Finding Freedom from Restrictive Eating
This interview is with my precious friend Neely. I struggle with overeating, and she has been sharing with me how the Lord is breaking her free from restrictive eating. She is sharing her story today to encourage others who might be able to relate and find hope!
When did you discover that restricting food was a problem for you?
“Earlier this year, I was waking up in the middle of the night really hungry. I realized I hadn't been eating enough throughout the day. I also thought about how it may be causing my loss of periods. I didn't think that was a health problem until my lack of food also made me lose sleep. Maybe the two were connected?
I wanted to get my period back because not being regular me nervous about the future. I started praying about it more and introducing healthy fats like avocados and nuts. It was still very topical solution rather than going to the spiritual source of it. I feel like the Lord made it difficult for me to keep skimming the surface so He could lead me to the deeper issue.
I found it hard to go to the grocery store because I got really anxious around food. I had difficulty making my own meals at home because I was so restrictive about foods I would or wouldn't eat. I didn't have a lot of freedom and felt like I wanted freedom from the anxiety and freedom to be myself.”
What was your turning point towards healing?
“My period returned, but I still wasn't feeling freedom.
I started going to a Christian counselor. I told her I had body image issues. She spoke Scripture over me and told me I was fearfully and wonderfully made. I could hear her saying that but I didn't believe it. My soul did not "know it full well."
I feel like I continually strive to make myself look better to earn people's approval. Seeing that made me realize that a surface level problem like eating went down to the soul level of not feeling accepted.
During that time, I started praying about becoming a Revelation Wellness instructor. I didn't know if it would be a good idea to do more fitness stuff. But then I realized that I was restricting myself there too.
Exercise brings me joy and comfort, but I was depriving myself of exercise. I felt like I shouldn't be allowed to have that, like I was punishing myself.”
What do you feel like you were punishing yourself for?
“For not doing enough in my relationship with the Lord.
He began teaching me that He saw me as His beloved. In my earthly relationships, I felt like I needed to make myself small for what others needed me to be.
You have those relationships where you feel like you can be fully yourself. It's safe and you're not afraid of rejection. There are other relationships where you feel like you can't be free because there's a fear of rejection.
But perfect love casts out fear! My fear was not realizing the fullness of what Jesus did on the cross for me. I know that His love is enough. I don't have to earn or strive my way towards freedom because it's already been bought for me.”
You've mentioned rich pieces of Scripture. Is there a specific verse leading the way through your journey?
“I've been allowing the Lord to be my shepherd like in Psalm 23. I'm letting Him lead me to eat what he has for me and prepares for me.
Also, the joy of the lord is my strength! Being nourished in Jesus is the bread of life. God gave the sun which makes the food grow and gives it as a gift to nourish our bodies. Eating is a reflection of who God is to us as our comforter and nourisher, the sun that makes us grow!
My favorite Scripture now about what God says about my body is to "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:1-2
The battle is within my mind. In it, I'm attacked with restrictive eating thoughts. But if I can continually renew my mind with Scripture then I can take that thought captive and put it up against the truth about what God says about me.
Colossians 2 reminds me that food is a shadow, and the substance belongs to Christ. And how restrictions have an "appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:23).
This season is a new wineskin. He is taking off those old yokes and wineskins that don't serve me or the Lord. And when they're off, I can see my habits for what they truly are. It's been painful because restrictions were my comfort. But I'm exchanging them for something so much better because these are a shadow of what is to come. Food is not supposed to be an idol, but a shadow of something even better.”
Yes, yes, yes and amen! How could you encourage another sister who might be going through something similar?
“Prayer is huge. Being in the word is huge because God is the best counselor that you could ever have. It feels really hard to realize these things and let go of them, but it's so worth it.
I was recently reading about taking up your cross. The cross means death. The death of something is hard. You have to grieve it, but it's for something so much better than what we had before. It's all worth it!”
Thanks for following along with my journey! I hope this helps bring you more freedom in the Lord, too!
If you can relate with Neely’s story, I would highly recommend the book Grace, Food, and Everything In Between to break free of restrictive eating and start finding freedom in the Lord.
Do you have any encouragement or resources to share?
Do you have a testimony about how the Lord is transforming your health with His love? Contact me and I can feature your story!