Overeating and Binging Again? How Do You Get Up when you Fall?
By Heleen Woest
Seriously, let me get this off my chest and let you off the hook at the same time: If you are recovering from a food related issue such as overeating or binging, it’s not a good idea to promise yourself that you will NEVER fall again. It’s not so much IF we fall, but rather WHEN we fall. Victory over this disorder does not lay in the “not falling” but rather in the “getting up”.
All of the people around you that seem to have it so together and make huge successes of their lives have learned only ONE thing that you didn’t: how to get up!
We live in such a broken world, and yes it’s not fair that we have to carry our cross on our hips (literally) while others hide theirs under their tiny sweaters, but we all struggle with something. Everybody has bad days and everybody falls!
If you have an eating disorder or struggle with food addiction you need to realize that recovery is a journey, and yes, the journey can be long and exhausting.
In spite of great victories and years without sugar you might find yourself in front of the freezer, eating ice cream straight from the tub when life throws you a curve ball.
Now don’t think for a minute that I don’t believe in miraculous healing. I believe that God can and will heal you from food addiction in an instant if He so chooses. However, if His will for you is to walk out your journey to freedom, then I would advise you to not live in denial, but rather arm yourself for the journey. To say “I will never, ever, ever fall for that again” is just setting yourself up for failure, self condemnation, guilt and shame.
So now that we’ve established that you and I are not the only ones with wobbly legs, the question remains: How do you get up?
What is the first thing that comes to mind after you have fallen and your eating is spiraling out of control? I’m not talking about the pre-fall-stage where you’re still toying with a bite of this here and a morsel of that there, because at that point you might still feel that you have things under control. No, I’m talking about the flat-on-you-face-stage where you know you’ve once again lost all control, you binged for one week straight, all you can think of is your next meal and you’ve easily gaining five to ten pounds. When you hit that place, you know you’re on your knees, you don’t wonder anymore.
Usually I experience the following emotions and thoughts after a fall: First guilt, then shame, followed by it’s evil twin; self condemnation. Then I usually I start looking around for someone to blame. In the end despair and hopelessness will sweep over me, and the enemy will whisper in my ear “You will never overcome this, you might as well give up.”
I know all to well how intense these emotions of hopelessness can be and therefor I want to reach out my hand to you in your place of despair and tell you: Victory is not far away, but you have to act quickly!
The enemy can gain so much ground in our lives if we stay down. The longer you stay in that place the deeper you will sink. That place where you have fallen can change into a pit of captivity that can be your home for the next few months or even years.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
1. Don’t look for a diet. Resist the urge to go on the internet and read up for hours on the latest diets out there. You will end up eating stacks of food while trying to find a “quick-fix” that does not exist.
2. Don’t go over every little detail trying to figure out how it happened. It probably happened gradually and you can not change the past. Rather spend you energy on getting up and moving forward.
3. Don’t blame your husband, your kids, your friends, my program! or God for your fall. Okay if you have to blame someone, start with the devil and then take responsibility. The blame game will just ruin your relationships and keep you laying down longer…
WHAT TO DO:
1. Always get back to basics! Diets don’t work, pills don’t work, excessive exercise doesn’t work, and starvation just ends in binging and purging. So throw out those Chinese foods and chocolates and go stock up on vegetables, fruit, lean meats, granola bars for those weak moments and oatmeal for those carb cravings. Make a few salads, cut up some fruit and cook a chicken to be prepared for the first three tough days. You only need that first day of victory to turn this thing around! You might have a week of working it up to that first day, and that’s okay, but keep trying until you get there…
2. Take it to God: Number One will not work if you don’t give it over to God! Living healthy is just another diet if you don’t surrender it to God! Believe me, after a fall you need a good cry before God. You might not know it, but at this point you might be avoiding God because you are so ashamed and you might be disappointed in Him for letting you down, again.
Tell God how you feel, it’s not He who fails us, but He does understand that we feel that way sometimes, because He so understands our human nature. Not only did He create you dear sister, He became flesh and although He never sinned, He understands. Establishing daily time with God will be the only thing that will help you every time you fall, please trust me on this one!
3. Get moving! You know it, there’s no easy way to say it, you have to find a way to get active! Exercise is a huge motivator to eat healthy. It also helps you fight depression and lack of energy that usually accompanies this struggle. Don’t make anymore excuses! Never mind how great your obstacle, someone else has a bigger one, and God has an answer. So ask Him to help you find a way to get active DAILY! You can also read lots of free articles on my website about the benefits of exercise, choosing the right exercise for you and what to do if you simply hate exercise.
5. Tell someone! After talking to God about it, tell a friend, a spouse or a counselor that you’ve fallen. If you don’t have anybody, please email me about it. I will be happy to pray for you and encourage you in any way I can. It is so important to tell someone else because there is freedom in getting the truth out there. It also gives us a clean slate to start fresh, and it always helps to be accountable to someone else. Don’t let the enemy have a field day because you are to proud to admit that you have fallen. We all fall! I write about all my failures and nose dives on this blog for exactly this reason: To not give any room to the enemy by living a lie, and to encourage you to not to focus on the fall, but immediately get busy with getting up!
Don’t keep laying down, it only opens a door for bitterness and unbelief. You don’t need those in your life: Your God is Jehova Rapha )the Lord your healer) and he’s standing right next to you with his hand extended, just waiting for you to take it, get up, repent, forgive yourself and keep going!
Proverbs 24:16 (NIV)
“for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity”.
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