by Linda Stubblefield
I HATE TO PUT IT THIS WAY, but losing weight is the brutal antithesis of gaining weight. The weight that accrued so easily does not come off quite so easily! I can think of several words in regard to losing weight, and “easy” is NOT one of them! I do think of “focus,” “hard,” “determination,” “hard,” “schedule,” “hard,” “exercise,” and maybe a few more choice words that I will not mention! After all, I want to encourage you—not discourage you!
Since 2005 I have been on a weight-loss journey that has been one of hard work and success. When I started, I weighed 192 pounds. That is quite a bit of weight for a gal who stands five foot tall in her stocking feet. I felt terrible, and my joints were groaning from carrying that weight, not to mention the wear and tear on my heart. My life was not nearly as pleasant as I would have liked, and I still wanted to think I was young!
God led me to a wonderful nurse practitioner in functional medicine, who is a fellowship-trained caregiver. She said, “I will help you, Linda, but you must do what I say.” Hers was a tall order to follow, but I felt bad enough physically that I was willing to do just about anything. She never used the word “diet.” She reminded me of what my teacher, Beverly Hyles, said about weight loss.“It’s a lifetime of proper eating and exercise.” We started with exercise, a detox, and five pounds. As I walked out of the examining room, my nurse practitioner said, “I would be happy if you lost five pounds.” I can still remember thinking, “I believe I can lose five pounds.” For me, the rest is history. I did lose the five pounds, then ten, then fifteen, and then up to forty. I lost the pounds over a period of six years. I focused on a regimen of biking and walking, striving for one hour of exercise six days a week.
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Thanksgiving 2011, I really lost my focus for the first time since 2005 and started eating everything I thought I wanted to eat. You guessed it! I began putting on weight again. I won’t share any numbers, but you know that 40 pounds I shed? The number changed to 30 pounds. Then I got scared and finally told my nurse practitioner what I had done. I received no condemnation. Instead, she suggested that I work on changing my thinking once again.
Through the years I have watched people seesaw on diets. I have watched them lose the weight, and I have seen the new stance of confidence, the sparkle in the eye, and the lilt in the voice come and then go as all the weight is regained. Weight loss comes when the way you think about food changes. I think we Christians sometimes feel so abused because we cannot enjoy all that we think life has to offer. We trade off that feeling of being abused with eating…and eating…and eating. Then we start a vicious circle of not liking what we see in the mirror and then eating more to feel better.
Hippocrates, who was considered the father of Western medicine, said, “Let food be thy medicine, and let thy medicine be food.” God has given us a plethora of wonderful foods to eat that promote good health. Instead of correcting health issues through proper nutrition, many people would prefer to take a pill that won’t rob them of their wants. I have been taking my NP’s advice to heart (Hippocrates’ also), and I have been enjoying meats, vegetables, and fruits for most of my daily eating. I have nearly eliminated the refined sugar, white flour, pasta, white rice, and processed foods. I have enjoyed eggs (instead of boxed cereal) for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and meat with steamed vegetables for supper.
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Changing my view of food has not been so difficult as I have been enjoying pain-free days, more energy, the feeling of being self-disciplined again, a stable mood, and a decent figure—finally. The Old Testament priests took meticulous care of the holy of holies in the temple. The Christian’s body now houses the Holy Spirit. Why would a Christian take less care of his body than the priests would care for a building that housed the glory of God? Why would a Christian put something in his mouth that would not feed his temple toward health and beauty? Why would a Christian allow a food in his mouth that would eventually damage the dwelling of the Holy Spirit of God and make that body far less usable for the cause of Christ? The Devil loves it when uncontrollable food appetites sideline a Christian.
Too many Christians are in bondage to food.
Because food is often the Christian’s means to socialize, he has become desensitized to what he will allow in his body. Far too many Christians have stopped realizing it is wrong to overeat. The Christian’s temple is soon no longer a fit place for the Holy Spirit to reside. It is a puzzle to many when a committed Christian, who dresses up on the outside, does not take care of that marvelous creation God made from the inside! “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works….” (Psalm 139:14) The fact is, too many of us (including me) are in bondage to food. Our comfort is food instead of the Holy Spirit.