It’s the season for temptations especially for a sugar and comfort food addict like me.  However, I never thought of holiday foods as temptations. I thought of them as part of a happy season. I mean what’s Christmas without stockings filled with candy or sugar cookies hot chocolate? What’s Christmas without hot chocolate to drink as you ate them?

I thought of the tempting foods like Grandma’s pecan pie, oatmeal cake, hot rolls, baked macaroni and cheese casserole, homemade chicken noodle soup, real green beans cooked with a slab of bacon, mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, and marshmallow salad, which is filled with sugar and was the only salad I ever ate, as family traditions

They weren’t temptations because I looked forward to eating my fill of everything. It was true not just of Christmas, but every holiday, family birthday and family reunion. We loved getting together and delicious food was front and center.

Fattening Foods Were My Legacy

It’s no wonder, then, that by the time I was 40, I had gained up to 430 pounds. All the fattening foods my Grandma had fed me I fixed for my family. It was my way of was passing down the family legacy, the family history.

Yet, when a doctor told me I’d be dead in five years from congestive heart failure if I didn’t lose weight and keep it off, I finally began to face the truth. I had given in to temptation so easily that it had become my lifestyle.

When I’d go to a church potluck dinner and see all the delicious high-calorie desserts and other foods there, I didn’t see that as temptation. When I’d notice that someone brought real fruit salad, a nice green salad and slices of baked turkey, I didn’t see that as God providing a way of escape from temptation (1 Cor. 10:13 NIV). I just thought those people were crazy. Who would eat that when there were all these other yummy foods?

Losing Weight While Eating Cookies?

I first realized I had an issue with food when I was a dirt-poor college student. I was gaining weight and didn’t have money to buy larger clothes. I wanted to lose weight and couldn’t figure out how to stop eating the foods I loved. Why was I so tempted to make cookies and eat the entire batch? Sure it was because Grandma fed me those, but where does the desire to continue to eat when I want to lose weight come from?

I was reading through the Bible when a verse sprang off the page, jumped in my heart and brought me an answer to my question. “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15 NLT).

I read further and James 4 confirmed that all my problems stem from the evil desires that war within me. I wish I could say that stopped me and made me change my ways. However, I still didn’t know what to do with the cravings that drove me to eat whatever I wanted and ignored any of the ways of escapes God provided.

In Food I Trust?

It wasn’t until years later I was able to understand that I wasn’t trusting in God, I was trusting in food to get me through any crisis or moment of discomfort. Like Phil. 3:18-20 tells me, my god was my stomach and my mind was set on earthly things.

Understanding that began to help me put God in His rightful place and learn to surrender to what He desires for me rather than what I want. My desires will always lead me down a treacherous path. I finally understood that the only way to walk out my journey was to surrender completely to God and commit to doing what He tells me to do.

In the process, I’ve lost 250 pounds. I love living closer and closer every day to my Maker. And Christmas? Yeah for Christmas dinner I will choose wisely. Likely it will be turkey, real fruit salad with pecans, green beans and lots of time to enjoy those I love.

 

 

 

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.