The first question people ask me when they find out I’ve lost more than 260 pounds is, “How did you lose all that weight?” In reality they don’t want the answer I give them. Yep, I’m gonna make you wait for it.
Doctors will tell you what they always used to tell me, eat less and move more. Let me tell you, when I had over one-eighth of a ton of weight to lose that sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Wah Wah Wah!
It is true on a very basic level, but it doesn’t get at the core of why we eat. Without going to that deep place we will always eat more than we should and gain continue to gain weight.
We Are Complex
Changing our mindsets is vital. However, in order to do that we have to go to the root of why we eat when we are not physically hungry. It is head hunger plain and simple. Part of it is physical if I eat foods which are addictive to me, but the reason I eat those foods is out of an emotional need.
We are very complex human beings. We know we need to change. We have good intentions and then something goes haywire when we try to implement it. There are many layers to this, but it starts with acknowledging we have a problem that goes deeper than sticking to an eating plan.
Stress from working long hours, stress from bills, stress from relationships, stress from not eating right, stress from not working out, stress from not being spiritual enough, stress from giving into temptation, stress from not doing our daily devotions, stress, stress, stress is a major culprit. We eat to stave off stress and then we get more stressed because it shows on the scale.
Live Freely and Lightly
Here’s what God has to say about that. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”1
Wouldn’t that be awesome to live freely and lightly? These verses tell us it is possible to stop the spinning for a minute and let God lead. I’m not saying to do forced Bible study, though studying the Bible is great.
Let God Minister To You
I’m saying to allow God to minister to you as only He can. Running to food when we are stressed does not hold a candle to running to the only One who can really comfort us, the precious Holy Spirit, the Comforter Himself.
When is the last time you took even five minutes to soak in His presence, focusing only on Him and asking Him, “Holy Spirit, what do You want me to know today? I invite You to lead me every step of the way today. I invite You fully into each moment. Speak to me.”
We do not have to worry. His yoke is “easy”2 because He is fighting this battle for us and with us. We don’t have to pull alone. He’s pulling with us. As long as we are going His direction “the yoke is easy to bear, and the burden is light.”2 It’s when we stop trusting, when we begin trying to pulling the other way that the yoke is strained.
Picture two horses yoked together pulling a wagon. Now, picture one wanting to go left and one wanting to go right. What happens? Not much of anything.
I Am Weak
It’s OK that I am weak. God delights it my weakness. Losing 260 pounds has been the easiest hard thing I’ve ever done because I surrendered my weakness to Him.
He says, “My grace is enough. It’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”3 His grace is all the power I need to take the next step out of overwhelming difficulty and heaviness into living freely and lightly.
The answer to the question of how I lost so much weight is an easy one. I stopped eating sugar and flour and I started listening to God. My coaching clients recognize this as a stop-start, a way to change any habit. Stopping something is great. But a stop without a start is a only a diet. Because if you don’t start something in place of the bad habit, you will go back to the bad habit. Replace it with a good habit.
Are You Weak?
Surrendering my will to God was definitely the key to losing an extreme amount of weight. God has our answers. Many times, though, we just don’t want to do things His way. So it’s surrender to Him or keep digging yourself in deeper and deeper.
We also have this idea that we are too weak to surrender because we crave this food or that food. Being weak is really good, though. It’s when you are weak and let Christ take over that things begin to turn around. Paul would tell you, “the weaker you get, the stronger you become.”4
Stop doing this journey in your own strength. Stop trying to bear your burdens alone. He’s ready to shoulder them if you just take your hands off, listen and follow.
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1 Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
2 Matthew 11:28-20 NLT
3 2 Cor. 12:9 MSG
4 2 Cor. 12:10 MSG