Beyond Food Addiction – Craving the Creator
This month we’ve been talking about temperance, or self-control. Today we’ll take a practical look at something we do every day – eat.
The following is a repost of an interview I did with licensed social worker, Amy Menter.
Food. We need it to survive. Let’s be honest, it’s not a chore to eat; all the variety and wonderful flavors can make eating very pleasurable. But when food becomes an obsession, it’s an entirely different story.
Christian counselor, and writer, Amy Menter, knows what it’s like to struggle with a food addiction. Fortunately, she also knew where to get help. Let her story inspire you.
Maria: When did you know you had a problem with food?
Amy: When I hit 256 pounds. I was in a shop with my husband and overheard two men talking about a lady they’d seen who had gone to high school with them. They commented on how good she looked and how she had taken care of herself. The Lord used those comments, in both the physical and spiritual sense, to show me I was trying to “take care of myself” with food to meet an emotional need.
Maria: What prompted you to get help?
Amy: It was the realization that food was my comforter. I turned to food before I turned to the Lord for comfort, and recognizing that made me very sad. I wanted the Lord’s comfort above all. Instead, I was turning to desserts and eating until I was so full it hurt. The Lord began to deal with me.
He wanted me to turn to Him with my feelings and stressors, not to a pan of brownies.
Maria: What was the biggest challenge you faced?
Amy: When I first started asking God to help me control my eating, and to turn my emotions and stressors over to Him, I started exercising and diligently counting calories. I successfully lost 90 pounds!
But then I went on a cruise and ate to excess. I got off track and regained 35 pounds. I would have continued to gain had I not been stricken with a severe illness 2 years ago. It changed the course of my ability to eat. I was so sick I couldn’t even drink water.
Slowly over time, I worked up to being able to eat 500 calories of bland foods. It was tough when I started to feel hunger pains again. My stomach still could not tolerate much food. It was in these low times, I realized my relationship with food still had many problems and they ran very deep.
Food was not only a big source of comfort for me; it was one of my best friends. When it was taken away from me, it turned my world upside down. I thought about food a lot. I watched the Food Network. All the magazines around my house were food-related. I loved hosting events centered on food.
My biggest challenge was grieving through the loss of my ability to eat, which was really the loss of my closest friend. God called me to dig deeper into my issues and food addiction during the months that followed.
I’d cry over my longing for food and tell Him all about it. He listened to my cries. He challenged my lusts for food, and convicted my heart about behavioral patterns I had with food. He consoled my grief. He renewed my mind and helped me love Him “more than my necessary food,” (Job 23:12).
The Lord has truly become my Counselor during these long, challenging years!
Maria: That’s wonderful! What advice would you give someone struggling with a food-related addiction?
Amy: Pray and ask God for the ability to be self aware; to have His insight regarding the root causes and emotions behind your food addiction. Be vulnerable before Him in prayer and journal about your desires to change, to overcome, and to be healed. Trust Him. His strength will give you the power to surrender your relationship with food to Him. Finally, be willing to make the changes He calls you to make.
Maria: Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Amy. I know God is using your experience to be a tremendous help to many.
Do you need to exercise more self-control where food is concerned? What steps will you take to be free?
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, Thank You for the reminder that self-control does impact every area of my life. Help me crave You more than the things You've created - even the things that are necessary, like food. Show me the areas I need to surrender to You, and give me the strength to make the changes I need to. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Amy Menter is a wife of 26 years, during which time she served with her husband as he pastored and started churches for 16 years and then moved into the service of a deacon for at Faith Baptist Church in Circleville, Ohio.
Amy is an independent licensed social worker and has her own Christian counseling private practice. She works with traumatized women, and those struggling with depression, anxiety and marital difficulties in hopes of bringing God’s Word, Presence and Help to them. Find her devotionals on her Facebook page, Devoted Daughters.
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