How Being Fat Saved My Life

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Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker lost over 250 lbs. without dieting.

I have a confession to make. I didn't start my healthy living journey as a spiritual quest. I felt far away from God. I felt shame and guilt over the fact that I weighed 430 pounds.

I knew God was calling me to make a deeper commitment, but how could I go deeper when I couldn't even resist a piece of candy?

My daughter and others loved me even at my extreme weight. Mother's Day 2002.
My daughter and others loved me even at my extreme weight. Mother's Day 2002.

I feel a little like Paul when I tell you my religious pedigree (see Phil. 3:4-6). I was a Christian, daughter of a preacher, in church all my life, graduated from a Baptist university with a major in journalism/religion and from an interdenominational college with a master's degree in theology, worked in national and state denominational headquarters, taught adult Sunday School, discipleship classes and seminars, edited and published Christian publications.

I was religious. I had a lot of head knowledge. I wasn't killing every Christian I met, like Paul. No, I was only killing one Christian—myself.

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Applying all my religious training to eradicate my deepest failure was beyond me.

God used a story told by a man I respected to change my life. What I had tried for over 57 years to change, God changed in a second using my mentor's story.

His story did not mention God. There was no scripture, but God was everywhere in that story.

At that moment, though, I wasn't thinking about God. I was thinking about what he was saying. He had allowed alcohol to control his life over 25 years ago. Now a successful businessman with a wonderful family that included a dedicated wife, loving children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, he was admitting all of that would not have been possible had he continued to allow alcohol to rule his life.

Although I'd never heard of sugar addiction when he said, "Sugar is just one molecule away from alcohol—alcohol is liquid sugar," all the pieces fell in place. I just knew that I was a sugar addict, if there even was such a thing.

The story gripped my soul and spirit. It took hold in a way I still can't explain today.

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