On Anxiety: Why I Overeat

why I overeat

As long as I can remember I’ve had anxiety, which is why I overeat.

In Junior High, my parents took me to doctor after doctor and they all agreed–I had hypoglycemia. The solution was to carry around extra snacks or protein with me to stabilize my blood sugar when it dipped. The problem was it dipped often.

No matter how much food I ate I was always hungry.

Day after day, I prayed to God and asked him to stop my hunger.

When eating higher amounts of food didn’t work–I became even more anxious. I was afraid to eat because I didn’t want to get fat. Even as a young girl I knew if I became fat, no boy would ever love me.

When my anxiety became so bad that I was afraid to leave the house–my parents took me to the doctor again.

Only this time they prescribed Xanax–a little white happy pill that made me feel nothing for a few hours, but left me feeling even more hungry after. I hated that pill! Taking Xanax made me want to commit suicide.

Thankfully, my mom forced me to stop taking it almost immediately. Even after I screamed, cursed, and begged her to continue to let me take medication–I knew it wouldn’t fix the problem, but I didn’t know where else to turn.

That is until I learned how to pray.

Sounds cliché but it’s the truth. 

The one thing I knew as a pre-teen was that the only prescription to my anxiety was found in God.

Thank God my mom wasn’t afraid to get on her knees and pray with me. She prayed. I prayed. We even asked my pastors to pray over me. With their support I found the strength to start rebuking each lie the enemy would tell me.

“You’re too fat.”

“You’re too afraid to go outside.”

“No boy will ever love you.”

“Hunger is bad.”

One year later the lies stopped. I’d love to say they stayed away, but they didn’t. When they returned at least I had God by my side–along with my family, and prayer.

When the lies became too much to bear I discovered the power of reading the Bible daily.

That’s when I started journaling.

That’s when I started asking God to heal me daily from anxiety, and from my desire to stuff my face full of food.

God has never removed anxiety from my life nor the desire to overeat, but He has brought me through some incredibly tough crisis situations. It took the courage of a nurse to help me see that I was okay. That being hungry was actually normal–and so was anxiety.

I say all of this to encourage you.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who struggles with food, overeating, and staying the right weight.

There was a time when I gained 100 pounds because of the medication I took for a bad skin rash.

There was a time when I ended up in the emergency room because I was having such severe panic attacks.

Maybe I’ll always struggle with anxiety, or maybe God will just take it all away one day.

Until that day–I choose to educate myself, take daily medication for as long as it’s recommended by my doctor, and stay connected with God, family, and friends. Whatever it takes for me to get it–being hungry is a good thing!

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV84).

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6, NIV84).

[Photo: larry&flo, Flickr]

8 comments on “On Anxiety: Why I Overeat”

  1. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, Renee. This series is going to be a great help and encouragement to people suffering from anxiety and depression. I’ve been there, and I know that hearing that I wasn’t alone, having people in my life who didn’t judge me or my anxiety, and prayer (lots and lots of prayer!) was so important.

    1. You’re welcome, Lindsay. Thanks so much for the encouragement back!

  2. Amen Renee! Great post 🙂 It’s pretty amazing how God sometimes allows
    struggles to remain (hopefully at less intensity over time) because he
    uses them to draw us closer to him. I don’t always like this, sometimes
    even feeling like it’s not worth it at my lowest moments, but it is.
    Plus I know that ultimately we won’t be in that place forever!

    1. Thanks Mere 🙂 It is amazing how God helps us overcome some really intense periods in our life, and even if he chooses not to remove them they certainly cause us to cling to Him!

  3. Zee says:

    Great message…being someone that suffers from anxiety I can definitely relate. It’s a day to day, hour to hour battle. It’s hard but sometimes it’s what keeps us drawing close to him. . Thanks for your honesty!

    1. Thanks Zee. So glad although not glad to know I’m alone. You know what I mean 🙂

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