Let’s talk a little about the history of my life when food addiction was prominent.
At the height of my problem with addiction, I felt like a prisoner in my own body and in my own life. During that time, the only answer I went to for this discontentment in my soul was food.
I was depressed and food was my comfort.
I was happy and food was my celebration.
I was stressed and food was my relief.
Food never rejected me, and I could control it easily. Or could I? It wouldn’t take much for any little temptation to have its way.
I would think to myself, "I am only one diet away of turning all this around."
Diets were my way of trying to control the bondage, trying to escape it all myself, erase the consequences, and not face the true issues.
Every diet I tried eventually failed, usually in a short time. With every failure of weight loss and return it became even harder and harder to see any hope for victory over food, eating, and diets.
I would cry out to God and then go eat an entire large pizza or a pint of ice cream or both.
I cannot even remember all the diets that I tried to follow over the 20+ years of being bound by food. A few of them were the Diet Workshop diet, Cabbage Soup diet, Weight Watchers, HCG injections, Carbohydrate Addicts, Atkins, 20:30:30, South Beach, Syndrome X, Dr. Phil, TD Jakes, Ultra-Metabolism and lastly Vegan. I was striving to be in control, but never more out of control than when I was on a diet. I lost 20-30 pounds at least ~50 times. I lost 50 pounds at least ~4-5 times. I lost 100 pounds twice. This is just shy of 2,000 POUNDS.
I weighed between 250-265 pounds for most of my twenties with short drops to 220. I weighed close to 300 pounds for most of my thirties with short drops down to 240. Finally, by the time I was in my early forties, I regularly weighed 300 or more pounds with my top weight ~347. I had a huge yo-yo problem and with every 20, 30, 50, pounds down, I would go back up the same, plus more.
I would later find out that the eating and the dieting were just symptoms of bigger, deeper issues.
When it comes right down to it, whatever the plan, whatever the method for weight loss, none of it will work to bring true freedom.
Our freedom is found in Christ!
We live out that freedom as our hearts are surrendered, and as we are abiding in the vine of Christ.
We do not strive for freedom. We learn to live FROM freedom, FROM rest.
As we do this, He then brings us through all the inner work that is needed, and the outer work really becomes secondary. Important, but not primary.
For whatever reason, some of us do need help with some kind of intervention. Not everyone will.
Some will learn to respond to their hunger and the Holy Spirit will lead their food choices. Some will need more structure like a diet and may have a medical reason for a specific method, like a vegan plan. Some will need surgery, and some may use medication. Even through structure, it is the Holy Spirit that leads the plan and personalizes even within the method.
I hesitate to say that one method is better than the other. I could name people who have had physical success with all of these mentioned. The moment I land on one or two and say what I believe, or what I am specifically being led to do for myself, is the moment this testimony will become about the physical intervention and not the inner work of living from freedom given to us by Christ Jesus and His full work on the Cross.
Remember how I said that I would be transparent?
Confession: Early on in this journey, I thought I knew the correct method to lose weight. I believed that the rest of the methods were inferior to what God was showing me to do at that time. I knew God personalized, but I thought He was personalizing for others the same way He showed me. If someone happened to be doing something that I had deemed as an inferior method, I would pray, "Lord show them Your way." This was not a position of love or compassion. This was my pride and another way to feed my flesh (old sinful habit patterns) with self-righteousness. Nor did my position surrender to Romans 14:14 as we discussed in the last post. I quickly learned, or not so quickly, that the method of weight loss is not the source. My flawed thought pattern gave the glory to a method instead of God.
Then, I had to face a choice that I had never wanted. But God! This is His way, His journey and His testimony. AND I surrender.
I do want to encourage you: the Lord will give you wins along the way in this process. Don’t be afraid or discouraged.
Sometimes we need to get over our body image before we can lose the weight.
Sometimes the perception of what we think our body should look like is skewed.
Some of us are going to be a little bigger than others.
Some of us are going to take time to overcome.
Some of us may need multiple methods over different seasons of our life.
I have since learned, regardless of what is chosen between you and God, if the root causes are not dealt with then the struggles will continue. A doctor told me once that a person can eat past weight loss surgery and gain the weight back. We can eat past medication and any diet plan and trick ourselves around the success of it and find a way to gain the weight back if the inner work is ignored.
Sometimes our root causes are deep, and it takes time to fully overcome lies and fractures found in our soul (mind, will, and emotions).
The condition of our soul matters more to God than the condition of our body.
Our mind must be renewed, our emotions need to be managed and our will surrendered.
Bob George from his book, Classic Christianity (see recommendation under Author's Picks), said it this way: “When we are saved, our bodies aren’t born again. I’ve got the same one I had before and, in fact, it’s getting worse. And neither are our souls (our mind, emotions and will) born again. In other words, you and I can think the same dumb thoughts, have the same ungodly desires, and do the same sinful things as we could before we became Christians. That’s why the Bible says, ‘Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).
Renewing our mind is one way we begin to live out our freedom little by little.
We don’t strive for, or work, for freedom. We ARE free when we are in Christ, and we learn to live out of that freedom.
PS: Renewing our minds is so important. Let’s start with confessions. See the attached document for a list that I go through. This is just to get you started. I encourage you to get before God and make your own list as well.
Coming Up: Join us next time as I share with you what happened on the day the LORD delivered me. And what that looks like now.