Problems with Weight Gain, Excessive Over Eating,
Anorexia, Bulimia and the Fallacy of Diets – Healing Articles called “The Doctor Says – The Bible Says ” by Dr. Michelle Strydom MD
The Spiritual and Physical Mechanisms Behind Weight Problems and Eating Disorders
There is both a genetic and a spiritual component to weight gain. Remember the hypothalamus is the area in the brain that connects the mind to the body – it converts everything that is going on in a person’s thought life into a physical reaction. The hypothalamus controls many functions in your body including thirst, eating and the rate of your body’s metabolism.
The rate of your metabolism can be determined by what you think about yourself! In response to thoughts of condemnation, guilt, self disapproval and a low self-esteem the hypothalamus
sends electrochemical signals to the thyroid gland which releases thyroid hormones. One of the functions of thyroid hormones is to control the rate at which the body metabolizes food. When your thoughts are filled with self disapproval, self-condemnation, guilt, a low self-esteem and so on, the hypothalamus via the thyroid slows the body’s rate of metabolism, which causes the person to put on weight more easily. It doesn’t matter what diet the person is on, whatever food he eats is going to make him put on weight because the body just does not burn it.
When you have a lack of self-esteem and your thought life is dominated by self disapproval, self-rejection, shame, self-condemnation, guilt etc, your hypothalamus gland senses these spiritual and emotional problems. One way that the hypothalamus responds to this is to lower the levels of a chemical in your brain called serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical that was designed to make you feel good about yourself.
Therefore when the levels of serotonin are low, you feel low and depressed. The mouth was designed as the contact place for love and security. That is why there is a strong emotional bond that takes place between a mother and her baby during breast feeding. When young children are feeling insecure they put their thumb in their mouth. When you have lowered serotonin levels due to a low self-esteem and are feeling depressed, you want comfort. Instead of your thumb, you put food to your mouth. The food is a pacifier which produces a calming reality. In other words it is a false comforter. Putting food to your mouth triggers the release of a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is the pleasure chemical in the brain.
A rush of dopamine makes you feel good. It gives a satisfying, pleasurable, fulfilling feeling. However, this is short lasting. When the pleasurable sensation wears off, guilt, shame and self-condemnation about over eating comes in. Also as the person over eats and puts on weight, when they look in the mirror, they don’t like what they see.
They attack themselves spiritually with self disapproval and self-condemnation – they feel disgusted and ashamed because they cannot control their eating and as a result they have self-hatred… and how does the hypothalamus respond to these thought patterns? It lowers the serotonin levels…and the negative viscous cycle starts all over again. The devil sure knows how to keep us in bondage. Excessive eating is a direct result of not feeling good about yourself. Fear of man, fear of failure, fear of abandonment and fear of rejection can also be involved. 31 The bottom line is you don’t like yourself and when you look in the mirror you don’t like what you see.
Our relationship with food becomes unhealthy when we turn towards food to meet a need in our life. That need is impossible for food to meet. We are supposed to receive our comfort from God. In John 14 v 26 Jesus said that the Holy Spirit is “the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby).” When we turn to food as our source of comfort we are sowing to the flesh and we will reap a worsened state.
Galatians 6 v 8a: “For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction…” When you are in bondage to overeating, you have made an addiction out of food. Behind addictions is the need to be loved unfulfilled, a low self-esteem and the insecurities that come from that. You are spiritually hungry and what you really need is the unconditional love of God to fill you up and to comfort you. We are supposed to hunger for God and we do: Psalm 42 v 1 – 2a: “1As the deer pants for the water brooks, so I pant and long for You, O God. 2 My inner self thirsts for God, for the living God.”
God made us with this longing for Him in our hearts and in our souls. If we are not being filled and satiated from His Presence and His Word, then we are going to try to fill our hearts and our souls with a counterfeit. We will constantly reach to the realm of the flesh to satisfy us. Galatians 5 v 16: “But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).”
Part of the source of this low self-esteem epidemic is the media. There is so much pressure in our society today to look a certain way. Our self-esteem is assassinated as we look at the anorexic supermodels of Hollywood as our standard of acceptance and what is “normal”. We have taken our eyes off the living God and what He has to say about us in His Word and we have made Hollywood actors and the people on the front covers of magazines our idols and false gods. Flesh on our bones is God’s blessing to His people. It is a sign of health and vitality. Ladies, there is nothing wrong with looking how a female should. If you do have excess weight beyond the parameters of good health, you have a spiritual problem as I’ve explained above. However, the number one psychiatric disease that causes death in America is anorexia. Anorexia and bulimia are different manifestations of the same root problem. Anorexia is a condition where the person is extremely underweight or emaciated due to self starvation. The person is often physically overactive and uses laxatives or induces vomiting secretly after meals. This is the criteria used in the medical profession to diagnose anorexia:
Diagnostic Criteria for Anorexia Nervosa
• Weight loss of at least 25% of total body weight (or 25% below normal for age and height).
• Avoidance of high calorie foods.
• Distortion of body image so that the person regards herself (or himself) as fat even when grossly underweight.
• Amenorrhea (no menstrual periods) for at least 3 months. (As a result the person is infertile).
Bulimia is a condition in which there is alternating self starvation with self induced vomiting and eating large amounts of food. These binges are an exchange for the void of not feeling loved. It is related to anorexia but weight is normal. This is the medical criteria used to diagnose bulimia:
• Recurrent bouts of binge eating.
• Lack of self control over eating during binges.
• Self induced vomiting, purgation or dieting after binges.
• Weight is maintained within normal limits.
There are physical complications that develop as a result of persistent self induced vomiting and purging, for example erosion of the enamel on the person’s teeth, lowered levels of potassium in the blood (hyokalaemia) and the blood becomes too alkaline. The potassium imbalance and fluid disturbance in the blood can cause fatal abnormalities in heart rhythm and kidney damage. Other complications include constipation, dilation and rupture of the stomach, trauma to the palate, enlarged salivary glands and inflammation of the oesophagus (food pipe where food travels from your mouth to your stomach).
The spiritual roots behind excessive over eating, weight gain, anorexia and bulimia are the same – lowered serotonin levels due to a low self-esteem, self-hatred, self disapproval, self-rejection, condemnation and/or guilt. These spiritual and emotional feelings of unworthiness and lack of value are now reinforced by a chemical deficiency of serotonin.
There are several diet pills on the market today. Did you know that they have nothing to do with suppressing your appetite? They increase the serotonin levels in your brain. This is an artificial way of boosting your self-esteem. When you feel better about yourself, you have no need or desire to put food into your mouth. However these diet drugs come with their Pandora’s box of side effects. Some of these include heart attacks and other heart problems, depression and mood swings. They are also addictive. Once you start diet pills, your body pitches a fit when you try to stop them. Some diet pills, such as the drug called Fen Phen is an amphetamine. It is the chemical equivalent of the recreational drug Ecstasy. The drug world calls them uppers and then you have to start taking downers (sleeping pills) as well.
The Fallacy of Diets
Forget about diets. Ladies listen to me, diets are the bondage and doctrine of the devil. I know that some of you are not going to listen to me on this and are going to take a trip around the mountain a few more times. Medical research indicates that diets do not work in the long term. There is a 95% failure rate in people that diet and manage to keep it off.59 Over 40 billion dollars is spent annually in America on weight loss products but we are still becoming fatter and we are not being set free. The Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine states, “The sad truth is that after decades of research we do not know who should eat what or when. Because of the complex interactions between eating and health, all diets have unintended consequences.” Going on a starvation diet where you skip meals is not the way to deal with the fear of gaining weight. That just exacerbates the problem because when you are not eating enough calories, your metabolism slows down so as to conserve energy and you end up putting on weight more easily. There are diets that cut out whole food groups, for example meat. Other diets advocate only eating proteins and no fat or carbohydrates.
A protein only diet (sometimes known as the Atkins diet) does a tremendous amount of damage to your kidneys. This diet is very effective for losing weight, but is it worth it to spend your later years on a kidney dialysis machine? Then there is the “Hallelujah diet” which advocates eating only raw fruit and vegetables with a lot of barley green and carrot juice. They are correct in that raw fruit and vegetables should constitute the largest portion of what you eat but this diet is too extreme. Anything in excess is harmful to you. There was a man who drank so much carrot juice that his flesh started to change color and he literally died of acute carrot juice poisoning.31 A doctor friend and I went on this hallelujah diet while we were still at university. We did it under the supervision of other doctors and had blood tests at variousintervals. After 4 months we were forced to stop the diet because our health had so deteriorated. When you cut out whole food groups it seriously damages your body – it is very unhealthy for you. I believe that most diet programs are of the devil because they are rooted in fear, self-hatred and a low self esteem.
1 Timothy 4 v 1 – 6: “1 But the Holy Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in the latter
times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and
doctrines that demons teach, 2 through the hypocrisy and pretensions of liars, whose consciences are seared (cauterized), 3 who forbid people to marry and [teach them] to abstain from [certain kinds of] foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and have [an increasingly clear] knowledge of the truth. 4 For everything that God has created is good, and nothing is to be thrown away or refused if it is received with thanksgiving. 5For it is hallowed and consecrated by the Word of God and by prayer. 6 If you lay all these instructions before the brethren, you will be a worthy steward and a good minister of Christ Jesus…”
Verse 3 in the King James says, “Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them that believe and know the truth.” Romans 14 v 1 – 2: “1As for the man who is a weak believer, welcome him [into your fellowship], but not to criticize his opinions or pass judgment on his scruples or perplex him with discussions. 2One [man’s faith permits him to] believe he may eat anything, while a weaker one [limits his] eating to vegetables. 3Let not him who eats look down on or despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains criticize and pass judgment on him who eats; for God has accepted and welcomed him.”
Where vegetarianism and meat are concerned, I believe what the Bible teaches in Romans chapter 14 that those who are vegetarians are weak in faith and those who are strong in faith eat meat. If a person is a vegetarian, that is between them and the Lord. However I am not going to advise you to abstain from eating meat because the Word says that is a doctrine of devils. You may not be in agreement with that, and that is fine. As a person who studies medicine and the Word, I have a right to teach truth as it is written, and what you do with it is up to you according to your own conscience.
If you make food your enemy, don’t be surprised if you develop malabsorption< We are listening to all these fear mongers from all over the world about what is wrong with our food. As a result we are eating in fear. We have become a people of fear, not faith and we wonder why our bodies are going off the rails. I want to release you in faith because under the New Testament covenant God gave us richly all things to enjoy and whatever food is taken with thanksgiving is profitable because it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer. That is why when we sit down to eat, we say grace or bless the food before God so as to sanctify it to be a blessing to our bodies.
The Word tells us to do it so that if there is anything unclean we are protected. In faith we receive it and ask God to bless it and I believe He does. Does that mean you can be presumptuous and eat as much sugar and junk as you desire and just sanctify it by prayer? Absolutely not. You need to use wisdom and eat as healthily as possible. My point is that you must not cut out whole food groups. You cannot cut out meat and just eat fruit and vegetables. Neither can you cut out fruit and vegetables and just eat protein. I represent all food groups and everything manufactured by God back to everybody.
Most diet programs are of the devil because they are rooted in fear, self-hatred and a low self-esteem. Romans 14 v 14: “I know and am convinced (persuaded) as one in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is [forbidden as] essentially unclean (defiled and unholy in itself). But [none the less] it is unclean (defiled and unholy) to anyone who thinks it is unclean.” The reason that diets do not work is because they do not deal with the toxic mindset or stronghold in your thinking behind over eating and weight problems. Diets will not help you overcome a spiritual problem. 2 Corinthians 10 v 3 – 5: “3 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. 4For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds. 5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself us against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ.” If you think that your only weapon to fight this war of weight loss is diet and exercise, and your hope is in those things, then you are setting yourself up for failure, disappointment and discouragement.
A lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise are certainly excellent tools that we can use to transform our lives and we can’t live a high quality of life without it. However that is not where our hope for freedom from spiritual bondage to food comes from. The Bible says that our hope is in Christ (Colossians 1 v 27b). Christ is not Jesus’ last name. “Christ” means “The Anointed One”. Jesus is anointed with burden removing yoke destroying power that will set you free from your bondage. Jesus said in Luke 4 v 18 and Isaiah 61 v 1 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good news to the meek, the poor and the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.” You cannot put your hope in carnal weapons such as a diet or an exercise program to free you from the bondage to food because there is no power there. If your hope and faith is in God, then you can do all things through Christ, the anointed One Who Strengthens you (Philippians 4 v 13). If diets are a fallacy and a big lie and a doctrine of the devil, what do we do? Eat whatever you like because God gave you richly all things to enjoy! However, moderation is the key. Moderation, self control or self restraint is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5 v 23).
Jesus said that the only way you can bear fruit is by abiding in the Vine: John 15 v 4 – 5 & 7: “4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. 5I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in Him bears much (abundant) fruit. However,apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. 7If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” If you are having a problem with self control and moderation, get to know the Father more! The fruits of the Holy Spirit are manifested in your life from spending time in God’s presence – that is what abiding in the Vine means.
Galatians 5 v 22 – 23: “22But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His Presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, Moderation, self control or self restraint is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. abear fruit is by abiding in the Vine. goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, 23gentleness (meekness, humility), self control (self restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].” 1 Corinthians 6 v 19 – 20 says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we need to bring God glory in our body. What does “glory” mean? It means “a manifestation of God’s character” or “a manifestation of His Presence”. When you spend time in intimate fellowship with God, the Bible says that the work that His Presence will accomplish within you is the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit are qualities of God’s incredible nature and character and as we spend time in His Presence, as a work of the Holy Spirit they become part of our nature and character. God wants His glory manifest through us. He wants the world to see His character and nature through us. He wants people to look at us and experience the love of God and self control.
1 Corinthians 6 v 19 – 20: “Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” The Road to Freedom! The Father’s love is the foundation to healing and freedom from a bondage to food and a poor selfimage. Food will never be able to satisfy that need to be loved on the inside of you. The prayer of my heart for you is that you would gain a revelation, in knowledge and experience of God the Father’s love for you. I encourage you to take the time right now to pray this prayer below from Ephesians 3 v 14 – 20: “Father, I ask You to grant me out of the rich treasury of Your glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in my inner man by the Hoy Spirit [Himself indwelling in my innermost being and personality].
May Christ through my faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in my heart! May I be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that I may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love], what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That I may really come] to know [practically through experience for myself] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that I may be filled [through all my being] with all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Father, You by Your power that is at work within me are able to [carry out Your purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that I [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond my highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams].” A diet comes because over eating abounds.
When you are not over eating, there is no weight gain and therefore no need for a diet. No sin – no need for a law. In the Old Testament we had the law and the Ten Commandments, but in the New Testament we have a new commandment: John 13 v 34 – 35: “I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another, just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].” The New Commandment is love. Does that mean that we don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments? Well, if you are walking in love, you won’t lie or steal or dishonor your father and mother or kill or commit adultery etc. If you have the love of God, you’ll never violate any rule that was given to curb sin. You don’t have to worry about any of the other commandments, because if you’re walking in love, you’ll automatically keep all those commandments.
When it talks about the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5 v 23 (mentioned earlier), it says that against such things there is no law because there is no law that is greater than the law of God which is the law of love. The kingdom of God is based on love: love God, love yourself and love others – Jesus said upon this all the law and the Prophets hang: Matthew 22 v 36 – 39: “36Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principle kind) in the Law?… 37And He replied to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). 38This is the great (most important principle) and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Your freedom from a bondage to food and a poor self-image begins with receiving the Father’s love so that you can love yourself.
As you build a healthy self-esteem, your metabolism will increase causing you to lose the excess weight. Until you sort out your low self-esteem, no kind of health diet or exercise is going to help you in the long term. Good nutrition does not replace repentance. The only effective way to loose weight is through changing your thinking – start loving yourself and your metabolism will speed up. Furthermore your serotonin levels will also increase and because you feel good about yourself, you don’t need to bring food to your mouth. Therefore eating in moderation will be easier although there will be times where you still have to use discipline and make right choices in terms of eating healthily. When the low self-esteem behind weight gain is dealt with, you will not need to go on any diet. Building a healthy self-esteem starts with knowing who you are in Christ, establishing your sense of self worth and value in Him and learning to see yourself as God sees you. The chapter on page 498 will help you develop a new mindset in this area. “Look After Your Temple” there is also some tips for healthy eating.
When you finally make peace with yourself and learn to love and accept yourself for who you are in Christ, the hypothalamus will recognize your fulfillment and signal the release and increase of serotonin. This will cause your sprit, mind and body to be in balance again so that you feel more complete.
Please pray this with me: “Father, I repent for a low self-esteem and for believing the enemy’s lies that I am not special. You said that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139 v 14). In the Name of Jesus I release myself from that unloving spirit of self-hatred that is accusing me to myself. In the Name of Jesus I release myself from insecurity and self-rejection. I release myself from that need for nurturing that is inordinate. I release myself from the desire to eat too much and gluttony because of a need to be loved. I command serotonin levels to be normalized and the craving for food to be broken in the Name of Jesus.” Amen and Amen
Romans 12 v 1 – 2:
“1 I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a
decisive dedication of your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
The spiritual roots behind excessive over eating, weight gain, anorexia and bulimia is low self-esteem, self-hatred, self disapproval, self-rejection, condemnation and/or guilt. Did this Help?
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