“When you are hemorrhaging, comfort food is a tourniquet and eating healthy seems like a long ride to the hospital when you might die,” a woman who came into our coaching group said to me. Ever feel this way? I know I have.

I understood exactly what she meant because when I weighed 430 pounds it seemed like I would never lose weight. Back then for me to even imagine myself losing what I’ve lost today, which is over 250 pounds, seemed impossible. I didn’t even know I needed a spiritual hospital. I thought I had God all figured out and it must be something physical that needed to be fixed in me.

Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

After all having lots of extra pounds on your body is a physical issue, right? I was in physical pain carrying around that much weight, but I was also in emotional, mental and even spiritual pain that I didn’t even recognize. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t do what my head wanted to do.

I felt ashamed and frustrated. And, of course, I knew one quick fix that would work to solve my immediate pain and despair. That was doing what I’d always done—eat comfort food and plenty of it.

It was the quickest fix that I had that could make me stop feeling whatever negative emotion I was feeling at the time. When we don’t know how to feel our emotions or we want to stop feeling anger, frustration, despair, sadness, regret, shame, overwhelm, guilt and emptiness we will do anything to make the emotional pain stop, even if it only stops for a little while.

The Christian Addiction

This is why we go to addictions. It’s why I went to my drug of choice—sugar and other foods with high carbohydrate content that turn to sugar quickly in the blood stream. I call it the Christian addiction because very few Christians will admit that sugar is an addiction. Admitting that would mean they should give it up.

The other quick fix of diets never worked for me either. I’d just lose weight and then gain it back again when I’d go off the diet. The only thing that really works, though, always seems like the hardest because it is outside of our comfort zone. I must make a firm commitment to follow everything God is showing me to do to restore my physical health.

To do that I have to surrender to a total transformation. It has to involve my mind, my will, my emotions, my spirit, my body and my physical cravings. All of those things have to change during this process. It must be a total lifestyle change.

The beauty of doing this is that it is what God wants for us. He wants to teach us where our disconnects are with Him and how He can transform us—spirit, soul and body.

Fix Your Attention on God

If you are hemorrhaging from emotions, weight gain and all that life has thrown you and you feel like eating healthy is like a long road to the hospital when you might die, understand this. That is a lie from the father of lies. None of it is true.

Eating healthy and letting God begin changing us mentally, emotionally and spiritually is the only way to begin a permanent change physically. Total change begins when we fix our attention on God. Then we’ll be changed from the inside out. (See Romans 12:2 MSG).

The safest place to be is following exactly what God wants for our lives. What He wants for us more that anything else is for us to surrender everything to Him, even the foods we eat. It’s what God led me to do after trying literally everything else. I finally let Him be my guide and lost the weight.

When Food Becomes Our Master

Food addiction is an issue that can no longer be overlooked in America and the world. Processed foods, processed sugar, processed flour all serve to send sugar quickly to our bloodstream giving us a hit of dopamine, like a desire-filled cocktail that we only want more of.

I believe this issue is the number one killer among Christians, and possibly, all Americans. When our diet is filled with processed foods, pre-made foods, fast foods, junk foods and foods made with sugar and flour, it is not just killing us. iI is in control of us. It is our master.

In 1 Cor. 6:12 Paul tells us, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” For way too many years I allowed comfort foods to be in control of my life. Walking out that journey was not a quick walk in the park, it felt like my coaching client said, “a long ride to the hospital when you might die.”

However, finally arriving at that hospital, feeling the healing touch of those who had been where I was and knew how to help me, drinking in their wisdom and following in their footsteps, saved my life. God knew exactly what I needed to rescue, deliver and transform me. All I had to do was climb into the ambulance and let God be the driver.

Need More Than a Bandaid?

It’s not easy, but with His help I lost the weight. Then, He called me to coach. I didn’t really want to do that, but He showed me that a coaching group has to be led by someone who doesn’t just have training about what to do, but has personal experience of what living that out each and every day feels and looks like.

I said yes to Him, but I found that coaching itself isn’t easy. I feel all the pain each member of my group feels. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. This is what God called me to do, though, and I’m giving my life to this cause. It’s the reason I get up each morning. It’s why I pour my heart out in podcasts, blog posts, live videos and books.

Remember what the woman said? “When you are hemorrhaging, comfort food is a tourniquet and eating healthy seems like a long ride to the hospital when you might die.”

After coming into my coaching group, what she found was that God’s spiritual hospital is the very, very best place to be when you need more than a tourniquet or a bandaid to help you learn how to really live.

This weeks podcast is all about this subject. Go here to listen: Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast, episode 30. 


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.