Weighing In on Your Weight-Loss Battle
Jill lost 17 pounds and went down to a size 4. Barbara lost 50 pounds and finally is able to fit into her size 12 pants. But, hey, that’s nothing compared to Stephanie who lost 75 pounds and not only fits into her size 6 pants, size 8 dress, but also feels like her life has begun afresh, with a brand new perspective!
Get me away from the numbers, please! It’s hard enough knowing that I am not the “right” size! Just tell me I will finally feel better and will not struggle any more with my self-worth, esteem, and identity issues!
Let’s face it: the real issue with any weight loss commercial that we see as women goes much deeper than just the need to get healthy.
The real issue goes to the core of who we are as women – a desire to be seen as beautiful, a desire to be of great worth to someone. It is a desire that we all have, and it was placed there by the Creator Himself. Why? So that we might seek fulfillment in Him.
Every January brings in more weight loss commercials than I desire to count. And every January brings a temptation to believe old lies. I remember in high school feeling like I was the fattest girl out of all my friends simply because I could not fit into a pair of size 0,2,or even 4 jeans. I drank SlimFast to replace my lunch sometimes (and gagged almost every time I took a sip). I got up early to workout at the gym about 4 times a week before school,something I never saw another girl my age doing! I counted calories. I spent way too much time in front of my full-length mirror at home tugging at my shirts to make my waist look thin. And I always took a jacket to school to cover my legs when I sat down, for they were imperfect in comparison to the other girls in the class. However, I loved food so much I couldn’t bring myself to stop eating altogether, and since I couldn’t stand throwing up, I couldn’t get rid of calories by doing that either.
All I could hear in my head was that I was not pretty enough, not thin enough, and not good enough. All I could hear were words of condemnation. But, all I wanted was to be free.
Where does this condemnation start? It starts with the Enemy who is out to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Each January brings in hundreds of weight loss commercials that simply remind us women a cultural expectation they haven’t met. Let’s face a few facts about the weight loss issue:
- 108 million dieters in the U.S. make at least 4-5 attempts a year to diet.
- 85% of dieters are women.
- The weight loss industry reels in about $20 billion a year.
- The Federal Trade Commission found that nearly 40% of weight loss ads used a false representation, and 55% were most likely false and/or lacked sufficient evidence for validity.
These numbers make me realize that, as women, we can be obvious targets, and that the weight-loss industry is making money off our weaknesses. But, the weight-loss industry isn’t the problem – We definitely need personal trainers, nutritionists, and fitness companies to build a healthier country. But, women must be on guard against the lies that the Enemy feeds us
through the ads we see every year, especially this time of year.
Where is the line between glorifying God with my body through a healthy lifestyle and allowing a healthy lifestyle to become an idol?
I have walked this line for several years now, and let me tell you it is a fine one. But, by God’s grace He gives us His Truth to lean on when we face the definition of this line. If you are to begin a healthy lifestyle, you must ground yourself first in Truth. If you begin the journey of changing your current lifestyle to a healthier one simply by sheer determination and self-motivation, I can almost guarantee you will fail miserably.
1 Timothy 4:18 says, For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. We ought to train physically, because in many ways it reflects the discipline of our walk with the Lord. But our ultimate our goal is godliness. A healthy lifestyle can reveal godliness in our own lives. In her book, Made to Crave, Lysa Terkeurst confirms this by writing: “Not only do our actions need to reflect the self-control the Holy Spirit affords us, but our sense of identity needs to reflect His presence in our lives as well.” In other words, even though the disheartening facts about weight-loss advertising hit us every year, and we face the temptation to believe unhealthy lies every year, we can still glorify the Lord and point others to Christ by pursuing a healthy lifestyle filled with discipline and wise choices about what goes into our bodies.
My dear friend, Michelle Myers, overcame a deathly battle with anorexia by God’s grace, and can testify that the battle “is not over – it’s like any stumbling block. Satan knows my struggles. He tries to put those thoughts back in my head and to warp the mirror when I look in it. Most of the time, I am able to overcome the temptation ‘through Christ who gives me strength’ (Philippians 4:13). On rare occasions, I slip, falling into old patterns.”
It is not about perfection.
It is not about the numbers.
It is about godliness.
It is about where and on Whom your identity is grounded.
As you face the continuous weight-loss commercials, ask yourself: Am I honoring God first and foremost with the way that I live, eat, and move? What lies am I believing about my body, worth, and identity? What does God’s Word say about all of this? My challenge to you is simply this: Pray for God to reveal His Truth to you about who you are in Christ and to help you in living a healthy lifestyle that honors His Name above any other.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
For more resources, check out www.myerscrosstraining.com, Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst, or seek a nutritionist.
Terkeurst, Lysa. 2010 Zondervan. Made to Crave. p72
Michelle Myers. http://www.myerscrosstraining.com/my-story/