I asked my friend, Barb Raveling, a guest on The Homeschool Sanity Show today, to write a post for Psychowith6 readers. I know you’ll be blessed by her wisdom here and on the podcast. Be sure to scroll down to enter the I Deserve a Donut giveaway and to find links to her blog.
It’s that time of year we all know and love: The Holiday Eating Season.
Pumpkin pie. Sugar cookies. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Candy canes. Turkey and stuffing. The list could go on and on.
So how do we keep ourselves from gaining five or 10 pounds in the next month or two? Simple. We renew our minds as often as possible!
Here is a chart you can use to renew your mind with both practical truth and biblical truth. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go renew my mind!
|It’s a holiday. I should be able to eat what I want.
||I can eat what I want. But would that really be a good idea? Probably not since what I want to eat is 5 pieces of pie and 2 pieces of everything else.
||All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
|It won’t be as much fun if I don’t eat what I want.
||It won’t be as much fun for only 5 or 10 minutes. The rest of the day will be more fun because I won’t feel so stuffed and regretful.
||Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue. Psalm 120:2
|I don’t know when I’ll get this again. I better eat as much as I can now.
||Chances are, I’ll get the same thing tomorrow for leftovers, but if everything is gone, I can always make it again.
||But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts. Romans 13:14
|This food is so good that I should have seconds.
||This food is so good that I need to concentrate on thoroughly enjoying each and every bite. It’s hard to truly appreciate large quantities of food.
||Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. Philippians 4:11
|But everyone else is eating.
||Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean I need to do it. (Remember that old cliff saying.)
||And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2a
|But they expect me to eat. I don’t want to draw attention to myself.
||You can’t please everyone. Besides, it will be so busy, they probably won’t notice what I’m eating. If they do, oh well.
||Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 2 Corinthians 5:9
|I can’t help myself—it’s there, and I’m going to eat it.
||If I keep renewing my mind, chances are, I won’t even want to break my boundaries.
||I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
|It’s a holiday. This is my opportunity to eat, eat, eat. Bring on the food!
||It’s a holiday. This is my opportunity to relax, visit with people I haven’t seen in awhile, and thank God for His many blessings.
||O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1
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I have written about my battles with overeating before–in a booklet for Lutheran Hour Ministries called The Way to Weigh Less (scroll down for the PDF), here on the blog, and in So You’re Not Wonder Woman?
A Christian Psychologist’s Approach to Weight Loss
As a psychologist, my preferred approach to weight loss is a cognitive behavioral one. I see the need for changed thinking before lasting change will occur. As a Christian, my preferred approach is to rely on God and His Word to create the needed change.
In I Deserve a Donut, you find both. It’s a reference book of the lies we tell ourselves that keep us overeating together with the tools we need to defeat them. Author, Barb Raveling, takes readers through a series of questions in every tempting situation that if answered, will be enough to bolster your resistance. In addition, Scriptures related to each tempting situation are available for the renewing of your mind.
Does it work?
You may have the same skepticism that I did in reading the premise of the book. Am I really going to pick up this book when I’m tempted to eat a donut? Maybe not. But the questions and Scripture can be just as effective after the fact.
The most powerful testimonial Barb shares in the book is that her friend lost 100 pounds by just reading through the book and renewing her mind with truth daily.
Even better, the book is appropriate for any approach to weight loss you choose. You will not be sorry you purchased this life- and waistline-changing book. I’m waiting for the author to come out with a book on procrastination.
I'm on a USTA tennis league and have been for the past 2.5 years. There are many aspects of playing that I enjoy, but the one that has been a particular blessing lately is the opportunity to work on my thinking.
You wouldn't think that I would be nervous on the tennis court, being a speaker who's comfortable with any size crowd. But when I first started the league, my anxiety was crippling. The second I thought about losing the point or double faulting, that's exactly what happened.
I've been reading a variety of books on the mental game of tennis, but this one really convinced me that no matter how far behind I am, I can still win. The author gives many examples of pros who just gave up and lost matches that were theirs for the taking and other examples of players who seemed to come back and win against impossible odds. The key to winning? Believing that you can.
A couple of weeks ago, my partner and I handily won the first set of a match, then fell apart in the second, and finally lost the tie break. Yesterday, we seemed to be repeating that disappointing pattern. We won the first set without much trouble, then soon found ourselves down 5-2! If you know anything about tennis, you know that the other team just needed one more game to win the set.
I could see the discouragement and frustration in my partner and I could feel it developing in me. Then I told her, "We're going to pull a David Freese and win this set." She smiled. When either of us made an error from that point forward, I made a point of saying, "That's okay. We can still win." Many times we were in a David Freese, World Series kind of way by being one point away from losing the set (though not the match). I felt the pressure, but refused to give in. Neither did my partner. We came back to win the set and match 7-5.
The truth of Allen Fox's words became very clear to me on the tennis court, but they've become clear to me in life, too. Maybe you're against impossible odds like:
- You're getting older and you still haven't met "the one."
- You've filled out dozens of job applications and you're still unemployed
- You have a hundred pounds or more to lose
- You've been trying to conceive for months to no avail
- Your house is such a mess that it seems it would take a team months to clean it out
- You've been unhappily married for years and nothing you've tried has worked
- You have an addiction you just can't beat
- You're tens of thousands of dollars in debt
- Your loved one is elderly and still hasn't received Christ
While it's true that the right attitude doesn't guarantee victory, I believe it's also true that no matter how far behind you are, you can still win. I could give you examples of people I know personally who've experienced an unexpected victory in these situations. The key? Believe that you can.
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
Me in early 1986 at my highest non-pregnant weight
I had tried just about everything to lose weight from the time my high school nurse expressed shock that I weighed 128 pounds as a freshman. I already got lots of exercise being on the track team, but I added more working out to my schedule. I also went on a very low calorie diet, eating dry toast and having lettuce with lemon juice dressing. I quickly lost 13 pounds; I regained it even faster.
Every year of high school I tried to lose the weight and ended up heavier than before. Then I went to college and entered a world where eating had no built-in controls. I gained the Freshman 15 in a matter of months. I know I don’t look particularly heavy in that photo, but my extra 30 pounds had become a very weighty issue in my life. I jumped at the chance to take a weight loss class in college. The instructor was really nice and the weekly weigh-ins motivated me. I became a walking caloric encyclopedia. At meals, my friends would ask me for the calorie counts of foods and I knew them. I lost the Freshman 15, but I was very despondent about something our instructor had said. She told the class that people like us would never be able to eat hamburgers, pizza, or ice cream.
The following year I read the books, Thin Within and Diets Don’t Work. I became convinced that dieting had resulted in my weight gain and that I could be at my ideal weight without counting calories or restricting certain foods. Within a very short period of time, eating anything I wanted according to hunger and fullness enabled me to lose another 13 pounds. I was ecstatic, but not for long.
Although I never again returned to my freshman weight high, I also was unable to maintain my ideal weight. I couldn’t understand it. I knew that if I ate according to hunger and fullness, I didn’t have a weight problem. I just couldn’t seem to restrict myself to eating when I was hungry and stopping myself when I was satisfied. This was particularly upsetting to me as a future psychologist. I wondered how I would be able to help others make behavior changes when I couldn’t make them myself.
In graduate school, I began lifting weights and briefly tried dieting with my friends again, but to no avail. When I met my future husband, I became more committed to exercise and when we got married I weighed what I wanted to. The problem was that maintaining it was a constant battle. My weight bounced up and down like crazy. The only thing crazier were the thoughts bouncing around my head. I would get up in the morning, weigh myself, and decide that I would be “good” all day. By mid-morning, I had already blown it, so I would commit to eating like a rabbit at lunch. When I blew that, I would promise to do well at dinner. When that didn’t work, I would spend the evening ruminating about my fat and my lack of self-control.
One day I saw the article title, “Can God Make You Thin?” on a Woman’s Day Magazine in the grocery store checkout. I had to know the answer to that, so I bought the magazine and read the article. I was so excited to read that men and women were combining the Thin Within hunger/fullness philosophy with a reliance on God and were losing weight for good. I ordered materials and offered a class at church. At first I quickly lost weight. Then as the months wore on, I had the same disappointing results. I would eat when I wasn’t hungry or until I was stuffed.
As the class facilitator, I was quite embarrassed that I couldn’t succeed. I would dedicate myself to eating extra slowly and reading my Bible before and after eating. But to no avail. The weight was not only not coming off, it was coming back on. After confessing my sin of gluttony and worshiping the idol of food countless times, and after praying about the problem over and over, I don’t know what finally led me to quit. But that’s what I did. I stood in my kitchen, looked up at God, and said, “I can’t do this! I quit! If you want me to lose weight, you’re going to have to do it, because I’m done.”
For the life of me, I cannot recall how I ate after that. But I do not remember always sitting down, eating slowly, eliminating distractions, only eating when hungry or until satisfied. I really meant that I was done. Three months later I finally weighed myself to discover that I was at my ideal weight. I had no idea how I arrived at that comfortable number. I do suspect, however, that God removed my weight problem without giving me a clue how it was done so that when people ask, “How do you stay so thin?” I couldn’t give them the Melanie Plan. God took away that weighty issue and I remained at my ideal weight for five years when I had another crisis that is a story for another time.
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:6)
If you're struggling to get things done or to make significant changes in your life, it pays to consider whether you're at war with your inner rebel. Are you:
- Giving your rebel too many rules? Are any of the rules extreme, seemingly stupid, or put in place to please others?
- Asking your rebel to do something far too easy for her? Have you neglected to give her a big challenge, preferably with some competition thrown in?
- Neglecting to give your rebel the opportunity to be unique or to lead others in the process of change? Are you inadvertently encouraging her to follow the sheep?
- Disrespecting your rebel by putting her down? Are you asking her to follow the advice of someone who's a hypocrite or has few credentials (even if that's you)?
- Heaping on the guilt, in an effort to motivate your rebel, for tasks that aren't vital to sustaining important relationships?
You might consider referring to these questions whenever you seem to be experiencing resistance to change. You might also consider a related article on how feeling obligated can produce resistance.
The truth is, however, that even after addressing all of these potential rebel stumbling blocks, you still may not have the change you want. I've been there! In those situations, it's time for a Super Power solution.
One of my favorite changed rebel stories is that of George Mueller. More than a rebel, he was a conniving thief! He attended a prayer meeting with a friend with the intention of making fun of it later at the bar. But hearing the Word of God brought him up short. He continued to attend those meetings until he felt compelled to submit his life to Jesus Christ. George's life changed radically. But one thing didn't change; George was still very strong-willed. He ended up becoming an example of what radical faith can do.
In the same way, your inner rebel is likely to keep her strong will. God can use that strength to do great things. But perhaps like George, you need to hear the Word of God and you need to bow the knee to Jesus Christ and His purposes for your life. That's my prayer for you.
Who is wise? Let them realize these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Guilt
Rebel's Guide to GTD – Respect
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Superior
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Challenge
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Rules
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Intro
Whereas brats rarely feel guilt, rebels are quite prone to it. After all, they aren't rebelling because they want to hurt people for the most part. They're rebelling because they feel they know best and refuse to be constrained by silly rules made by people they don't respect. A rebel will respond to the demands of someone on a power trip with intentional sloth. But give them someone truly in need and they will expend all their effort to help. Of course, the helpee is also much more likely to respect said rebel than the overbearing authority figure.
This is an issue to discuss with respect to getting things done because we intuitively know that guilt works to get our inner rebels moving. Their surprisingly tender hearts will often get them up and busy when nothing else will. The problem is we tend to abuse this strategy to the point that it backfires. Guilt is such a painful emotion for the rebel that if we heap it on, the rebel may just plug her ears and ignore us, even when the guilt is appropriate.
Here are some examples of the inappropiate use of guilt as a rebel motivating tool:
- How can you stuff your face when there are millions of people who don't have enough to eat?
- There are so many unemployed people right now who would kill to have your job and all you can do is whine about what you have to do
- Think of all the infertile women who would love to have a child and all you can do is complain about how crazy yours are driving you
Instead, consider posing these guilt-free questions:
- What need are you meeting with food that you could meet in more constructive ways?
- Is there a way you could make your job more satisfying or are you ready to look for a new one?
- When are your children easiest to be around and is there a way you could encourage that environment more often?
Guilt is effective with your inner rebel, but it should be used sparingly. Use it when your grandma is in the hospital and your rebel wants to finish watching all the episodes of her favorite TV show on Netflix before visiting her.
A good clue that you're using guilt to motivate is the word 'should' and its derivatives. What kinds of shoulds have you heaped on your inner rebel to no avail?
Rebel's Guide to GTD – Respect
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Superior
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Challenge
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Rules
The Rebel's Guide to GTD – Intro