A dear friend told me recently that she understood exactly what I was saying about surrendering in the area of weight loss. What she wanted to know more about was how to eat after you surrender. That’s an excellent question!
My Weight Loss Story
If you haven’t read my book with its description of my own battle of the bulge, you don’t know that I had tried just about everything to lose weight. I had tried counting calories, half-starving myself, appetite suppressants, exercising, a support group, would have tried Jenny Craig if I could have afforded it, not dieting, psychology and exploring my reasons for eating, and even reading the Bible and praying about it. I was leading a weight loss group at church and I hoped that my position would force me to succeed, for fear of failing publicly. I had initial success with every method I tried. Many women wouldn’t think I ever had a serious issue with weight. I can understand that.
At my highest weight, I was about 30 pounds too heavy. But the weight of the issue in my life was huge. It was all I thought about.
I thought about how tightly my clothes fit in the morning. I would be determined to eat lightly for breakfast. When I didn’t, I would berate myself mentally and would be even more determined to eat lightly for lunch. Of course, I typically overate for lunch. I was so depressed about it, I rewarded myself with some candy in the afternoon. All the way home from work I would tell myself I would make up for all of it for dinner. At the same time, however, I could see myself devouring an entire pizza. I spent the entire night depressed about what a terrible day I’d had. I would be better the next day I’d reassure myself, but the cycle repeated.
When I began learning that I was engaged in a spiritual battle, many good things occurred. I was reading my Bible, praying, and learning the difference between worldly wisdom and God’s ways. But I was still determined to succeed in my own strength. I would tell myself that I would just read more Bible verses, pray before every bite, etc., etc. It didn’t work. I really believed that God could do it for other people but not for me. One day I prayed a very dangerous prayer.
I said, “God, whatever it takes to release the hold food has on my life, DO IT.”
He did. Nothing dramatic happened. People didn’t make fun of me for being overweight. I wasn’t kicked out of group leadership and my husband didn’t threaten to leave me. Instead, I reached the end of myself. I realized that after 14 years of struggle, I just wasn’t capable of defeating the thing. I told God tearfuly, “If you want me to have victory, you’re going to have to do it because I quit!” I literally said it out loud in my kitchen.
How Do You Trust God After Surrender?
That was surrender. What came next? What eating principles, diet or exercise plan did I follow that gave me the victory? I have no idea. All I know is there was no system of not eating certain foods, counting calories or bites, or thinking about it AT ALL. That is a miracle! In fact, I didn’t even weigh myself until months later when I realized I no longer felt addicted to food. I have testified to the fact that the Lord gave me absolutely no idea how this happened so that I would not be touting the Melanie-plan to weight loss. And I would have been! But even though I can’t give you the 10-step plan, I do want you to have the same awesome victory I have been given. Here’s what I suggest:
*Pray that the Lord would do whatever it takes to release you from the bondage of obsession with food, weight, and exercise.
*Tell God that you quit, that you know you don’t have it in you to do this. Give Him permission to take over COMPLETELY.
*Every time you find yourself thinking about how to lose weight, confess it as your desire for control. Ask forgiveness and for the Lord to keep you out of His business!
*Renew your mind. Since writing this original post, I met Barb Raveling. She has helped me see that there is another way to trust God after surrendering in the area of weight loss: renewing your mind. I can’t recommend Barb’s book I Deserve a Donut and the iPhone app enough.
Don’t believe the lie that only certain people can enjoy freedom from the bondage of food. God bless you as you trust Him.