Are you tired of trying to lose weight by eating less or taking diet pills or going on the newest diet? I have tried them all; some were successful, some were not, but none of them kept the weight off. When I reached goal weight, I eventually went back to eating the way I used to and was proud to lose weight on this diet.
My friend, Julee Rachels, is a woman who is passionate about health and wellness; full of energy, encouragement and an inspiration to everyone. She started a FP4H group at FBC-Longview. I heard it included Bible study. My daughter, Cheryl, and I decided to go to the April session.
At the first meeting, Julee told us about inviting God into the weight-loss process and to give Him a year to change our life. By loving Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, we could achieve a balanced and healthy lifestyle. She asked us to name five reasons we wanted to lose weight. My reasons:
- Improve my health (I had borderline high blood pressure & gastric reflux.)
- Make exercising a habit (I didn’t move much.)
- Look good in my clothes.
- Have more energy (I was depressed and tired.)
- Be pleasing to the Lord!
She asked us to set goals for the 12-week session—they were to be specific, measurable and attainable, relevant to losing weight, and time-based. These were my goals:
- Lose 20 pounds in the next 12 weeks, as I complete each Bible study daily.
- New insights into my “new self”, relying on God and His Word torebuild my thought processes.”
Next she asked, “What will your challenges be to reaching these goals?” I had three:
- To give God first place daily in Bible study and prayer.At 71, this was not an established habit.
- To stay focused on positives and forget the past.
- Memorize and learn to apply Scripture to my life.
After the meeting, Cheryl and I sat in the car and talked. I soon began to cry. She asked, “Mom, what’s going on?” “I can’t do this; it’s overwhelming.” “Mom, can you do Bible study every day?” “Yes.” “Can you pray?” “Yes.” “Can you write down everything you eat and drink?” “Yes.” “Mom, you can do this!” So I began my journey.
- I am a list person, so I began a list of what I needed to do every day.
- Eat breakfast! I was not a fan of breakfast.
- Record everything I eat/drink.
- Have a quiet time with God, doing the Bible study and praying.
- Think about exercising—a big step for me.
I began eating something for breakfast every day. I placed a small spiral bound notebook by my plate; I recorded everything I ate and drank at each meal, the portion size and calorie count, if I could find it. This was a very small but important baby step toward a healthier lifestyle!
I Corinthian 10:23 says “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” As I learned about the Live It food plan, I decided against denying myself certain foods, because I knew if I said “no more,” I would be a slave to wanting it! I needed to want to choose what was beneficial rather than what I wanted.
My night time snack attack was a ¼ cup of M&Ms. Give them up? No Way! I measured a ¼ cup, counted them, read the nutrition food label and figured how many calories for one M&M – 5 calories. Over a long period of time, I reduced the ¼ cup to 6. What I thought was impossible was becoming possible. Matthew 19:26 says, “With God all things are possible.”
Right away I began a steady weight loss. I tracked the quantity and calories of everything I ate and drank. I became aware of what I was eating, how much, and why. For me, this was a “big change!” God was teaching me to separate my eating habits from my emotional well-being. He changed my desire from eating what I wanted to making healthier choices.Romans 6:13 says “Use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” I invited God into my struggles and began to say “yes” to self-control.
I thought about Julee’s story of her friend who had a special chair in her house where she spent quiet time with the Lord. I decided to do that too. I chose a comfortable rocker in a corner of my living room where I could have a space for Bibles, books, paper and pens. Being in that place daily helped me to focus on God and gave me a desire to be in that place with Him. Mark 1:35 says “Jesus went to an isolated place to pray.”
Our first Bible study was Make Every Day Your Best Day. The first memory verse was Isaiah 43:18, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past” On Day 1, I made a list of some things which I needed to forget. On Day 6, I scribbled in the margin of my Bible study book “God is doing a new thing in me!” He was already teaching me how to stay focused on positives and forget past failures. He helped me achieve part of my goal: relying on God and His Word to rebuild my thought processes. He was bringing balance into my thinking.
I was thinking about “my list” for about a month. I resisted it because I had back pain, my feet hurt, it was hard to move and I preferred sitting! Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle. FP4H suggests a daily goal of 10,000 steps. I bought a pedometer to check out my number of steps—only 882 the first day? I realized I would have to work hard at physical activity. I made a commitment to walk twice a week.
On my first walk, I was looking for a place to sit down before the ¼ mile marker where I stopped. It was more than I was able to do physically, emotionally and mentally. I was determined to get a move on and enjoy it. My husband said “I’ll walk with you.” That made me accountable, which I needed. Within a few months, I was walking a mile twice a week without back pain or my feet hurting, and I enjoyed it! During my walks, I memorized verses, reciting the words to the cadence of my steps. John 15:5 was my first one: “Jesus is the vine/ I am the branch/ if I remain in Him/ and He remains in me/ I will bear much fruit/ apart from Jesus/ I can do nothing!” I was changing physically, emotionally and spiritually.
In 12 weeks this is how God was changing my life: I was focused on “doing the next right thing.” Each day I filled out a tracker (a spiral notebook) by my plate at the table. I was eating breakfast every day and enjoying it. When I struggled with choosing healthy food, my verse was Psalm 34:8 “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” I had amazing awareness of my eating habits and choices by practicing mindfulness. Exercise was part of my day. Three days a week my husband and I walked & enjoyed it! My back pain and foot pain were gone. This was truly a miracle from God.
To meet my challenges, I was giving God first place in my life through a daily quiet time of prayer, memorizing Scripture and doing a Bible study. God works in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases Him (Philippians 2:13). 2-3) When I was depressed or emotions threatened to overcome my thinking, I applied a memorized verse: Philippians 4:8: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things.”
At Celebration night in August, I had lost 14 pounds, 9-1/2 inches and felt so good about my progress. I reached my Promised Land in November 2014. I had lost 60 lbs. and 41 inches. My blood pressure returned to normal. My cholesterol levels were continuing to balance into a healthy range. The gastric reflux was healed. There were no more pains in my lower back and feet. God had changed my taste buds so I desired healthier foods.
I’ve maintained my weight for 2+ years. I attribute this success to the daily habit of filling out a tracker, eating to fuel my body, making deliberate healthy food choices, physical activity of some kind each day, walking 30+ minutes at least 3 times a week, continuing in daily prayer, Bible study, memorizing Scripture, and leading a FP4H group with my FP4H BFF, Tracy Moore. We are sisters in Christ; we pray together; we plan together; and we are encouraged, held accountable and prayed for by our group members!
I am a “work in progress” and God continues to reshape my body & renew my health & strength. He is also changing my thought processes, healing emotional hurts, & drawing me closer to Himself!! His power working in me is bringing balance & wellness into all areas of my life.