncomfortable feelings of dissatisfaction, anxiety, and depression
  • A pressing desire to get rid of these feelings
  • Use of food to numb the feelings (binge, purge or starvation)
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, self-hate, and hopelessness after the food abuse
  • Resolution to never binge, purge or starve again
  • Lack of ability to honor these personal boundaries
  • Right back to number one to keep on repeating the cycle day after day.

If you are trapped in this cycle life can be downright EXCRUCIATING.

If you’ve lost some weight through diets and programs before and you find yourself back in your old stretchy jeans and black T-shirt, then the pain can almost be unbearable. The shame and the inability to change can make you isolate yourself from people and sink into a bottomless pit of depression.

Why does this hurt so much?

There are two reasons why people experience deep emotional pain in this struggle:

1. Most people experience pain because of the symptoms and consequences of an eating disorder such as; obesity, clothes that don’t fit, shame about their physical appearance, lack of intimacy in their marriage, illness due to the disorder, relationship problems and social isolation because of the eating disorder.

2. Some people experience pain because of the spiritual problem behind their eating disorder: They feel a deep pain about the distance it creates between them and God, and sorrow for not being able to live a life of self-control. They despised being mastered by food, and they ache because they let gluttony and idolatry into their lives. They also have a deep sadness about grieving the Holy Spirit in the process.

You might experience all of the above,  but only one of the scenarios that I’ve described can bring you to a place of permanent change.

Most people just want to get rid of the intense pain caused by the symptoms and consequences, and they try to fix it with diets, drugs, surgery, purging, and excessive exercise, but they do not find lasting change. It’s like putting a band-aid on a deeply infected wound. The pain prevails.



TRUE SORROW is when we hurt because WE CAN’T STAND A LIFE WITHOUT GOD AND WITHOUT SELF CONTROL, not because we can’t stand being overweight and unattractive.

I have never seen a woman overcome this struggle permanently without a TRUE CHANGE OF HEART. I know it’s hard to hear, but if we desperately want to look good, but still want to overeat, still want to hang on to certain occasions where we binge, or still have our times where we just don’t care, then the pain that we’re feeling is only about the symptoms, and we only want a band-aid, not true healing.

This struggle between SORROW ABOUT THE SYMPTOMS and TRUE SORROW FOR THE SIN can be seen in BULIMIA. When I struggled with bulimia, I couldn’t bear being overweight and judged by others, but I couldn’t bear being without my favorite piles of comfort food either. I wanted desperately to be free from the symptoms (extra weight), but I didn’t want to give up the sin (gluttony and idolatry). I settled for a band-aid, instead of God’s healing power, but it proved to be DESTRUCTIVE AND DEADLY.

Ask God today to bring you to TRUE SORROW for your SIN and then to TRUE REPENTANCE.

You ladies know my heart, I don’t mean to be hard on you, but I have to tell you the truth about this struggle, or you will carry the pain with you forever.

Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart today: WHY ARE YOU REALLY HURTING?

**If you recognize that the pain you’re feeling is only about the symptoms and not about the sin, then please sign up for my free Week 1 where I talk more about this topic.

**If you are already a member and realize that this is still very much a HEART ISSUE for you, then join us on the forum as we encourage each other to seek TRUE CHANGE not mere band-aids for our symptoms.

Jesus is waiting to forgive you…His arms are always open wide to welcome a wayward child, bind up her broken heart, and free her from the chains that bind her.

In His never-ending Love

PS: Inspiration for this post came from “When eating becomes sin” by Jack Huges, as posted by Marie on her blog Redeemed from the Pit of Bulimia. Thanks, Marie!

Kind regards
Heleen Woest, MA, NCC

NEW: Individual Counseling ONLINE or in BEAVERTON, OR
Call Heleen at (503) 914-2749
Schedule online:

Please click on the links below to learn more:

Grab a Hold of your Life Line!

Helping HandsThe Pit Saga continues…Last week we talked about CRYING OUT TO GOD if you find yourself in a deep pit.

So maybe you’ve been calling out to God this past week and are wondering…now what?

We would all like to  get rid of our strongholds instantaneously. However, according to the Bible God’s ways are higher than ours and sometimes His answers are different than what we anticipated.

You might not be zapped out of your pit instantaneously, but rather find yourself staring at a life line dangling just above your head.

When we’re  finally ready to give up our “I can fix this” attitude and lay down our pride by crying out to God, He will show us a way out of the pit. It might very well come in the form of what I like to call a “life line”.  God’s life line to hoist us out of the pit!

The problem comes when we refuse to take the line..

Let me give you an example from my life these past months:
I have been exercising consistently for the most part of 2009. Exercise is very difficult for me. I don’t like it. However, I’ve come to realize that it is CRUCIAL in staying out of the pit of food addiction. If I exercise I stay in touch with my body (not detach like I used to in the past). I make better food choices and I enjoy life so much more. So although I know that I need to do it, I always find myself bargaining and compromising in this area.

So since October last year, I’ve been bargaining. I didn’t want to go to the gym in the mornings anymore. Too cold and too early. I started making my own “plans”. I would do it later in the day, at home, on my treadmill. Better yet; late at night when the kids are in bed. Things started to unravel fast. My old secondhand treadmill broke. I searched high and low on the internet for a cheap, used treadmill. This one broke too after a few weeks. This time I turned to Plan B: Going to the gym at night. I was determine, but somehow there was always something going on  in the evenings, and before I knew it…no exercise at all!

By the beginning of December I was only exercising sporadically and without any enthusiasm. I felt stuck! After another wasted month I finally CRIED OUT TO GOD! While doing my Bible Study one morning I saw the life line dangling right in front of my eyes: I had to go back to the gym at 6 in the morning! I didn’t want to.  I refused. This could not possibly be the answer. I walked circles around the “life line” for a few days. Finally I stopped my stubbornness, laid down my rebellion, and grabbed a hold of the line.

What happened? You know it, God hoisted me up, out of that pit! It didn’t even take long. The first morning that I dragged myself out of bed and pushed through the self pity and the enemy’s attacks, I felt peace and joy flood back into my life. Just like that!

Now I don’t mean to oversimplify the process. Your life line might be dangling a bit higher than mine and it might take all of your strength to grab a hold of it, but please do! God is not going to force you. He gives us a way of escape according to the Bible, but it’s our job to take it!

What is God telling you to do today that will get you out of your pit?
Maybe the answer to getting out of your pit is also right in front of you. Is there someone you should call, someone you should forgive, something you should start, or something you should end? Should you go out and buy that Bible study or join that women’s group? Maybe you should enroll for that class or sign up for that missions trip. Maybe you should just stop running, sit down, and talk to the Lover of your soul…

Only God knows exactly what will get you out of your pit. He might use a  friend, pastor, counselor, or spouse to speak to you. He might speak to you directly through His Word and the Holy Spirit. All you have to do is CALL OUT to Him, then wait and listen. Look for answers in Scripture, in counsel, and in your heart.

Most importantly: When the life line is dangling in front of you. GRAB IT! Obedience is not an easy thing (just ask your kids:) However, it’s always worth it!

Obedience strengthens our love for God and it brings joy back into our lives

It’s in the Bible:
John 15: 10 – 11:

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

The greatest command according to the Bible is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Second to it; love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:28-31) So the things God asks you to do to get out of that pit will always line up with His Word and these important commands. Test it against Scripture and then  DO IT!!

Grab that life line, you can do it girl!

Love, Heleen













Resources for you


Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food



Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?





Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD. Great resource for small groups or for individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more



Are you in a Deep Pit?

Are you in a deep pit of despair after this Holiday Season?

Maybe you’ve read my posts through the Holidays and thought is was all great in theory, but it didn’t do you much good. Maybe you have been in a place in the past where you could make up your mind to spend time with God, exercise, and work towards your dream (as recommended in my previous post).  But maybe you just can’t do it right now.

I truly understand. If you’re in the pit of food struggles, and especially if you’ve been in the pit for a while, it’s not as easy to hoist yourself out of it. The sides are slippery and every time you make an effort to get out, you find yourself falling flat on your face.

  • You might have decided every day for the past month to stop eating sugar, just to find yourself reaching for those cookies right after breakfast!
  • You might have been crying lots of tears in the shower at night promising yourself that you will not eat one thing the next day, just to repeat the same cycle the next day!
  • Or maybe you’ve had pretty good days, but every night you start digging in the cupboards and find yourself eating ice cream straight from the freezer!

Listen, you’re not alone in this, it’s typical behavior for someone with a food struggle. This might not be your first time in this pit. Tasting victory and then falling back to where you were can be downright heart breaking. The worst part; it eats away at your faith. This falling-and-getting-up is in fact very common among people with food struggles such as compulsive overeating, binge eating, food addiction, or bulimia. It is simply due to the fact that the journey to healing can be slow and long and sometimes we just give up.

There is only ONE THING to do if you find yourself back in the pit: CRY OUT TO GOD! Not just daily in your quiet time.  MOMENT BY MOMENT!

I know, I know… you didn’t want to hear this, you’re looking for a plan. But trust me on this one please, I’ve been in the pit many times before in my life, and the only way I got out was to start crying out to God FIRST OF ALL.

  • When you’re in front of that freezer, cry out “God help me NOW!
  • When you know you’re feeling emotionally frazzled and you’re not supposed to watch TV (which may very likely lead to binging) cry out “God help me do the right thing  PLEASE!”
  • When you’re in that grocery store and you’re loading your cart with junk food, cry out for help!!

When you’re in the pit the enemy would love nothing more than to keep you there. He’s not going to sit back and just let you climb out of it! You will have to put up a fight, and YOU NEED GOD TO FIGHT WITH YOU! You can NOT do it on your own.

When you decide to get out of that pit: Expect to be tempted severely! Don’t just read the Bible a little in the morning, but instead STRAP ON YOUR SWORD  which is the Word of God. In other words, carry note cards with Scripture wherever you go. Another idea is to put it on your mirror, your fridge, or inside your cupboards.

You may have to repeat this Scripture verse 20 times a day at first:
1 Cor 10:13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (NIV)

GOOD NEWS: The temptations will not last if you keep resisting!
It’s in the Bible:  James 4:7  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (NIV)

It’s not easy to get out of a pit. You will need added support and prayer. My 12-week online program and forum is a great way to get this kind of support or get in contact with your pastor or a Christian counselor. You may also want to join an Appetite for Freedom group or start one at your own church. A great book that I can recommend is Beth Moore’s Get out of that Pit.

Whatever you decide to do: DO IT WITH GOD. Don’t shut Him out of your pit. Jesus is the Truth, the Way, and the Life. He will show you the way out of that pit if you keep calling out to Him.

Love, Heleen

Resources for you

NEW: INDIVIDUAL COUNSELING online or in Beaverton Oregon
Call Heleen at (503) 914-2749 or Schedule online:

Click on the image below to learn more about the 12 Week Online Program: Women Struggling with Food

Read my story. Click on the image below to download my ebook: God will I ever be free?

Appetite for Freedom WORKBOOK and DVD.
A great resource for small groups or individual use.
Click on the image below to find out more: