Losing an extreme amount of weight isn’t just a physical issue. I’ve lost 250 pounds so I can say this at least about my journey. It was and still is a very spiritual issue. I wanted to lose weight, eat healthily and exercise but no matter what diet I went on, even if I lost weight, I couldn’t seem to keep it off. I didn’t want to go back to eating whatever I wanted to eat whenever I wanted it, but I always did.
What was so confusing to me is why I did this when I really, really, really wanted to lose weight. It was because I really, really, really wanted to eat what I wanted, as well. No matter what I did, I still found ways to eat what I wanted. My foundational lie that I needed sugar to survive was stubbornly in place.
The Search for Truth
In Romans 7:22-25 NLT, Paul recognizes there is another power operating inside him fighting against what he knows is right. This other power is an unwelcome intruder in his humanity, his flesh, his body. This is an agonizing or miserable situation. If left to himself, he will align with things that lead to sin or disobedience to God.
This definitely was what was happening with me because God had clearly told me what He wanted me to do back in 1977. I had accepted Christ when I was seven. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t access His mighty power to triumph over the weight and sin which so easily seemed to entangle me as Hebrews 12:1 NIV says. I had Jesus, but I hadn’t grabbed hold of the total breadth of what living for Him meant.
Jesus overcame sin and death, a very unwelcome intruder in my life, but I still have to make the choice every day. I can follow Christ and live by the power of the Holy Spirit or I can choose to live according to my selfish fleshly desires.
Living By The Flesh
Our flesh is the default pattern of our lives. “If left to myself, my flesh is aligned with the law of sin,” (Romans 7:25 TPT). Satisfying our desires is what we will always go back to even if we have accepted Christ.
When we accept Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit, the power which raised Christ from the dead, (Romans 8:11 NLT). We have to activate our desire to live for Him by committing ourselves to live according to the Holy Spirit’s power. Until we commit to doing that we will still be back in the confusion and conundrum of Romans 7:19. “The good I want to do, I don’t do. The wrong I don’t want to do, I do.”
I was stuck there for many years, but I also desperately wanted to activate the full power of the Holy Spirit in my life. To do this, I was going to have to surrender everything to God even the foods I loved.
The Profound Experience
Russ Hardesty was holding an informational meeting for a new group he was forming for individuals with harmful life patterns. There were many there with different problems like alcohol, drugs, pornography, overspending and food issues. I was gaining weight but wasn’t admitting it. I said I was just going to support him. I didn’t expect any personal change to come from the experience. I was living in denial and thinking I didn’t need any kind of transformation.
Russ shared his story of being sober from alcohol for over 20 years. Alcohol has never been my problem. My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic. I promised my Dad I would never drink alcohol or become addicted to anything. I kept the promise with alcohol. I was about to learn I hadn’t kept the not being addicted part.
All of a sudden, I heard Russ say something which felt like it was meant just for me. The words seemed to come out of the blue and unattached to his story. He said, “Alcohol is one molecule away from sugar. Alcohol is liquid sugar.” Those words grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. He had my total attention.
I had heard enough to know if he had not gotten sober, he probably would have lost his job, his family and maybe even his life. He made a logical, rational decision to give up alcohol and then he had to learn how to walk out his journey one day at a time.
Bonafide, Die-Hard Sugar Addict
The truth hit me square in the face. I am like an alcoholic only with sugar. I crave it all the time. I can’t stop eating foods that have processed sugar in them even though I know a cardiac surgeon has told me I will die if I don’t keep the weight off. I am a bona fide, die-hard sugar addict.
At this time, I hadn’t heard anything about sugar addiction. However, right then I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was a sugar addict, even if it wasn’t something any experts recognized as an issue. At the end of the meeting, I asked, “Can a person be addicted to sugar?”
Russ said, “You can be addicted to anything which controls you.”
Sugar Controlled Me
Those words sealed it for me. Sugar controlled me. It mastered me. It called the shots in my life. It told me what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat and never to stop eating. It made me feel better for a minute, then I needed more to get the same feeling. It controlled my spending habits, what I cooked and what I bought at the grocery store.
Finally, I saw what had happened. I had willingly allowed sugar to put me in bondage. It started as something fun to do like baking cookies with Grandma. It became a comfort to bake and eat cookies to dampen any thought or emotion I felt.
I saw how sugar had cozied up to me and made me feel better. It made me feel like I couldn’t live without it, just like a manipulative lover might. All the time sugar was a tool of evil out to destroy me.
My God Is My Stomach
I also saw how I had allowed my mindset of I cannot live without sugar to become a prison in my life. I was in a spiritual war. It was not going to be enough for me to go on another diet. I was in a battle for my very life.
I knew I couldn’t fight this battle with the weapons of the world. I had to have divine power to break and utterly destroy the stronghold which got me to this place. I had to change my mindset, stop arguing with God and stop thinking I knew better than He did. I had to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ, (2 Cor. 10:5 NIV).
What I had been doing was rebelling against God. I was following what my flesh, my appetite, my stomach wanted rather than what God wanted. This realization brought me to my knees.
Time for Surrender
I was driving home after the meeting but I was crying so much I had to pull off to the side of the road. I said, “God, I have believed the lie that said I have to have sugar to survive. I have set sugar, the foods I crave and my appetite up as my god instead of You. Right now, in this minute and this place, I surrender sugar to you. I no longer want sugar to be my god. I want to follow only You.”
This was my come-to-Jesus moment. It was as real or even more real than my salvation experience. I was a grown woman facing the results of my sin and rebellion against God. It was the start of a journey towards transformation and yes, weight loss. Even more than the weight loss, though, has been the close walk with my God that fills my soul with His sweetness.
For more on this topic, listen to episode 122 of Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, God’s Got This at Https://Teresashieldsparker.com/podcast/