Monday, August 27, 2012

Setting Boundaries with Food by Allison Bottke

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

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Today's Wild Card author is:

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***Special thanks to Ginger Chen of Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Allison Bottke is the author of Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children and Setting Boundaries with Difficult People,and the founder of the SANITY Support Group, an outreach based on the acclaimed Setting Boundaries " book series.. She has written or edited more than 27 nonfiction and fiction books, and is a frequent guest on national radio and TV programs around the country.


For the fourth book in her Setting Boundaries series, Allison Bottke turns to our relationship with food, and a problem affecting more than 200 million Americans obesity. Allison encourages readers to reject the insanity of dieting and deprivation and to focus on healthy relationships with food, self, others, and God.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736926941

ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-2694-2


For many years my life was a never-ending drama of crisis
after crisis revolving around my drug-addicted son. It was absolute
insanity—and it was not how God intended for me (or any parent) to live.

Before I was able to eventually write Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children,
the first book in the Setting Boundaries™ series, I had to first recognize my
own enabling patterns of behavior and put a stop to the part I had played in
continuing the vicious cycle of irresponsible behavior in my son’s life. Before
God could use me to help others find sanity, I first had to learn how to stop
trying to fix the mess my son was making of his life. I had to stop enabling
his behaviors.

As I developed what I call the Six
Steps to SANITY in dealing my son, I began to realize the futility of harboring
negative feelings of guilt, frustration, anger, fear, and inadequacy. Those
destructive emotions only hindered my ability to resolve the daily drama of
those years. Instead, I began to focus on developing new strengths that helped
me break free from the bondage of the poor choices my son was making. I learned
I had to make better choices myself.

Today, thousands of parents and
grandparents around the world have joined me in finding freedom from the
exhausting cycle of enabling our adult children. Together we have found sanity
by recognizing and identifying false conceptions about our adult children and
ourselves. We have begun replacing those destructive lies with spiritually
empowering truths.

Over the past few years, God has been
showing me how the same SANITY principles (outlined in Part Two of this book)
that helped me establish the necessary boundaries regarding my son’s life can
be applied to the challenging issues I faced with food and obesity. It’s from
that conviction that I write the books in the Setting Boundaries™ series—the
conviction that God alone can help us set the necessary boundaries and enable
us to make the right choices, bringing us right-side up in whatever issue we’re
dealing with.

The Common Denominator

While there are countless emotional,
circumstantial, or even physical reasons why so many people struggle with their
weight, there’s one common denominator that all of us who struggle share—and
that, of course, is food itself.

We can “just say no” to enabling our
adult children, or allowing difficult people to hurt us. We can put alcohol and
other drugs out of our lives—we don’t need either substance for survival. Yet
it’s impossible to “just say no” to food, for without it we would die.

But that doesn’t stop us from trying,
does it? We try to “just say no” to food by skipping entire meals or going
days, weeks, even years in some cases, eating little to nothing, determined to
be in control of food and the weight it adds to our bodies. At its worst, this
control issue with food can result in life-threatening illnesses such as
anorexia, bulimia—or, on the other end of the spectrum, heart attacks,
diabetes, and the host of other maladies that can stem from overeating or from
eating the wrong foods in excess.

Many of us, in a brave attempt to lose
weight, have tried to eat and drink according to some sort of regulated system
typically based on two key components: deprivation and reward. In short, in an
effort to lose weight we’ve developed an unnatural
attention on food
while we starve our spirit, soul, mind, and
even our body itself of the nourishment it really needs. By dieting, taking
pills, using exchange lists and points, and counting calories, fat grams and
carbohydrates, we have been trying to make food behave instead of changing our
own behavior.

Setting Boundaries with Food
isn’t about making food behave; it’s about replacing our focus on food with
something far more fulfilling. It’s about making a series of choices that can
free us not only from the pounds that weigh down our bodies, but also from the
worry, anxiety, and stress that weigh heavy on our hearts, souls, and spirits.
It’s about choices that can bring us into a bountiful relationship with a
loving and nurturing God, who can fill the empty places no amount of food can
ever reach.

To do this, we must seriously address
the emotional and spiritual hunger many of us have ignored. The truth is that
we must heal our bodies and souls from the inside out—not from the outside in.

A Reflection of Character

In this fourth book in the Setting
Boundaries™ series, I’m going to challenge you to give up destructive dieting
and unhealthy eating patterns for the last time—to say goodbye to the vicious
cycle that has held you prisoner in your own body for years, perhaps even

With so much attention focused on what
foods to eat or not to eat, or by ignoring nutrition needs entirely, many of us
have stopped paying attention to why we’re even eating in the first place.

Are we really

Do our bodies actually need fuel, or
are we feeding something else entirely?

The truth is that many of us have never
learned how to separate food from feelings. Instead of managing our emotional
needs and the internal frustrations related to growth and change, we’ve fallen
into harmful habits of either clinging to food or depriving ourselves of it. We
habitually overeat and under eat, habitually watch the numbers on our scale
increase and decrease, and habitually start and stop one promising diet after
another. When it comes to eating, we’ve developed many unhealthy and even
dangerous habits.

A habit is a pattern of behavior
acquired by frequent repetition that reflects the prevailing character of a
person. Have you ever thought of your habits as a reflection of your character?
As Christians, our character should reflect the character of Christ. We are not
born with habits. We develop them—and we can make the choice to change them.

Together, we’re going to address the
part our emotional needs play in our relationship with food. We’re going to see
how reorganizing our relationships and understanding our responsibilities can
help us set healthy boundaries—boundaries that more deeply reflect the
character of Christ. And all the while, we’ll be growing spiritually and
developing new habits of emotional self-control.

Looking for Love

Many of us have confused the empty
space in our stomach with the one in our heart, stuffing one while ignoring the

I struggled for decades with my weight
as a result of emotional overeating, even for a time becoming morbidly obese. I
know what it’s like to feel trapped in a seemingly never-ending cycle of
dieting, deprivation, despair, and disgust. Weight-related insecurities
consumed me for the majority of my life. In fact, there was a time in my
twenties when suicide appeared a better option than living another day in an
overweight body that I hated. Imagine that—preferring death to being fat.

The truth is that the elephant in the
room (sadly, the perfect metaphor) regarding excess weight is our pain and
inner emptiness—none of which can be dealt with through fad diets. Some of us,
having finally realized the futility of diets that don’t address our real
hunger, end up treading water from day to day as we desperately try to juggle
poor relationships with our loved ones, coworkers, and even with ourselves, due
to our poor self-image. We go to sleep at night wondering how we can get
through another stressful, boring, unfulfilling, or horrid day. Emotional and
physical fatigue has rendered us all but powerless to see the light at the end
of the tunnel. In fact, it’s often said that many people feel like the light at
the end of the tunnel is nothing more than an oncoming train, which is
certainly how I felt years ago when my weight soared dangerously close to 300

Life-Saving Surgery

For me, as a Christian woman, one
answer came as a result of prayer. Having been diagnosed as morbidly obese, I
knew I had to do something to change my life. As I prayed, I decided to look
into the admittedly hot-button topic of gastric bypass weight loss surgery.
Because it turned out to be a viable starting place for me, I’ve devoted an
entire chapter to this option in this book.

Weight loss surgery (WLS) isn’t for
everyone, and should never be considered as a panacea for rapid weight loss.
While it was an effective tool that helped me lose weight quickly and regain
the physical mobility I had lost, it didn’t erase the old tapes replaying in my
mind, nor did it remove old habits. There are still times when the magnetic
pull of the refrigerator is powerful—when food seductively calls my name when
I’m not physically hungry. There are times when the trials and tribulation of
life seem too big to handle and I find myself being enticed back into my old
habits, returning to the false comfort and safety of food.

While I’ve maintained a 120-pound
weight loss for over a decade, the journey to true weight loss freedom came
when I discovered the connection between healthy boundaries, spiritual
nourishment, and maintaining successful long-term weight loss. Now, I’m keenly
aware that my obesity stemmed from boundary-related issues, and my old habit of
retreating from emotional pain to the comfort of food was my preferred form of
self-medicating. The abuse of food was my attempt to self-soothe and regulate
my emotions. Plus, carrying extra weight provided me with a false sense of
safety. Protection. It’s a good way to keep people at a distance.

When I’ve told my story, others have
confided to me that they have felt the same way. Perhaps you do too. Perhaps
you know that your hunger for food is a search for comfort—an attempt to
self-medicate the inner emptiness you feel.

I do understand. That’s why I’m writing
the book. I know from personal experience that it is
possible to break the cycle of insanity that holds us captive.

My Prayer for You

Today, instead of trying to control my
food with the latest fad diet or weight loss trend, I rely on the Six Steps to
SANITY that I teach in this book to help me focus on spiritual food. This has
sustained me over the years as I’ve learned more about the role healthy
boundaries and balance plays in virtually every aspect of life.

The Six Steps to SANITY can bring hope
and healing to hurting hearts. During the course of writing—and living—the Setting
Boundaries™ books, I’ve found strength I never knew I had. You can find this
strength as well.

But those who trust in the Lord
will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run
and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31).

This scripture passage has brought me
great peace in my journey to set healthy boundaries in many areas of my life
and to live the abundant life God has promised. Many of us who deal with the
very visible challenge of obesity often have far less visible challenges to
overcome. We’ve spent years hiding behind pounds of pain.

Our lives are incredibly
complicated—and often our relationships even more so. As with many of us who
find setting boundaries difficult, I came from a fractured family where
dysfunctional relationships thrived. I never met my mom’s mother, and my dad’s
mother was a rather taciturn and stoic individual. I don’t have many warm and
fuzzy grandma memories, but I do remember that she made the best lemon meringue
pie. We seldom talked one-on-one, but I vividly recall her words one day when I
was a very young girl sitting in her tiny kitchen in Toledo, Ohio. I watched as
she added one ingredient and then mixed it in, stopped to add another
ingredient, and then mixed some more. Thinking I had come up with a brilliant
timesaving option she’d never thought of, I proudly offered some great advice.
“Grandma, why don’t you just throw everything in the bowl and mix it all at
once?” I asked. “That would be easier.”

“The easiest way isn’t always the right
way,” Grandma sternly replied, without missing a beat or even looking up to
acknowledge me.

That simple exchange was a lesson that
stuck with me over the years, and it comes to mind now as I write about the
importance of following a progression of six steps on our journey to set
healthy boundaries—whether it’s with food, adult children, toxic parents, or
difficult people.

The right way isn’t necessarily going
to be the easiest way.

When it comes to confronting issues,
breaking habits, and ushering in transformational change that will have lasting
implications, there is a right way to find sanity. We already know there’s a
wrong way—our extra pounds testify to that.

That said, what is the right way—and
how do we find it? How do we find sanity in the insane situations and
circumstances of life?

It all begins when we reorganize our
relationships and understand our responsibilities.

First of all, I would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank you” to Allison Bottke and her publisher for sending me a copy of "Setting Boundaries with Food" to review for them. I am truly grateful for this generosity. I really appreciate the time, effort and expense it takes to make a reviewer copy available to me.

“Setting Boundaries With Food: Six Steps to Lose Weight, Gain Freedom and Take Back Your Life” by Allison Bottke is a tome filled with wonderful encouragement. Not only is it educational from a spiritual standpoint as well as a healthy eating lifestyle perspective. It also puts the reader into a mindset for success. It is full of Scriptural encouragement and pertinent quotes from renowned Christian authors and Bible teachers. It contains promptings and other opportunities to journal and reflect on the subject matter of each chapter.

The Six Steps to SANITY are comprehensive and critical to victorious living if this is an area of bondage. Reading this book gave me the nudge I needed to push past the plateau I’d reached in my own weight loss journey by involving my Heavenly Father with the process. This book is potentially life changing and I highly recommend it.

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