I was a little overweight as a young adult but after my first child was born, I went on a severely restricted diet of 500 calories a day for 2 months. No doubt I lost all the weight I hoped to lose but it ruined my body and set me up to gain it all back, and then some. As soon as I saw my goal weight on the scale, I wanted to eat and eat. It has been a yoyo of dieting and regaining from that point until two years ago when I reached my highest weight of 252 lbs. I was pretty discouraged and had come to a place where I knew I had to make a choice. At the age of 60, I knew that life was either going to wind down for me and head me for the rocking chair (or wheelchair) or I was going to thrive and be fully engaged in ministry as a missionary. My prayer was that I did not want to start any program unless I was certain it was the right one because I couldn’t afford another weight loss followed by gaining it back plus more.
After Christmas lunch in 2017, I stopped eating all desserts, candy, and sweets. I have kept that commitment over the past two years. I learned after getting sugar out of my system that I no longer needed or wanted it. The Lord really enabled me to do this. Most of the time now food is like an essential tool and not something I overthink about. My love for the Lord has grown and I feel a tremendous sense of His love for me, not condemnation. He is what I live for and I am grateful to still be active in life and ministry.
On my way home from a difficult ministry trip in Asia, I was walking through the massive airport. I had a blister on my foot from wearing the wrong shoes, so I was walking slow and really struggling to keep up with my husband. While limping along, I began to worry about what I will be like when I am an older woman and if people would have to take care of me because I didn’t take care of myself. I was afraid of being isolated due to obesity and illness that I could avoid by living a healthy lifestyle.
A couple of days after I returned home, I clearly felt the Lord speak to me that He would walk with me. I would not be alone. This was a turning point. Shortly after that, I discovered Weight Loss, God’s Way through a Bible.org 21 day devotional. That was the beginning of my journey. I was in the same airport a few 2 years later and remembered the previous experience. I gave praise to the Lord for revived strength to carry out the ministry He has called us to. I am grateful that I have not quit and I refuse to settle and coast through the rest of my life.
These verses really help to reinforce the “why” for my weight loss and overall health management.
- Job 23:10-12 (CSB). Yet he knows the way I have taken; when he has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold. My feet have followed in his tracks; I have kept to his way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commands from his lips; I have treasured the words from his mouth more than my daily food.
- 1 Peter 4:7 (ESV). 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
- Acts 20:24 (ESV). 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Writing my vision for being healthy was very helpful, but probably more than that, was writing my reason why. I wrote: God has called me to encourage new missionaries as they begin serving the Lord in difficult places. I want to encourage them to take care of their health so I need to be an example of why that will be so important in their relationship with God and how it will have an effect on their work. I personally need to be healthy and in order to have the strength to travel to remote and difficult places in the world. Either I get in shape now, or I will not be able to fulfill these assignments and be able to minister to others.
The Breakthrough course was the most helpful because it led me to address my specific issues relating to my health and life. This may be the most important thing I did in being successful. It helped me discover what my real eating issues were and how to overcome them. I also learned how to set goals and be strategic in my health plan.
I currently weigh 195 lbs—halfway to my goal of 135. I can now tie my shoes without gasping for breath. I can even kneel down and tie them if I’m in public—and get back up. I can go up and down steps with no more pain in my knees. I can buckle my seatbelt on airplanes without needing an extension or gasping for breath trying to buckle it. I have a good amount of energy and alertness. I can sit on the floor with my grandkids and go hiking with my family. My blood sugar levels are much more stable.
My advice to other women is to realize that the major diet decisions you make for losing weight need to be life decisions, not temporary. It is really important to understand what your individual health issues are. The plan we choose needs to be specific for us and it might not be the same as someone else who is also striving to lose weight. The more you can understand about your emotional needs, spiritual needs, and physical needs, and adjust your health plan accordingly, the better your plan is going to suit you.
Cathy Morenzie frequently talks about what the weight-reducing process looks like with her chart ‘What success actually looks like’. There are a lot of ups and downs. It may take us longer than we thought it would. Even though I’ve been on a plateau for quite a while (I call it practicing maintenance), I never thought I was done or that I was going to settle with my success to this point. The big difference with this plan compared to others is that we are setting up patterns and habits for life, not just while we are reducing. Getting it clear in my mind that the changes I am incorporating are for life, I do not want to go back to where I was before. We should not get discouraged with small ups and downs in our weight but if there is a major increase, we need to take the time to pray, evaluate and review our vision. And by God’s strength, we can do this.