How to Break up with Food {From a Former Food Addict}

Growing up in the blustery winters of Wisconsin, I was surrounded by a large, boisterous family and our gatherings centered around laughter, love and food.

Lots of food.  At every holiday there were tables of decadent desserts and rich, buttery entrees, all which called my name. At a young age I gorged myself on delicious dishes, purging after every holiday because I had stuffed myself so much.

Naive to the ways of health, I thought that everyone had this relationship with food.  I thought that gorging myself until I was so stuffed I could barely breathe was normal.

But it wasn’t.

group of chocolate cupcakes on a white background

Thus, began my life long battle with weight and an unhealthy love affair with food.

As you can imagine, I wasn’t a tiny girl.  I would see these thin, size-two women and desperately want to be long and lean like them.

I wanted to wear shorts with freedom and tank-tops without my flabby arms jiggling in the wind.  The thought of a bathing suit made me want to run and hide my chubby body behind inflatable pool toys.

Although I was desperate to feel better about myself, I could not break the cycle of binging.

Every emotion gave me a reason to eat.

If I was happy, I’d celebrate and treat myself to food.

If I was sad, I would drown my sorrows in something gooey and covered with chocolate.

I was obsessed with food and it would occupy my thoughts; always preoccupied with my next meal and planning what to gorge on next.

I LOATHED myself for the extra weight, how heavy I felt, and for never having energy.

It wasn’t until I became friends with my wonderful husband, who was and is an avid exerciser, did I find success in weight loss.

He showed me how to eat right, lift weights, and to embrace a healthy lifestyle.  And it worked!  I lost weight, felt great, but soon after we were married, the weight came back on.

For twelve years I yo-yo’d up and down on the scale, and often joked how I was like Oprah, you never knew if you were going to find me fat or skinny! Ha!

You can break up with food Faith Along the Way

In April of 2013 everything changed.  I was a mom who was overwhelmed, unhappy and couldn’t keep up with my kids because of my weight.  {Read more about my Battle with Mom Guilt and how to Create a Mom Sanity Plan, which inspired me to take control of my health.}

I knew something had to change.  I had lost myself and knew there was a healthier person trapped in the fat suit I was living in at the time.

Since I had been thin before, I knew how to lose weight and what to eat, I just wasn’t doing it. I believed the lie that I was incapable of keeping the weight off for good.

So on April 15, 2013, I broke up with food for the last time and am now healthier than I have ever been.

I lost 30 pounds {even though I’ve had a few pounds creep back on!}, and have so much more energy.  I can finally keep up with my kids!

If you’re like me, needing to break up with food and embrace a new, healthy lifestyle, may these 10 Truths for Breaking up with Food help you make the move toward a renewed heart and mind about food!

10 Truths for Breaking up with Food

1. Realize you have an unhealthy obsession with food and your mentality is NOT normal.

2. Admit that you’ve placed food on a pedestal and made it an idol.

3. Stop thinking about food!  Every time you find yourself focusing on what you are craving or really want to eat, stop!  Think about something happy, how you’ll feel when you lose weight and most of all, pray for strength!

4. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring!  There are many amazing tasting dishes that are friendly for watching your weight and leave you without guilt.

5. Keep a healthy stock of food ready to snack on and enjoy. Get rid of ALL junk food in the house!

6. Pack snacks to go and eat small meals often throughout the day.

7. Don’t starve yourself! When you feel hungry, legitimately hungry, it’s time to eat something packed with protein.

8. Protein sources are your friend! They will help keep you full longer and build lean muscle.

9. Having a “cheat meal” once a week will help you not feel deprived and keep from binging.

10. Focus on a journey of health, and love yourself in the process!

These truths have changed my life. I have more energy, am in great health, and no longer carry the burden of an unhealthy relationship with food!  You don’t have to be chained to the guilt associated with being overweight anymore!  Start today, put one foot in front of the other, and break up with food!  You can do it!

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About Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann is a perfectly imperfect wife and mother, and is thankful for the saving grace of the Lord. When she’s not busy folding yet another load of laundry or comforting a crying child, she enjoys studying God’s Word, writing, and spending time with authentic friends. She's passionate about equipping women to honor God in family, health, and home at Proverbs31Mentor.com. Join her for biblical encouragement and practical lifestyle tips to help you live on mission for the glory of God.

40 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Jamie Rohrbaugh January 19, 2015 (7:35 am)

    Totally awesome post, Sarah Ann! I love it and am sharing! I have been in the process of breaking up with food for the last few months. I’m seeing so much progress and I know Papa God is helping me! And it’s so FREEING to become a woman who takes care of herself instead of thinking food will take care of me! 🙂 Love your writeup. Have a great day!
    Jamie Rohrbaugh recently posted…Prayer #2: Ask God To Perform the Duties of a Father For YouMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 19, 2015 (7:55 am)

      Thank you for sharing, Jamie! It can be difficult to break up with food, realizing that you have an unhealthy relationship, but God will be faithful to supply you with strength in those tough moments! Blessings to you on your journey!

  • comment-avatar
    Jenny Finney January 19, 2015 (11:29 am)

    I love food! I love to cook, bake and when the holidays come around, I want to do the cooking. I’ve got to learn these tips and make a conscious effort to know when I’m actually hungry or just eating…just because. Thanks for the wonderful post
    Jenny Finney recently posted…DIY Personalized Cork BoardMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 19, 2015 (8:42 pm)

      I started chewing gum or drinking a flavored beverage while cooking. I needed something to distract me for when I am tempted to sneak some food.

  • comment-avatar
    Rach D January 19, 2015 (11:53 am)

    This is great! I needed the reminder. I’ve broken up with food before, but whenever I find myself in stressful situations I seem to want to ‘run back again’!
    PS: if you haven’t already, I’d love to have you link this post up at our Mom 2 Mom Encouragement Party this week 🙂 I am thinking other Mamas may struggle with this issue too.
    Rach D recently posted…So Much Encouragement In One Place: Mom 2 Mom Style!!!My Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 19, 2015 (8:41 pm)

      I am the same way! It’s amazing how easy it is to slip back into old habits. You can do it!

  • comment-avatar
    Chantale January 19, 2015 (8:13 pm)

    I adore this post! I needed to read this more than you know. I am always obsessing about the kids and forget all about me. You have inspired me and many others I’m sure! God bless you!

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 19, 2015 (8:38 pm)

      Thank you so much! I know how it is to put yourself last and before you know it, you’re not in the best health! Many blessings to you, my friend!

  • comment-avatar
    Deborah January 19, 2015 (11:17 pm)

    I have always tended to run the other way. Whenever I am stressed or worried about something I can’t eat. It has lead to health problems multiple times for me in the past. The solution for me is to pray, stay positive, and try to be happy!
    Thank you for sharing your struggle. No one really wants to talk about these issues from an “I have been there” perspective.
    Blessings,
    Deborah recently posted…When Singleness Is A GiftMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 20, 2015 (2:39 pm)

      Oh good for you! It’s such a blessing that God gives us the self-control through Him to break those chains that bind!

      • comment-avatar
        Deborah January 21, 2015 (11:23 pm)

        Oh, I think I may have mislead you. I have had health problems from the complete inability to eat for prolonged periods of time 🙁 I don’t have an eating disorder, but when things are stressful I literally can’t eat without physical discomfort. (Like a person on chemo.) People see it as a blessing, but when an organ starts to shut down, it’s really a curse!
        I understand you pain–just from the other end of the spectrum. It sounds like you are doing awesome!
        Deborah recently posted…Christian Women And BullyingMy Profile

        • comment-avatar
          Sarah Ann January 22, 2015 (9:42 pm)

          Ha! I totally understand! I used to think that there was no way to be too thin and that the thinner the better. But you are right that when your health is at risk, whether either too over or under weight, there is a problem. Blessings to you on your journey!

  • comment-avatar
    Tiffany M January 20, 2015 (1:40 am)

    This was a wonderful post!! Loved it all. Congrats on losing weight! So happy for you!
    Tiffany M recently posted…$6.99 Groupon Bib Necklace SaleMy Profile

  • comment-avatar
    Heather @ My Overflowing Cup January 22, 2015 (7:11 pm)

    Thanks so much for sharing your heart in this post, Sarah Ann!

    It’s hard when you realize that weight control is often related to self-control, isn’t it? That being said, I believe God will help us in our endeavor to become healthier.

    I like to focus on being healthy rather than on losing weight. 🙂

    Two things that I have found are: 1. Drink water constantly and 2. Don’t focus on what you can’t have, but on enjoying the things you can have. If you fill up on the things you love that are healthy, there won’t be room for the bad stuff. (like your #4)

    Thanks so much for the encouraging post!
    Heather @ My Overflowing Cup recently posted…One-Bowl {Healthier} Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 22, 2015 (9:36 pm)

      I totally agree, Heather! When you realize that God gives us what we need for self-control, your life will be changed! I love your attitude for focusing on health, rather than weight loss. It truly is a state of mind!

  • Faith Along the Way January 23, 2015 (3:01 am)

    […] For me, the weight loss process was daunting, overwhelming and so discouraging. until God helped me realize that I had a warped attitude about food.  {You can read about my addiction to food, here.} […]

  • comment-avatar
    Jen January 23, 2015 (7:20 am)

    Love this encouragement! I think recognizing my mental processes is going to be key to my success. I started using My Fitness Pal and already I can tell the accountability is helpful. When I have to enter every single bit of food, I am more aware. Thanks for sharing this at Grace and Truth!
    Jen 🙂
    Jen recently posted…On “Wrestling with the Small Things” ~ #GraceTruth Week 2My Profile

  • comment-avatar
    Brittany @ Equipping Godly Women January 23, 2015 (11:54 pm)

    Love this! I have an unhealthy relationship with food too. I’m not overweight, but I definitely don’t feel healthy and I know it’s because I eat the wrong things. Need to stop stressing out and eat better!
    Brittany @ Equipping Godly Women recently posted…Featuring Godward with LauraMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 24, 2015 (7:07 am)

      I totally understand! I used to think I had to eat a ton before I gave up food, because I would miss food too much! So crazy! Best wishes to you. You can do it!

  • comment-avatar
    Kristen January 24, 2015 (6:59 am)

    I LOVED this – I need to break up with baking. I like many women use food as a comfort..and need to stop. This is a great post, sharing. Nice to meet you at SITS!
    Kristen recently posted…Deflate Gate – A Life Lesson in CheatingMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 24, 2015 (7:06 am)

      So nice to meet you, Kristen! It’s always a blessing to meet someone and find out you have similar struggles. Many blessings to you as you try to break up with food!

  • comment-avatar
    Eva January 24, 2015 (10:45 am)

    Thanks for your honesty and vulnerability. Food is so hard because it’s something we need every day. I know I struggle with feeling like I deserve [fill in some food] because… (I completed something, had a bad day, it’s Tuesday…). I’ve found it helps me to quote scripture when those thoughts flood my brain.
    Eva recently posted…Freedom from GuiltMy Profile

  • comment-avatar
    Candace January 24, 2015 (3:55 pm)

    I too am a food addict and found so much hope in this post. Thank you Sarah Ann! I binge eat and have also “loathed myself” for far too long. Your 10 truths are awesome. #10 is my favorite :). I’m really working on that one right now!
    Candace recently posted…Turning to Food: January UpdateMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 24, 2015 (4:06 pm)

      Oh blessings to you, Candace! I think that it’s such a struggle, but it’s so helpful when you realize you’re not alone. You can do it!

  • comment-avatar
    Karen January 24, 2015 (8:19 pm)

    These are some great tips! Thank you. Nice to meet you via Grace & Truth.

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 24, 2015 (9:14 pm)

      Aww, so nice to meet you too! I’ll have to stop by and check out your blog!

  • comment-avatar
    Jenn January 24, 2015 (9:00 pm)

    Hi, Sarah Ann. I had a similar experience, both with food and growing up in Wisconsin (Kenosha). What do you think of that Weight Watchers commercial “if you’re happy and you know it, eat a snack…”? A friend of mine thought it was not helpful for emotional eaters.
    Do you agree?
    Jenn recently posted…Who Do You Trust for Health Advice?My Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 24, 2015 (9:14 pm)

      What a small world! I grew up in Kenosha, too! Ha!! Most of my extended family is from there and still lives there! I think I have to agree with your friend. although that didn’t jump out at me as the first thing I noticed with that commercial. Snacks filled with protein have been a life saver for me to maintain a level of satisfaction and fullness throughout my journey. I try not to let my stomach get too empty that it starts growling at me and I may be tempted with an unhealthy snack. But I really struggled with emotional eating and don’t need a reminder to eat snacks from a commercial. 🙂 Best wishes to you on your journey!

  • comment-avatar
    Edith Rodriguez January 27, 2015 (12:17 am)

    Thank you for these tips. They are exactly what I decided to do this year as I too have been like Oprah my whole life. I truly believe this year will be different as I chose to focus on my health this year, starting with a Daniel Fast while focusing on my health. I’m glad you were able to learn to be healthy and have maintained.

    Have a wonderful week. 🙂

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 27, 2015 (9:12 pm)

      Good for you Edith! I’ve heard wonderful things about the Daniel Fast and think that’s a great start to taking back your health. Best wishes!

  • comment-avatar
    Holly Brown January 28, 2015 (2:36 pm)

    Thank you so much for this post. I firmly believe I was a food addict as well, and it’s been a long journey to break those habits. I very much appreciate your words, and thank you also for linking with Grace & Truth!
    Holly Brown recently posted…The Big-Flavor Grill {Book Review}My Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann January 28, 2015 (9:08 pm)

      Thanks, Holly! It’s so freeing when we realize it’s an addiction that we truly need to be free from! Many blessings to you on your journey!

  • comment-avatar
    Isabella @ La Bella Vida Design January 31, 2015 (9:38 am)

    Thank you for sharing this! Sometimes we all need a reminder that a food obsession isn’t healthy or good for us in the slightest. I love food—cooking, prepping, eating..but lately i’ve had to let myself realize if I were truly hungry or just bored. I am not overweight, but I know that I definitely don’t want to get there! Putting the weight on is the easiest part. Getting it off is what takes work.
    Isabella @ La Bella Vida Design recently posted…2015 Project Life OrganizationMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann February 1, 2015 (9:06 pm)

      I catch myself eating because I am bored and have to stop and realize what I am doing. A huge part of successfully losing and keeping weight is learning your body’s cues for hunger. Blessings to you!

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    Giftie Etcetera January 31, 2015 (10:43 am)

    I refused to break up with food, but I’ve changed my relationship with it. That picture of cupcakes? As beautiful as it was, it didn’t even tempt me. But roast some brussel sprouts? I cannot resist!
    Giftie Etcetera recently posted…Anatomy of a Planner: The Weekly SpreadMy Profile

    • comment-avatar
      Sarah Ann February 1, 2015 (9:05 pm)

      That’s so true! It’s so important to have a healthy attitude about food!

  • Faith Along the Way February 5, 2015 (3:05 am)

    […] On my weight loss journey, I focused on moving everyday, and eventually got a gym membership and fell in love with weight training. {Read my story here}. […]

  • comment-avatar
    Elizabeth March 4, 2015 (10:59 am)

    Thank you for your article. It is exactly what God is working on in my heart! And the Made to Crave book by Lysa Terkurst has really helped me as well to refocus and realize more about how food is an idol. Though I posted about making fresh white bread and the temptation of eating it on my sight, I am trying to follow Trim Healthy Mama ideas and work through eating better and adding protein more often. Thank you for your post again!
    Elizabeth recently posted…Bread and TogethernessMy Profile