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From Food Addict to Fit an Inspiring Story by Julie Ferwerda

Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Food Addict to Fit
By Julie Ferwerda

It’s the latest trend. Have you ever heard (or said) the following?

I may be overweight, but I’m not as big as her…
Overweight is normal...
God doesn't care about my weight—He only cares about what’s inside...
Skinny people are annoying...
My metabolism is slow. I can't lose no matter how hard I try...
I don’t have time to work out…
My family makes me keep tempting foods around and I can’t resist!

Sadly, for many of us, the more weight we pack on, the more we seem to justify it and get comfortable with it. And Christians—we who should to be the healthiest, most free, and most self-controlled—are no different. We don’t want to deal with this out-of-control area. At least it’s not alcoholism or a sex addiction, right?

I've thought this through for years. Just how does God feel about all of this? Does He care? Is there a balance between living to eat on one extreme and living for the way you look on the other? I go back to the Garden of Eden and I can't imagine a chubby Adam or Eve. But it might have factored in soon thereafter, since the very first sin revolved around food. That aside, I truly believe that God made people with an innate desire to be fit. Of course, some people take it to the extreme and center their lives around their body image, which is also incorrect. You can take any good thing and twist it for the wrong purposes, but it's all about motives in the heart…and balance.

I should want to be fit in order to glorify God.

I should want to show God that gratifying my excessive fleshly desires is not more important to me than Him.

I should want to show people that God is my first passion and that I am free in Christ. When they notice I’m free, hopefully they’ll want to know my secret—to learn how to let God be their first passion, too.

Why is Over-eating a Sin?

In Old Testament times, whenever God's people had a period of rest and prosperity, they invariably pursued idolatry in the form of overeating (among others). Undisciplined, gluttonous, and rebellious behavior went hand in hand. Notice Deuteronomy 32:15: “But Israel soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation.”

Contrary to popular opinion, being overweight due to excessive eating is a very serious issue to God, just like any other habitual sin. Why? Because over-eating, just like any addiction, is really a spiritual problem. Our outward appearance can reveal areas of captivity going on in the heart. Some possible areas of captivity related to overeating (you must search your own heart with God's help) are: pride, idolatry, spiritual independence, and unbelief. It was true in Bible days, and it’s true now.

“I [God] took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land. But when you had eaten and were satisfied, then you became proud and forgot me" (Hosea 13:5-6).

But here's the awesome thing! Doing things God's way isn't as scary, hard, or depriving as you might think, especially in the long run. For sure freedom comes with a price of delayed gratification, but the price is small compared to the satisfaction and peace it brings. The love of food may feel like indulgent freedom for awhile, but it ends in emptiness and steals your life away. By asking you to submit this area of your life to Him, God isn't trying to keep something from you. He's not trying to make your life miserable or take away your fun. Quite the opposite. He's trying to make you free!

I happen to know that if you're in bondage to food, you aren't at peace with yourself on the inside or with your life in general, because I've been there most of my life. That's the way I lived for 35+ years, but I have finally discovered there really is a better way. Take heart. You truly can get to the point where food no longer controls your life. As you begin to apply and live out a lifestyle of self-control and fitness, pass it along to your family. Encourage them to be fit and balanced—they'll thank you forever!
Journey to Free

There are five simple to use (but initially hard to do) principles I’ve used in my life—ones you can start using right now on your journey to free. Note that your plan may differ slightly with regard to amount of exercise and quantity of food based on your size and body type. But remember that willingness is the key because it is the biggest and fiercest battle you will face. Aristotle said, “The bravest person is the one who overcomes his own desires more so than the person who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is the victory over self.”

While conquering your out-of-control desires is a huge part of the victory, remember that since we’re dealing with a spiritual problem here, your pursuit of freedom over food must be accompanied by a regular intimate relationship with God. Only He can heal the reasons behind why you overeat and fill you with His satisfying love. Filling up on His love must be done as a regular part of any fitness plan.

These are the five simple principles to take with you in the pursuit of your new life:

Engage in some form of cardiovascular exercise (such as walking, running, riding a bike) for at least 20 minutes every day. If you think you don’t have time, try cutting out your TV or telephone time.

Drink 4-8 glasses of water a day. (Thirst is often mistaken for hunger.)

Eat 5-6 small quality meals a day—emphasis on small. For example: ½ cup lean protein, ½ cup complex carbohydrate, and 1 cup veggies or salad with at least two meals.

Wait 2 ½-3 hours between meals.

Extremely limit white flour, processed sugar, and high saturated fat and/or chemically-based foods such as prepackaged foods, chips, and cheese.

If you do those five things as part of your everyday routine, your life will begin to change. But remember that you must make them a lifestyle and not a short-term diet, because fitness is an ongoing journey. If you’re like me, there will always be the temptation to overeat, but don’t let that discourage you. Freedom isn’t the absence of temptation; it’s the victory over it.

Start today. Apply these very simple principles if you’re serious about getting rid of the idol that’s been keeping you out of the Promised Land of freedom and abundant living that God wants you to experience in this world.


Julie Ferwerda is winning the battle of overeating one day at a time and finally experiencing the great joy and freedom of submitting this area to God’s control.
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