No diet works was more than an excuse for me. It was the truth. No diet worked because I always treated it as a short-term fix for what I knew was a long-term problem. I wanted to think my obsession with overeating certain foods was something I could overcome with a diet.
I tried everything and nothing worked for me to lose the weight and keep it off. I felt doomed to a life of super morbid obesity. Which, according to a cardiac surgeon, was going to be a short life if I couldn’t figure out how to lose weight and keep it off. How was I going to do that?
According to everyone I knew, everything I read and everything any doctor had told me, a diet was the only way to lose weight. I kept knocking on every diet door that came along. I could lose weight on diets because I had pretty good willpower, but that would only last for about nine months. I’d lose 100 pounds and then celebrate with something I’d been avoiding which would take me right back to eating as I had before and gaining more weight than I had just taken off.
Is Dieting the Answer?
Diets are designed to help us lose weight and then go on a maintenance program, which allows us to eat more food. For a food addict like me, this never helped me change my habits. It never helped keep the weight off.
This is disconcerting to me now that I know habit change is the only way to lose weight and keep it off. Diet programs make their money from return customers. I’m raising my hand here because I returned to the diet program I was most successful on many times. Each time I spent thousands of dollars taking weight off only to put it back on again and add more to it.
I couldn’t stay with the diet because it greatly limited my food choices and kept me to under 1,000 calories a day. This is not good for anyone. It did help me lose weight but I felt starved the entire time and couldn’t wait to reach my goal so I could celebrate by eating my favorite dessert. I thought I deserved it after what I had just gone through.
Sugar Is Very Addictive to Me
This was before I understood that sugar is very addictive to me. One taste and I wanted more. I had not given it up because I didn’t think I could.
I thought sugar helped me manage my emotions. It did not. It only masked my emotions and then I needed more to help me pretend those feelings weren’t there. It was an endless cycle. It was all because I was afraid to be human and feel any emotion that might make me rip-roaring angry or crying buckets of tears.
I knew my soul was comprised of my mind, will and emotions. I wanted my mind to lead me. That seemed like the rational thing to do. I didn’t realize that my mind was ruled by my emotions. Even though it felt like I was making good decisions, which is the will aspect of my soul, my emotions were really overriding both my thoughts and my decisions.
Fat and Happy?
Finally, I just gave up and resigned myself to be fat and happy. However, at 430 pounds I was not happy, not in the least. I had multiple diseases—congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, diabetes and could barely walk.
I saw myself not as happy but as a big, fat blob and regularly told myself that’s what I was. This only made me feel worse, which triggered my emotions to tell my mind and will that I needed something sweet to eat. I carried my own stash with me everywhere I went. I never wanted to be without my drug of choice.
Then, a rude cardiac surgeon changed my life by telling me I had five years to live if I didn’t lose at least 100 pounds and keep it off. He was the first person to tell me my future really was in my hands.
God Had Other Plans
I am so glad that God had other plans. He led me to a meeting where a mentor of mine made an off-handed statement in the middle of a talk he was making about alcoholism. He said, “Alcohol is one molecule away from sugar. Alcohol is liquid sugar.”
That was all it took. I saw the pieces of my life come together like a magnetic puzzle. I realized my issue was that I was like an alcoholic only with sugar. To get free of the weight I was carrying I was going to have to figure out how to stop eating sugar.
Habit change was the magic key for me. God is on our side with this process. He wants us to succeed. A man-made plan won’t work for us. We desperately need God’s leadership for every step of our transformation journey.
Our goal should not just be to lose weight. Our goal should be to transform into the person God desires us to be. That means we must follow God. We must listen to Him. This is a lot more difficult than just following a diet plan. It encompasses every part of us—spirit, soul and body.
For more on this subject, listen to episode 149 of Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, “No Diet Works for Me.” Go here: https://teresashieldsparker.com/podcast/