I am eternally grateful that God has a process to deliver us from bondage to sugar and comfort foods. We wish for an immediate breakthrough, like those we hear about who are instantly delivered from drug addiction.
Even those who have that great moment still have to walk out their deliverance moment by moment, hour by hour and day by day for weeks, months and years. They have to work on it one day at a time, just like those of us with food issues have to do.
It is absolutely the same with each of us. We have programmed ourselves to self-destruct with the types and quantities of foods we eat. We've done it over a period of years to the point where we don't see that we are setting ourselves up for personal disaster.
To reverse what we've already set in motion, we have to reprogram ourselves for life and not death, for blessings and not curses (Deut. 30:19). We have to change, which is an uncomfortable word to most of us. Change sounds hard. We want easy.
It's a whole lot easier to change a bad behavior that we've only been doing for a month or so, rather than one we've been working on making a core element of our lives for years and years. The great thing, though, is God's help and strength speeds up the process so that 10, 20, 30 even 40 years of bad habits can be changed in a relatively short span of time. It may take a year to get started and another to solidify the changes.
Then, it may take several more to walk through the difficulties and trials life throws at us to really cement our change. Still, it takes less time to change our bad choices than it took to make them something we do automatically without thinking.
Quick Weight Loss Doesn't Work
The diet mentality of our culture tells us we can lose all this weight very quickly, which is true. We can, but we will not have changed any habits and will eventually regain the weight we lost, plus more.
Habit change is a process. It's something we have to desire so much that we will work on it every day. We will give up the things that are killing us and begin to add back into our lives things that are life-giving.
It's like getting any kind of college degree. If we really want that diploma, we have to be present at every class, pay close attention to assignments, get papers written and turned in on time, and show we know how to apply the lessons taught come test time. Only then do we get the reward of a good grade.
If we are diligent, we will pass. If we goof off, go out to eat with our friends whenever we want, skip class, forget what we learned or don't even show up, we know what will happen when the semester grade comes. We don't even have to open the envelope. We know we failed.
We don't appreciate the things that come easy. "Easy come, easy go" is not just a saying. It's a truth. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it, and no one would be keeping the billion-dollar weight loss industry in business.
To appreciate and understand how change works, we have to be willing to do the things that seem hard. Giving up sugar and flour felt impossible. However, I decided I was going to have to do what seemed hard if I wanted to lose weight, live longer, have a better quality of life and fulfill God's destiny dream. Seeing God do through me what felt impossible became my greatest desire.
The big revelation for me, though, was that God was not mad at me for gaining weight. He was, and still is, madly in love with me. He feels the same way about each one of us. He doesn't expect us to walk this journey alone, no matter how big of a mess we feel we've made of our lives. The strength of His grace is there to help us when we feel we can't go on.
God said, "My grace is always more than enough for you, and My power finds its full expression through your weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9a, TPT). Then Paul acknowledged, "So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I'm weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me" (2 Cor. 12:9b).
We feel weak in " in human strength], then [we are] strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God's strength]" (2 Cor. 12:10b, AMP).
By His strength, I took that first risky step of faith towards giving up sugar and starting to exercise. It felt like I was stepping off a huge ravine and would surely fall to my death on the rocks at the bottom. Still I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this scary step was what God wanted me to do. So I closed my eyes, stepped into the unknown and fell right into His arms of grace.
He carried me through the process of losing more than 250 pounds. Today, He still carries me as I continue to walk out this journey by acting against my addiction to sugar and high-carbohydrate foods.
Rebuilding My Life
With God's help, I have rebuilt my life. With God's help, we can each rebuild our lives. We can rebuild our foundations strong. We can construct our new framework securely. We can make sure the heart of our home is filled with the right things. We can implement the new and beautiful design He has in mind for each of us. It is a reconstruction process that resurrects His transformation dream for our lives.
I spent years wallowing in the world of gaining weight, dieting, losing weight and then gaining back all the weight plus more. Unfortunately, I repeated this process over and over. During that time, I looked for books that would tell me true stories about real people who had a lot of weight to lose, lost the weight and kept it off. I couldn't find any.
I sometimes wonder if God allowed me to gain up to 430 pounds in order for me to lose the weight so I could share with others, maybe someone like you, how to do the same. To date I've lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off since 2012.
In my new book, Sweet Journey to Transformation, I share more specifically the process I went through to change every part of my life—body, soul and spirit.
Teresa Shields Parker is a wife, mother, Christian weight loss coach, speaker and author. Her newest book is Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy. She also has four other books, including Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Get free chapters of her books, plus many other free resources, on her blog at TeresaShieldsParker.com. Connect with her there or on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.
This article was excerpted from Sweet Journey to Transformation and originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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