How to Interrupt Overeating
Have you ever driven to work – and then arrived with no memory of the drive along the way? It doesn’t have to be just driving to work, but driving to any destination that you travel to habitually.
The Lord brought that example to mind as I was praying and studying with Him this morning. It came because I was thinking about an issue a Take Back Your Temple group member posted about. It has struck a nerve because many others chimed in to say they are having the same issue.
The Lord is telling me that the same experience of driving to work unconsciously is the same experience as eating unconsciously. You don’t have to figure out the way to work every time you go. Wouldn’t that be awful if you had to re-learn how to drive to work everyday?
But instead, God has given your brain the marvelous ability to learn patterns. Your brain has learned the pattern that you taught it called “Driving to Work” and you’ve practiced it for so long that it is now a program that you run automatically. All you have to do is decide that you are going to work, get in the car, start it up, and pull out of the driveway. Voila’! The ‘Driving to work’ program takes over and does the rest.
If you take a different route to work than you are used to doing it, it’s not going to be as comfortable as the old way, is it?
So concerning your overeating, you have a route that you have taught your brain over the years. It has that learned the pattern so well that it doesn’t even have to think about it anymore. In the case of driving to work, your trigger to start the program is probably pulling out of the driveway.
What is your trigger to start your overeating “program”? Is it sitting down to watch your favorite TV program? Seeing leftovers on the stove? Being compelled to clean your plate after preparing a large serving? Feeling stressed out after hearing the kids scream all day?
You’ve got a program if your overeating has gotten to the point where you are not even conscious of doing it!
So how do you change it? Let’s return to the ‘Driving to work’ example. You have a specific destination in mind when you drive to work, don’t you? You’re not driving just to drive aimlessly – you want to get somewhere.
When you overeat, what is the destination you are aiming for? Is it calmness, comfort, escape, excitement, avoiding a particular task, a feeling of importance, or other reason? That destination is driving this behavior. And the behavior is getting you what you want, even though it is likely causing other problems such as weight gain, lowered self-esteem, or health issues.
In the driving example, think about what would happen if you drove the same way for years but the road has developed a deep rut in it that you can’t bypass. Every time you drive over that rut, the car bounces hard and the undercarriage scrapes the road. The last time you drove that road, your car bounced so hard that your bumper became dislodged. You’ve learned that the city is not going to fix the rut due to repair cuts.
So you now have a choice. Do you keep driving the same route, knowing that each time you drive it, you are causing more and more damage to your car and will end up with an expensive repair bill? Or do you find another route that will get you to your destination just as well, but without the car damage?
It’s true that you are now going to have to actually think as you learn the new route. It is going to feel uncomfortable too. But you’ve learned from experience that as you drive the new route day after day, the brain will pick up the new pattern and it will replace the old “Drive to work” pattern. Someday, you’ll go “unconscious” with the new pattern too. It’s how God designed the brain to work.
Do you see the possibility of changing your overeating pattern now?
Here are your action steps to change:
1. Determine your trigger. What actions are you taking to start the overeating program?
2. Determine your destination. When you finish overeating, what destination have you arrived at (what emotion are you trying to feel)?
3. Ask God in prayer to give you Godly wisdom as to a different route to take that will get you to the same destination (if it a beneficial one) or to a better destination if the old one is not helpful.
4. Drive the new route you are given. Again, it is not going to be as comfortable as the old one. Did it get you to the destination you wanted? If so, great! Drive it again next time and keep doing it to teach your brain the new pattern. If not, then find out what adjustments you need to make to create a new route that works for you.
James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
That’s a promise straight from God! He is telling you that whatever wisdom (applied knowledge) you need to get through this life in a way that glorifies Him, all you have to do is ask.
It’s a tragedy that so many go through life on roads they may have started traveling even as children, but don’t stop to think about where the road is leading them!
I’ve been driving my health road for several years, but on occasion I have to change routes if I discover a road I used to travel is no longer the best way. In those cases, I can always count on God to give me the knowledge I need to create a different route. He also gives me the commitment needed to apply that knowledge. In the end, I not only gain a new route, but wisdom in the process!
“Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her (Proverbs 3:13-18).”
Is wisdom telling you to create a new route today? If so, declare out loud “I need to take a different road!”
Have faith that you can do it with God’s help. Start the process today!
Be blessed in health, healing, and wholeness,
Author of the ‘Take Back Your Temple’ ebook
P.S. One of the most important things you’ll need to do to reach your best weight is to renew your mind. That’s why one of the bonuses in the Take Back Your Temple eBook is “Prayers and Promises to Take Back Your temple”.
In this special bonus, you get over a dozen scriptures and prayers specifically related to God’s promises for health and strength so you can gain physical, emotional, and spiritual victory every day. Check it out!