Those struggling with weight loss typically believe that they should have the willpower to stop binge eating. Yet time and time again they do everything they can to quit bingeing by sheer force of will, and time and again they fail.
Then they beat themselves up for being weak.
My friends, I’m here to tell you that you will never have enough willpower to beat a food addiction, and being weak is a good thing—if you are willing to accept it.
I am weak, as weak as they come. I have no power over the numerous addictions I’ve suffered from. I have zero ability to wrestle them down by own my own sheer might. I am simply too weak for the overpowering force of addiction.
The saving grace for me has been in accepting that I am weak. This doesn’t mean I lay down and play dead, however. It just means that I stop denying and fighting and can begin to seek a real solution to my problem.
Every morning and ask for help to accept the fact that I have no power, so that I can sincerely seek a spiritual power, the only thing that can help me overcome my problems.
Most people reject this idea that we have no power and instead insist that we must “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps” and get a grip on our lives. But for addicts, that philosophy doesn’t work. The nature of addiction is that we have a habit we cannot stop. If we could stop, we wouldn’t become addicted in the first place; we’d simply use “moderation.”
But emotional eaters cannot successfully moderate their behavior. It takes too much power, power the emotional eater doesn’t have. In fact, one of the reasons we depend on excess food in the first place is because it provides us with the power we lack. Overeating starts out as a crutch that help us get through our day when we feel too weak to handle life on our own strength. Of course overeating ends up making life harder to live, but it never starts out that way.
It’s difficult for people with perceived strength or power to understand the emotional eater’s inability to get it together, so I’m really talking to those who are feeling hopeless about their apparent weakness.
I want to say that if you will let yourself off the hook for not being able to control your food and weight, then we can make progress. If you’re like me, please don’t feel sad that you haven’t been able to beat it on your own; this is a condition over which you could not possibly have had any power.
There is power in accepting that you are weak, and once you do admit this, you will naturally desire to connect with a source of power that can help. Of course there are plenty of sources of power (other people, other addictions, medications, etc.) but the only one that will have a lasting positive effect, with no negative side effects, is a spiritual power.
If you don’t like that news, don’t worry; no addict wants to accept that they need spirituality in order to heal. We are so convinced that we should be able to do it on our own and that God won’t be able to (or want to) help anyway that we feel pretty discouraged.
My experience was that when things got bad enough, when I got tired enough of failing and hurting, I was willing to reconsider my prejudice against God and spiritual things. (It’s important to know that the word God is just a word, and one that actually limits the enormity of this gentle and loving power.)
My life has never been the same since that day that I surrendered my life and my way of thinking to the care of this Sweet Spirit. Every day I pray to accept my weakness and to accept the spiritual power that I cannot live without.
I hope you will now view your failure to lose weight or stop binge eating in a new light. Use it as confirmation that you are fully eligible for the healing, love and grace that are available to you right now. With recovery you will come to realize is that your strength is your greatest weakness, and that your weakness will become your greatest strength.