Stop Overeating: The Hidden Reason We Overeat

Have you ever heard of “brain hijack’? If you want to stop overeating, you need to know what it means and why it’s the real reason you overeat.

Why is this such an important issue, especially for Christians?

1 Peter 5:8 warns us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”

The information you are about to learn shows you how certain types of foods interfere with your ability to be sober, vigilant, and focused on the purpose to which God has called you.

Scientists once did an experiment on rats to determine the nature of drug addiction. They trained the rats to press a little bar and they would receive a small dose of cocaine.

At first, the rats would press the bar just a few times a day. Eventually though, the rats became so addicted that they would press the bar dozens of times a day, even forgoing food and water just so they could get their fix.

The scientists discovered that when the rats received the drug, it lit up the brain’s pleasure/reward center, the nucleus accumbens. When this area of the brain is stimulated, it naturally makes you feel good.

However in this case, the brain was lit up for a dark purpose – drug addiction. The term “brain hijack” describes this process.

If you are currently binging on food, then you too are suffering from “brain hijack”. It is most likely that your brain is sensitive to sugar. When you overeat, you are lighting up your brain’s reward center – but it’s ultimately for a dark purpose.

It didn’t start out that way. Just like the rats, all you wanted was to feel good. You made the connection that high sugar foods make you feel good.

But soon, your brain’s pleasure center was hijacked and, in spite of logic and the Holy Spirit’s warning, you found yourself unable to stop.

John 10:10 says,”The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…”

You know logically that overeating consistently causes you to gain excess weight, which will ultimately destroy your health.

However, overeating is not logical; it is emotional.

That is why it is critical that you learn to secure your emotions with God’s truth. The Bible says:

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (1 Corinthians 6:12).”

In other words, you can eat anything but you shouldn’t eat everything – especially if you know a particular food is not helpful to you.

So how can you take your brain back? You have to re-train your brain to seek other sources of pleasure in life besides food.

God built the nucleus accumbens for a good purpose – it enables you to enjoy life but in ways that are good, not bad for you.

Here are 4 ways you can start to take your brain back:

1. Prayer. Your first line of defense is to ask the Lord in prayer for help. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus said that you should pray not to be led into temptation. So before you start your day, pray “Do not lead me into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one (see Luke 11:4).”

2. Remove temptation. Say this statement out loud: “The best way to win a fight is to avoid getting into one in the first place.” It is a principle from the martial arts.

The martial artist only fights when she has to; she doesn’t go around picking fights to prove how big and bad she is.

In a similar way, you know which foods trigger your binges. Stop picking fights with them.

Get them out of your house, your desk, or wherever you keep them. Stop leading yourself into temptation.

This is different from forbidding yourself to have certain foods.

When you tell yourself you will never have a food again, all that does is activate the rebellious (sin) nature within all of us.

Instead, you tell yourself that you are making a wise, empowered choice to remove yourself from harm.

It is no different from a person deciding not to eat a food to which they are allergic!

Does a person really have to fight with themselves not to eat a food that they know will make them itch, swell up, or cause sickness? I  don’t think so.

Is it a food that you think you can’t live without? Are you thinking you will die if you don’t have it? That is a serious warning sign that this food has power over you. The enemy has likely set up a stronghold in your mind.

You need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and power to get free from it. And you need to be diligent to take such thoughts captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Here’s another tip. When you prepare your plate, look at the side of your fist. The human stomach is naturally that size. So fix your plate to be an appropriate size to satisfy your body’s hunger only. If you overfill your plate, you will be tempted to eat it all – whether your body needs it or not.

Control your portions to avoid the overeating fight.

3. Build pleasure into your daily life. Here are some activities that also light up your nucleus accumbens, but in healthy ways. These are a NECESSARY part of your healing, so take time for them daily.

Take them as seriously as you would a prescription from your doctor:

  • Good music (especially praise music)
  • Laughter (funny movie or clean joke book)
  • Massages or using a foot roller
  • Warm baths or showers
  • Body stretching
  • Dancing
  • Learning new and interesting things
  • Sex (marrieds)

I suggest making a list of other things that have brought you healthy pleasure in the past. Then get creative as to how you can introduce them back into your life.

4. Praise. Play praise music that you love. When I do it, my brain starts feeling good worshiping the Lord. I’m lighting up my nucleus accumbens. By the time the song is over, the urge to eat is no longer there. I just took back my brain!

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why is it so hard to stop overeating?” then you now have an answer.

Depending on how long your brain has been hijacked, it may take time for you to take it back.

But, this work is not optional.

You want to obey the Biblical directive not to be brought under the power of those things that harm you.

God desires only good for you.

Remember the wise words of Jesus: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work (John 4:34).”

May God bless you as you seek to do His will in every area!

Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,

Kimberly Taylor

Creator of the Take Back Your Temple program

P.S. When it comes to weight loss, do you often know what you should do but have a hard time doing it? You are not alone! I struggled with this issue on my own weight loss journey, but I discovered that “Nothing is different until you think differently.”

In the Take Back Your Temple program, you will learn how to think differently through Biblical keys.You’ll discover how to win the Spiritual and mental battle that often causes the enemy to defeat us. You’ll get Spiritual insight so you can recognize His schemes and learn how to overcome them.

This is must-have information if you are tired of defeat and are ready to succeed permanently.

Click here to learn more about the Take Back Your Temple program

 

  • Andrea says:

    Inyeresting. Thank you for steoping up and helping others “Take back our temple”

  • Kirsty says:

    Yesterday I prayed for help. I just couldn’t stop eating. This morning before I got out of bed I gave it all to God. I knew if I didn’t I’d just fail again. I got up and checked my messages and there it was. Tools from God in answer to my prayer. Thank you.

  • Alane says:

    Great article!! Just what I needed!!

    • Wonderful Alane. God is faithful!

    • leisl says:

      Wow. Im so challenged. Now i understand why i eat like i do. Its not about the food. Its about what im going through and past issues that i havent dealt with so i turn to food. iv decided to take a hold of my life. Remove all fear and anxiety and trust in God for help. Thanks

  • Julie says:

    Thank you and thank The Lord for this timely information!

  • Kathy says:

    True revelation! I have never seen this explained in such a clear and understandable way. God bless you!

  • Sheila Pirson says:

    Awesome word , had no idea this was my problem i have been struggling with . Will try to clear a way to be able to join this program. Awesome!!! thank you for the information and God bless!
    I have been starting to walk again, and I listen to worship/praise music and or teachings while i walk, and it makes me feel better. Before i know it, the walk is done and i feel so much better!!!

    • Amen, Sheila! This is a day-by-day process and each one of us get to choose how we want to live our days. Do we want to live in freedom or bondage to food? It sounds like you have chosen the path to freedom and I celebrate with you 🙂

  • Danel Powell says:

    I’m beginning to learn the difference between eating to live and living to eat. Though I know the difference between condemnation and conviction, I have felt a lot of condemnation about failing at this. The Scriptures are showing me that I just need to lean on Jesus during my transformation because there is no condemnation in Christ.

    • Danel, it sounds like you’ve had a breakthrough in renewing your mind. Keep filling your mind with God’s truth and walking it out in your daily choices. Pretty soon, your outside will start matching the person you are inside. The seeds have been planted. Just keep watering them every day and you will eventually reap a great harvest!

  • Lenora says:

    Thank you Father. This is a much needed word because I truly could not understand why i would overeat and then ask God what was wrong with me… Well here’s my answer. Im following these steps starting today. God bless you.

  • Patty says:

    I am like those rats hooked on cocaine. Many years ago I realized that I connected with alcohol and drug addicts because of this satisfying feeling that I get from my “drug”, food. It mostly is junk food such as chips, sodas, and anything with or claiming to have chocolate on or in it. It is as if my mind goes blank or black when I eat it and as soon as it is gone, all of my thoughts and problems come back and I am hunting a way to calm my thoughts all over again. This article expresses it well. I can surely relate!

  • Shawny R says:

    Praise the Lord for his mercy and perfect timing as always! This article is wonderfully written at such a time much needed! Thank you Lord for conveying your wisdom through Kimberly in such an understanding and down to earth form!

    Lamentations 3:22-23

    22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

    23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

  • Sue says:

    Wow, that hit me right to the core. I am part of your program, but don’t remember receiving that book as part of the program. Ever since you sent the article about doing something good for yourself every day (I believe it was from you) I have been increasing my time of listening to praise and worship music. When I am able I dance to it. What a blessing. I have been in this disease for a long time and it will not go away overnight. Any advice for those of us who who have family members that bring into the house, into the freezer especially that we have no control over it and see it quite often??? God bless your work you put into this, Kim.
    Sue

    • I love using praise music in my day because scripture says God inhabits the praise of His people so when I play that, I enter into His presence more readily. Now about your question about family members bringing foods that are problems for you. I have to deal with that sometimes with my husband. Early on in our marriage, I found myself gaining some weight because he was bringing in cookies and candies that were problems for me. I had to humble myself, sit him down and explain my situation. I asked him if he brings that stuff in, to put it somewhere I can’t see it. That goes for the fridge and freezer too. If I see it, I just push it into the back. Same with the pantry so I don’t have to see it. Here is an article I wrote about this as well: Get out of my sight temptation. Just be sure that you have delicious, nutritious alternatives in your house because if those are the only foods in your house, you can forget it. That is what you will eat and no amount of resolve will help. So you need to set up your home environment to win. Finally, to help myself lose the weight again, I used the LoseIt app to track my intake. That helps give you a reality check to help you see what you are REALLY eating and makes it hard to deceive yourself.

      • Sue says:

        I am not in a good relationship and he just says “divorce me” when I speak up no matter how nicely I speak. Most of the time I am not even heard. Funny, I am using the Lose It sight. Love it, but have a hard time tracking some of the foods I eat if they are not very simple foods. Fellowship dinner after church functions are not simple. I have to try and figure out how many kidney beans, etc are in the salad I eat. Any suggestions on that. I am going through melanoma cancer right now and am weaker than usual and he still doesn’t listen or ease up on the things that cannot be kept out of my sight is in the house. Thank you.

        • Hi Sue, I am praying for the Holy Spirit to give you comfort and wisdom to deal with the challenges in this season of your life. Regarding the Lose it! app and combination foods, you don’t have to figure out how many kidney beans are in a salad. That would drive me crazy! Under Search Foods, search for ‘Salad bean’ and examples of bean salads will come up. Or try ‘Salad pasta.’ If you don’t see the exact match, then you select the closest one that matches. The other alternative for combination foods that aren’t in the database is to look up the calories in Google, then use the Create Food option within LoseIt to add it.

  • Sue says:

    Kim,
    I have found the download of the “Feel Good” book and will start devouring it very shortly. I am dealing with melanoma cancer and cannot exercise at all and that is hurting working your program but I can still stretch when I have the energy, but no more dancing for now 🙁

    • Praying for your healing Sue. You know my philosophy – do what you can, with what you have, where you are. I praise God that you are not giving up!

      • Sue says:

        I failed to mention that my Neurologist is increasing a medication to try and stop the head tic so that I can have major eye surgeries. I have had three so far. The med causes weight gain. I have a tremendous appetite right now and just remembered what it did to me the last time I was put on it at even a higher dosage. I put on a lot of weight till they finally took me off of it. I am sitting here eating one healthy food after the other and can’t seem to stop. I’m on this med for a reason cause the last time I had the other major eye surgery done they put me on something that worked very well but it put me into a six month deep depression. I am bi-polar so they do not want to give that to me again. At least it didn’t increase my appetite. The one I am on even when I was eating less, I could only maintain. Now at a higher dose I am discouraged cause it is much more difficult to take off the weight again. Praise God I am not morbidly obese and I sometimes cry for those who are when I sponsor them in OA, but I don’t want to head in that direction either. I pray God will soften my husband’s heart that he may be more sensitive to what he brings in and also that he will change his mind about not helping me after the cancer surgery cause he thinks I will not need it and will just act like it to make him do something he does not want to do. Divorce is not the answer, but I sure wonder at times. Thank you for being there for all of us. May the Hold Spirit continue to fill you to overflowing as you help us through our issues.

  • Cathy says:

    Thanks for the the wonderful encouragement Kimberly. The lord has TRUELY anointed you for this purpose.
    I’ve spent many years in a weight loss group and decided I needed a TRUELY Christian group. Amen…
    I’ve been asking God to show me his ways and the renewal of my mind. I’ve had a 30 pound weight gain in the last 2 years. I feel very uncomfortable in my body but again asking the lord to show me his ways out of the bondage of yoyo dieting.
    I saw a post on Facebook that said. “Own your choices…NO REGRETS!!!
    I realized I was thinking with a victim mentality. I am not a victim.
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I will own my choices and not live in regret.
    Thanks for the love and support. Cathy

    • You are welcome Cathy! I give the glory to God. You are right – you are not a victim, but victorious in Christ Jesus. Since you mentioned the victim mentality, you might also want to check out this article on getting rid of thinking patterns that sabotage you: The Belief Systems that Keep you Overweight.

    • Sue says:

      Cathy,
      Your post was encouraging tome. I am also not a victim and have been thinking that way. Even with my cancer, God will get me the help I will need from somewhere if not from my husband . God bless you.
      Sue

  • Teresa Zellner says:

    This is one of the best weight loss articles I have ever read. Thank you so much for writing this. I read it on Facebook on the Charismamag page. It truly spoke to me. I could identify myself in everything you said. Now, I want to begin to implement the steps you have suggested to take back my brain!! Thank you again for this article.

  • Maria says:

    Great article!! This is an “aha” moment for me!!!

  • Danel says:

    I am not a victim either, I Am Victorious through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. No more woe is me. I am a soldier for Christ. In order to fight this tough fight, this life and death fight for me, I have to put on my entire Armor of God. I know the fight is won but now I am ready! I am ready! I am ready to walk in the manifestation of victory. The Lord keeps showing me that I will go through a metamorphosis, a complete spiritual/physical transformation. I am ready!

    • I am agreeing with you in prayer that you are ready, Danel! Just remember…renewing your mind is not something to do once in a while, but daily. Remember Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The world speaks to you every day so God’s people must be intentional about listening for His voice and feeding His word into our minds every day. As you listen for His voice and His word – and obey it – that is when the transformation takes place over time. So please be sure that you are giving the process time to work. It is through faith and patience that you will inherit God’s promises. Stay blessed!

  • Sue says:

    I have not put this article into a file yet, cause I need to read it often. I have just put on my praise of worship music and my mind is back where it needs to be. Thank you for being right on target with your posts.
    God bless you.
    Sue

  • Mary Frances says:

    Thank you Kimberly for the continued encouragement.
    I always believe in the quote ” music soothe the salvage beast” Our minds can be a beast at times when it get all jumble up with so many things; so when you soothe it with spirtual music; it make good sense to me. Thanks.
    Words of wisdom I keep posted is “The Body Achieves what the mind Believes” and “God Got Me/US”!
    God continued Blessing on you and yours!

  • Hannah Cassidy says:

    It is such a relief and answer to prayer to read this, I feel like God has handed me an olive branch, there is hope!

  • Teri says:

    I don’t often comment on your articles although I read them often. I have had a rough few weeks. My first inclination is to overeat. What you wrote (both today’s blog and the reference to this one) have been really helpful for me to see the trap the enemy has kept me in for so long.

    I really hope to get a chance to meet you one day. I believe I read that you live in Chicago? My son lives there also but we are in Roscoe (just north of Rockford).

    Thank you for always being willing to be transparent to point others to the glory of God. I believe when we are transparent with our struggles, it touches people’s hearts so much more than empty platitudes. Although the Scriptures we speak as a correct answer are true, they don’t carry the weight (no pun intended lol) that our overcoming testimonies in Jesus do. It’s like the seeds (Word of God) planted in our hearts germinate during the trials and then burst forth like fruit on the tree as we truly become one with Jesus (who is the Word). Again, thanks. I needed to read this today.

  • Robyn Martin says:

    Thank you, Kim for this article. My take away is that I need to stop picking fights with food. That is quite a visual. I could think about the food that I have picked fights with and lost. This is so timely with the holiday just around the corner. Thank you! Blessings!

  • Peggy says:

    I read this article a few days ago and am glad you redirected me to it from another blog post. The picture of the stomach being the size of my fist was an eye opener and I’m trying to use that as I put my food portions on my plate.
    I generally keep tempting foods out of the house, but the holidays were difficult since our daughters sent us treats which I didn’t get rid of soon enough. The old lie surfaced, “Hurry up and eat this stuff so it won’t be there to tempt you.”
    I can’t do some of your suggestions because of physical limitations – walking used to be a way out for me — but I can put on praise music and am going to do so right now.
    Thank you.

  • SHELIIA ROLAND says:

    Reading this article, brought about conviction and relief. Food is not a requirement for my emotional well being, yet needed as fuel (like a car needs gas). For the first time in my 53 years of
    life I see food as it should be viewed. A need for the continual well being of my body.

    Kimberly, thank you so much.

  • Kimberly Walker says:

    Kimberly,
    Thanks for this article! I see myself in this article. Every word describes how I feel concerning sweets and late night snacking. This article is a keeper. I thank God for your wisdom and love for desiring to HELP others!

    Kim

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