Weight Loss: Are We Fighting The Wrong Battle?
- Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Are you tired of battling your weight? Tired of feeling bad about your body? Do you feel like a failure every time you don’t meet your weight loss goals?
Like so many of us as I have gotten older, the pounds have crept up. Always very petite and thin, I never realized how tough it was to lose weight until recently.
I know that I am not alone.
The most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. According to Marketdata, weight-loss industry revenues approach $60 Billion. The CDC estimates that 66% of American adults are overweight and 34% of us are obese. We are suffering numerous health problems that include joint damage, heart disease and diabetes. All this should be motivation enough.
So why is it so hard to lose weight and keep it off? Perhaps we hunger for something more than food.
I recently had the opportunity to talk to New York Times best-selling author Lysa Terkeurst about this very issue. The president of Proverbs 31 Ministries has always struck me with how forthcoming she is about the struggles in her life. Her latest book Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food is no exception. Lysa speaks candidly about the difficult journey of learning to replace the momentary satisfaction we get from fries and chocolate cake with the eternal peace and fulfillment that can only come from a deeper relationship with God. Made to Crave is not a diet book or new weight-loss plan. Instead, it relates Lysa’s personal epiphany that God made us to “crave,” but He wants us to crave more of Him.
Deborah J. Thompson: Lysa, I was fortunate to hear you speak recently and was stuck by how open and honest you were about some extremely painful events in your life such as the death of your little sister, your sexual abuse as a child, and growing up with a biological father who withheld love and affection. In your latest book Made to Crave you describe an unhealthy relationship with food. Are all these things related?
Lysa TerKeurst:To some extent I think they are because we can’t separate out different segments of our lives, especially women. Every experience, every circumstance can quickly become our identity if we are not careful. But God has been teaching me that while circumstances are specific… they don’t have to define who I am. I always felt like, Lord--you can deal with every issue in my life. You can deal with my insecurity, my shame, my anger, but we are not going to touch the food area because that is the one place that is very comforting for me.
But one day I was reading Psalm 23, and I had to get brutally honest with myself when I read what the Lord is supposed to be: my guide, my shepherd, my comfort, my deliverer. And if I was honest when I looked at that list, I felt like I had taken food and replaced the Lord with food. When I was stressed, I didn’t hit my knees and pray. That wasn’t my first reaction. I would pray, but my first reaction was that I wanted something to make me feel better. If I was sad, I wanted food. If I was happy and celebrating something, I wanted food. And when I started connecting the realities, I discovered that I was underweight spiritually and overweight physically. I discovered that I elevated food to a very dangerous spiritual place in my life — it had become an idol.
DJT: As women, we are bombarded with images in fashion and the media that give us unrealistic expectations about our looks and our bodies. But does it go deeper than that — why are we so susceptible to these false messages?
LT:Well, partly because we are constantly bombarded with them all the time. And as women, we want to fit in; we want to be validated, and we want to feel beautiful. So when the world tells you that beauty equals 120 pounds, that beauty equals a size 2 — when the world keeps that message in front of us every single day, it can do a number on our hearts and on our minds.
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