It may seem like a ridiculous question, but why do you want to live? When people ask me for their help in losing weight, it’s most of the time the second question I ask. The first is, “Why do you want to lose weight?
After they think about it a while, they usually come up with, “Because I want to live.”
So that’s when I ask the second question. “Why do you want to live?”
How would you answer that question? Many answer, “Because I want to live a long life.”
And that is great. However, it is not enough motivation to change your lifestyle or you would have already done it.
If you are morbidly obese, you cognitively know you are greatly limiting your possible life span. In other words, you are killing yourself.
I know when I was morbidly obese I was in that grief cycle already grieving the fact that I was headed towards an early death. I was denying my weight had ballooned up to 430 pounds. I was trying to turn my head the other way and carry on life as normal.
For a while I was mad at everyone and everything I could think of to blame for my weight gain. My parents, my grandparents, the wonderful foods I ate growing up.
Probably the most ridiculous was being angry at God for making me this way and for not fixing me so I didn’t want to eat my weight in donuts.
There was bargaining. “God just make me smaller and I will do whatever else you want me to.”
I even tried forced bargaining. “Remember God, I made that deal that I would teach the four-year-old Sunday School class even though I don’t want to and you will make me lose weight. Well, I kept my end of the bargain, but where’s Your end?”
The problem is God never agreed to the bargain.
I doubted that I had a problem at all. I’d say, “Really it’s not a problem. I can still walk, soeven though I have to rest every 100 feet or so. I can still drive. I can still cook and do laundry. Surely all of this was just a lot of hoopla. I doubt I’ll die any earlier than I would if I were thinner.”
Grief Cycle of Life
This was really not grieving a death. It was really grieving what I would have to do in this life to live longer.
I wanted it to come easy. I was grieving doing the hard work it would take to lose weight. I didn’t want to face actually going through the actions of surrendering the foods I craved.
Grief Cycle of Food
Maybe it was a grief of the death of the foods I loved. I knew I’d have to give up lots of foods and to tell you the truth, I rebelled.
To break through this looked impossible. Good thing I know a God who specializes in making the impossible possible.1
Why Do You Want To Live?
Still even God’s help wouldn’t help me if I didn’t want to live.
It took a doctor telling me if I didn’t lose weight, I only had at best five more years to live, to get me to find my way out of denial, anger, bargaining, doubt and rebellion and take a hard look at the question.
Make a List
And so I made a list of why I wanted to live. Here are just a few things on my list.
- My daughter is only 9. She needs her mother.
- I want to see her grow up, graduate high school and college, get married and be a mommy. I want to see her fulfill her dreams.
- My son is only 15. He needs his mother.
- I want to see him grow up, graduate high school and college, find a job he loves, get married and be a daddy. I want to see him fulfill his dreams.
- I want to grow old with my husband and see our love grow even stronger. I want to fit back into my wedding dress.
- I want to meet the beginnings of future generations.
- I want to write books.
- I want to make a difference in people’s lives.
- I want to inspire others to love God more.
- I want to be brave enough to do some things I’ve never even dreamed of doing.
In the final analysis all of these were important. Honestly, though, the most important on the list was #7. Writing a book was a dream of mine, one I felt I was destined to do.
Though being around for my children and husband was important, doing the one thing I knew God had called me to do but hadn’t done yet, was extremely motivating.
If you are in the grief cycle, I urge you to break free and begin to think about why you want to live. It will be difficult for you to go forward until you get your answer to this one question.
So make your list. Why do you want to live? I’d love to hear your answer.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”2
1 Luke 18:27 KJV
2 Duet. 30:19 NLT
Teresa Shields Parker is an author, speaker and coach. Her bookSweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the #1 Christian weight loss memoir on Amazon. Sweet Grace Study Guide gives practical tips on weight loss. Her new book, Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation, published Dec. 2014, shares the stories of 17 individuals on the weight loss journey and includes much information from Teresa.
Downloadable pdfs of all books are available under the products tab.
Sweet Change Weight Loss Coaching and Accountability Group provides support, encouragement, weekly videos, action steps and an online group for those wanting to be intentional about their weight loss efforts.
To request Teresa to speak at your event, please contact her here.