Let’s review the definition of a Food Tightwad and consider becoming one. Then we will make the connection between money management and practicing self-control with food.
A Food Tightwad is someone who cheerfully and systematically chooses when to eat or not to eat food in order to meet a physical goal.
What practical steps do I employ to practice self-control with food in my own home? How do I encourage young women to develop skills in this area? I am by no means an expert yet, but I am striving after the goal of self-control with food management because I desire to please God in this area, to lead a healthy and productive life, and to serve others. Here are three practical tips for becoming a Food Tightwad:
1. Study Contentment – The dictionary defines “content” as satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else. Christians are instructed in Hebrews 13:5 to be “content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” We can have this attitude because Jesus Christ has amply provided everything we need for life and godliness. When Paul described his contented state in Philippians 4:11, he wrote that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances, including being filled and going hungry, so we too can learn this godly attitude. Other Bible verses to study include 1 Timothy 6:8 and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Practicing contentment might include prayer dedicated to your husband’s provision (work for food), how you can serve others with a food ministry, and personal repentance for the sin of gluttony. In my book, Elephant in the Room, I define gluttony as eating too much or eating for the wrong reason. You might take personal notes about satisfying your stomach with less food and satisfying your soul by feasting on the Word of God.
2. Study Your Own (Food) Budget – Do you have any idea how much food you eat throughout the day? Are you eating a well-balanced diet for energy and nutrition? Do you know what motivates you to eat what you do, when you do? Do you struggle with stomach problems or other illnesses? Do you know how to cook or are you relying on packaged convenience foods and eating out at restaurants? Before you can set goals and choose your tactics, you must know what you eat. Keep a food log. There are lots of tools available on the internet, so pick one that you like that you will actually use. (I use FitDay.com each May.) Write down everything you eat for a month. Once you know what you eat, then you can make your own evaluation or seek help from a wise counselor before making changes. One perk of keeping a food log is that sometimes you won’t eat as much if you know you have to write it down.
3. Study Food Management – Seek wisdom from wise counselors (Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 19:20) within your church family as well as professional dieticians who implement Christian principles. (One I personally enjoy is the food Bible study called The Lord’s Table.) Accountability is so important, so ask your spouse to help you, or find a friend who has already experienced victory over gluttony or will jump in the battle with you. If you need to eat less or improve your nutrition, find creative ways to help you reach your goals, including counting carbs, exercising more, taking a cooking class or borrowing cookbooks from the library for inspiration. Last year for one month, I tracked my carbs and tried to follow guidelines suggested for pre-diabetics of 45 grams of carbs at each of three meals plus snacks of 15 grams of carbs. It was such a great experience for me (I feel better and have kept off 10 pounds) that I am taking the 30-day challenge again this month! Do you want to join me? Let me know by posting a comment below.
Dear friends, building self-control with food is just like building self-control with money; it takes time and effort, but once again God’s Word provides wisdom and encouragement in this area. So how can you get started today?
- Pray to God for wisdom, then spend some time reading your Bible. Pray to God and ask Him for your daily bread, enough for today, then thank Him when you get it. Pray to God and repent from gluttony if necessary.
- Do without cheerfully. What can you say No to eating just for today? Take a walk instead of eating a snack this afternoon. Can you pack up those remaining home-baked cookies to deliver to a neighbor?
- Get to work diligently! Get busy serving your family and other people. Cook at home instead of turning to convenience food. Work should build an appetite.
I hope I have made the connection between managing money and managing food. I admit that it can be easier to talk about money because it seems less personal, but I took the challenge to write about gluttony in my book, Elephant in the Room. Money and food are both issues of self-control, so we can turn to God’s Word, the Bible, for wisdom and guidance. And if we understand and acknowledge that we sin with money or food, we have hope for forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For believers, God makes this promise in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
If you are suffering the consequences of bad choices with money or food, and you have no hope of forgiveness and cleansing, I pray that you will discover hope through the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, sent to die on a cross, rise again the third day, and ascend into heaven in order to save people from bearing the punishment for their sins. Hallelujah! What a Savior!