To say keeping your weight at a level that is normal, or what feels normal, is a struggle is an understatement. The struggle is real, but so is the victory over that issue!
The struggle is real, but you are not alone. There are various statistics floating around about how many women are on a diet at any one given moment. The lowest I've seen is 50% of all women, and the highest, 91%.
Various organizations and associations say the obesity industry, which includes commercial weight-loss programs, weight-loss drug manufacturers and bariatric surgery centers, is over $315 billion, or 3% of the American economy.
The big problem is that none of these is a permanent solution to the problem. This is due to another interesting statistic that says 95% of diets fail, and most people will regain their lost weight in one to five years or sooner. I wholeheartedly concur with this as it was always my issue as well.
Although I haven't seen any statistics for regaining the weight after gastric bypass, I know that may be an even greater stat than dieting. Gastric bypass works to initially get the weight off. After that, doctors hope that patients will have learned how to keep it off. Almost all regain the weight because they think this procedure is all they need so they have not dealt with the core issues of their food addiction.
Food addiction is insidious in that what you are addicted to is advertised on television, radio, internet and social media. I'm one who unfollows those who show tempting desserts as I scroll my Facebook feed. I'm not mad at those people. I still like them. I just can't be inundated with pictures of tasty and tempting treats. Pictures and smells of those kinds of foods moves me—and you—to salivate. This begins the process of the body getting ready to eat that food, which then tells your brain to expect that food.
When you don't indulge, you crave whatever it is, and in the next few hours, you may begin to make preparations to eat that or something similar. I have found I have to guard against that temptation by eliminating it because I dislike the feeling it sets up in me.
This feeling of struggle is real, and if all you are doing is barricading yourself against what is everywhere around you, you will be much more likely to fail.
So what do you do? Of course, I don't bring those things into my home, and when I go places where I know I will be tempted, I preplan by bringing something I can eat. But what can you do to get over the craving and giving into temptation?
Losing Weight Is Spiritual
To begin with, this is much more of a spiritual issue than it is a physical issue. If you don't get your priorities right, no matter what you do, you will never make it through changing your behaviors. After dealing with the spiritual, it's a mental and emotional issue. Only after that does it become how you manage your addiction physically. See, you first have to want this journey at the very core of who you are.
First and foremost, you must guard your heart. "So above all, guard the affections of your heart, for they affect all that you are. Pay attention to the welfare of your innermost being, for from there flows the wellspring of life" (Prov.4:23, TPT).
Your heart has been said to be the seat of your emotions, but it is also what guides you. Who or what is on the throne of your heart? Taking an honest inventory of what you constantly want and desire if the first step in understanding what is the most important to you.
Jesus told us that our hearts will always "pursue what you value as your treasure" (Matt. 6:21, TPT).
What Do You Treasure?
You may not think you are valuing certain foods as treasure, but just try giving up sugar or bread or even cutting back on them. It will begin to show you how highly you value your comfort foods and believe they, and they alone, will save you from yourself.
When we try to give up certain foods or even cut down on them, that's when the rebellion starts welling up inside and you say, "No. I will not give that up. Maybe I'll just go on another diet. That will fix the issue." It may for a little awhile, then you find yourself right back where you were.
It doesn't really matter what you treasure, if it's not God, then, "Houston. You've got a problem." When you know God has given you boundaries with food for your good and not your disaster, you need to say, "Thank You, Father." Then, follow what He has shown you to do. This is not another diet. It is a total lifestyle change plan, and it will touch every part of your life, not just what you eat.
Doughnuts on the Throne
When you refuse to follow God in this you have just placed that doughnut, piece of cake or bowl of ice cream on the throne of your heart and kicked Jesus off. Got that mental picture? I hope it makes you sad. I hope it makes you want to repent and enthrone Him again, but for real this time!
The truth is, God does not give you boundaries to punish you, but to strengthen your body with good, nourishing food to make you better, not worse. He gives you boundaries so you learn how to follow Him in everything you do. Those are lessons you need to learn in order to step into God's destiny for you.
Fighting for the Real Me
It really boils down to the fact that in the struggle to have your way and eat whatever you want, you have lost touch with the person God called you to be, who the real you is. Barbara, a member of the Journey to Transformation course, expressed this well in her poem entitled "Fighting for the Real Me."
She said, "To trust Him and make Him the Lord of each bite/ with grateful heart, I rely on His might. It's a fight for the real me and the beauty concealed/The gold that was buried will soon be revealed."
When I weighed 430 pounds, I realized I had covered any good thing, any gold buried inside me, with pounds and pounds of fat. When I would think about losing weight and revealing what might be there, it scared me spitless.
What if during all this time, somehow the gold inside me had been stolen? What if it was never there in the first place?
Finding the Gold Inside
For me, the giant struggle became, "Am I willing to trust God to show me the gold He has placed inside me?" Unearthing those gifts and being willing to risk using them only came when I put Him on the throne and began excavating my life with His help.
You can do the same. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it. The great thing is, you don't have to do it alone. There is help for you in the struggle.
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 originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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