After losing 250 pounds, people constantly as me, “What diet did you go on?” I know what they are asking. It’s more which of the major diet franchises out there did you do? The truth is none of them. Diets as we think of them are not the answer to losing weight and keeping it off.

Left, yes that’s me at 430 pounds. And at right is me without 250 extra pounds!

What’s A Diet?

I say that because the word diet has lost its original meaning in our current society. If you look up the word diet there are two definitions. The first is the original way diet was used and the second is what we have come to think of as a diet.

Diet, noun, 1. the kinds of food that a person, animal or community habitually eats, 2. a special course of food to which on restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

Right now you have a diet even if you aren’t on a diet. There is a way you habitually eat every day. Some of us have good eating habits and some of us don’t. When we are on a diet, to use the second meaning of the word, we restrict what we habitually eat.

Habitual Eating

Let’s say you are 50 years old. You have a well-established way of eating. It has taken you 50 years to engrain the eating habits you currently have. If that way of eating has contributed to you gaining 50, 100, 200 or more pounds, you are probably thinking the way to lose the weight is to greatly restrict the amount and types of food you eat.

This is a habitual response we’ve learned from the $60 billion diet industry. Their goal is to cause you to need their products in order to lose weight. We’ve learned from them that the only way to lose weight is to go on a diet, the second meaning of the word.

What I’ve learned on my weight loss journey is that the more important form of the word diet is buried in the first meaning. In short it says that a diet is the kinds of food we habitually eat.

Before I lost weight the kinds of foods I ate consisted of starchy casseroles, spaghetti, macaroni, sweet breads, hot rolls, sub sandwiches, cinnamon crunch bagels, donuts, double or triple cheeseburgers, fries, mashed potatoes and gravy, desserts, and fried meats. Yep, the good old American diet. I was easily eating over 3,500 calories a day. That was my diet.

Do Diets Work To Change Us?

When I would go on a diet to lose weight I’d eat lean meat, fruits and vegetables and greatly reduce my calorie intake to l,000 calories a day. I’d cut out sugar, bread, fast food, fried food and diet sodas. I could lose 100 pounds pretty quickly. Many times it would only take me six months. When we weigh more we can lose quicker.

Sounds good, right? Wrong! Within a matter of months I would gain back what I had lost because I went back to the way I had always eaten. It was a well-ingrained diet that I had learned for however many years I had lived up to that point.

Six months was not enough time to change my habits. Actually, changing my habits was never on my mind. I guess I can blame the weight loss industry. They were banking on me coming back to buy their program.

After all, I had lost weight on that “diet” so it must just be that I didn’t do it right. So I’d do it again, lose weight and gain it back plus more. Then, I’d need their program … again.

Establishing Good Habits

The part I hadn’t factored in was that it took me years to establish my bad habits and it would take me more than six months to establish good ones. With traditional diets, one day we are eating however much we want of whatever we want. The next day we go on a diet and try to change everything at once.

That is not habit change. A diet is too restricting. It will only work until our bodies rebel and lead us right back to where we began. To incorporate good habits, we have to work gradually on changing them.

Many are only interested in quick results. It took me at least five years to lose 250 pounds because I did it by replacing a bad habit with a good habit and continuing that process. Though it took me awhile, I have now kept that weight off for six years. My bad habits have been replaced by good ones. Sugar and flour are gone from my life and I don’t even miss them.

No Quick Fixes

What we are looking for when we go on a weight loss diet is a quick fix. Losing weight quickly does not “fix” us. Quick weight loss will on result in quickly gaining the weight back plus more.

Yo-yo dieting wreaks havoc on our bodies. It makes them expect that we will gain the weight back again because that’s what we always have done. That makes it even more difficult the next time we try to lose weight. I know because I’ve lost 100 pounds at least five times in my life only to gain it back again plus more.

There is no magic fix except when we finally determine we will follow God no matter what. He is the only one who can help us. “if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new,” (2 Corinthians 5:17 TPT).

Go With God!

With God’s help we can stop the old habits and start new ones in their place. We can’t do this by ourselves. We really need God’s help. We just have to admit that we are weak and we need His help.

“God said, ’My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me,” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

“When I am weak in human strength, then I am strong, truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength,” (2 Corinthians 12:10 AMP).

We need His power because this takes more commitment than just going on a diet and going about our merry way. Embarking on a lifestyle change journey requires that we get closer to God than we ever have before. It means discovering our root issues and allowing God to help us with them. It means being all in with whatever God shows us to do. It means being willing to allow God to change everything within us.

When we do this we will be successful because His power is working through our weakness. The weaker we are the more we know we need God. The more we know we need God the more His strength will go to work for us.

Get Ready for Transformation

I lead you through changing your habits and much more in my new course Journey to Transformation. This 16-week foundational course is also the only way you can join Overcomers Community, our ongoing coaching group.

To register for the course, go HERE and get on the waitlist or join if the doors are open. They will be open for sure from Feb. 8-15. They may open earlier. If you’re on the waitlist you will be notified.

I’d love to lead you to your own transformation with God’s help. Once again here’s the link:

I’ll see you in the group!


Teresa Shields Parker
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach and speaker, who has lost more than 250 pounds. Her book, "Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor", is the number 1 Christian Weight Loss Memoir on Amazon. Her other books include: "Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy", "Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God's Help", "Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation" and "Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God".

She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP one-on-one coaching program, both available under the weight loss tab. To book Teresa for your next event, check the Speaking tab on her website. Also check out her blog and Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast under the tabs by those names.