Lasting weight loss begins with changing your mindset. No mindset change, no lasting weight loss. You give God your mindset about food and He gives you weight loss. It's a beautiful exchange that only gets better as time goes on.
It was hard to deny I had an issue with weight when I was super morbidly obese or even just obese. However, I was the queen of denial.
It's really a conundrum. I knew I needed to lose weight, but I wanted to lose it and be done with it and then go back to the way I'd always eaten. I couldn't picture my life without eating all the things I grew up eating that I equated with living.
However, eating all those things was severely limiting my life. The real truth of this hit home when I heard a 25-year sober alcoholic tell his story of giving up alcohol. One phrase changed my mindset. "Alcohol is one molecule away from sugar."
The light bulb went on. I'm like an alcoholic only with sugar. To lose the weight and keep it off I have to stop eating processed sugar.
To do that I had to change my mindset about what I ate. I had to see food as fuel for living, not food as my reason for living.
Before then, I would go on a diet and lose weight. I'm a really good dieter. I can deny myself for a short time and lose weight.
Always in the back of my mind was, when I lose this weight I will treat myself with my great grandma's oatmeal cake. This is a rich, thick, highly sugar-laden cake with a luscious icing. Really, it was the one thing I thought I could never live without.
I could never eat one piece of that cake or anything made with processed sugar and flour. One piece led to more and more and more. Sound familiar? What alcoholic can take one drink and leave it alone? I was like that only with sugar, and it was slowly killing me.
I had diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and a doctor's proclamation if I didn't lose weight I'd be dead in five years.
I was living like I thought I could beat the odds. In reality, the odds were beating me.
I knew in one second of hearing the words about the connection between alcohol and sugar that my freedom lay in giving up sugar.
Many of you have read my book, Sweet Grace, where I chronicle my weight loss of 250 pounds. Suffice it to say it's not easy giving up what has become your go-to source for comfort; for relief of pain, despair, loneliness and frustration; and for celebration, enjoyment, entertainment and life itself.
I had to come to the realization that is life is more than processed sugar and flour.
Did I want to live my life solely for the indulgences I had come to love or was there more to my destiny than being the largest woman anywhere I went.
The problem with being a sugar addict is there is no end in sight to the amount of weight you will gain. If you are always taking in mainly items made with processed sugar and flour, you will gain weight. It is a fact.
It's like a freight train speeding down the track. Once it gets up to speed it's difficult to stop. It takes intentional effort to do it.
In order to stop, I implemented a basic plan of stop-start. Because the universe cannot tolerate a void, I couldn't do what I'd done before which was just stop. My body was always wanting something to fill the void of what I had stopped.
So, I needed to start something in the place of what I stopped. I put firm boundaries around what I stopped, and I focused on what I started. My first stop-start didn't make a whole lot of sense to me, but my gut or God, whichever way you look at it, told me it was the right action.
I stopped eating candy, which had become a BIG issue in my life, and I started exercising three times a week for 30 minutes. It didn't seem like it went together, but it did.
I was eating candy to fill any emotional need in my life. Exercising is a much better way to get the feel-good endorphins working in your life. I started looking forward to my daily water exercise time.
The key that made this time different from every other time is I am very cognizant that every step I take on this journey is with the intentional mindset of whatever I start now is for the rest of my life.
I know if I slack or go back to the way I was eating and not moving before, it will mean going back to where I was. I never want to go back to the hell I was living before.
It was a prison of my own making. I had the key to get myself out. God had paid for that key with His Son's death. I just didn't know how to use it.
Now I'm living in the place that grace built. It's a place of abundance, beauty, power, love, victory and freedom. In this place, there is no room for the lies I used to tell myself.
Only truth lives here. Only truth spoken in love (Eph. 4:15, NIV) because He wants more than anything that I have life, overflowing (John 10:10, AMP) and filled with all the goodness He can pack into it.
For so many years I pushed it away by my wanting, my lustful desire (James 4:1-7, NIV) for my lover sugar. So ridiculous that I would trade God for sugar.
So like God that when I gave Him sugar, He gave me Himself.
Now that's a beautiful exchange.
Go HERE to read the poem, "The Place That Grace Built."
Teresa Shields Parker is an author, blogger, editor, business owner, wife and mother. Her book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God's Favor is available on Amazon in print, Kindle and Audible. This story is from her blog, teresashieldsparker.com.
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