Food and Self-Control

I recently had a physical examination for some medical problems I was having. While in the doctors office, I commented to her about my suddenly expanding body. It seems I am "growing" in all directions except up! Despite my (relatively) sensible diet I am still appearing to gain weight. The doctor kindly told me that it is the stage of life I am in and that if I wish to maintain where I am now I will have to exercise 1 hour per day. Horrified, I thought to myself that if I want to lose any part of the weight I have gained I will have to exercise two hours per day! My next thoughts were about giving up eating altogether and wondering about the possibility of running the 70 miles to and from work each day...

I have no problem admitting that I got the "fat genes" in the family. Weight has been something I have struggled with off and on all my life. The problem is very simple- I love food. Worse yet, I love bad food, food that may not even be real food! I would prefer to eat cookies, chips, salsa, frosting, cake, brownies and every other forbidden delicious yummy treat there is rather than other food (which I also love.)

I didn't always operate this way. There was once a point in my life that I simply stopped eating. I ate nothing but popcorn and diet soda for about 6 weeks and lost approximately 45 pounds. It was during a very sorrowful and distressing time in my personal life and that was the ungodly way I chose to deal with those issues. From there I went into what is known as eating disorder behavior, alternately binging huge amounts of food and then purging the food from my stomach. It was all about looking good, having it all, and having no consequences for my sinful behavior.

I wish I could say that these were isolated behaviors in my life, confined to just that span of time but that would be a lie. For as long as I could remember back to being a kid I wanted to overindulge in snack foods and things that tasted good. I went through stints as a chubby girl, a less-than-chubby girl, a slender girl, and a rightly proportioned girl too.

As a woman who is commanded in the Scriptures to train up the younger women (Titus 2:5), over the past 20 years I have had to learn to understand and practice self-control in my food intake and choices.  Self-control is defined as being prudent, circumspect, and temperate. It means to have sound judgment, common sense, and right priorities.  What I consistently fight against is my own sinful heart's desire to have its own way.

"...but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." James 1:14

The heart of a woman enslaved to the worship of food is revealing the idol of "self" as being more important than the worship of God is in her heart.  We can recognize this as our reality when our desire to indulge ourselves in getting or having what we want seems to take over. Our desires control us instead of us controlling our desires.

"We make it our aim to please him." 2 Cor. 5:9

Do you find self-control issues surfacing over and over in your life?

Is your aim to glorify Him in how and what you eat? Does your treatment of your body reveal that your goal is to please the Lord?  If not, the changes have to begin in your heart as you confess your sin to Him. Ask Him to search you and reveal to you the idolatry that lurks within. Then begin to deal with these issues in truth and honesty instead of self-deception.