Happy First Day of Autumn to you! Got any good plans for this fall? I’m just finishing a 40-day diet of “no desserts or starches.” However, I’m very motivated to keep eating right because I still have quite a way to go, and so I’ve been working hard developing my fall strategy. “They” say it takes 30 days to establish a new habit, so I am hopeful. However, I’m not as dogmatic in my hope as the author of the book I just read, God Knows I Won’t be Fat Again. For one thing, even though I’ve lost ten pounds, I still need to lose another fifteen or more, so I wouldn’t want to be presumptuous. However, I did enjoy reading the success story written by the daughter of one of our former pastors, who managed to eat addictively to 340 pounds and then eventually lose back to 130 pounds. The book was written 35 years ago, so I’d be interested to know how she’s doing today, but I hope her title was right!
I appreciated Karen Wise’s honesty about what it was like to be so fat…the stares and rude comments from little children…the lack of self-esteem and the deep need to feel loved. There were a lot of lessons in the book about how to support people who are addicted…and how to get back on the right track if your life is out of balance in some area, since a lack of self-discipline can manifest in many different ways, not just food. As her father told her, “For every ounce of talent there must be an ounce of self discipline.” Without it, our potential goes to waste.
Here are a few tips from Karen’s life struggles:
1. Take responsibility for our own failure. If I’m overweight (which I am), I have no one to blame but myself. I ate the food. For instance, my husband has a great metabolism and can eat whatever he wants, but that’s no excuse for my eating whatever I want! (If I worked as hard as he does and was as stressed as he is, I might not have a weight problem either.) Whatever our excuses, we need to recognize that they’re just excuses and take charge of what and how much we eat. Name the sin for what it is: Gluttony!
2. If you have a child or friend with a weight problem, support them! Cheer them on when they make wise choices, and don’t tempt them with unhealthy ones. Don’t say, “Oh, just a little taste won’t hurt.” It might. Notice if they’ve lost weight and mention that they’re looking good. Don’t be jealous if they start looking slimmer than you; let their weight loss inspire you to lose weight too!
3. Don’t use diet pills. Karen wrote, “I did take them at various times in my life, but they sent me higher than a kite and I became immune to them after several weeks. A lot of people I know have gotten hooked on the energy kick they give and have suffered deep depression when they have quit taking them” (p. 126). This was verified in my research too. For better or worse, the best way is simply eating well and less.
4. Find contentment in who you are. Karen felt like a failure, became depressed, felt incapable of overcoming her problems, and used food as an escape (like most addicts). For her, the tension between being all thought she should and could be versus the drive to throw it all overboard and be what she wanted to be was overwhelming. It took her years to stop running away from God and start asking Him for help instead. Thankfully, as we all know who’ve turned to Him, God never says “No” to those who ask for mercy and help. For those who struggle with “fitting in,” I loved this insight: “The funny thing is, I still don’t really fit into every place and with everybody in the Christian world. But I have found I don’t want to be a ‘complete fitter’ anyway. I would rather fit snugly into that special niche God has for me, reaching those people I can reach and having the ministry God has planned for me.”
So, on I go with my quest for good nutrition and a healthier weight, and I hope you’re moving forward too if there’s some area of your life where you’re conscious of a need to improve. May we exercise self-discipline and lean on God for help. Here’s to lives that are healthier, more fruitful, and happier! 🙂
“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble;
and he knoweth them that trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).