I overheard Mom and Grandma talking about the clothes I had in my tiny closet. It was the middle of the school year.
We didn't buy clothes except at the beginning of school, but I couldn't wear any of my dresses, and my shoes were hurting my toes. She and Grandma were having me try on clothes to see if they fit.
I was in the bathroom and heard Mom say to Grandma, "She just keeps gaining weight. She's in husky sizes. I can't find anything in girls' sizes to fit her and women's sizes don't work yet. If they fit in the waist, they are way too big in the top. She's got to stop gaining weight, but it's like she just can't stop eating."
Mom's voice was a frustrated whisper. Grandma said, "It's nothing to fret about. Kids have to eat. God gave her a healthy appetite. She can't help gaining weight. She needs to grow."
Out of that conversation, I assumed Grandma agreed with Mom that I can't stop gaining weight. I allowed what I ascertained as truth to begin to take root in me. What else could I do when the two maternal figures in my life agreed? It felt entirely like a truth. I can't lose weight. It's impossible for me to lose weight.
It was true that as a child I couldn't lose weight. I was not meant to lose weight. I was designed to grow. I did not have the ability to figure out if what my Mom said was true. I certainly never thought it was a lie. When I perceived what Grandma said supported this, it became a solid truth.
The Bible says, "When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man [or woman], I did away with childish things" (1 Cor. 13:11, AMP).
I believed Mom. I had evidence to support what she was saying. I was growing, gaining weight and needing larger size clothes. I wasn't fat, but I was at least a size larger than most girls in my class. It became a solid belief of mine that it was impossible for me to lose weight.
When I became an adult, I still believed this lie because I saw it happen time and time again. I'd go on a diet and lose 100 pounds only to gain it back when I'd hit the goal because I'd start eating my comfort foods again.
I'd tell myself, "I can't lose. It's possible for others, but not for me. It is impossible for me to lose weight." I had allowed this lie to become a full-blown stronghold in my life. Breaking it was going to take some work.
In 1999, I was in the hospital for a possible mitral valve replacement. The cardiac surgeon waltzed into my room and told me, "You don't need heart surgery. You need to lose weight. Your heart was never designed to pump blood through a body of your size. You need to lose 100 pounds and keep it off, or you will be dead in five years."
So, I lost 100 pounds by going on a high-protein diet I'd been on before. Like all the other times, though, I began gaining the weight back after losing it. I kept it off longer, but I began eating sugar-laden foods again. I saw then that the truth is it's impossible for me to lose weight if I eat foods that contain processed sugar.
For many years, I wallowed in this place of "losing weight is impossible." Rooted in my childhood, this belief went deep and stayed until God brought me face to face with my problem.
When God revealed to me that I was a sugar addict, I knew the only way to get free from addiction is to stop indulging in it. Every time I'd go on a diet where I gave up sugar and bread, I could lose weight. I just never saw it as something I'd have to do for the rest of my life. Understanding that felt like a tremendous weight was lifted from me, but in its place was the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
God knew my tendencies. He knew my biggest weakness. He revealed it to me early, so I would not have to suffer through years of super morbid obesity. He was not trying to be mean to me by telling me not to eat sugar. He was trying to keep me from the one thing which would kill me quicker than anything else. I just didn't want to listen to the cure for my problem.
Addressing the Stronghold
This stronghold of I can't lose weight had become a negative prophecy which the evil one repeated to me often.
When I came to the end of myself and totally surrendered to what God had been telling me, my life began to transform. The switch in my brain happened in an instant the moment I recognized the truth: I can lose weight if I stop eating sugar.
What is impossible for me to do is only possible if I rely on the God of the impossible. He is my God!
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don't miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN. This article first appeared on teresashieldsparker.com. For more on this subject, listen to episode 123 of Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, God of the Impossible.
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