We had our children late in life. Our son was born and then six and half years later our beautiful daughter was born. I lost weight in order to be able to have another child and yet, I gained it back plus more after she was born. My children need me. I needed to give myself the gift of health, but I obviously loved food more.

Left, Teresa and Jenny around 1998. Teresa and Jenny, 2015.

When I think about all the wasted years I spent in super morbid obesity it saddens me. These were mainly my children’s formative years. They saw me eating everything in sight and working myself to the bone.

Quality Time

My daughter especially remembers when I had my desk in the living room of our small house. She said she wanted to play and spend time with me. I told her, “This is an office. This is a place of work.”

She said, “I went to my room and cried because if I couldn’t call the living room home, then where could I call home? I dreamed silly little girl dreams of living in a  world where no one ever had to work and everywhere was home.”

I was blind to the fact that my daughter’s love language was quality time. She didn’t care what I was doing. She just wanted to be where I was. I had quit my full-time job in part to be home to be with my children. I wanted to take them to school and pick them up. I wanted to hear about their day.

Driven to Work

I failed miserably. I thought that just working from home and driving them places was enough because I was available. I was pushing my daughter to the back burner because the freelance writing projects and publications I was editing were more important. I thought I could kill two birds with one stone and I did. I almost killed my relationship with both my children.

I was frustrated, overwhelmed and driven to work for God.I know now that I was trying to earn God’s favor by doing works because I didn’t feel I could do what He’d told me to do when I began gaining weight back in 1977. That’s when He clearly told me to stop eating sugar. Eat more meats. fruits and vegetables and stop eating so much sugar. But I didn’t want to give up my comfort foods and so I’d work all that much harder to do what I could do.

Comfort Foods

When deadlines would seem to come crashing down on me, I’d eat comfort foods, something made with sugar and flour, a dessert like Grandma would make. It would make me feel better and I thought it was comfort to my children as well. Problem is I wasn’t teaching my children that my presence or the Holy Spirit was comfort. I was teaching them that food was.

My son is an independent sort. He loved tinkering with legos, electronic games and computers. My daughter, though, needed me to be there, to talk to her, to share her day. My response was go play in your room. Her room is also where I sent her for punishment. I never saw the correlation.

I was a stay-at-home mom, but I never volunteered to do much at school or with field trips. I knew I would just slow everyone down. I didn’t even like to go to my kids’ classrooms when other kids were there lest I embarrass them. I did go to school events, parent-teacher classes and help in her girls mission club at church. And of course I did all the mom stuff at home, like cook, clean, do laundry and go to the grocery store.

Her Hero?

Still, I felt like I was a really bad role model for my daughter even after I started losing weight. When she went to college she called me one day to ask me questions about my weight loss. I asked her why she wanted to know. She said because she had to write a speech on her hero for a class and she wanted to write about me. I had no idea how she felt. I cried.

In 2013 when I wrote my first book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds she was already in Japan. I felt I needed some family input and since my son and husband are quiet sorts I asked her to tell me how she felt growing up with a super morbidly obese mother. I expected some negative feedback. My daughter is a very straight forward and honest person. I was floored by her response.

“I had respect for you because you were constantly trying to be a better person. You haven’t given up and that’s truly awe-inspiring. When I read the research on morbid obesity, there’s a lot to support that it is passed down through the generations. I can’t deny the fact that I was raised my morbidly obese mother, but you’ve beaten those statistics. And I know that you will always get back up again.

“I watched you battle with your own demons for years. You’ve inspired so many people. You continue to inspire me. I’m proud of you, Mom. I can’t wait until everyone can read your story and be inspired as well.”


I realized when I first received that letter that had I not made the decision to become healthy, I might not have had a great relationship with my daughter. I love both my children more than life. They are the reasons I went on this journey in the first place. When she was 9 and he was 15 is when the cardiac surgeon told me I would be dead in five years if I didn’t lose weight. I wanted to see them grow up, but I had to get healthy to do that.

They were my inspiration. Getting that letter helped me understand that God is a God of restoration. All those times when I painfully walked from the parking lot into her junior high or high school for an orchestra, band or vocal music concert or to the football field to watch her marching band concert hurting each step of the way lugging my 430-pound body along were seen as support. They were also noticed as what they were—failure.


However God changed all of that when I submitted totally to His transformation process and lost over 250 pounds. It just goes to show that no matter where you are in life—single woman, mom, grandma or great-grandma you can impact the lives of those you love.

I went from the mom who loved work more than my kids to the mother who showed by my actions that I truly do love them with every part of me. It began with learning to love and care for myself as well.

Change is possible. I know because God led me to do it. Now He’s called me to help others do the same. #KickWeight 3 just opened. I’d love to have you in the group. We even accept guys. Use VIP code KW10 to take $10/month off the payment plan or VIP code KW10X1 to take $10 off the full price. Doors close May 22. Go HERE now.

It’s the best Mother’s Day present you could give yourself. Or just tell your family it’s what you want for Mother’s Day. I’ll see you in the group.

Why Do We Eat When We Aren't Hungry?
Live The Life You Imagined
Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 260 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. She has three more books, "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God." Sweet Grace and Sweet Freedom study guides are available as well. All books are on Amazon. Her Coaching Programs can be found under the Weight Loss tab at TeresaShieldsParker.com. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking Tab.