* SPIRITUAL STRATEGIES TO HEAL EMOTIONAL EATING *
Some of you have mentioned that you want to try these strategies and wanted to bookmark them, so I decided to put them into a thread so you can go back and read them again & again, as I do often ...
When my emotions or the neggies plague me and tempt me to eat when I am not hungry -- I start singing praise songs out loud, and reciting praise Psalms like #145; and that takes it away every time. (TIP: the book of PSALMS is chocked full of positive verse and praise samples; and positive, inspirational QUOTES work well too)
Like GARY (EZMONEY) says, you cannot think two thoughts at once -- so you want to counteract the negative, emotional thoughts with positive, joyous ones. Try it, you'll be amazed how well it works ...
This is the strategy that I believe the LORD gave me to deal with emotional issues in my life, so that I can be truly free to soar like an eagle ... I know my emotions were leading me to eat things that weren't good for me.
Now I have learned this was the strategy of YKW to keep me from succeeding and thinking badly of myself, I have found new tools and strategies of my own -- like singing, praise, reciting scriptures, reading Psalms & other positive verses, memorizing positive verse, writing songs & poems, and journalling.
HE WHO SINGS ... frightens away his ills!
~ Cervantes ~
Here is a song that means a lot to me about this subject; and it is fast becoming a mantra song for me -- It is called "BEAUTIFUL" and sung by Mercyme. I want you to listen to it until you believe it. Enjoy ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C2o0jHNRuU
I think this was a huge breakthrough for me. I did a study on the value of PRAISE
and found that this was a gift to us from GOD, to be used as a tool to comfort us, to teach us, to heal us, and to help us in our daily walk with Him. GOD didn't ask us to praise Him becuz He's conceited, or just becuz we know that He deserves it; but becuz we need it to bless our lives.
As I was sharing in another thread -- I had lots of emotional issues to deal with while trying to heal my eating issues; actually, it was my emotional issues that led me to eat incorrectly in the first place (plus social conditioning and a lack of knowledge too).
Now I know how unhealthy some foods are for MY body (ie sugar, salt, and simple starches), I can mindfully, make better choices. The only clincher for me was the emotional factor
, which is what I am working on right now.
Here are my personal issues -- 1) emotional upset from the past & present 2) hurt feelings 3) being embarrassed or made fun of 4) being criticized by others 5) feeling unloved & unappreciated & perceptions of same 6) feeling judged; and 7) boredom.
I have been very transparent here -- but I think if we are honest, these are truly the things that we need addressed on top of those that are related to "societal conditioning" and "knowledge". We need to re-learn how to eat healthy again (forgoing the junkies & fast foods); and we now have the knowledge we need to do that (eating healthy foods in the right portions, plus getting regular exercise and a good night sleep).
BUT, we need healing -- we need prayer first; then we need loving; being accepted; good teaching; good tools (like these strategies); practical help (like this site); and support by loving, caring people who have that special gift.
Sooo ... these are my list of new spiritual strategies to deal with the emotional issues listed above -- PRAISE, FORGIVENESS, HEALING, LOVE, PRAYER, GRACE, and CHARITY (serving others).
(***see explanations further down this post***)
Whenever I was upset about something or with someone, I would invariably find myself wandering to the kitchen or to the fridge to eat something. So, I prayed about this a lot -- what could I do to heal those hurts instead of eating to console myself? (BTW, I really believe that we may have been conditioned to use food for consolation when we were young.)
Over time, I really believe the LORD showed me these strategies, and I started practicing them. It does take some practice, but after a short while, it starts to become second-nature; and the Holy Spirit will automatically bring them to your mind and thoughts. It's like the memory verses -- whenever you need them, the Holy Spirit brings them to mind.
I was reading how JESUS answered every temptation with scripture. That gave me another idea. If JESUS used scripture verse to combat temptation, then so should we. Remember, the first temptation involved food; so He really knows how we feel -- see also, Hebrews 2:18 & 4:15.
I memorize short positive verses which makes it easier, saying the book, chapter & verse numbers before & after the scripture. If you have any difficulty memorizing short joyful scriptures, just read them right from the Word. The last several chapters of Psalms have great PRAISE verses that you can recite; sometimes I even sing them to myself and GOD, of course.
JESUS, the disciple Paul, and King Solomon -- were actually great early psychologists ~ all suggesting that we use good thoughts and words as tools to overcome our challenges in this life.
PHILIPPIANS 4:8 ~ "Whatsoever things are TRUE; whatsoever things are HONEST; whatsoever things are JUST; whatsoever things are PURE; whatsoever things are LOVELY; whatsoever things are OF GOOD REPORT; if there be any VIRTUE; and if there be any PRAISE, think on these things."
PROVERBS 23:7 ~ "... for as he thinks in his heart, so is he ..."
EPHESIANS 4:23/24 ~ "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind, putting on new attitudes of righteousness and holiness."
ROMANS 12:2 ~ "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind."
Here is a brief explanation of these strategies --
is an amazing healing tool. This one is a choice; and it will help you heal your hurts (esp from others). You kinda "fake it until you feel it" -- the important thing is to make the choice to forgive; you don't have to feel it. I just say out loud -- I choose to forgive so and so; and then ask GOD to forgive them too.
How many times do we forgive? JESUS said, "seventy times seven" or, many times (Matthew 18:22). How many times will we need forgiving in our lives? Unlimited times, I'm sure. There will be many times that we have disagreements with our spouses, children, family, neighbors, co-workers, friends, or others, that stir up our emotions; and we need the tool of forgiveness in order to heal the relationship and move on.
How do we get over these situations unless we forgive and let go of them? "Don't let the sun go down on your anger" is wise advice (Ephesians 4:26). Forgiveness can heal the emotions of hurt, anger, sadness, and sorrow ... yes, we can even forgive that: forgive the loved one who left us; forgive GOD; forgive life for hurting us; forgive ourselves for feeling hurt, sad, angry, or even guilty for remaining alive and well.
JESUS showed us the greatest example of forgiveness by dying on the cross to forgive all mankind, for all sin, for all time. GOD showed us by forgiving us first (see Isaiah 44:22 & Isaiah 103:12 & Hebrews 10:16/17).
EDIT TO ADD: I recently read a story about a woman who was the victim of an atrocity: she was gang-raped while volunteering in an underdeveloped country. She was asked if & how she had managed to heal that hurt; and she said "Yes, by CHOOSING TO FORGIVE her attackers". She went on to explain that she chose to forgive them becuz of their human weaknesses: that is, their ignorance & lack of civility. She said that she didn't forgive the act or the crime they committed; for that was a fact, but she realized that she must forgive the person(s) who committed the act/crime/hurt, so that she could heal.
And, I just read another story that said that those who hurt us go on with their lives, not realizing how their words and/or actions affected us and those in our lives (ie our families). So in order to heal, we need to choose to forgive, to take the power to hurt us away from them.
This is why FORGIVENESS is so important; so that we can heal and move on with our lives to accomplish what good GOD has planned for us; and so that others can be free to be forgiven or freed from the burden of guilt/blame and moreover, be free to repent & change. For GOD wants us all to be saved ...
BUT, I don't stop there ... I also ask Him to "BLESS THEM" (JESUS said this remember?) I PRAY
that the LORD will bless that person who hurt me in whatever way they need, so that they won't feel the need to do that anymore -- ie if they are tired, to give them rest; if they are worried, give them peace; if they are envious, fill their needs abundantly; if they are sick, help them get well; if they are sad, bring them joy again; if they are hurt, help them heal; and so forth.
Also pray for yourself and/or ask for prayer for strength, peace, calm, patience, or whatever you need to cope with the situation you are dealing with at the time.
* See the note about THE LORD'S PRAYER
under the PRAISE section below for more *
then after forgiving that person, I am nice to them anyways; that's the LOVE that JESUS commanded us to have for others. We need to realize that HURT PEOPLE -- HURT PEOPLE ... meaning people often hurt people becuz they are hurting in some way themselves. This doesn't excuse them by any means, it just helps us understand why they are doing it.
You know, GOD loves us; and JESUS loves us, so why don't we love ourselves? JOHN 16:27 ~ "For the Father himself LOVETH YOU ..." JOHN 15:9 ~ "As the Father hath loved me, SO I HAVE LOVED YOU: continue ye in my love." (Jesus)
You know, the more I read, the more I am convinced that some people are overweight simply becuz -- THEY DON'T LOVE THEMSELVES!!! Self-hatred, self-loathing, self-flagellation, self-abasement, self-criticism, self-denial, and extreme selflessness all contribute to using food as a weapon against oneself instead of as fuel to nourish and heal the body. If you truly love yourself and your body, you will want to take good care of it.
Quote: "AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT ACCEPT AND LOVE YOUR BODY (and yourself), IT WILL RESIST YOUR DESIRE TO HAVE IT BE DIFFERENT. Practice liking your body as it is, because that is the only mind-set from which you can change it." (Dr.Andrew Weil, M.D.)
We also have to re-learn how to LOVE OURSELVES too. One way is to be nice to ourselves, including how we talk to and about ourselves; and by doing caring things for ourselves -- taking time for ourselves, pampering ourselves, engaging in activities and socializing with people that bring joy and love into our lives.
We learn to forgive ourselves (Roman 8:1) by claiming the GRACE that the LORD earned for us and gave us as a gift; then we can start loving ourselves again. When we kick-start the healing process -- by loving ourselves, we will just naturally start taking better care of ourselves too.
We don't always get loved in this life the way we need to or should; so sometimes we have to take steps to love ourselves, and to bring more love into our lives in some other way, ie find more loving friends; or better yet, get a puppy!
This is also helping me with anxiety and trust issues as well; the praise helps me to keep my focus on GOD, and on JESUS when I need peace and calm (like when we are sick, for instance). I also practice forgiving myself and remind myself that I am now under GRACE and this gives me peace and hope. When I have hope and peace -- my joy abounds, so that healing can take place too.
"There is therefore now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Christ Jesus ..." Roman 8:1
What does this mean? You are forgiven, already! For everything -- in your past, present, and future ... that is true Grace! You are now living under a special kind of Grace, so you are free to be all that you can be. All you have to do is believe it; claim it; and live it ...
incorporates thankfulness and gratefulness, all in one. It shows GOD that you appreciate all that He has done for you in your life. When we thank Him and praise Him, it lifts OUR spirits and fills US with JOY! WOW, we praise GOD and WE get JOY!
PRAISE IS THE SONG OF A SOUL SET FREE!
Did you know that there are more than 800 glad verses
in the Bible? That is -- positive, uplifting scriptures that we can meditate on; more than enough for every day for over two years ...
*** NOTE: See Post #13 for examples of PRAISE VERSES from the bible ...
THE LORD'S PRAYER
can be very helpful to us as a strategy to heal our emotional eating. This is how JESUS taught us to pray.
Did you ever notice that it starts and ends with PRAISING GOD
(in Matthew 6/KJV)?
Plus, we give Him PERMISSION ~
we ask that HIS will be done in our lives -- what is good & right & best for us, in every way.
after that, we ask GOD to provide for our needs: our daily bread (our food).
Then we ask Him to forgive us for our debts, as we (choose to) forgive (or pardon) others as well.
Then we ask HIM to keep us from temptation (food is one); and deliver us from all evil (and that includes negative thought).
Then, we PRAISE HIM
again; ending the prayer on a positive note! I say this prayer every morning; it's a great way to start the day ...
THE LORD's PRAYER
is also a good strategy tool to use whenever you are tempted (say, to eat when you are not really hungry); or feeling oppressed by "any kind" of negativity or stress (including sadness, grief, anger, etc).
BTW, while some people have to relearn how to listen for hunger signals -- many others (like myself) have to learn how to IGNORE hunger signals that won't turn off! That is where the prayer about "temptation" is so helpful. Ask the LORD to "quiet" those false hunger signals. I believe this is your body trying to fool you into eating, when you KNOW that you have eaten sufficiently for the day.
After praying about this, you can try some practical tricks like drinking black currant or other herbal teas; green or black tea with milk or lemon; plain water, flavored or sweet water, and this will help the urge to pass. Some people may have a glass of milk and/or coffee with cream works well too. This fools the body into thinking that it had something to eat ...
I also pray for healing from any hurts from my past and/or present, so that I may be free from that bondage (no sadness, bitterness, resentment, or residue anger). This frees us and others to be at peace.
How to heal the past? We must let it go ... first pray, then forgive, then let it go. Paul said, "This one thing I do, leaving the past behind, and looking forward to what is ahead" (Phil 3:13). Live for today ...
"YESTERDAY ENDED LAST NIGHT, SO LET IT GO!!!"
Now, it may take some time to go through all the hurts, and those who have hurt you in your past; as some people have suffered through all kinds of abuses in their childhood that need healing.
Some people come from dysfunctional homes where they didn't receive the love and care one needs to be emotionally well; and, some people may be in relationships now that are nothing less than toxic -- not healthy at all, so they may have to make the choice to separate themselves from them, or get some counseling.
Regarding stressful situations and people ~ there are some practical solutions that you can use to heal stress. We can't always avoid stress, BUT if you can, maybe you should for awhile to help you heal (ie take a break or a vacation; or make new friends).
When you can't, you have to find other ways to heal -- getting away to a quiet place (JESUS did this often: going to the sea, or up a mountainside, or to a garden to pray). Meditating on scriptures and positive things; and listening to soothing music is very helpful too. We are encouraged to recite psalms; and sing hymns and other songs for a good reason -- they are great healing tools.
The point is -- to find ways to heal; and find solutions to your problems that do not involve food. This calls us to be very creative!
"DISTRACTION IS AS GOOD AS A CURE"
... they say.
Lots of people on this site have tips on practical strategies they use to avoid or distract them from food -- going for a walk or a drive; visiting family or friends; talking on the phone; reading or watching tv; coming on the net and to this site; volunteering; exercising or going to a gym; enjoying sports & clubs; hobbies and crafts, etc. All of these things can help distract you until the temptation to eat goes away ~ essentially, you are just keeping very busy.
there is nothing better than serving others to heal us and get our minds on something outside ourselves so that we can heal. It is a kind of distraction that has many benefits for us and others. We not only help others, but we will earn rewards for ourselves (like rebuilding our personal confidence and satisfaction in accomplishing things); and don't forget that GOD notices every good thing that we do for others too!
For instance, to heal my boredom issue (among many other things), I am now crocheting charity blankets; it keeps my hands busy; and I am giving to and serving others as I am healing.
QUOTE: "When we care for others, our burdens are lifted. When we have joy serving others, and helping others -- we can forget our circumstances: having hope and sharing hope at the same time."
Our emotions do lead us to eat when we are not hungry; we try to soothe our sadness and sometimes anger, with food. Of course, this just makes things worse, not better; but what did the LORD say? Pray for those that hurt us and also pray for ourselves (and each other). Pray that GOD will deal with that person and/or situation, so that you can be free of it and heal right in the moment.
Right after that, I start PRAISING again
, which brings back my Joy; then I turn around, and go do something else!
we need to incorporate these spiritual strategies on an ongoing basis to make sure we don't slip back into old habits, simply becuz healing takes time ... we didn't get this way overnight, so we must practice patience to let the Holy Spirit do his work so that we can be fully and truly healed.
We have to "practice patience"
while we "practice kindness"
and "practice loving ourselves"
... becuz somewhere along the way we didn't get these things OR we are not getting what we need now. That's right, what we NEED ... we all need love and GOD IS LOVE -- so we need HIM in our lives, so that HE can heal us and bless us richly.
I think some of us have been hurt more in this life than others -- we have been through some very tough times. Some people are more sensitive than others; and some people are more resilient than others too. Some people have led kinda charmed lives so far, but they may have more challenges later in life. I know I have been through a lot in my life, esp early on; so I needed a lot of healing now.
If you go to a counselor, what do they do? First, they commiserate with you -- they empathize with your plight -- maybe even helping you to understand your situation more clearly; then they may make some suggestions how you might change your thought patterns so that you can heal; and lastly, they help you find strategies to make practical improvements in your life that will help you succeed with your goals; BUT it is up to you, to carry them through ...
I have been learning this stuff over the last 5 years, and all during that time, I have lost weight and have NOT gained it back this time. So to me, that is a great success in and of itself -- and I hope to continue with these positive strategies until I reach my healthy goal and beyond ... for this is a lifelong journey.
I would be thrilled if these strategies help anyone; so, feel free to use them, by all means ... Rosebud
*PS ~ continue to follow this thread as I have posted more practical tips & helpful strategies further on ...