|My family in 2003|
Have I told you that I lost 50 pounds about a year after I recovered from cancer? I thought you might find it interesting to hear how that happened.
First, a little background. I have always wanted to lose more weight. Even when I was thin in High School. During my high school years and the four years after high school, prior to marriage, things looked pretty good, but after marriage I gained twenty pounds right away, and never lost it again. I went up and down over the years finally reaching a high when my children were approaching their teen years. I wanted my teenage children to love and respect me and my example to be able to be followed (small children will love you no matter what you look like, but when they reach the age of understanding, they may lose respect for you as they start to evaluate things and judge them for themselves. Then they may discount what you tell them in spiritual areas, too. I had always wanted to be thin by the time they reached their teenage years, at least).
This motivated me and before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had lost about 25 pounds, but still needed to lose much more. During surgery something happened. When I came out of surgery I was 20 pounds lighter than when I went in. (I don’t think the football-sized tumor weighed that much! That is, by the way, not my recommended method of weightloss:) But the weight quickly came back on. I live an ironic life, and of course, did not experience the one good thing about cancer: I was not one of those who became “very thin” and “had trouble” because I “lost too much weight” during cancer and chemotherapy!
About a year later, I had been going through a Bible study on the Commands of Christ and studying Matthew 7, and reading commentary by different writers, when I happened to read the writing of a man who had lost an enormous amount of weight, and had kept it off. He was a Christian, and as I read, his words convicted me to the core. I was a sinner. I was a glutton. I broke down and wept right there at the computer. I was totally broken. It was a moment of truth for me. I liken my response to a drunk pouring all his liquor down the toilet. I turned from my sin and went in the opposite direction. I began losing weight.
Here is what I did, as best I can remember:
- I cried out to God before every bite I ate, and asked Him, “Please give me the supernatural self-control to eat the right thing, in the right amount, at the right time, for the rest of my life, but especially right now, and until I get down to ___lbs.” (This was a range and varied at times.) And then I trusted and obeyed.
- I was very serious about sin. God gave me eyes to see myself and my sin as very like an alcoholic who “had to have” his drink. I would imagine myself standing at the kitchen counter or in front of the refrigerator, and I imagined myself looking like a pathetic drunk, almost shaking in the struggle to overcome my appetite for food, just as a drunk would fight the appetite for liquor. It was a vivid image and disgusted me.
- I would spit out or throw away any bite of food if I suddenly realized I should not have taken it. I would not swallow it! I had a serious and deep fear of the Lord! I felt that God had given me time after time of forgiveness and mercy, and I was presuming on His mercy, stomping on His grace to think that I could just keep on sinning, and expecting that He would forgive me and help me the next time.
- I thought through and planned out exactly what I was going to eat ahead of time (including potlucks and eating out) and committed to not eat anything, if what I knew I needed to eat wasn’t available. This didn’t take a lot of time (at least after awhile). I asked the Lord to show me what I needed to eat. The knowledge of what to do wasn’t the issue. Obedience was.
- I envisioned how I would feel after the event–the feeling of victory–and the joy and satisfaction I would have from doing what was right and not giving in to sin for the moment.
- He answered my prayers, gave me the self-control, and that is how I lost weight!
- He led me to a daily eating pattern (keeping in mind that I am a small-boned, short, sedentary person and had been not only a cancer patient, but border-line diabetic at one time in my life, and had gotten it under control through diet, so was familiar with the diabetic diet).
My Daily Goals:
- Eat less than 1050 calories
- Eat less than 30% fat
- Eat no sweets, or white sugar
- Eat whole grains, fruits and vegetables (goal to avoid the return of cancer)
- Eat three small meals a day
- Eat consistently (no splurges, or starving or skipping meals–just steady faithfulness by God’s grace)
Whenever asked, I gave all the glory to God, for I knew it was He who was doing it! I could not! I have no self-control, or at least not this kind. During the 6 or 7 month period of time in which I lost the weight, I could count on one hand the bites of food which I had eaten which were not what I should eat. I know that the clear conscience I maintained and the powerful testimony which God gave me caused satan to flee. It became easier and easier to follow this pattern. I felt as though I could eat this way for the rest of my life.
Slipping Into Sin
Unfortunately, I began to think that it was more my effort which was taking the weight off, not God answering my prayers and giving me supernatural self-control. In my heart, if not in my words, I was giving God less and less of the credit.
After a few years of keeping the weight off, (which was miraculous for me) I began to gain just the littlest bit of weight. Up until then, I had gained not a pound (I still wanted to lose more weight). I became panicky. The next year I gained just a little more. I didn’t know what to do. Nothing I did seemed to help. I did not have a habit of exercise. To make a long story short, after 7 years I have gained all the weight back.
This is “Victorious in Christ” Monday. How does this message fit? Well, I believe that God is faithful, and He still deserves glory for what He did in my life. Do we not tell of His triumphs and victories, and His amazing power, because we fell into sin in a later time? This is not the example in God’s Word. (Just read the Israelites’ story all through the Old Testament!)
God’s power was amazing in my life! I hope that my testimony will impact someone else to believe that God is powerful enough to change them!
I also believe He will yet answer that my prayers, and am praying for a work in my life to demonstrate that power, and will give Him all the glory, as He gives me ability to overcome my besetting sins. (I believe that those who do not have this besetting sin, but who look at others with a condescending, proud, and belittling attitude, thinking that others should just be “like them” and are proud of what “they” have accomplished in their own power: well, satan already has them, and may actually help them to lose weight and become more physically fit, because the besetting sin of pride is so entrenched in, and connected with their physical fitness, ability, beauty or prowess.) It doesn’t matter the sin, God has the power to deal with it. Satan is a defeated foe. Praise the Lord for His power, and I covet your prayers in this regard.