Wednesday Wisdom Tip – Filling Her Tummy to Fill Her Heart?

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom Tip comes from an email I received:

Hi Lynn, I am hoping you can help to approach a sensitive topic in the life of a teenage girl. She is very overweight and has low self esteem due to the fact of her weight. I love her dearly and I have tried encouraging her to exercise and diet without trying to make her feel uncomfortable but it doesn’t seems to be working. I do care about her health and am very concerned for her but I am afraid I don’t know how to help her or even reach the part of her that wants to change her situation and get more health conscious. Please help me her.

Have you ever been where this precious girl is at? Your unhealthy weight makes you feel bad, so you eat. The more you eat, the heavier you get. The heavier you get, the more you eat!

I sure have; just felt that way yesterday in fact! It is a constant battle of discipline and filling the gap in my heart with the unfailing love of Jesus instead of the quick fix of pumpkin roll (I mean, food)!


The real question is:

Why are we, or they, overeating?

Are they eating for comfort? Why are they sad?

Are they eating out of stress? What do they need to process or trim back on?

Do they feel unwanted or “out” with friends? Are they looking to food to fill their love gap?

In most cases, it is about a lot more than food.

When life is hard and stressful, we can show our girls how to run to Jesus instead of the pantry to settle our hearts. They watch; they hear. What are we doing?

I haven’t always model that perfectly, but as I grow, they see.

We also can model the importance of taking care of our bodies. Just as I speak to them often the effects of s*xual issues and their bodies, I try to share with them the effects of exercise and eating right. They need to understand the correlation between how they take care of themselves and how they feel.

As we have communicate this, we also trust and pray, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to them that they are His temple.

Even more than teaching them how to take care of their bodies, I make it a priority to take care of mine. As I learn about healthy food choices, exercise regularly and make treats treats and not a staple, I am showing them how to take care of my body. When we hike together, swim together, work out together, they see the benefits of having energy.

While I am no expert on this issue, I do know that eating disorders can be triggered very easily in our body crazed culture so we do need to be careful that our “sharing” doesn’t cross the line to preaching.

Have my girls ever felt like I was “preaching at them” as I have tried to teach good eating and exercising habits?

Yes; they have.

But just because we share truth and it doesn’t go over well, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share it. We continue to ask the Holy Spirit to give us His words and His love to communicate His truth.


Lysa TerKeurst and Shaunti Feldhahn address these types of issues for our girls in her book, Made to Crave for Young Women. Today I am giving away 2 copies of it!

To be entered to win, simply share one way we can help our children overcome the battle of healthy living. If you’re too busy, just say, “I’m in!”

To entered, go to and click on comments or click on “comments” below.

I’ll announce the winner on Friday’s post. Be sure to stop back!






  1. Alison Lapinsky says:

    I’m IN!!!!

  2. Count me in. My girl is struggling too. So sad. I, as a Trainer try not ever to push it for obvious reasons. But breaks my heart to see my sweet girl feel powerless to change and unwilling to receive any help, support or practical (as opposed to extreme) suggestions. At 12 , she looks 16 easily. Hormones and emotions are rollercoastering. Thanks for addressing this question.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Dawn, we were there too! My girl was 5’6″ in 3rd grade and had all the goods to go with it! Even now, as a senior in high school, she is often mistaken for a senior in college.

      One thing we need to be so mindful is to not make body image a big topic in our homes. I find myself so often complimenting my girl’s on their hair, outfit, etc. I need, instead, to focus on their character.

      Thanks for commenting, Dawn!

  3. Colleen Pankonin says:

    I just saw this book for the first time last week, and am so excited there is a teenage version! My 16-year-old daughter is not overweight…yet, but food has become her “best friend”, I see her using it to cope with the pressures and stresses of life, but mostly as a companion when she is bored or lonely. I talk about and model healthy eating and exercise but it goes much deeper than that. This book would be a wonderful read for her and a great guide for me to help her! Thanks for your consideration and for addressing this tough issue!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Colleen, it is more about the habits they are creating than the effect it is having on their bodies right now, right? Glad you saw the book 🙂

  4. I have a 13 year old daughter who has developed early as well. She eats very healthy and is very active in sports but still struggles with weight issues. She also watches her portions and everything. She is not extremely overweight, but enough to feel that she is the “big” girl in her group. The other girls are tall and very thin and eat junk food constantly. This is so unfair to her and she fully does not understand what else she can do. She has already, at age 13, tried so many diets and none seem to work. I am encouraging her to eat healthy for “health” and to stay physically active and hopefully she will even out as she gets older. She is 5′ 4 1/2″ and weighs around 158. I feel for her so much and it seems that she is stuck because she is doing everything right. Trying to keep her focused from the inside out but so hard when you are at this age and everyone around you seems to be thin except you.

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Hi Becky, my daughter has a friend whose story was very similar. Every day she worked out at the Y as well as played softball. Over the summer, she had just had enough of working so hard with no results. She asked her parents to take her to a nutritionist. The nutritionist taught her in just one session how to change what she was eating. In only 4 months she dropped 40 pounds in a totally healthy way. She feels so much better about herself and is in amazing athletic shape as well.

      I don’t know if this would help, but if she is as frustrated as my daughter’s friend was, it might just be the answer she needs.

  5. My 15 year old daughter is struggling with this right now! I’ve tried to get her to take walks with me, go to the gym with me, etc but she won’t do it. We struggle with this so much! Thanks!

  6. I’m in! I have the Made to Crave book, and I love it. I’m sure the version for young girls is just as good, and I feel my daughter is heading down the wrong path in her relationship with food, just as I did at her age. Would love the book for her.

  7. I’m IN!!! I would love to be able to use this as a reference for the girls I minister to at church on Wednesday nights!

  8. Hilda Quintanilla says:

    I’m in.
    Thinking of my nieces.

  9. Ladona Smith says:

    I’m glad to see this topic addressed! I am in girls ministry, and I see so many girls who struggle with body issues. Thank you!

  10. Veronica Gonzalez says:

    I”M In ….

  11. We try so hard to model good behavior and invite the kids to participate in physical activities that they enjoy. We also provide healthy meals so that (hopefully) they know that balance and moderation are the keys to a healthy lifestyle.

  12. I would love for my 16 year old daughter to have this resource. She is struggling with her weight as well and her self confidence has suffered. I have not been the best role model for her but recently have had a health scare myself. We are as a family, modifying our eating and exercise ways. Trying to make some much needed changes in our lifestyle.

  13. It is sad to see girls struggle with this. I have a daughter who I worry about, although she seems to make good choices. We try to keep our daughter active especially during our winter months when it can become easy for us to just sit inside. But for our benefit also, we try to do as much as we can outside, being active in whatever way we can. We try to model our eating habits so she learns them and will make the good choices when not in our presence. It’s a tough battle to fight especially with the bullying out there. {HUGS} to all the girls who are fighting this fight and their parents!

  14. I have ridden the weight roller coaster way too many times. And I do feel guilty that I have not demonstrated quite what I instructed. One of my greatest prayers for my girls when they were going from kids to young women was that they would not have weight issues that could bloom into eating disorders. I had such a sense of shame about my weight, I honestly believe if my parents weren’t so worried about it and had backed off a bit, I may not have struggled so. And so I have mostly kept my mouth shut. I’ve tried to support my kids by cooking healthy meals, stocking up on nutritious treats, and encouraging activity. A year ago, my daughter went from soccer almost year round to none at all. And she very quickly put on about 30 pounds. She is 5’11”. But it was still extra weight to carry. Believe me, inside, I was screaming, “No! No! Don’t do this to yourself. You’re a beautiful young woman who’s shown no sign of weight struggles. Please God help her not to gain more…to care about her weight…to take good care of the temple. And help me Lord to not say anything hurtful or shaming, not matter how scared I am.” Well, I kept pretty quiet and a year later, she feels good about herself (she’s definitely not fat, just much bigger than she once was). She eats well. And a couple of weeks ago she acknowledge that she had been eating through stress and wanted to change that habit. I have seen a change in her. She has been intentional about cutting carbs back. No crazy dieting. Just better food choices. Thank you God!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Elise, we, too, have made extra pounds too big of a deal in our home. Isn’t balance just so hard? It is such a relief when THEY want to make the change. Thank you Jesus that you give us the very real tool of prayer. Not just for our girls, but to relieve our sense of worry. Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. Please count me in. My daughter struggles with this and she’s only 10. She thinks image is everything. We just wrapped up the 7-day Faith Builder and I loved having a way to show her that looks are not everything and reminding her that God is madly in love with her. I am trying to get our local library to purchase His Revoluntionary Love Daily Devotions, too. This is a very touchy and delicate subject and any help would be welcomed. Thank you so much!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Tammy, I am so glad that you liked the 7 Day Faith Builder. Please be sure and share it with your friends! The more truth we can pour into our girls the more we will see that truth lived out in their lives!

  16. I’m in! My daughters are 12 and 14 and, at the advice of their physician, have joined Weight Watchers. The goal is for them to learn healthy eating habits, not just weight loss. However, my younger daughter is about 50 lbs overweight. It is a struggle for me to know when to say something when not to. I pray daily for wisdom for me and for God’s working in her.

  17. Shara Livingston says:

    Modeling the eating behavior you want your daughter to have is a great way to help her manage her weight but not be preachy!

  18. I’m in~3 daughter’s all with their own issues and my own…I would so love to through out the scale. Weighing only once a week, not ever day is one suggestion I have for my girls, to take the focus off the scale numbers and on healthy eating and life choices.

  19. Denice Weatherholt says:

    I’m In!

  20. I’m in! My 11 year old is struggling with this issue and I’d love to work on this with her. Have considered weight watchers but honestly it’s too much for me right now. I’m finishing treatment for breast cancer and I’m just plain exhausted a lot which doesn’t help. Unfortunately the bulk of the weight gain has occurred during this time. Once this adventure is over we can work on the weight together and more consistently. I think this book may help us both get started!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Jesus, pour your mighty strength and power into Karla today as she fights the fight for her health. Heal every cell in her body; make them whole and new. We ask that her precious girl will turn to you with her fears and anxiety. Use this painful trial to make them stronger in their dependence on You; finding you to be the source of all their needs. Amen!

  21. My daughter is one of those ‘enviable’ girls who is able to eat what she likes and keep her extremely petite form, however my son is the opposite and is very much like his absent father who puts on weight so easily. As a single mum with ME they are my only carers (at the moment) but it’s my son who has a bad relationship with food. I know I’m not a good role model for them as I am unable to exercise due to my disability which affects me in a big way, but I encourage them both to be healthy but I feel my son, with his emotional issues, turns to food way too much. I hope this book would be of help to him as although he has made a profession of a saving knowledge of Christ, he is still very much a babe in his journey with Christ, and has trouble turning to his heavenly Father to fulfil his needs. Thanks Lynn so much for this opportunity.
    Sam x

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      I love your heart for your son, Sam!

  22. I’m in. Glad there is a younger version of this book.

  23. Lisa Schofield says:

    Hi All! I feel a little embarrassed to comment, but I just have to! I am 32 and weighed 128 at my heaviest EVER (yes, even during 2 pregnancies)! I am such a terrible eater and was raised on “comfort foods” that I still beg my dad to make every chance I get. The problem you ask? I have THREE preteen girls! I work in the medical field so I see daily the ramifications of bad eating habits that extend so far beyond weight! I really want to go through this book with my girls….for them and for me! We really need to learn to eat healthier so that when they do leave home where I monitor snacks & junk they will still make wise choices for LIFE! Several women in my hutch have been going through Made To Crave but again, I felt way to embarrassed to be the skinny girl trying to get in on the study, so I am thrilled that there is now a girls edition that I can read with my daughters!!!!

    1. Lynn Cowell says:

      Love your honesty, Lisa 🙂

  24. Lisa Schofield says:

    Uh, several women in my *CHURCH

  25. I have a 15 yr old who often goes to food for comfort…I could use this book

  26. My daughter is 16 and struggling. She sees it as genetic, although I just got down to ideal weight, losing 30 pounds this year. I am working on communication and opening my heart to hers, so that she is willing and able to talk to me. Focus on health physical and spiritual and love them.

  27. Laura Wakeman says:

    I’m in. Reading Made to Crave right now and would love to share this with my daughters.

  28. My almost-13-year-old told me the other day that her friends at school criticized her for eating peanut butter because “it’s so fattening.” What?!?! That’s ridiculous. I’d love to read this book.

  29. I think what you said in your devotional is true, we should enjoy treats on occassion and not make it a staple. I know I have a big sweet tooth, and I’m trying to enjoy tea or fruit as my sweet after a meal instead of cookies, chocolate or cupcakes.

  30. Mindy Roaderick says:

    I’m in!!! Could definitely be a good sharing tool with my high school freshman life group. Also, I just ordered your new Rad Revolution Daily Devotional to share with them. Hoping if I send them a group message daily with your devotions that they will grow in some of these tough daily struggles.

  31. This is a great resource for the girls that I come in contact with in the purity program that my church is doing this year. We are discussing purity for many different stand points and this is another great way for girls to take care of their bodies and strive to remain pure. Thanks for sharing about this resource.

  32. I have 2 daughters, one is 11 and the other one is 13. My 11 yr old is petitie (short like me) and my 13 year old is 5’3. My 13 yr old weighs 125 and feels that she is overweight compared to her friends. I try to encourage both of them to not feel bad about their height or their weight and I do ask them both to try to eat smaller portions and preferably healthier and take advantage of the exercise at school. I have never had weight issues before (except for now) but it breaks my heart to see my little girl worry about it and compare herself to others and sometimes to me. I tell her she is beautiful and all she needs to do is eat healthier MORE THAN ANYTHING FOR OUR HEALTH! This week I decided to join her and my husband early in the morning to do a 1 mile run and I am also going to try to eat smaller portions of the bad stuff and eat healthier. I want to show her that we can be healthy and we can exercise together and that OUR LORD can give us the strength to do so and the COURAGE and the WILL POWER. Because I don’t like exercising and it’s a struggle for me…so if I can do it, they can too. 🙂

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