Coping with Food Addiction with God’s Help

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” Romans 6:11-12

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:22-24

I grew up in a happy Christian family. My parents were firm (I always knew their “no” meant “no” and there was no point in begging again) and loving (we called ourselves the “SF,” which stood for the “Silliest Family”). We were also a family that loved sweets. Dad regularly brought home a dozen doughnuts on Saturday mornings, and they were generally gone by Saturday night. “CCCs” were a big deal in our house. My dad would get his “face set” for Chocolate Chip Cookies and we’d devour a batch in a few days. By the time I was in high school, I had earned the nickname “Muffy” because I had a habit of eating too many muffins (or other sweets) whenever we had them around…which was most of the time!

I am a sugar addict. I probably have been since I was a little girl, and the steady stream of sweets in my house likely encouraged my addiction. Did you know that studies with rats actually show that sugar can be just as addictive as cocaine, with rats experiencing withdrawal and addiction symptoms? Some rats even find sugar more addictive than cocaine! Some people are wired so that the places in their brain that respond to sugar are highly stimulated by it and become physically addicted to it. It is not unlike the alcoholic’s addiction to alcohol or the gambler’s addiction to gambling. The reward centers in the brain light up when fed sugar, and beg for more when sugar is taken away.

I’ve been eating according to Fit4God principles since 2009, eating whole foods like beef, poultry, fish, vegetables, fruits, and seeds. (I avoid eggs, dairy, and nuts, which are part of Fit4God, because I am either allergic to them or they activate my MS symptoms.)  For the most part, I steer clear of processed foods and sweets. I’ve seen the amazing results that come of eating by God’s plan – I’ve lost 40 pounds of excess weight, and have made a comeback from a pretty crummy case of Multiple Sclerosis. I read for hours every day about how to eat healthfully and about how toxic sugar is to the body. I’ve observed the devastating effects of sugar on my body: addiction, cravings, and compulsive behavior, followed by nausea, dizziness, disrupted sleep, and irritability. And yet I still crave sugar. Still!

I know many, many of you have felt the same way and struggle just like I do. While eating according to the Fit4God plan will help tamp down sugar cravings, sometimes we are still tempted. We bake something for our kids, and it tempts us. We attend a party, and the desserts tempt us. We experience frustration or sadness or loneliness and the old cravings rear their ugly heads. We try to satisfy the cravings with fresh fruit, only to find that even that increases our desire for sugar.

I’ve learned that the only thing I can do when I find myself sorely tempted by sugar is to fall on my knees and submit my will to God and ask Him to help me. It is a sin against God and our bodies when we overindulge in sugar. Our sinful nature lusts after things of the flesh. It is desperately wicked in its pursuit of physical pleasures. But the physical pleasures of sweets only last for a season, leaving us corrupted and miserable. Jesus tells us that we must die to our sinful nature every single day. Every day we must take up our cross anew and bear it. Every day we must consciously choose to die to the self.

It seems like we ought to be able to conquer our addictions once and then be done with it. When I have a good day, a good week, a good month….a time when sugar has no hold over me, I feel like I am home free. And then my sinful nature rears its ugly head again and I am sorely tempted and I realize I must again and again and again die to myself so that I can truly live for God.

Some days, I don’t want God’s help. I want my sugar and I want it so much that I don’t even want to pray for help…because I know He will give it to me. That’s how ugly our sinful nature can be. I’ve prayed before through gritted teeth, “God, help me. I don’t want your help, but I need your help. Help me to want your help.” And do you know what happens? He answers with a full and resounding “Yes.” He gives me the desire to humble myself, to submit my will to His, to die to my sinful nature and seek after Him once more. Whenever I ask, he provides. I just have to take that first step and ask. And I have to do it every day.

I encourage you to pray when you are tempted to eat things you know you shouldn’t. Until I experienced it for myself, I couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to have God’s help in conquering my cravings. When I did…when I really submitted myself to God and asked for His help…it was incredibly powerful. The cravings were completely wiped out. Eradicated. Laid to waste. My desire for sugar was gone, and my desire was only for my Lord. I chose Jesus as my savior many years ago, and he continues to save me to this day. If only I will ask anew every day.

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Comments

  1. thank you Kathy for this article, it really made me vies things from a different perspective. It never occured to me that “taking captive of every thought and making it obedient to Christ” could be applied for this situation.

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