The reasons behind eating issues are complex, with many layers and deeper issues that need to be addressed. Each person, however, also harbors false beliefs about food that perpetuate fears and the cycle of restrictive eating. In this article we will explore some of the false beliefs that can drive restrictive eating. Uncovering those lies and replacing them with the truth is one component in the path towards recovery. NOTE: If you struggle with overeating, be sure to check out that article, too.
False Belief: Carbohydrates are bad and will make me fat. I can’t eat any bread, pasta or potatoes.
Truth: Carbs are the best source of fuel for my body and I need a regular supply. I can attain/maintain a healthy weight, even when I eat some high carb foods.
False Belief: I can’t eat any fat. It is gross and will make me fat.
Truth: Fats are nutrients, included in God’s design for a healthy diet. Fats are structural components of cell membranes and play vital roles in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
False Belief: I can only eat foods that are on my “safe” list. Otherwise, I will eat too much and get fat.
Truth: It is not one extreme or the other; there is a middle ground. Eating a variety of foods is healthier for me, physically, emotionally and mentally.
False Belief: I can’t eat that piece of candy; I will get fat.
Truth: That’s impossible. One piece of anything can’t do that to me. It takes a lot of extra eating, usually days, to gain just one pound of body tissue. It’s okay to enjoy moderate amounts of “fun foods” as long as you choose foods that support good health most of the time.
False Belief: I can’t eat out with my friends. That restaurant doesn’t serve “pure” foods and I don’t want to eat stuff that will cause cancer.
Truth: Trying to eat perfectly is exhausting and robs me of joy. Good nutrition may help minimize cancer risk, but it is not a panacea and there is room for flexibility.
False Belief: I can’t eat dinner today. I gained two pounds since this morning, even though I haven’t eaten much.
Truth: I’m measuring fluid shifts; it is normal for the body to retain fluid later in the day. Other causes of fluid changes include: rehydration, bowel movements, weight of foods, sodium intake, and premenstrual bloating.
False Belief: This diet is God’s plan for proper eating and is the path to optimal health. I must strictly adhere to its principles; I can’t have any “bad” foods.
Truth: God did not create a rigid, legalistic list of “good” and “bad” foods for me to follow. No one person, program or plan has all the answers.
False Belief: I can’t eat anything unless I know exactly how many calories, carbs and/or fat grams are in it. I also need to precisely measure out the right portions.
Truth: This practice is intensifying my food fears and an obsessive mindset. God didn’t intend for eating to be so complicated.
The Whole Truth…
Food is meant to nourish and fuel the body–and to be enjoyed! Identifying false beliefs and replacing them with the truth is a huge step in the process of learning to eat well and live well. We have each been created with the ability to reason and solve problems, but at times, professional counseling is needed to help work through deeper issues. Check out “Finding Treatment” for more information.
We can live free of fear and obsession with food!
Galatians 5:1 tells us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” If you are in bondage to food and weight, pray that God will show you the “next right step” you can take to find His freedom in your life.