Stop the Binge and Purge Cycle of a Bulimic Society

Bulimia is a serious eating disorder where one gorges on food then force vomits it all up. A rather gross disorder, to say the least. I guess it’s the ultimate way to have your cake but NOT eat it too. Definitely not a good way to prevent weight gain.

Binge and purge seems to be the latest societal dynamic. It pertains to more than just food. Why are we so prone to the binge and purge cycle? We’ve just come off a holiday season — an extreme binge. It’s January and all we hear is health and fitness. So it’s purge time, but with that we are getting a bulimic barrage of excess information on diet and exercise. Now we binge on health and fitness in order to purge. Binge and purge.

Information Overload

In a society inundated and obsessed with information, we can easily become overwhelmed. Take this past Christmas. My head was spinning with so many recipe offerings on my Facebook feed. I am a creature of tradition and habit. I love my old tried and true family recipes. But my heart fluttered and my mind raced as I faced my screen —  is that recipe better? I was sorely tempted! Should I add that to our holiday table? It’s bad enough the Italian in me is naturally prone to excess. And worry. Especially the nagging worry that it’s NEVER ENOUGH. Last year’s vow to bake only two kinds of cookies was broken. I baked five different kinds of cookies. IS IT ENOUGH? IT’S NOT ENOUGH.


Does anyone remember a skit with Dom DeLuise lamenting over a full table,”Do you think it’s enough?” (It might have been a scene from the movie Fatso.)


Oh my, it was too much. My cookie monster sons are now adult men and they don’t live here anymore. Why am I still baking as if they were?

Two leftover pounds of cookies sit rejected and frozen in my freezer.

We binge on food, partying, drinking. We binge on information. Mass media and especially social media feed us too much. No wonder they call it your Facebook feed, your news feed. We are ingesting too much. It is utterly distracting and a hindrance to productivity. Too many visuals of food, fun, fabulous table settings, best looking home decor. All of that can stir up covetousness, jealousy, and yup, gluttony. We are overfed, overindulged, over-entertained, over stimulated. It’s time to stop the binge and purge cycle. Here’s a few suggestions on how that can be done.

Keep it Simple

It is enough! Keep it simple. Three-word phrases that are almost as precious as I LOVE YOU. How about ALL IS VANITY? There is nothing new under the sun. In fact, lots of those posted recipes are from magazines I read thirty years ago.

Some new recipes in a saturated blogosphere may be worth a try. So even though I’m a sentimental traditionalist, I might add one or two new dishes to my repertoire. Okay, just one. That would be enough. And I will print it out. I will not run to and fro in my kitchen from perched electronic device to stove top. I like paper. Especially printed-out recipes that testify of dried dough and spilled cream and various stains of Christmas past.

Martha, Martha!

For those ladies who were overwhelmed this past holiday season by Pinterest’s homemade snowy pine cone wreaths, felt cardinal ornaments, or Epsom salt luminaries, know this: Martha Stewart lives alone. Only she can tolerate her own perfectionism. Her simple is different than my simple. I prefer a humble but happy table over a high-end haughty one any day. Humph.

What’s more — pioneer women did not do crafts. They were too busy churning butter, making cheese, and rendering fat. They kept busy with the craft of homemaking! Do you think Sarah Edwards, wife of Jonathan Edwards, sewed little birds for her Christmas tree? Is this really necessary? Wait a minute. I’m not bashing crafters here. DIY crafts are awesome. I’m just saying, let’s put everything in their proper perspective. Just because someone is talented in making ornaments does not mean we should feel guilty that our homes lack homemade charm. Don’t be deceived by the craftiness of this delusion. Be careful that these things don’t become idols in our lives.

On Demand in Overdrive

We are entertained until we are zombified (if this is not already a word, I just made it one). Technology  can be dangerous when it enables us to binge watch TV shows on demand. What a spoiled society we are when we can have anything we want whenever we want it, and as much as we want. Demanding bingeing brats!

This past New Year’s Eve I came down with a bug that left me miserably congested and tired. Hubby and I declared a veg out day — which is basically, a binge day. We ate leftover holiday food on demand (whenever we wanted it), enjoyed a movie marathon, and sat on our cozy love seat all day. Sometimes we need this. I was sick, after all. Some circumstances render bingeing okay. But don’t make it habitual!

On Demand Under Control

Streaming devices can be a good thing if we sift out the junk and select what’s wholesome. I highly recommend this little device called Roku that Mike and I received for Christmas. Are you paying a high cable bill but watching a few channels? When I realized I watched about 3 of those channels, it was time to cut the cable. Roku lets you enjoy only what you choose to enjoy. There’s even a sermonaudio channel. Using our Roku will result in a good purging of unwanted smut, mindless TV, and mainstream garbage.

Binge Buying

There are binge shoppers who actually get a kind of high from buying. There are extravagant binge shoppers and frugal ones. Part of the high for the frugal binge shopper is nailing that bargain. Thanks to these folks, we can binge watch episodes of Hoarders. Imagine being buried alive by your own junk. But that’s the sad premise of a reality television series. Bingers who cannot purge.

Binge and purge. Where does it end?

We are prone to excess and idolatry. It’s not easy for us as Christians to resist delving into what this wicked world offers. We are told thousands of times everything in moderation.

Philippians 4:5 – Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

The bottom line:

Feasting is fine as long as we keep Christ as Master of our feast. If we truly are celebrating Christ, we need to remember that He is present at our table. He provides all our needs, so don’t forget the gratitude.

In keeping with the theme of redeeming our time well, being productive for God’s glory alone, let’s break the binge-purge cycle in our lives.

Consumerism and greed is behind this cycle. Let’s not soak up media lies like listless sponges. We must sift through everything. We must use discernment in a world where the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour (1Peter 5:8). It’s a deceptive, tainted world.

Let’s binge on God’s Word, the Bible, in this new year. That’s the only good bingeing there is. Digest it. Don’t purge it. Write it on your heart:

Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. — Deut. 11:18

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: — Proverbs 3:3

Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. — Proverbs 7:3

Pray without ceasing. Especially in a day when true Christianity is increasingly politically incorrect.

And, beware the next binge: red hearts, chocolate and love, love, love. It will attempt to make you feel that your marriage is inferior, your husband is an unromantic boob, or, at the very least, it will make you feel like bingeing on chocolate.

Don’t fall for it.



Resolved: Do the one thing needful more better.

As we ring in a new year, we analyze the past year and resolve to do better in the next. I hate resolutions and I never make them. But I am sick and tired of feeling unproductive. Of being tossed to and fro with different tasks. What to do first, what is the priority? I set goals for myself but never accomplish them. Sick. And. Tired. Maybe these are goals I should trash for good. Or maybe I just sabotage myself because of my fears, distractions, my chaotic thoughts. I know I’m here to glorify God, but how do I do that? Am I doing that, even in my menial daily chores?

So when Tim Challies announced his 10 Days of Productivity, I signed up immediately.

Then came our Pastor David Whitla’s sermon entitled One Thing Is Needed where he expounded on the story of Mary and Martha. Please click the link to listen and be blessed. No, Martha, you’re not a bad girl. Serving is needed, serving is good. Jesus came to serve. No, Mary, you are not being negligent or lazy or cruel to your sister. Mary is listening to Jesus, savoring the moment. She’s sitting at his feet, paying attention. That’s the best thing to do when we entertain guests.

I have a rule in my home. When I have guests for dinner, I don’t clean up in front of them nor do I dare let them lift a finger. I just hate that. They didn’t come over to watch me clean up and I didn’t invite them to work for me. I wanted their company. They were invited. I like to be part of the conversation. I don’t want to miss that. So never mind the dirty dishes. They can be washed the next day just as easily (especially if I’ve soaked them overnight).

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. – Luke10:42

Of course this was more than a lesson in hospitality. It was a lesson about love and devotion. How can we love Jesus and adore Him more? How can we better glorify God?

That’s why my heart lept when Challies offered this crash course in productivity. I’d been wrestling with what to do with myself ever since I quit my day job. Not twiddling my thumbs with boredom, mind you. Just the opposite – wanting to do too many things. God has given me creative talents, one of them being a desire to write. Should I even write this blog? Last year had fewer posts per month. I was too busy. Other things took priority. Things that I’m not sure should have had priority. Ugh.

It was no coincidence when Psalm 127 repeatedly appeared — both in my pastor’s sermon and in the intro of Tim Challies’ book, Do More Better: A Practical Guide to Productivity.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
    the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
    and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
    for he gives to his beloved sleep. – Psalm 127:1, 2 ESV

I don’t want that bread of anxious toil. I want that peace that is given by the Bread of Life. Devotion to Him; delight in Him. Communion with God is the most important thing. Those daily devotions, sitting at His feet. That’s the #1 priority I need to do better.

Jonathan Edwards wrote 70 resolutions when he was 18 years old. I love #5. I don’t ever want to waste time. I want to redeem my time well for God’s glory alone. This is a great message to start the new year. Ponder on these three things, as Jonathan Edwards did:

  1. The shortness of life
  2. The suddenness of death
  3. The length of eternity

So I kinda combined these lessons and hope to truly learn them this coming year. Yes, Tim, I’m following along in your 10 Days of Productivity, so I can better organize my tasks and know my priorities. But I know that if I do just one thing every day, the one thing needful, I can be at peace knowing I’ve done the best thing.

Happy New Year!