Today I am 60 years old and 250 pounds lighter than I was when I was 50. Not only that but realage.com says I’m actually 13 years younger than my age. who knew that was possible?

Let me explain. According to the website when I was 50, my real age was 61. This was because of my weight, lack of exercise, poor food choices, high blood pressure, stress, diabetes, heart disease and unhealthy lifestyle among other things.

Right now though my biological age says differently with the various changes, my real age is calculated at 47.

Teresa Parker on left in 2004 at 430 pounds. Today, she has lost more than 250 pounds and she's still planning on losing more.

Teresa Parker on left in 2004 at 430 pounds. Today, she has lost more than 250 pounds and she’s still planning on losing more.

A lot has changed in those 10 years. The most gut-wrenching for me was the admission that I am and always will be a sugar addict.

When I began gaining weight as an adult, I knew there was something wrong. I knew my life revolved way too much on sugar and starches that just turn into sugar in the body.

I told myself it wasn’t that bad as I watched hundreds of pounds pile on. After all, I could still walk, sort of.

I had a belief scientists would discover some magic cure that would allow me to continue eating whatever I wanted and lose weight. Looking for that fantasy allowed me to deny my problem existed as I continued to eat what I craved.

I literally could not stop eating anything that contained sugar. I had to have it. It was like life to me. When I hear about drug addicts who would sell their momma’s wedding ring for a fix, I totally understand. I had this driving desire to eat sweets and starches all the time. If I hadn’t had money to get my “fix”, who knows what I would have done.

One of my favorite scriptures talks about managing our appetites lest they control us.  “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.”1

I so wanted to follow that admonition, but I just didn’t know how to battle my overwhelming cravings.

Scripture also told me I should put a knife to my throat if am a glutton2 (or given to appetite as some versions say). Putting a knife to my throat would mean I was in control. It was obvious, I was not in control in the area of eating. I was out of control.

I would give my problem to Jesus and then go eat some more. It seemed I could not get a handle on the problem any other way than to dig into it with a fork.

Of course it’s not wrong to have a sugary treat every now and then. For most people, that’s a normal way to live. However, for me it is not possible to really live a productive life when I start eating sugar.

I cannot eat anything with processed sugar, ever. I get hooked and it’s extremely difficult to stop. It’s like a snowball rolling down the hill. It overtakes me and keeps rolling making me a part of its momentum.

Sugar took over my life. When I reached 430 pounds, a rude cardiac surgeon told me I had less than five years to live. So I did a drastic intervention. What I did helped to a certain degree, but it was just a temporary stopping place. I was still searching for the magic wand.

I lost weight and then began putting it back on as soon as I could. It reminds me of an alcoholic who goes to rehab, comes out clean and remains that way for a few months until she takes a drink again. Then very quickly she is back in the bottle hitting rock bottom.

The problem was I had not attacked the main issue in my life—my craving for sugar.

The day I stopped eating candy was a major turning point. It started me towards giving up sugar and having the control over my appetite I’ve always desired. When I took the step that said, I am changing the way I eat for the rest of my life, a switch flipped in my brain.

I am metabolically broken. I am sugar sensitive. It affects me differently than many people. If you have an extreme weight issue, it probably affects you the same way it did and does me.

I stopped eating anything that contains processed sugar and then I choose to give up gluten. Most foods with that substance convert to sugar in one’s body.

I did this because I was sick and I was tired of the way I felt. It made sense to me that if an alcoholic could turn her life around by not drinking alcohol, a sugar addict could turn her life around by not eating sugar.

At first I thought I could never live without sugar. Then I realized that was a lie. Of course I can live without sugar. It’s not necessary to my survival.

Today, I don’t focus so much on what I can’t eat as what I can. I eat meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts.

It makes eating more of an adventure. I oversee the direction the adventure is taking, but I love going along for the ride of my life and feeling healthier every day.

This journey has not been easy. Today, though, I can honestly say the craving for anything extremely sugary is gone.

I share a lot of what I went through in my new book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor. By the way, it’s now 255 pounds, but who’s counting!

The book will be out September 14.

There will be freebies for those who pre-order the book, but I’m not ready to announce all of that yet as finishing touches are still underway.

However, since this is my birthday, I have decided to celebrate by giving away free books. I’ve decided to give away at least five pre-release copies. This contest will be going on all month so please invite your friends to come and enter as well.

Leaving a comment of at least two sentences on this blog post will get you started with the entry. The comment must be done by clicking in the entry box below. The entry box tells additional ways to enter the contest. Commenting on additional posts in the coming days and weeks will give additional opportunities to win.

This giveaway will be going on until midnight, Sept. 5. Take advantage of entering each day. Books will be sent to the winners after the contest has closed.

By the way, my friend has a different kind of math than I do. She said if when I was 50, my real age was 61 then by all rights I should be 71 today so if my real age is 47, I really turned back the clock 24 years. Whose math is right? I don’t know but that’s a lot of years to gain either way you look at it.

Now, go turn back your clock. Today’s a great day to start.

11 Corinthians 6:12, NASB

2 Proverbs 23:1-2, NIV

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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.