First of all, understand that you do not have a disease and that you are not physiologically addicted to specific foods you binge on. For example, some diet counselors would have you believe that eating a simple carbohydrate will trigger an uncontrollable binge. That is not true.
There are addictions, however. It has been assumed all these years that addictions to tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or caffeine are only physiological and psychological. It is a fact that alcoholics will sometimes experience delirium tremens when deprived of alcohol. But reconsider for one moment. The body compensates the best it can to accommodate carbon monoxide, or extra food, or anything else that is harmful. But the body welcomes the reversal of harmful habits. In other words, your lungs do not want more smoke. Your thighs do not want more fat. The liver does not want more alcohol.
We propose, rather, the majority of the addiction is a heart, or spiritual, addiction. Withdrawals are, equally, the product of the feeling of the separation of your heart from loving the substance. It is analogous to trying to take a fifteen-month-old out of the arms of its mother. Your dependent spirit is addicted to the love of the substance, and letting go of food or tobacco will really be hard and emotionally difficult unless you simultaneously replace that dependence with clinging onto God. People who have been addicted to drugs for 30 years have had the experience of finding God and the accompanying ability to stop using the drugs. In the case of food, we believe that it is only a spiritual addiction. Years of dieting breeds the "starve-binge-purge" cycle.
You want to lose weight. You start a diet, starving yourself of both calories and the foods you like. When you reach the point that you cannot take it anymore, you throw in the towel and binge. You feel guilty for the binge, so you purge to correct the binge.
The purge is an attempt on your part to eliminate from your system the calories that you took in from the binge or food that you have been led to believe is "bad for you" or "too high in fat." Purging takes many forms. Some examples are vomiting (bulimia), fluid pills (diuretics), laxatives, or exercise. Do you not see that all of these actions are the results of your trying to fix everything? Your path is destructive, and with every step you take, you are forced to try to undo what you just did. And what you just did was supposed to have been the solution. Every step made it worse!
So what is the root of the problem? It is what your heart is depending on! Bingeing is not a separate phenomenon. If certain foods seem to trigger the invitation to binge, again it is not a physiological addiction, but rather, a spiritual dependency on these foods for comfort and love. It is not an addiction to sugar or fat. And purging is not some disease or obsession. It is all a consequence of your lust for food. From that perspective, here is the cycle:
You have a passion for food rather than God. That passion for food leads to overeating. Overeating leads to overweight. Overweight leads to dieting. Dieting does not address your misplaced passion, and deprivation while on this diet explodes in a binge. The ensuing guilt can take you in two directions:
- You can repent (turn back to God), ask for His help, and simply wait until your body empties again. You may feel too full, and it may take a while before you feel hunger again, but do not worry—you will be fine. You must practice being dependent on God. If you call out to God, He can give you the peace you need and the control feeling you are looking for—with no guilt. In other words, God can make you feel better than purging.
- Or you can bypass God, try by your own power to correct the mess you have made, and take the purging route. This second option is obviously never-ending because it does not address or uproot the lust for food.
The way to end the entire cycle is to transfer your passion for food to passion for God. What the diet industry has done in this country has resulted in years and years of deprivation from man-made rules. The deprivation that I am referring to is of two basic forms. It is either a caloric deprivation (for example, counting calories every day) or food category deprivation (for example, no sugars or fats). Caloric deprivation causes you to starve off the fat until you just cannot take it anymore. You then eat everything in sight. Americans have been known to consume thousands of calories in binges.
The second area of deprivation that we can address is caused by the prolonged abstinence from certain food groups. Typically, the average weight-reduction diet eliminates sweets and fats, and some eliminate all sugars, flour, and so on. This constant refusal to give the body a nutrient it is calling for will ultimately result in a binge. The secret rendezvous at the candy store or bakery, with destruction of the wrappers so no evidence will be found, ends with the ensuing guilty feeling of having cheated and deceived; but the rules you break are man's, not God's. So the resulting guilt is false guilt.
You punish yourself with a good long fast—that is, more deprivation—to get the extra calories out of your system. After years of purging, some people seem to automatically throw up after a meal. This is reverse peristalsis. Just don't worry about it—your body is confused now, but it will settle back down to normal forward-moving peristalsis.
Some of you have spent years in therapy trying to combat the false guilt and to treat your obsessive behavior. Obsessive behavior includes excessive exercise, starvation diets, or consumption of laxatives. Please relax—God can help you through this.
Bulimia, or purging, is what I call a second-generation disorder. You saw your mother or father overeat and then try to solve their problem with a diet sheet. They only got bigger, so you (the next generation) got smart (?) and said, "Diets are not really working, so I will throw it up (purge) or take a laxative."
Let me tell you right now that you can be set free from all of that behavior. Let us not band-aid the symptom, though; let us go straight to the root. The Weigh Down Workshop ^ approach to eating is absolutely the answer to it all. Both generations chose not to eat less food. Here is the way to break the cycle:
Stop dieting and starving or purging to fix the binge or any overeating. Replace it with hunger and fullness living. The result will be no deprivation as you wake up today and know that as soon as you get hungry, you will be able to eat.
Replace the intensive desire to eat with an intensive desire for God, and the bingeing will end. As a result, the bulimia will subside.
Now that a solution is given—hunger and fullness—purging is no longer necessary, and purging episodes will subside.
So you can see the binge is not caused by an "addiction" to sugar or chocolate. We are emphatically telling you that you can eat whatever your body is calling for and that you do not have to make the food righteous ever again. Do not be afraid of the fats and sugars. You are not addicted to them; you just want them excessively because you have not been allowed to have them for so long.
It is like Eve in the Garden; those foods are forbidden fruit, and as soon as they are put into that category, then they will be exactly what you want the most. By reintroducing yourself to these foods, you will not only learn to eat them with control, but also many of these so-called "forbidden fruits" will lose their appeal after a while.
A certain sense of peace comes with knowing that whenever you get hungry, you may have that food. Again, as we have stated before, your body has incredible biological feedback for variety. Once you have had enough of that one food, you will not want it again for a while.
Don't be afraid, however, if that "while" seems to take longer than you thought it should. You may have literally years of deprivation to erase. Soon you will begin to sense that your body is calling for many other foods, and you can begin to freely eat more of a variety.