I have been battling what I thought was a weight problem for a long, long time. I've finally come to realize it's a spiritual, thinking and acting problem.
I now refuse to "diet." The few attempts I have made when I was much younger only caused me to feel deprived and then really "pig out." I employed strategies that I would use for short periods of time and then slip back into old habits. It has taken me years to learn all I could about nutrition and make small changes. This is war. And wars need "game plans." I now plan my meals instead of diet.
The most important part of a plan to lose weight is to admit you have an overeating problem. It could be because you are one of those people who eat their way through a crisis (and every day is a crisis!). You could be depressed and feel you need "comfort food." Food additives can also damage your body and cause cravings. Or maybe you need to admit you are just a glutton. Whatever the reason, clearly see your overeating as a serious problem that needs fixing. It has taken me over 30 years to come up with my plan and, having God's help to implement it, it works.
- Write down everything you eat; then you can't lie to yourself about how much you really eat. It will also show you when you eat. I found I was only overeating at night. You need to see your pattern. (You only have to write it all down at the beginning, but if you slip up really badly, then start writing again!)
- Bring only good, healthy foods into your house. Get rid of the junk.
- Stop drinking sugared drinks.
- When you slip up, stop right then and start over. Just start over. Don't condemn yourself or waste time feeling guilty; and don't wait to start eating healthy again—do it this minute! Even if you've just messed up, it's not the end of the world. It was just one bad minute. Don't let it turn into one bad day, week or month.
- If you really overeat and start feeling out of control, go on a liquid fast for half a day or a whole day. This gives you a fresh start. I start to feel in control after I do this. I've gotten to where I don't need to do this very often, though. When I first started this "war" in earnest, I was having to fast pretty often. This is NOT to punish yourself. It is to help get you back in control.
- Ask God for help. Tell God your plan and ask Him to help you get healthy so you can serve Him and your fellow man better. God wants what's best for us even more than we want what's best for our children. I fasted occasionally to stay close to God and made sure I studied God's Word every day. Ask God to break the bonds of this addiction from you.
- Eat mostly fruits and vegetables, fish, chicken and whole grains. I eat beef only on a rare occasion. I cook with olive oil and eat real butter, but I avoid all animal fat.
- Portion size is important. If I am not hungry by the time of the next meal, I know my portions were too large. I cut my portions back so that I am hungry by the next meal.
- Never sit down with a whole box or bag or a lot of anything—you will eat it all, mindlessly. If I snack, I put a small amount in a bowl.
- Give yourself time to feel full; don't automatically go back for seconds. Make a deal with yourself that you'll wait 15 minutes. By then the urge will probably pass.
- If you really do get hungry, eat. Just eat healthy. I've found a few nuts will really hold me longer than almost anything.
- Do not eat white flour products or white sugar. I've noticed that when I do, I will feel as though I am starving the next day and then I really have a battle. And they are notorious for starting cravings.
- Stay well hydrated. What I thought was hunger many times ended up being thirst. I used to feel like I would faint and I would get weak. I would try to eat to get my energy and strength back, and it just wouldn't come back. Then I started to drink water when it happened and the energy returned quickly.
- If you are depressed or unmotivated like I was, admit it and get help. There are groups you can join that follow a similar plan: Overeaters Anonymous, Compulsive Eaters Anonymous, Weight Watchers, etc. Or just join up with a friend who also wants to overcome this problem. Do whatever it takes to help you get motivated.
One very important thing I have learned since I have been eating right for a year now is that if you do not get exercise along with it, you will not lose much weight. I lost very little weight for nine months or so, but once I started walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, the weight started to drop off. I started very slowly with the treadmill horizontal—and the weight immediately started coming off. I've lost 40 pounds in about a year, but the last 22 came off in the last few weeks when I started walking on the treadmill.
I no longer need comfort food. I have realized that God is my comforter, not food. When I use food to comfort myself, I'm putting it on a level where it does not belong. I have personally come to believe that is idolatry.
For the first time in my life I know I can get healthy. I enjoy buying, cooking and eating the things I know are good for my body. This is doable. I've been overweight almost my whole adult life, and I finally know that with God's help, I will be healthy.
This article appears in the following topics: Eating Disorders