Food is Fuel, Not Friend

Overcoming Our Obsession with Food

Pancakes Being Buttered

Something is comforting, not in the calories, but in the companionship, food can provide.

When life is good, we celebrate with ice cream, and when life is bad, we cope with brownies.

Any day can feel familiar and lovely when coupled with the coziness of Grandma’s recipes or the warmth of your favorite meal with your favorite people.

Although for all the goodness offered to us through food, it can also become something it was never intended to be, a friend.

Unknowingly, our relationship with food can easily transition from a means of nourishment to an emotional companion; a tangible presence that can preserve our highs and elevate our lows, becoming a buddy who is only a kitchen or grocery stop away.

The roots of this in my life became evident to me one evening when I arrived at a friend’s house for a late night of work, and she had a batch of my favorite brownies waiting for me. She knew that a cup of milk and a plate of gooey goodness would lift my spirits after an emotionally draining day.

As I reached for my favorite indulgence, a thought crossed my mind, “Food is fuel, it is not a friend.”

In that one sentence, I knew that I was turning to food to process and refuel myselfinstead of looking to my friend or, better yet, looking to Jesus to find comfort in handling the emotional withdrawals from my day.

That thought eventually led to a change of mind which marked a turning point in my relationship with food.

The satisfaction from indulging or the craving for comfort foods slowly began to wane as I looked beyond the immediate gratification of the foods and looked more intently to the why behind my desire for the food.

  • Does my body need physical nourishment or am I eating to cope or distract me from something else?
  • What do I want this food to do for me? (Give me energy vs. make me feel better emotionally)
  • Is there a non-food way I can re-energize myself right now? (Go for a run, take a nap, spend time with Jesus, talk with a good friend)

In order for any of us to move beyond the emotional roller coaster of dieting and weight management, we must first deal with our heart level understanding of the role of food in our life.

We can put strict boundaries on what we can and cannot eat to hit our weight loss goals, but eventually, the diet will end, and we will once again face everyday food choices.

If our heart hasn’t matured beyond seeing food as something to control or be controlled by, then we will continue to be bound by the influence of food and plagued by unresolved weight issues.

Even if you are at a healthy body size, you can still have an unhealthy relationship with food.

Have you ever had a whole bag of chips or kept the cookies stashed for yourself? Have you ever regretted the overindulgence done without self-control? Do you turn to food for more than nourishment?

If you can identify with these experiences, then I encourage you to begin uncovering the influence food has in your life and take the steps necessary to understand what foods fuel your body and which ones tend to be more of a friend.

For when we can have food take its rightful place in our lifestyle, then we have one more aspect of our lives where we get to experience the true freedom that Jesus brings – which includes the freedom to enjoy the food that nourishes our bodies, and also the fellowship and memories that follow.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Food is Fuel, Not Friend

  1. Well said! You have gotten to the heart of the matter, and how sad it makes me that so many of us have to relearn this again and again. But like many important lessons, it is in the process that we learn so much about ourselves. The “why” behind our actions. Thanks for a thought provoking piece

    • Absolutely agree Christa! So many things in our lives are not simply learned once and then never revisited; instead, I believe our Heavenly Father, in His grace, allows us to keep relearning and applying heart truths like this so we never outgrow our need for His sufficiency.