The Answer to My Struggle with Weight

Tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. I have a date with two supportive ladies and 13.1 miles.  I can hardly believe I am planning to walk/jog that far.  Just three months ago, the thought of walking 13.1 yards didn’t seem particularly appealing.  While I am not lazy, I just didn’t like exercise.  Ok, I still don’t love it, but I have grown to like feeling great, which I do if I exercise.

What changed?  What made me go from sedentary to half-marathoner?

God.  A book. A conviction.

I have struggled with my weight (literally) my entire life.  My birth weight was 11 pounds 3 ounces!  I’ve lost weight many times.  In college I lost 65 pounds my sophomore year.  I’ve tried every diet and program:  Weight Watchers, high carb/low fat, low carb, Atkins, South Beach, no sugar, soup only, and on.  You name it, bet I’ve tried it sometime in my life.

Except for the 65-pound loss in college when I was boy crazy,  I was never successful at losing weight because I have always lacked motivation. After all, my weight has never held me back from goals, dreams, friends, or anything.   Why lose weight?  I have no health problems, take no medications, and my family and friends seem ok with my weight.  I can fit in stylish clothes, participate in most activities, and fit in an airplane seat.  So, really, what’s the big deal?

Before June 26, there was no deal big enough to prompt change in me.

Then, a seemingly insignificant comment from a pastor in a meeting changed my course.  He challenged those at the meeting to pray and fast.  I’d studied fasting in May as I participated in the 30-hour famine, but hadn’t given it much thought since.  But, at this point, I was struggling with lots of decisions both in and out of my control. As I sat in the church service that evening, a broken record played in my ear, “pray and fast.”

So, I did.

No, I didn’t go without eating.  On the advice of a friend, I chose one food /food group that I NEVER thought I could go without:  sugar.  If you’re food pyramid savvy at all, you know sugar includes carbs – my only food group:)   (I did/do eat fruit though.  I just avoid all things white and processed.)

It was excruciating.  And, in the excruciation, I turned where He knew I would – to Him. But, I still felt as if I was trying to control this area of my life and knew God was after me to give it to Him – something I do not do very well.  In fact, because I am terrible at giving God control, I began desperately looking for help. So, I did what I always do – I went to amazon.com.  Books solve all problems…usually:)

The best book?  Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  But, this book had been sitting on my bookshelf for a few months.  In fact, I’d already read it.   Still, I walked to the shelf and started from the beginning.  Something in me knew the answer was in that book.

I finished reading and confessed to God and my husband that weight was/is a spiritual issue for me.  I lean more on self and food than God.

I can’t begin to describe how this book spoke/speaks to me and my issues.  Really, it’s still too personal, and I am still in progress.  I’ve lost 20 pounds, but have about 50 more to go.

To lose the first 20, I’ve done three basic things:  changed my eating habits, started exercising, and leaned into God every minute of every temptation.   I know, I know.  Eating differently and exercising works every time.  Yes, it does.  But, I now know that eating differently and exercising is not possible (for me) without motivation and divine intervention.

Allowing God to satisfy my deepest desires, not food, now serves as my motivation.  I use the temptations and struggle to draw close to Him. My weight is no longer about how I look or feel.  My weight is about being a good steward of the body and life God’s given me.  I have learned that “Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial” (1 Corinthians 10:23) when it comes to food.  So, when I “crave” or  want something outside of my eating plan, I use it as a prayer prompt:  I stop and pray.

Does this work?  Mostly, yes.  I am continually amazed at the food I can resist and the exercise pace I can maintain if I pray through it.  Have I messed up my eating plan and my exercise schedule?  Absolutely.  But, when I do, it’s not the end of the world or the end of my new habits.  It’s a mistake I take to God and pray through – instead of giving up.

I know I am made for more than this.  I know God has a plan that requires my surrender in this area – and my loss of weight.  He wants to use me in a way that’s not possible as long as I am overweight.  I have already been passed over for a volunteer opportunity I truly desired because of my weight, which helped me to see that while God made me who I am and loves me just as I am, I have been made for more.

And, I take comfort and motivation from knowing God loves me just as I am.  It makes me want to be more for Him and in Him.  As Lysa says in her book, “Life as  a Christ follower will always be a learning process for depending less on our own strength and more on God’s power.”  And for me in this season, “The testing of (my) faith developed perseverance (which) must finish its work so that (I) may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:3-4).

Many have asked me about both my weight loss and half-marathon training, so I hope this post sheds some light.  When asked in person, I often give a quick answer or avoid the topic because it’s still quite emotional for me.  I have so much more to say/details to give, but will leave those for another time./post.  Yet, if you have questions or need help in this area, please ask me or a friend.  I could never walk through this alone.  I depend on my husband and friend Ashley to keep me going most days.  I’ll let you know how I progress:)

Resources

 

Comments

  1. Congratulations!!! That is awesome! I also read her book (twice) and am on the same journey. This time, it’s about getting healthy and depending on God, instead of a diet. I have lost 15 lbs and many inches, workout 3-5 times consistently and make better choices overall. Keep up the great job!

    • Tammy – Thanks for the encouragement! It’s always great to know that others are on the same journey. Please stay in touch as you progress…I love hearing success stories! They remind me that I can do it:)

  2. Sarah do not give up now. Lean in and draw the strength that you need from God. He is a promise keeper and He will never leave you or forsake you while you walk out this journey. I am rooting for you.

  3. Sarah, emotions run thru me as I write you….you practically mirror my reflections of my life….except that I haven’t had the wonderful breakthru that you have yet. I thank God for you and that He is working this in you. I, too, have struggled with weight my entire life and now, at age 42, I KNOW that God is trying to send me a message in all my struggles. I have the book “Made To Crave” and I have read it once and it was fabulous….but my sinful self is battling with God. My head KNOWS what I need to do ~ PRAY constantly and consistantly about my lack of will power and then LEAN on my Father and REST in HIm, knowing that He will do this battle for me. But, do I do this??? Sadly no. Your testimony speaks to me, makes me sad for myself because of my blatent disobedience to my Father who loves me unspeakably….and puts up with me, but still loves me. I will pray for you Sarah, because God is doing a wonderful thing in your life….that all points to Him! Praise be to our Father!

    • Crystal,
      I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to even comment because i was in the same place just a few months ago – so I thank you for sharing.

      In the past, I’ve had every excuse/justification ready. But, God, can do anything – even overcome my physical ailments and excuses. I am praying for your breakthrough. I am praying you have that one moment that I had…the one where you don’t know how or why, but you know you HAVE to change. The moment when you know God will walk with you and pick you up each time you stumbled. Please know that I’ve stumbled a LOT. I’ve had bad weeks, not just bad days. But, he wont let me go – and He promises you the SAME thing:)

      I remember a time when I was going to weight watchers. I was driving home – inspired by the meeting – but I had not lost a single pound. I was thinking…God doesn’t care about my weight…he’s too busy with world affairs. I had this impression….God saying – I not only care about your weight, but you’ll only be successful when you do it my way. Not even that moment changed me. Still..it was a seed that eventually grew into a small plant – and now I am growing some branches and leaves (so to speak:) And, I am keenly aware that trees NEVER stop growing, meaning my journey will last a lifetime – never ending. That’s scary to me!

      So, today, I see “seeds” in you…you’ve read, you know what to do! I pray that you begin to grow toward the idea – accepting that the journey is lifelong, but that HE (the creator of the Universe!) will be with you every single step of the way:) Please keep in touch! I”d love to walk with you:)
      Sarah

  4. Sarah, I just read your story on Lysa’s email which comes to my email inbox every day. God knew I needed to hear from someone I could completely relate to. THANK YOU for being transparent enough to write what you wrote. I have the Made to Crave book and DVD. I’ve had it for 4 months. I haven’t started because I know it will work. Does that make sense? I am entering the last 3rd of my life and I have known for 10 years that God wanted to do something through me that made it necessary for me to be at optimum weight and muscle strength; and, because I love food more than I love His Will, I ignored Him. Today began with yet another urging in His Word to be obedient; then, on the radio; then, again on the radio. I really do not know why I am so loathe to invite Him to break this stronghold, but I am. I have been on a slippery slope (another of Lysa’s postings) for a long long time. I see very clearly the deceitfulness of my heart and that only rebellion can come from that place. I am asking God to give me a new heart that beats only for Him and a new motivation that looks past the temporary comfort found in my favorite delicacies and on to the excitement of walking in the Spirit. I am subscribing to your blog. Please don’t stop writing

    • Janet,
      You’re so welcome! Thank you for taking time to encourage me:)

      “I haven’t started because I know it will work.” When I read this, I began to wonder….is that what took me so long? Fear? Fear that Lysa was right? God cared about this issue? I think so! I never realized it before, but engaging in the Made to Crave journey brings life change – and maybe deep down some of us don’t want it as bad as we think we do? I am unsure (honestly), but I plan to pray and ponder about this. I’ve heard from a few women today who say the same thing: I’ve read the book, I know I should, but I can’t. I think you’re on to something that could benefit many:)

      I’ll pray for a new heart and for motivation for you.. . Isn’t motivation really the key? My motivation is God – remembering that he is everything – the only reason i exist. I also am motivated by the potential of missed blessings. I wonder what he has in store, what work he plans for me, what “thing” he wants me to do that I may miss out on if I am not obedient.

      Thanks for subscribing! I love writing…and hope God continues to tell me what to write.

      Sarah:)

  5. Thank you for sharing your story!!! I found your blog through Lysa’s email this morning. I have read Made to Crave and have been on this “healthy journey” since January. While I have lost weight and inchces since January, I’ve become a bit discouraged because the silly scale hasn’t moved since about May. I’ve stayed on my 3-5 days of exercise and eating better (no white processed, no sugar– mostly, and more fruits, veggies & fiber) but haven’t been seeing results. I loved that you said, “its a mistake I take to God and pray through — instead of give up!!” I’m going to get back on track and continue heading toward a good steward of ALL God has given me. Thank you for being willing to be transperant!! May God give you strenght each day to get up, get moving and give Him praise!!! Blessings from Florida!!

    • Oh, Pamela, how I can identify with a stuck scale:( I recently had a three pound loss, but for the two weeks before that – nothing! Praying for you as you get back on track…sometimes I “get back on track” more than once in a day. This is definitely a journey as I have to continually lean into HIm – over and over:)

      Thanks so much for you comment and encouragement:)
      Sarah:)

  6. Sarah,

    I really enjoyed reading your blog today after seeing Lysa share it today. I am on a very similar journey as I believe God has a special plan for my life and I was made for more – I am just not sure what that is yet. I am about to lead Lysa’s Made to Crave Bible Study at our church for the second time and I am excited to continue on this journey with God’s help and strength as well as the accountability and encouragement from other ladies in the group.

    You can do this with God’s help. That is what we have to keep remembering – God did not intend for us to do this alone. Lysa included this in one of her blog posts: “I must do all I can do. Then God will do what only He can do.” My pastor, Steven Furtick, says “You bring the natural. God will bring the super. And that’s what creates supernatural.”

    • Pam –
      You’re so blessed to have a group at church to journey with! I’d love to have that:) And, I know you’re searching for what God has in store for you…knowing you’re made for more…but I think leading a Made to Crave study is an excellent start – an awesome calling.

      Coincidentally, I NEVER miss a message from Elevation – how awesome that’s your church! I listen to Steven Furtick as I exercise…along with Perry Noble, Craig Groeschel, Mark Driscoll, JD Greear, and others.

      Thanks so much for your encouragement…and Pastor Furtick is right…God is still bringing the super if we’re obedient in the natural:)

      Blessings to you and your group!
      Sarah:)

  7. Oh thank you so much for this post, Sarah! You are an inspiration! Lysa’s book (I actually have yet to read it, but I have heard her speak about the subject on Focus on the Family) really opened up my eyes to the idea of food becoming a spiritual issue, and as I listened to her I realized that yes, this definitely applies to me. One thing she said particularly nailed me, “Why can God give me victory in every area except my weight?” (my paraphrase) – that’s where I’m at! He’s been helping me to gain (no pun intended) victory little by little but it is a CONSTANT struggle!! It is so encouraging to see a sister gaining that victory as well and it gives me hope that it IS indeed possible if I will, in your words, LEAN into Him!! Keep up the good work! He is faithful!

    • Joy – Thanks so much for the encouragement! It’s nice to know other women exist who are also journeying on the weight loss road. I, too, wondered why God would not allow me to have victory in this area. Finally, I realized he couldn’t give victory because I was keeping partial control and/or trying to do it half my way/half his way. Now, I have to daily give it over to him – one ‘no” at a time….it IS a constant struggle!

      Blessings to you on your journey…keep in touch 🙂
      Sarah

  8. Thank you Sarah….would you mind if I have your email so I can talk more with you, as the Lord leads? I just struggle to share my heart …. for someone I could be accountable to…… If you feel its OK, I would love to personally email you. Again, thank you for your openess.

  9. Sarah, thank you so much for sharing your journey and struggle and triumph! I want to be like you! 😉 I have felt the soft prodding in my heart yet have not found a lot of motivation…lets just say I identify with a lot of what you have said. I know that the extra 40 lbs I’m carrying have held me back from some things that God wants for me. Like you I’m not ill from the weight and I am very active but I know that I’m made for more than this. I recently reached out to my girlfriends for help and have read Made to Crave. It might just be time to read it again. I am praying today for my eyes to be opened to see where I am falling down. I have an eating plan and exercise routine, I’m just not seeing the scale moving yet and it is frustrating. I know God has a plan and it’s because of that still small voice that I know it’s time to lose this weight once and for all. I appreciate your honesty and look forward to hearing more from you.

    • Wow, Shasta, it sounds like we’re walking a very similar path:) And, while I have had some triumph, I have so much further to go. Each day I still have to hand over the control to Him and say no, no, and no. It’s still hard.

      I can sympathize with a stuck scale too! I recently went two weeks – no change – not even a pound. It was so discouraging. But, that’s where your support comes in…to keep you going. And, that’s where I usually meet God – in the frustration and hopelessness – when I cry out to Him and ask for his strength in my weakness. I know…so easier said than done!

      Please stay in touch and keep me updated on your journey …prayers coming your way!
      Sarah:)

  10. Monica P. Watkins says:

    Sarah, I just want you to know that I ran out to Barnes & Noble on my lunch break to pick up Lysa’s Made to Crave book because of your post. I’ve been “intending” to purchase the book for months, but would always put it off. I had one excuse after another, from I don’t really think I need it to I don’t have anyone to read it with. I even wrote a blog post about it a while back and asked if anyone would be interested in taking the journey with me. There were no takers, and that allowed me to put it off some more. Technically, I’m probably “overweight” by 2 or 3 pounds, literally. However, I’ve been haunted practically all of my life by my weight, fear of being “big”, and a sweet tooth that mocks me every chance it gets. I knew/know I need a new perspective on this craving, and somewhere deep down inside, I feel like this book will help. I hadn’t even finished reading your blog post when I decided to go pick up the book at lunch. At first I simply reserved it at a location close to home. I told myself, “cool! They will hold it for 3 days, so I have plenty of time to go get it.” I’m sure you can guess where that “intention” would have ended up. Let’s face it, intentions without actions are pretty darn useless. Instead, I decided to brave lunch traffic in a heavy business and shopping district to go to pick up the book on my lunch break. Your story was very encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

    • Monica –
      I am the queen of excuses and justification…sadly. I always immediately by the newest weight loss or “grow closer to God” book, start reading it, and decide it takes too much effort.

      I admire you for seeing you have food “issues” even if they might not look like others’ issues. I know this book will help you and your fear of being big. Made to Crave helps you see it’s all about God, not the food:)

      So glad you braved the traffic and sacrificed your lunch for this book…it’s worth it. Prayers to you as you begin this journey:)

      Sarah:)

  11. Brenda Schiesser says:

    This is so from God……..I’ve never heard of you before and yet here I am reading your blog about your weight loss with the help of Lysa’s book. I have spent some time today contemplating going to my doctor again to see if she has a weight loss drug that I can handle. Last year she started me on one that my body did not like at all so I stopped taking it. I did lose about 15 pounds and have kept most of it off but here it is the end of Sept. and I’m facing a long Michigan winter. I was going to ask my doctor if there was something else she could prescribe me that would kick start the process again even though I hate taking drugs of any kind. So I go to my email and there’s a message from Lysa to read your blog. I wanted to get Lysa’s book when it first came out and even talked a bit at church about doing it as a Bible study but no one seemed interested so I let it drop but I have not stopped wanting to read the book and see if there was something in it that would help me. I am believing that God sent this message to me tonight because He doesn’t want me to take drugs either. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m going to buy that book!

    • Brenda, What part of Michigan do you live in? We are currently doing the “Made To Crave” study at our church. We are at Harvest Bible Chapel Detroit West. We are located in Westland, MI. If you are in that area, we’d love to have you join us! You can email me at mistimoffat@gmail.com for more info.

      • Brenda Schiesser says:

        Hi Misti……I live in Marshall, about 1 1/2 hrs west of you. That’s just a bit to far to drive. I go to Calvary Chapel Battle Creek. Thank you for your kind offer, though. If I were closer, I’d certainly take you up on it.

        Hugs,
        Brenda

    • Hi Brenda. I just purchased and started reading the book yesterday. I’m all the way in GA, but I’d be more than happy to chat about online with you if you are unable to find a local group of women to join. Let me know.

      • Monica and Brenda –
        I’d love to create and online discussion group! We can read together and “meet” weekly. A wiki, facebook group, skype, or something similar. Please let me know if you’d be interested. I’m sure we’d have some others interested too:)
        Sarah:)

    • Brenda –
      I am so glad God led you to my blog and not to the doctor:) I have tried multiple weight loss drugs too. One made me so dizzy that I could barely walk. Others just made me feel sick. I often kept taking them to lose weight, but as soon as I quit taking the medicine, I gained it all back.

      I think you’ll be so blessed by Made to Crave. No meds involved – just leaning into a faithful God who wants to help you in this area because He made you for more:)

      I’d love for you to stay in touch as you read the book- I am even thinking of forming an online group. We can all read and talk together – at least electronically. (Let me know if you’d be interested:)

      Praying for you!
      Sarah:)

  12. Congratulations!!
    I participated in my first half marathon earlier this year and the sense of accomplishment was amazing! Hope you feel fantastic!! And keep up the great work. Many blessings x

  13. This entry has brought me to tears. This is the struggle I cannot seem to overcome. I have also tried to lose weight. For months I watched my calories and was on the treadmill and lost very little. I have felt out of control and have gained back all that I lost. I feel God is trying to tell me to FOCUS on Him in this area and give Him the glory. I just feel lost and like I don’t know what that means or even where to begin. This seems to be the only battle in my life I cannot get a grip on or overcome. I will be purchasing that book because I believe some answers lie within it and it will be a great motivational tool. Thank you for sharing your struggles and opening your heart!

    • Lisa,
      I have always felt the exact same way – I can accomplish most anything I set my mind to – except weight loss!

      As you read, keep in touch….I’d love to support you in your journey:) (I may even form an online reading/support group:)
      Sarah:)

  14. Monica P. Watkins says:

    Sarah, I would LOVE to participate in an online discussion group. Please count me in. Just let me know the details. I have the book and am ready to start whenever.

    • I am talking to a techie friend of my to figure out the best way to do it! As soon as I get it all set up, I’ll let you know:) I”ll also post about it on the blog:) Looking forward to it!

  15. Yay! Looking forward to it Sarah!

  16. Thank you Sarah for your blog. Your words lept off my computer screen and spoke right to me!
    I bought Lysa’s book last weekend and finished it at 3:30am this morning.
    I wrote several things that you said inside the front cover of my book. “My weight is a spiritual issue for me” , “My weight is no longer about how I look or feel” , “I know that God has a plan that requires my surrender in this area & my loss of weight. He wants to use me in a way that’s not possible as long as I am overweight.”
    I know God loves me just as I am, but I so limit His power in my life. Through God’s grace & power I have overcome alcohol, drugs, addictive relationships, sexual abuse/assault. I share my testimony whenever I am lead.
    For the past year I’ve have felt the Lord sweetly asking me to let Him bring victory to my life concerning my struggle with food.
    Earlier in the spring while eating several small bags of cheetos I found myself just wishing Jesus would come back so I could be in heaven and be free of this bondage & idol worship of food. He told me he wasn’t coming back until I experienced His freedom on this earth in this area of my life. Now, I know I’m not holding up the second coming of Christ, but I got His message for me loud and clear. 🙂
    My pastor tells us frequently that we are alive at this particular time in the world for a specific purpose and reason. What would Jesus find us doing with our lives if He chose to return during our lifetime. I do not want to be sitting on my red couch eating orange cheetos!
    I’ve told my husband about the spiritual journey I am about to take. My friend, and spiritual mentor, Jennifer is coming along side me. We have chosen a healthy food plan and will be going grocery shopping tomorrow.
    Thank you again for your post and allowing God to use you to remind us that we are never alone in our struggles. We always have Him and our sisters in Christ!

  17. Debbie Curry says:

    Sara thank you for sharing with me,and thank you for talking to me about this book,like I said I am in a funk with eating and everything else,Its one thing I need to do is to rely on God more on a lot of thing,some times I get so busy,I need to stop and start talking to God more and rely on him more. Thank you again
    Debbie Curry

  18. Jamillah says:

    Hi, I am Jamillah. I’ve always been larger than others in my family, but I want actually obese until I got to college and gained nearly 100 lbs. In high school, I hated myself and thought I was fat and ugly (since that’s what everyone, including family, kept telling (or hinting at) me. I think I am in a much better place emotionally than I was then. But… I’m still not completely happy with myself at this weight and I don’t know that I’ll ever be as long as I remain this size. I hate taking pictures and my friends think I’m being a bad sport about it and it’s no big deal, but to me it’s huge. It’s huge being 23, in the prime of life, being obese. You get ignored. My friend complains about having a nice body because of the way men look at her. I rather have been look at me than be invisible because I’m considered unattractive. I have nice clothes and fashion sense, but I can’t really present myself like I would like to at this weight.

    This year, I’ve made dietary changes and I think it’s helping, but I’m still not losing weight. I started off exercising too, but stopped for a couple weeks because I got hurt, which broke my streak. I tore my ACL in 2012 and haven’t had surgery. The injury limits exactly how much I can do (although I would love to do . Short intense workout). Last year, I developed tendonitis in my Achilles, and it flares up from time to time, which limits me even more. I dont know what to do at this point. I’m tired of hearing accept yourself and oh you look fine, as though my concerns aren’t serious. I want to be lean (not a stick) and healthy. What can I do with all this stacked against me?

Trackbacks

  1. […] I said in my previous post, a meeting in late June in which we were asked to fast and pray was the game changer for me; I […]

  2. […] week, I read this blog post by a young lady named Sarah. In this post Sarah shares her story about how the book has really […]

  3. […] I am thankful for the weight I have lost and the improvement in my health, it’s not enough.  I look toward 5 more, 10 more, 50 more […]

  4. […] a pastor at my church challenged the leadership to pray and fast on June 26, and I began pursuing a new lifestyle on June 27.  When I began that Monday morning, I could barely walk from my house across the bridge […]

  5. […] work is, how, or when, but I know He called me on this journey.  (You can read about my motivation here and […]

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