For most of us, the measure of weight loss success is ultimately based on the numbers on the scale and the size of our clothes. When we see a loss, there are bouts of internal celebration (maybe external) and we receive a sense of accomplishment. If you poll anyone who is engaging the process of weight loss, a common desire is often for the weight to be lost quickly. While most will admit that the weight gaining process did not happen overnight, it seems harder to accept that weight loss – lasting weight loss –may take a little longer. It will likely require us to dig underneath the surface to examine the strength of our foundation and hidden barriers to achieve ultimate weight loss success.
Several months ago, I was fortunate to hear Rev. Nichelle Nelson preach a message about how God often places us in situations where he causes us to “dig deep so that we can build high.” In the message, Nelson used the illustration of the story of the Three Little Pigs to describe the outcome of building a house made with straw compared to building a house made with brick. The story is common: the big, bad wolf was able to destroy the pigs’ houses that were made with straw, but was unable to destroy the house made with brick. As I applied this to my recurrent struggle with weight loss, I realized that often I was building a weight loss “house” of straw. Instead of looking at the deeper concerns that may have facilitated the process of me gaining weight, I would rather make some quick exercise and eating changes in hopes of achieving successful weight loss. Can you relate?
Recently, God has taken me on a process where I have had to dig a little deeper and uncover some behaviors that were hindering me from achieving my desired weight loss goals. The process has been painful and challenging. It has moved slower than I expected. My weight loss has not been what I expected it to be. However, I have noticed that I am stronger and have been in the spiritual process of building a brick house that is resilient and preparing to shelter me from the adversity that I will be eventually face. As you consider “digging deeper,” here are some things that you may need to consider:
- Be prepared to explore the reasons for your excess weight
Have you considered the reasons why you may be overweight? Again, most of us understand we need to eat better and move more, but usually don’t extend the conversation further. It is important to consider exploring your individual relationship with food. Why do you find it so hard to resist eating ——- and ———? How do you manage stress or your health? Why do you overeat at every meal? Asking questions like these may be some of the first steps toward the development of new health behaviors. Additionally, these questions may help some of us realize our eating may be a coping behavior we have developed to help us hide or mask past hurts and/or trauma. If you want to engage in the process of permanent weight loss, this process is essential and will give you clues toward next steps.
- Lasting weight loss must be measured by more than just the scale
If the scale says a certain number, many of us feel that our work is done. We achieved our weight goal! The converse is also true – if the scale does not say our ideal number, than we are quick to discount any positive change that may have been occurring. Weight loss success is complicated, and will require new behaviors that will take repeated efforts to master. When we “dig deep” to achieve weight loss, our success may be seen in a change in our eating behavior or in repeated trips to the gym. Also, success may mean that we have spent more time reading God’s Word and have addressed our desires to use food as an emotional support, instead of for the physical purposes that God intends. In short, while the scale may be the most preferred method of weight loss success, do not discount all the work that may be going on beneath the surface in preparation for your eventual attainment of your weight loss goals.
- You need God’s help
You serve a God with the power to help you lose this weight – permanently. He can do this. I know I often doubted God’s power and his ability to make a difference in my personal weight loss challenges. There were so many more significant challenges in the world, and honestly, I thought I should just be able to get this thing together. But I just couldn’t.
The #1 reason why most of us can’t lose weight is because our weight loss challenges are spiritual and we aren’t prepared for the fight. Why do you think it is so hard for you to eat right? Why is it so hard for you to do the things that are best for your body? If you realize that you are fighting a spiritual battle, you may reconsider the weapons that you use for warfare. Ephesians 6 encourages us to remember that we need to be strong in the Lord and the strength of HIS might. Moreover, Paul encourages us in 2 Corinthians 10:3-4, that we do not fight as the world does, but that weapons of our warfare “have the divine power the demolish strongholds.” What strong words of encouragement!
Most of us come into this weight loss fight entirely unarmed and unprepared for the spiritual forces of darkness that are coming to knock us out of the fight. Does your battle with food feel like a stronghold? Your prayers, obedience, and relationship to God are essential tools to victory. Stand on HIS word, and watch him move mountains and transform your life. We must engage the process of “digging deep”, so we can build stronger, higher, and solid houses that will allow us to enjoy a healthy body and mind.
In closing, losing weight is more than just the physical shedding of pounds. While there are quick ways to achieve some of our physical goals, digging deeper requires us to examine our weight loss behaviors thoughtfully. With God, all things are possible, and we must engage him in our process. Remember – we serve a God of miracles. Let’s allow him to take us on a journey that will result in the transforming of our lives, as well as lower numbers on the scale.