Sometimes our efforts to curb overeating are purely oriented towards behavioral strategies, but I think it’s really important to understand overeating as a spiritual issue. We wanna get to the deeper roots of why we overeat. So, what are some of those? What are some of those reasons? I mean, one is that it’s just pleasurable. If we’re eating a good meal, we simply may not wanna stop. We want the pleasure to continue, so we eat more than we should. Sometimes we eat, overeat because of negative emotions. We’re anxious, it’s stress eating. Sometimes it’s because we’re discouraged or depressed. So, negative emotions can also fuel overeating. Sometimes we eat simply because we wanna reward ourselves for doing a good job in some other area during the day, or maybe even eating well earlier in the day. And then sometimes we overeat simply out of boredom where we’re just going about our meal in a mindless sort of way. So it’s helpful to understand those, those deeper roots, because they point us toward ways in which we can call out to the Lord to help us in the midst of those struggles.
So secondly, I think it’s important to understand the significance of food from a biblical perspective. So for example, seeing food as a gift from the Lord already starts to put it in a different context. Or understanding that food is, it’s a physical reality that points beyond itself to a spiritual reality. So the pleasure I experienced during a meal is actually pointing to the pleasures of the Lord himself. Okay, the scripture talks about, “Taste, and see that the Lord is good.” That’s the language of eating. And so, by framing food and meals spiritually, it helps us to be oriented towards the Lord in the midst of our struggle.
So how does it look practically? I think several things, One, you wanna make this a prayerful concern before, during, and after you eat. This is something that you do in dependence on the Lord. Secondly, you wanna eat regularly. Sometimes we overeat because we’ve skipped a meal, and then we come to the next meal ravenous. So, eat regularly. Also, it’s important to eat not in front of a screen. Don’t eat in front of a screen, because that tends to prolong eating as we’re watching something, perhaps. And then slow your eating down, it’s important. Cut your food into smaller pieces and savor each bite. Let each bite be an opportunity, in a sense, to engage the Lord with Thanksgiving. So thank him before the meal, during the meal, and after. and then particularly if you’re eating with other people, and I would encourage that, this is an opportunity to engage in fellowship, to engage in conversation. It’s not as much about the food as it is about the fellowship that you have. And then let me just say, lastly, there’ll be times that you fail, and I’d encourage you to fail well. If you’ve overeaten, ask for God’s forgiveness, and then know that you have the next meal, that you’re relying on his grace and mercy for.