At this point, I hope you’re recognizing physical hunger and maybe even beginning to identify hunger triggering situations. Our next one is what Suriel calls “thoughts”, but I didn’t like how “thoughts situations” sounded. So, instead I decided to rename our next situational category.
You know that voice in your head that tells you you’re fat? That’s your mean girl, and Josie Spindari blames her for what she calls “The Mean Girl Munchies”. It’s sad really to think that we can be our own worst critics. We mentally berate ourselves to the point that we end up turning to food for comfort. We’re hungry for acceptance, even from ourselves. When we don’t get it in a healthy way, well, we’re going to meet that need somehow. This is where we confuse our hunger for self-worth with physical hunger. The void is real, but the solution is fake. Food will never solve anything but physical hunger.
When we entertain negative thoughts, we are giving the mean girl permission to let us have it. What we think has a profound effect on our physical being. If we allow negativity to run rough shod over us, we will never be victorious in this area of our lives… and I mean never. We act upon what we believe, and if we believe what the mean girl says about us, well, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Bible tells us that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”.
We can also replay in our mind things other people have said about us or even to us. We must guard our hearts and our minds against these attacks. If we speak life to ourselves, we will thrive. Words matter.
You know how we were told, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Well, we should practice this more. I’m not saying we shouldn’t call sin by its rightful name, but calling ourselves “stupid” or “ugly” or “fat” has nothing to do with confronting sin in our lives. And remember, listening to these disparaging remarks only sends us running into the arms of food.
One of the biggest battles we will face in this journey toward freedom will occur in our minds. We are held captive by diet mentality and the ugly words we’ve chosen to believe about ourselves. The word “failure” is one I used quite frequently to describe myself. Now, I refuse to say it about myself and if I hear someone call themselves a failure, I am on that like white on rice. I don’t let my kids or my students put themselves (or others) down, why on earth should I allow my mean girl to berate me?
Part of our issue is that we’ve let the mental dialogue go unchallenged for years. We long for an identity, any identity and sometimes we cling to the wrong ones. We allow warped views to take up residence in our minds. We listen to gurus and experts and fitness instructors over listening to our own bodies… and ultimately, over listening to God.
The Bible says we should be:
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 (KJV)
If our thoughts didn’t matter, why on earth would God tell us to take them captive and make them align with Christ? See, they do matter. God knows our thoughts are where most battles are won or lost. God knows that beliefs are born from thought and that we can’t help but act upon what we truly believe.
When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself, your body, or whatever, stop immediately. Take that thought and reframe it into a positive statement.
“I’m so fat” becomes, “I am wonderfully made”.
“My legs are so jiggly” becomes, “I am so thankful for the ability to walk.”
“I can’t stop eating” becomes, “I am strong and I can do ALL things through Christ!”
“I’ll never be free of this” becomes, “I AM already free! Jesus said so!”
Fight those thoughts with positive versions. When you start doing this, it will amaze you how many people walk around speaking negative things without even realizing they’re doing it. We are surrounded by it, so make your mind a safe haven from it.
The last hunger we’ll talk about is actually the one that lies at the root of all the others. It speaks of the true void… the craving within… that we are trying to appease.
In the meantime, start recognizing the words you speak over yourself and others.