For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Last month, in the Love Your Body series, we talked about Weight Loss is Not the Goal. If you haven’t read that blog post yet, you might want to start there. That post points out that anything but a well-balanced, portion-controlled eating pattern for life, will only be a short-lived weight loss. The gimmicks and enticements to get you to lose weight with a “program” or “product” will never work over a lifetime. You become a discouraged victim of diet failures instead of celebrating victorious success.
The only way to maintain a healthy body weight is learning how God designed your body to be sustained with natural wholesome food He created for us to eat.
We need God to help us achieve and maintain a healthy weight, just like we go to Him in every area of our lives. Why would we think He doesn’t care about our health when He created us?
Abusing our bodies with anything—drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and yes, food—is a sin against God. We make food, or the quick-fix diet plan, our god, our idol when we’re … lonely, sad, depressed, emotional, happy, frustrated, needing comfort, worried, bored, tired, … you know the drill.
In last month’s Love Your Body post, I mentioned how I often observe friends posting pictures of their weight loss on Facebook. Every time I see one of these pictures, I ask my friend how she/he lost the weight. Then my next question: How are you going to maintain your weight loss? If they’ve done anything besides eating a balanced diet, cutting back on portions and empty calories, and exercising, I know they’ll struggle to maintain their weight loss. They’ve only altered their eating habits for the duration and directives of the “diet” or “program” or “regime,” and they have no tools to help them maintain their weight after they eventually go off the diet, program, or regime and start adding foods back in that they like or missed….or worse yet, return to their old eating habits.
So when I saw the before and after pictures (in this post) of my author/speaker friend, Debbie Dittrich, on Facebook, I asked Debbie, “What are you doing and what’s the maintenance plan? Debbie shared with me how she lost the weight, but admitted she wasn’t sure how she was going to maintain this weight loss for a lifetime, and asked for my help.
Debbie gave me permission to share her story, and in November, I’ll share the maintenance plan I suggested that would work for anyone wanting to stay at a healthy weight for life. But remember, I don’t recommend going on any diet or program that requires buying products, eliminating food groups or meals, or deviates from eating from the five food groups. And BTW, sugar is not a food group, but grains and dairy are and they carry a wallop of vitamins and mineral so never eliminate them. You may need to modify the type you eat for allergy reasons, but you will experience nutrient deficiencies if you exclude them entirely.
I know many will relate to Debbie Dittrich’s story as told by her! I’ll make comments at the end:
Janet, I was desperate to be free. I’ve been obese for 30 years, trapped in gluttony, sin, shame, and hopelessness. I believe mine was an addiction, and like any addiction, a stronghold of sin. I was at the end of my rope last November and had never felt worse. I’d had three surgeries within five months and was in constant pain. I could hardly move or walk. I cried out to God for deliverance and He reminded me of an email from my granddaughter the year before about a group for food addicts.
I looked at it and went that night! Food addicts is a 12-step program based on AA. I needed the balanced food plan with no sugar. I went to three meetings a week, made three outreach calls a day to other members, and worked my program. I thank God for it, but realized after six months, I needed to leave to continue with the Lord as my guide. I saw many people were as addicted to the plan as they were to food!
I’ve still been successful. Without sugar, I have zero cravings. Sugar is SO addictive! ALL my constant aches and pains are gone now. I had NO idea what havoc sugar was creating. I still have some pain from degenerative arthritis, but the difference is night and day! And perhaps my amazing energy and health explains why sticking to this food plan isn’t a problem for me.
Food is now just fuel, not entertainment! Honestly, food was my god. I sought food first when I felt any emotion or exhaustion, and God second. I had no idea I was doing that.
God is my One true God and I seek Him first now! I probably have 15 to 20 more pounds to go. But I am honestly looking for a good maintenance plan that will be doable for the REST OF MY LIFE! I cannot live the way I did before ever again.
This was the first time in my life that I approached weight loss as something I had to do forever and not just as a quick fix to lose weight.
Overeating is a Spiritual Battle
I knew how to do every single diet imaginable! I now realize my problem was a heart issue more than a diet issue. I needed a lasting heart change that only the Spirit of God can bring and maintain. I pray daily to surrender my eating to Him forever.
I was so blind. People would try to help me, and I would go on diets and lose enough to make me look better, but then I would quit. I constantly cried out to God. I had no quality of life. Everything was hard. My knees are bad and every step hurt. Every pound of weight puts about 6 to 8 pounds of pressure on your knees. No wonder they hurt! About 500 pounds of pressure are gone now! My cholesterol went from 210 to 165. That was in 2 months. It’s probably less now.
I wake up ready for life and ready to go; whereas before, it took me hours to wake up from my food coma. It’s such a huge spiritual issue. Overeating is a tool of the enemy to defeat us and deceive us daily … and we let him!
I was so helpless and hopeless.
I knew I did not need another diet; I needed deliverance! God used a food plan, not a diet, to deliver me. It took months, but God gave grace and began to show me what the true spiritual issues were.
For me, I realized fear controlled me and I used food to medicate and soothe myself. But overeating only made my fear worse! I’ve learned to surrender daily to Him, trusting Him, believing that He has given me “everything I need for life and godliness.”
This is a battle zone, as you know. Many of us with this “little issue” have no idea how we’re losing a huge spiritual battle every day and Satan is thrilled. By fighting this battle and dying to self, I am clinging to Jesus through His Spirit.
By walking in self-control, I’m proclaiming the Gospel! I’m shouting, with no words, that Jesus is enough, not only for eternal life, but also for daily life. Not just to be thin, but to be free to love and serve Him by loving and serving others. Thin is just a welcome benefit. When I’m absorbed and obsessed with food, I have no room for God, much less others.
Well, I could talk forever about this! I would love to get your input for a good maintenance plan.
Thanks for all you do.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2
Food Is Not the Enemy
I am NOT promoting Food Addicts for several reasons:
1. Overeating isn’t an addiction, it’s idolatry: food plays too important a role in an overweight person’s life.
2. Addictions are usually to something that is bad for us and the solution is to abstain and avoid. God made our bodies to require food so we can’t abstain or avoid food.
3. Food Addicts doesn’t include God, as Debbie wisely realized is essential to a lasting heart and health change.
However, the Food Addicts food plan is fairly balanced, and it’s natural food with reduced daily calories, portion control, and modifying eating habits, but as Debbie pointed out, you can become “addicted to the diet plan.” Debbie did mention she and some of the other members lost hair and that could be due to insufficient calories to provide essential vitamins and minerals or varying fruits and veggies.
Food isn’t the enemy, Satan is. The only way to be free of Satan’s overeating stronghold is to put food in its proper place in our life as fuel and eat sensible proportions of a well-balanced diet with limited sugar and no processed foods. That’s a food plan you can stay on for life.
I wrote a Bible study for First Place 4 Health because they address the physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental aspects of eating and offer group accountability, menus and recipes for eating a balanced diet and suggestions for exercise programs. But most importantly their health program centers around God: “As we learn to keep Christ first in our lives, we will find that He is the One who satisfies our hunger and our every need.” When my churches Women’s Group did the study I wrote, God’s Best for Your Life, without even focusing on the food plan, one of the ladies lost 15 pounds by simply learning to love her body like God loves it.
In November, I’ll share with you the maintenance tips I gave to Debbie for how to eat and stay fit for a lifetime.
Did you identify with Debbie’s testimony? Did you realize overeating is a spiritual battle?
Do you have questions for Debbie? Ask them here and she’ll answer.
If you receive this post by email, comment here.