Eliminating bad habits is definitely not the easiest thing to do. Nail chewers have probably heard of—maybe even tried—the nasty tasting polish that reminds us to keep our fingers off the lips. And those of you who are lip lickers, have likely felt the sting of cracked lips in the winter. Habits range anywhere from picking skin, to blinking our eyes, to grinding our teeth. Most of us have them, yet most of us wish we didn’t.
This month we’re focusing on eating habits–exchanging the bad for the good. Overeating, eating the wrong foods, and eating for comfort are few among many habits we’d like to see changed.
Let’s look at three ways to start doing that:
Looking at the thin eaters in my life, I’ve noticed that those who’ve successfully lost weight and kept it off, or those who have never been concerned about weight are the ones who exercise their ability to distinguish hunger from emotion, necessity from luxury, and appetite from passion. Essentially they eat to survive, while others survive to eat.
Have you ever stuffed yourself with so much junk food, and then vowed never to touch it again? Why? What reward did you get? Payoffs will differ depending on personality: a buzz, entertainment, attention, stress relief, comfort, etc.
Food can be a comforting entertainment that one seeks to fill a void when that void is calling for something else. The best solution one can find is this: “listen.”
Find out what that something else is. Maybe you’re just bored, you might be depressed, or possibly you’re looking for something to ease your discomfort. Food is easy to grab on the go. It’s an uncomplicated, effortless, and simple solution to our needs, but it isn’t necessarily the best fuel to keep you moving ahead. Listen to the signs of your body to determine what and how much you require. Decipher it from what you desire. The two are completely different–master this concept and you’ll be a thin eater.
Many dieters who have successfully lost weight have discovered what are known as “transfer addictions,” meaning that while they’ve mastered their addiction to food, they’ve transferred their focus from one addiction to another. Carnie Wilson, famed for bother her voice and her weightloss through gastric by-pass surgery is one such example who underwent treatment for alcoholism within two years of losing the weight.
Let’s look at it this way: if you’re getting the desired attention you need from eating like swine on a Saturday morning, as soon as you remove the trough you’ll likely find something else that draws just as much attention to you. The alternative solution may not be a better one.
Remember the story of the Samaritan woman who came to draw water? It’s found in John chapter 4. While the disciples were out grocery shopping (yeah, they were grocery shopping—check it out), Jesus met a woman at the well, and asker her for a drink. He knew that this particular woman had a void inside her that led her to thirst for something more in her life. It moved her to return to the same proverbial well time and again hoping to fill her pain with something that would last—something that would quench her thirst, until finally He came offering an everlasting well of hope. Maybe this void resulted in failed marriages time and again, since we know she had five. One can only guess, but we do know that the same Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is there for us too.
Earthly things can fill the void for a moment, maybe even a week, but when we are quenched by the Spirit of comfort we a satisfied from within, no longer having a need return to the well time and again.
Flee and Pursue
Losing weight is a life-changing experience that for many women has resulted in a spiritual vacuum of sorts. Any time we eliminate things from our life, we create a need to be filled. That’s a great thing when you’re filling up with Christ. Not such a good thing when we give up cola, but crave sugar so much that we pop chocolates all day. We’re complicated beings, aren’t we? The simple solution is to replace our wants with His (more of you, Lord—less of me), and bad habits with good.
It’s one thing to flee bad habits that hinder our walk, but it’s equally as important to pursue habits that are better. Consider this verse, 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Truly changing from within is a two-part process (while maybe it’s a trillion part process, but we’re narrowing it down to two here) that must be followed in order to achieve real success. The first is turning away, and the other is moving forward with a thirst to be filled.
Consider Matthew chapter twelve where Jesus said, “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out: and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” – Matthew 12:43-45
This prophecy was in relation to those of that generation who rejected Christ, but it also serves well to describe the danger of an empty home, and importance of filling our heart with good.
Let’s look at that concept in relation to living well. You can clean a house—eliminate bad habits, until your temple is swept to empty—but if you don’t fill that house with something better, you’ll eventually fill it with something worse. The goal is to concentrate on good habits in addition to eliminating the bad.
Let’s look at a few ways we can fill an empty house:
- Replace 1/3 of your diet with fruit and vegetables
- Start each day off with prayer and Bible study
- Find like minded friends
- Join a support group
- Seek out healthier places to eat
- Spend more time planning and preparing good meals
- Drink water
- Clean your house
- Pray for the comfort of the Holy Spirit!
If you are planning on making life changes, giving up some of the foods that you like, and ultimately taking off weight, ensure that you replace every one of those bad habits with good. Flee and pursue!
©2008, Darlene Schacht
*We advise that you always consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.