Do you have the courage to take on your weight issue during the holiday season? Some people are excited by Christmas. With all the bright lights, glittering gifts, focus on Jesus, the baby born to be the Savior of the world, how could anyone be discouraged? However for a food addict the holidays can be the most discouraging time of the year.
Situations and circumstances of life, though, have led many to be discouraged. The word actually means to lose confidence, courage, hope or enthusiasm. To be discouraged means courage for living has gone out the door. It’s just too hard to try any more.
I coach people with weight issues and because of my background of having weighed 430 pounds myself, I often coach those with extreme weight issues. In my role I try to be an encourager.
In other words, I try to instill courage, hope and confidence that it is possible to conquer even extreme weight issues. I know because allowing God’s grace-power1 to work in me, by following His leadership, I have been able to lose over 260 pounds.
When I meet someone and they find out I’ve lost that amount of weight, the first question is how did you do that? I usually say, “With God’s help I stopped eating sugar and flour.” While that is true, I realized just today it doesn’t get to the real how of the process.
So, I’m changing my answer. “God gave me the courage to finally face the fact that I am a sugar and carbohydrate addict.” It really puts a finger on the real issue. This isn’t just something I need to fix. This is a big problem, an addiction. It will not go away without a God-sized intervention.
It was a Goliath2 issue and I felt like I didn’t even have a slingshot.
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What’s lacking for most people with weight issues is the courage to take on this battle that looms like a monster in front of them, behind them and all around them.
Courage is defined as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger or pain without fear.” Another definition is “the strength to do something that frightens you.”
I like that last definition. Taking on the task of losing over 260 pounds did take courage. I needed God to encourage me to do that because I was discouraging myself at every turn.
Every time I failed in my resolve, I was immediately discouraged. “I can’t do this. I’ve failed again. Oh well, might as well eat the whole batch of brownies instead of just one.” And I was off gaining weight once again.
It doesn’t make sense to someone who is not addicted to sugar, carbs or other foods. Our bodies are designed by God to eat until we are full and stop. For many people, though, that message has been short-circuited.
It may be because of a broken metabolism. It may be because of the influx of sugar into every processed food in our American diet. In may be because of a sedentary lifestyle. We don’t know the cause for sure, but we do know that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. This is a growing epidemic which if not curtailed threatens to do more harm to our nation than dropping a bomb.
Most of us don’t even try to change. We’ve fallen into comfortable ruts and ways to cope with our problems and discouragements by eating more. We do that because we think we can, just for a minute, find some bliss in this difficult life.
However it is not pleasurable because when we wake up from our food coma the day after the big holiday dinner or party and step on the scale we see what we have done and we are yet again discouraged. So what do we do?
We eat. It’s what we know.
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We do have a choice though. We can change our course of action. It will take courage to face the truth of our issue. We are addicts. Personally, I am a sugar and carbohydrate addict.
Yes, I was scared to give up sugar. I was scared I would become a raving lunatic without my “drug” of choice to calm me down. I was scared I wouldn’t be successful and would fail once again and continue to gain so much weight I would be bedfast and people would have to come and cut me out of my house or worse, I wouldn’t be able to get any food and would die of starvation.
How’s that for negative processing? I’m sure you have some of your own.
These are fantasies, lies that we tell ourselves. We make them bigger than reality so we don’t have to face the truth of our issues. The truth is we have a problem and the longer we do nothing, the longer we will be stuck.
If we do nothing different, then nothing will ever change. We will remain the same or get worse in our addiction.
Another diet, though, is not the answer. Lifestyle change comes by changing from the inside out, by addressing our core issues and learning how to trust God to lead us even out of something that seems overwhelming, like food addiction.
This time of the season can be hell for a food addict. Everywhere we turn there are decadent desserts and carboydrate-laden dishes that tempt us to overindulge. We are encouraged to overeat and that in itself is discouraging, because it takes the courage out of us to own our issues.
[Tweet ” If we do nothing different, then nothing will ever change.”]
We need real encouragement on our journey. We need help from a mentor who has been where we are. We need a group of peers on the same journey to walk with and share with. Most of all, we need God’s help and guidance to walk this journey. These are the exact reasons I started weight loss coaching. I had a local group like that which encouraged me to stay true to my journey and keep my agreements with myself, others and God.
I knew this type of group was needed for others and through the magic of the internet it could be taken anywhere to any part of the United States and any country that has access to the internet. I’m grateful to be alive when this is not only possible, but something even I can do and I’m over 60, as many are prone to remind me. Still, I was born for this time. I was born to help instill courage, confidence and hope into those who have lost all of that somewhere on their journey.
Three Ways to Grab Courage
Let me just leave you with three ways to grab hold of courage for your journey.
- Go to BibleGateway or another searchable online Bible and put in the word courage and read all the verses with that word and surrounding verses. Start with “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”3 There are so many more.
- Read the story of David and Goliath.2 Really read it. Notice everything about it, where he was before, why he was going to the battle, ask yourself why He could face Goliath when no other better equipped warrior could. Ask God to teach you how you can face your Goliath when you feel like you don’t even have a slingshot.
- Begin to have conversations with God about your situation. Journal these so you can read back over what you say to Him and what He shares with you. Tell Him your heart’s desire. Ask Him what His plan is for you. Be honest about why you feel you aren’t successful. Let Him guide you on this journey. His strength will be made complete in your weakness.1
I dare you to take courage and ask God how you can defeat your own Goliath. It’s time to begin the battle for your life. Lay your sword at His feet though. You only need it at the end to cut off the giant’s head.
1 2 Cor. 12:9 MSG
21 Samuel 17 NLT
3 Joshua 1:9 NIV
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster, and speaker, who has lost 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013. Her books include: “Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor,” “Sweet Grace Study Guide,” “Sweet Victory: Winning the Battle,” “Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds,” “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 Freedom Study Guide,” “Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation,” “Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God,” and “Sweet Excuses: Stop Lying to Yourself & Start Losing Weight.” She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP intensive coaching. Don’t miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Contact her at [email protected].