You’ve stuck to your game plan of healthy eating, mindful of what you put in your body, eating smaller portions, exercising regularly, and you’ve lost a few pounds. You’ve been consistent and done well and even surprised yourself when the scale confirmed your effort.
But then that food trigger went off. A well meaning co-worker brought doughnuts to the office. You know, the kind you like – the chocolate creme-filled donuts. Oh, how your mouth waters! You can just taste it and give in. After all, it’s only just one.
Or, you throw a birthday party to celebrate your son’s tenth birthday. What would a birthday party be without cake? You go by the bakery to pick up the cake. The smells and aromas of all the sweet things there envelope you like a foggy morning. At his party, you can’t resist a piece of his birthday cake. After all, it is his tenth birthday, and one piece isn’t going to make a difference.
You tell your conscience that I won’t spiral out of control this time – not like I used to. This time, it will be different. But, that feeling of guilt after you eat that piece of cake gnaws at your conscious making you feel that you’re being sucked back into your old habit of eating mindlessly.
We think we’re in control of ourselves and able to navigate the minefield of emotional and behavioral eating triggers. At times like that, we must have the power of God’s voice and scripture to help us when temptation strikes like in Colossians 3:5-8. This means killing off everything connected with that way of death and not eating whatever you feel like eating, whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever food attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God.
Giving into temptation just a little can trigger giving in to more sweet temptations and even pigging out especially if you have a food addiction.
You will feel better, have energy, and sleep better eating mindfully and healthily. You can’t stop doing that. I’m a T1 insulin dependent diabetic. I don’t stop taking insulin just because I feel better. And, I can’t stop eating healthily just because I feel better – much better. And that means for me right now, not even eating one piece of cake.
“Breaking my diet even just once a week makes weight loss impossible.” (“Love Hunger” by Drs. Frank Minierh, Paul Meier, Sharon Sneed, and others, p 98).
Nothing tastes as good as peace feels. And, with every victory, even a small victory like walking away from a doughnut, comes a feeling of peace rather than guilt. Is it really worth it to give into that temptation?
Remember, the first temptation Jesus had in the wilderness was with food while fasting in the wilderness. Jesus didn’t engage the enemy. He deflected Satan’s lies and rationalizations by quoting Scripture. “Man shall not live by bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus walked away from temptation and gives us the willpower to walk away from unhealthy food.
“Resisting temptation allows God’s promises to be built up in my heart, and that creates empowerment. That’s God’s power working through my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:10) and working out something magnificent within me.” (Lysa Terkeurst, “Made to Crave”)
But, suppose you slip up and fail. You eat that piece of cake or doughnut or have an episode of binging out. What then? Don’t let a slip up become a discouraging and disheartening failure. Simply begin again, forgive yourself, and be motivated by your vision of what you want your body to be.
Feeling like you’ve failed will make you want to say, “What’s the use? Who cares?” And then, eat whatever. Well, you and I do care, and one slip up doesn’t define who we are and what we are about in losing weight! Forgive yourself and begin anew.
There may come a time when you can have and enjoy a piece of birthday cake or even a doughnut at the office without such indulgence wrecking your healthy eating progress. But, if you suffer from an addictive personality like I do and have a food addiction, its best to say an emphatic “NO!” and walk away. It takes just one drink for an alcoholic in recovery to fall off the wagon. Don’t let yourself get sucked into failure by rationalizing, “Just one little doughnut won’t hurt me. I can handle it.”
With God’s help, strength, and power, you can pull down the food trigger stronghold that has wrecked your body. The Bible says, “We use our powerful God-tools for tearing down strongholds erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity” (2 Corinthians 10:5-6 MSG).