DEFINITION OF EATING DISORDERS: An eating disorder is an abnormal eating habit associated with deranged thoughts and negative feelings. Eating may be increased or decreased by binging or refusing to eat.
FACTS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS:
There are several types of eating disorders. Anorexia is when a person refuses to eat, expresses an intense fear of gaining weight, and becomes extremely underweight–sometimes to the point of starvation. An anorexic person sees themselves as “fat” no matter what their weight, and will often exercise excessively. Bulimia is characterized by binging and purging–overeating and then forcing one’s self to vomit afterwards. Binge-eating is overeating to the point of being physically uncomfortable–the biblical definition of this is gluttony.
Emotional issues are at the root of eating disorders. People who feel their world is out of control believe that eating is one area where they are in control. A sense of worthlessness, sadness, and depression may drive one to develop an eating disorder. A bad self image–thinking one is fat and unattractive–also contributes to these types of problems. Stress, anxiety, rejection, guilt and shame are other emotions that trigger abnormal eating habits.
Eating disorders tend to develop during the teenage and young adult years, and they are more common in women.
There are no biblical restrictions on food for New Testament believers. The restrictions of the Old Testament were made under the law and were part of God’s covenant with Israel. Some believers still choose to abide by these, but this is not mandatory according to scriptures and their beliefs should not be imposed on others. The New Testament clearly indicates that all things are pure (Romans 14:20-21) and believers are free to choose their diets (1 Corinthians 8:7-9). Paul warns about legalistic regulations: “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Colossians 2:20-23).
Eating disorders lead to physical problems. Binging and purging through vomiting, diuretics, enemas, or laxatives can harm one’s digestive tract. Being extremely overweight or underweight can affect internal organs, heart, blood pressure, and the functioning of the brain.
God does not want you to be in bondage to eating disorders or anything else. The Apostle Paul said: “Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
DEALING WITH EATING DISORDERS:
Admit your problem. Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step in dealing with an eating disorder.
Determine the triggers that cause your problem. Identifying the issues that contribute to your eating disorder will help you deal with the root cause of it. Do you eat because you are lonely? Depressed? Because of stress?
Pray a prayer of deliverance. Ask God to deliver you from the bondage of eating disorders. Accept by faith, as you did your salvation, that it is done. In prayer, deal with any issues that contribute to your eating disorder. Ask God for deliverance from guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, etc. Ask Him to show you better ways to deal with loneliness, depression, and stress, etc. rather than eating.
Acknowledge that you have within you the power to change. You have the ability, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to put off old behaviors and put on new ones: “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).
Surround yourself with supportive people. Recruit a few friends to provide prayer support. Get involved in a church or Bible study where you can receive additional support from other believers. If you know someone who has overcome an eating disorder, ask them to join your support team.
Learn to eat right. Learn what foods to eat in what amounts in order to develop a healthy lifestyle. A trained nutritionist can assist with this. No more binging and purging. No more dieting. No more fasting for losing weight. If you need to lose weight, develop a healthy lifestyle, exercise, and eat right.
Stick to a schedule. Have set times for eating and snacking. Set a schedule and stick to it.
This will prevent you from becoming so hungry that you overeat.
Meditate on Scriptures that will help you overcome your disorder. The following is a list you can use for this purpose.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT EATING DISORDERS:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. (Psalm 107:17-20)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:14-16)
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30)
All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? (Matthew 6:25-26)
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak. (Mark 14:38)
Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.” (Luke 12:22)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Everything is permissible for me but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
You have the ability to put off old behaviors and put on new ones: 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)
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:11-13)
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight (1 Peter 3:3-4)