I am so excited to share today’s blog post with you written by author friend Julie Morris who truly understands and empathizes with the struggle to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle. Even as a nurse who knew better, she couldn’t help herself until she surrendered completely to God. Please take the time to read this entire blog and pray about how God would have you apply it to your life. It could save your life like it did for Julie.
I also wanted to let you know that I’ll be taking a break from my Monday Morning Blog for the months of July and August, when I’ll be speaking and finishing my new book Mentoring for All Seasons: Women Sharing Life’s Experiences and God’s Faithfulness. So have a blessed summer and I’ll be back in September!
Somebody Help! I Can’t Quit Overeating!
By Julie Morris
My blood pressure gauge frantically tapped out the message I didn’t want to hear. While thoughtfully removing the stethoscope from his ears, my doctor said what I already knew: “You have got to lose weight!
After years of dieting, starving, and bingeing, I was fatter than ever. The harder I tried not to overeat, the more I found myself eating. I was the RN Supervisor of a large medical-surgical floor in the local hospital, telling people what to do to get healthy, and I couldn’t lose the weight that could kill me. Even though I was only in my 30’s, my doctor told me that I could have a stroke if I didn’t lose weight. I had dieted a thousand times before, but this time nothing seemed to work.
I woke up every morning and pleaded with God to help me to eat right that day. By lunchtime, with all the stress at work, I found myself saying, “I just need a little something to get through the day.” Those words seemed to magically give me permission to gobble up everything in sight.
Since I had already “gone off my diet,” as soon as I got home, I would yank off my uniform and run to the refrigerator muttering, “I’ve already blown it today, so I may as well eat.” Every night I fell asleep promising to do better and praying that God would forgive me for eating in such an unhealthy way.
Why Is It So Hard to Quit Overeating?
When I stopped long enough to think about what I was doing, confusion overwhelmed me. Why was I eating like this when I knew there was nothing more I wanted than to get rid of these extra pounds?
I didn’t know the answer then, but research has discovered why many of us continue to overeat, even when we try not to. The secret? Endorphins—feel-good brain chemicals. These natural substances that our bodies make, increase when we eat. Some of us have a dramatic rise in endorphins when we overeat. They are the same chemicals released when an alcoholic drinks or a drug addict takes drugs.
As long as I could remember, I had turned to food to help me deal with stress. Eating always numbed my pain, but stress-eating like that caused a horrible vicious cycle: when I got upset, I ate something so I would feel better. My problems grew… and so did I. And because I overate every time I had to deal with stress, my problems didn’t get solved. They only got worse. It didn’t make sense, but I couldn’t stop because eating really did help me to feel better… at least for a while.
I called out to the Lord daily, begging Him to make me thin. And I complained bitterly to Him about giving me such a slow metabolism, but I knew deep down that my problem wasn’t my metabolism. My problem was that I ate too much and didn’t know how to stop. However, after my doctors scary words, that I could die, I was determined to lose weight and be healthier.
How Can I Surrender My Eating to the Lord?
I went to someone in my church and asked what to do. “You just have to surrender your eating to God, Julie,” she stated simply, as if there were some surrender button I could push. Oh, I wanted to. I knew I should be able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But even though I had been a Christian for years, and prayed every day for God’s help, I couldn’t seem to surrender my eating to the Lord.
These 12 Steps Helped Me to Surrender My Eating to the Lord!
I continued crying out to God for help and, finally, in 1982, I began to make progress when I went to my first 12-Step meeting. I realized that night that the 12 Steps were the structure I needed to help me to surrender this problem to the Lord. I felt sure that the steps would help me to draw closer to Jesus and plug into his power. And I began to understand that they would also help me to get to the emotional roots of my problem with food.
People try to make the 12 Steps complicated, but they’re not. The 12 Steps are just little baby steps, taken directly from the Bible, that help us to rely on God’s power when we lack will power. They are not just a list of 12 things that we do and then quit, but a way of living—surrendered to the Lord, being guided by him.
The steps I use were inspired by AA’s 12 Steps, but are different because mine focus on Jesus. Another difference is that we are learning how to receive Jesus’ help to stop overeating—instead of drinking. Later, I started using a shortened form of the steps to make them easier to understand. Look at end of this post for a summary of the Christian 12 Steps.
Jesus Tells Us Where to Find Self-Control!
While reading John 15:4, it dawned on me that Jesus is telling over-eaters where to find the fruit of the Spirit of self-control that we so desperately need. He says,
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”
Then later in that chapter, he says exactly what I had been learning—the hard way:
“Without me, you can do nothing!”
I Started Winning the Battle!
After Jesus’ words finally sunk in, I quit dieting—trying to lose weight using my own willpower—and I quit beating myself up for my weakness. Instead, I began to put my energy into drawing closer to the Lord. And, amazingly, I started winning the battle with the ravenous monster inside of me who could never be satisfied, no matter how much I fed him!
Since John 15:4 had been so life-changing for me, I began diligently searching the Bible for other verses that would speak to me about how to stop overeating. I was excited to find many of them, and I memorized a few so I could remind myself of God’s promises when food cravings struck. I started reading Christian books about weight-loss and learned a lot from people who had overcome the same struggles I had. I also decided to stop flirting with temptation, so I got all of my old comfort foods out of my house. Another important thing I did was to start calling an accountability partner every evening to tell her how I had done with my eating that day.
Soon my cravings became weak and conquerable and the miracle finally happened: I lost my weight and have kept it off for more than 30 years! Not only that, I started helping others to lose weight.
I started a Bible study in my church to help overeaters to lose weight. It was so successful that a few years later I wrote Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss program for groups—published by Abington Press.
Guided By Him Is a Light and Easy 12-Step Christian Weight-Loss Program
A few years ago, I joined with my daughter Sarah Morris Cherry, a Licensed Professional Counselor, and we wrote Guided By Him—a 12-week lighter an easier version of Step Forward.
Packed with Bible studies, practical weight-loss tips and inspiring success stories, Guided By Him is perfect for individual Bible study, family meetings, Sunday School classes, Bible study groups, lunch breaks at work or friendly neighborhood get-togethers,
You can tell by these chapter titles that you’re going to have fun as you read the book and get to the roots of your overeating:
- Tripped on a Twinkie
- Are Donuts My Bread of Life?
- My Refuge–the Refrigerator
- Do Broken Cookies Count?
- Resentments Are Fattening
- Is Fudge My Fortress
God Uses Our Weaknesses When We Surrender Them to Him!
It’s exciting to receive e-mails from readers across the United States and in many foreign countries as well, telling me what an amazing difference our books have made in their lives. Many say that, as a result of what my daughter and I have written, they are closer to God than ever and they have learned things that they will use for the rest of their lives.
God is helping them and they are helping others—turning their misery to ministry. He is taking their biggest weakness and using it for good as they surrender it to Him.
They are shrinking on the outside and growing on the inside as they lose the weight… and the worries that have weighed them down!
Soon You, Too, Will Have an Exciting Story to Tell!
Join me on this adventure and be Guided By Him… To a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You, and soon you, too, will have an exciting story to tell! The amazing thing is that weight loss won’t even be the best part!
Julie Morris’ Bio
Julie Morris is a popular motivational speaker and internationally recognized author of 12 books. She is the founder of Step Forward—a Christian weight-loss Program and Guided By Him…to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! . Guided By Him is a lighter and easier version of Step Forward.
She presents seminars, retreats and workshops across the country that inspire her audiences to make exciting changes toward becoming the person they have always wanted to be.
Julie has worked as a secretary at the Pentagon, Spanish teacher, Coronary Intensive Care nurse and the supervisor of a large hospital Medical-Surgical unit. She has been married for over 40 years to her college sweetheart. Julie is the mother of two adult children and grandmother of one very precious little boy.
Julie’s greatest joy is helping struggling Christians to overcome weaknesses by relying on God’s strength.
She would love to hear from you! Please comment below if you can identify with any part of her story. If you received this blog by email, comment here.
Also, please check out her website www.guidedbyhim.com or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about starting your own group or if you are interested in purchasing books or inviting her to speak at your church.
Join her on Facebook at…
- Julie Morris – Author https://www.facebook.com/JulieMorrisbooks/
- Guided By Him https://www.facebook.com/guidedbyhim/
- Guiado Por El, for those who are interested in her Spanish edition of Guided By Him https://www.facebook.com/Guiado-Por-El-770466166390065/
Summary of the Short Form of the Christian 12 Steps
- Step 1 is “I can’t!” While taking the first Step, I finally gave up on the idea that I could lose weight on diets and willpower. I didn’t allow myself to stay stuck in the first Step “I can’t,” but when discouraged, would go straight to Step 2.
- Step 2 is “God can!” While taking the second Step, I began learning how to rely on the Lord. I memorized his promises, thanked him for his help and praised him for answered prayers even before I had received them.
- Step 3 is “I’ll let him!” While taking the third Step, I learned practical things that would help me to cooperate with the Lord one day at a time.
The first three Steps are the foundation for the others.
- In Steps 4-7 we get to the roots of our overeating by looking back at things done to us and things we’ve done. We become willing to let go of them and let God change us.
- In Steps 8-9 we ask for God’s help with our relationships—past and present.
- Steps 10 and 11 help us to do a daily check to make sure we’re staying on track, learn ways to seek God every day and have a closer relationship with him.
- In Step 12, we practice doing things we’re learning that help us draw closer to the Lord and we share with others the exciting things he’s doing in us.