A lifestyle change involves resolve and resolution that our mind alone cannot achieve. To want is not enough. It’s enough to leave us discouraged when we desperately want to see a change, but we discover that change doesn’t come without effort, determination, and commitment to ones goals.
For those of us who struggle to lose weight, life can feel like a never-ending upward climb in which every slip has us sliding further down the mountain.
Knowing that God holds the power of deliverance in his hands, yet failing to see that miraculous deliverance taking place in our heart can lead us to wonder, why? Why doesn’t God simply deliver us from our fascination with the fridge? Why do we have to take the long, treacherous route through the desert of testing in order to reach our goal?
He understands those moments of despair where we call out to Him, but He also sees the steps necessary to get us to that place we desire–where the land is flowing with milk and honey, but, miraculously, none of it sticks to our hips.
The first step is learning. What would it be like if our children graduated high school without ever passing a grade? If they received a diploma without taking every necessary class required to complete the grade, simply because they willed it to be so? We’d have graduates of little understanding, undisciplined, and unable to face the real world.
In the same way, we must learn to retrain, not to refrain. God could deliver us from the desire of food so that it was nothing but tasteless, but why would we want that? Food is a gift from the Lord. What isn’t a gift, however, is our reaction to it–when we worship food for something it’s not. Or in other words, worship the created more than we do its Creator.
God has given us internal signals, called huger and full. If we want to reach the land of weight control, then we must understand the difference between “hunger” and “desire.”
Dictionary.com defines the two this way:
Hunger: The painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food.
Desire: A longing or craving, as for something that brings satisfaction or enjoyment.
If you look at the difference, you’ll see that hunger is a physical signal that cues us to eat, and that desire is an emotional signal that longs to be filled.
The simple life-changing lesson is this: wait for the physical signal of hunger, which is usually a grumble or subtle burning sensation in the stomach, before you begin to eat.
Once you have sensed that feeling of physical hunger, eat what you want. God has given us an abundance of food, and has never asked us to lay off carbs, fill up on veggies, or drink milkshakes instead of our lunch. What he does expect from us is to be moderate in all things, and to care for the temple we’re in, which includes wise, realistic choices in the food that we eat.
Once we have that lesson learned, we also need to learn to stop when we’re full. That’s tricky for most of us, since we don’t usually sense that feeling of fullness for about 20 minutes. That’s about how long it takes for the brain to recognize what the stomach already knows. So the best thing we can do is stop when we’re “satisfied” not “stuffed.” Satisfied. When we can say I’ve had enough. I might want a bit more, but I don’t need it.
Eat slowly. Since those around you are likely eating larger volumes of food than you are, finishing first isn’t fun. This gives us an opportunity to learn what our kids already know.
Watch children eat, and you’ll see that they often put down their fork, and they engage in conversation between bites. In fact lunchtime is usually more of a social activity than it is about food. It often takes a child longer to finish a little bowl of food than it does for us to finish a larger portion. So follow that lead.
The final lesson we learn when following God’s lead through our weight-loss plan, is that He is the one to whom all glory is given. He is the one who leads us out of bondage and to the land we so desire. Once you get to that place—remember who brought you there!
When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
– Deuteronomy 8:10-14, NIV
©2008, Darlene Schacht
*We advise that you always consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.