Do you struggle with emotional eating? Check out our most popular 21-Day Challenge video and a wonderful interview we had with Kimberly Taylor on overcoming emotional eating.
What are some practical strategies you use to help you overcome emotional eating?
Kimberly Taylor: Here is just one practical strategy I recommend and it is based upon this scripture: “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17).”
So God wants you to be secure in your righteousness through Christ and to live in peace and joy. First, you need to release the physical tension in your body associated with your emotions, then deal with your thinking.
When you have the thought to eat when you aren’t hungry, decide to wait just 10 minutes. Think of it like pressing the ‘Pause’ button on a movie.
Take 10 deep breaths, breathing in slowly and out even slower. During the 10 minute pause, pray and ask God to fill you up with His peace and joy at that moment. Ask Him to show you the way of escape from the temptation as His Word promised. Finally, ask Him for the courage and strength to take the escape route He offers.
Emotional eating at its core is an impulsive habit. So hitting the ‘Pause’ button puts the breaks on and allows you to respond to the situation rather than react to it.
If you can’t wait 10 minutes at first, just strive to do 2 minutes and then add a minute each time. Usually, a 10-minute pause is long enough for the emotional storm to pass so you don’t have the urge to eat anymore, but you can work up to that.
How long did it take you to overcome your battle?
Kimberly Taylor: I overcame the worst of it in about 6 months, but it was a stronghold with seeds planted back from my childhood. I remember one wrong idea I had about food was that big portions meant that I was important! I have a younger sister and always insisted on getting a bigger portion of food growing up to show her I was more important. It’s funny that an idea like that can follow you even to adulthood. I had to learn that as an adult, my worth as a person is not tied to how much food I eat. I choose to eat healthy, exercise, and take care of myself as a sign that I think I am important enough to stay healthy!
What advice can you give those of us struggling with emotional eating?
Kimberly Taylor: My main piece of advice is to check your heart to be sure you want to overcome this issue and are ready to work on it now. I’ve had many people reveal to me over the years that they can’t even see their lives without this habit in it. So no matter what program they try, they will sabotage themselves to prove that change is not possible for them.
If you can see yourself changing, then write down what your life looks like when emotional eating is no longer a part of it. The next time you are tempted to emotionally eat, remember your vision and that you are not alone. God is with you. Start practicing resisting the urge using the practical tip I gave earlier.
That’s really key. The Bible says that if you resist the devil, he will flee (see Jas 4:7). So many people give in to the enemy’s suggestions right away, but you can resist the Holy Spirit’s help. This is not a one-time thing. You’ll need to practice resisting each time. Believe that God will give you the strength to do it.
If you don’t believe that and believe the enemy is stronger than you, then he will win and keep on winning in your life.
Do you think people that don’t know God can overcome emotional eating?
Kimberly Taylor: Yes, but what typically happens is they replace one destructive habit for another. You see, God wants us to live in stability (peace and joy) with Him. But the enemy always tries to push you into extremes. If he can’t destroy you through suggesting you overeat, then he’ll suggest you starve or go on some wacky diet. He’ll suggest you smoke to “calm your nerves.” He really doesn’t care the method by which you destroy yourself, only that his ultimate strategy of steal, kill, and destroy works.
What is your biggest challenge today – is it still a struggle?
Kimberly Taylor: My biggest challenge is complacency – of thinking “I got this.” Because I do like to eat, I have to be sure that I fix reasonable portion sizes for myself and keep healthy foods in my home so that they are easy to get and simple to prepare. I think good preparation beats good intentions every time!
We are creatures of habit and I think if you can create an environment that makes it easier to eat healthily and exercise, then you’ve won half the battle right there.
If you’re looking for resources to help you overcome your emotional eating, you can check out our free 21-day Weight Loss, God’s Way Challenge.
Or check out Kimberly’s programs at takebackyourtemple.com and receive more free health and weight loss tips.