"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
Anyone who knows me knows that my mind wanders, often. My husband says, "You're love boating again," referring to the 1970's hit sitcom, The Love Boat, that features multiple story-lines in each episode. It drives him crazy when I bounce from one idea to the next. It seems my blog is taking on the same characteristic. I've jumped from stages of change to accountability measures, and from referencing secular articles to spirit-filled books. The common thread among them all is my journey to health, and my freedom from food addiction.
This morning I want to focus on Gwen Shamblin's WeighDown weight loss approach. She states, "the typical weight-loss program suggests losing weight through diet (large volumes of low-calorie foods) and exercise. We suggest that if you lost the passion for food, the result will be that you eat less food and therefore lose weight permanently. The typical diet approach tries to fix the body or the food, but not the passion. Our approach fixes the heart first, and the body follows."
Yes! This is the approach I need to take. I have yo-yo dieted my whole life. Sometimes I found success, but I always put the weight back on. I don't want to be a slave to dieting, anymore than I want to be a slave to food addiction! I want to be free from any and all strongholds in my life. I know I have the power of self-control. I just want to learn how to tap into that power.
Gwen Shamblin likens the journey of weight loss to the book of Exodus. She states, "you are on an Exodus with the children of God away from the slavery of food, through the Desert of Testing, and to the Promised Land. The Promised Land is a place where you have a relationship with God more than a relationship with food." At the end of Chapter 1 in her book, The Tablet, Gwen offers 5 suggestions for developing a new daily routine. She encourages us to replace our old daily diet routine with this new daily routine. I am going to list her five suggestions and will take a moment to reflect and internalize each.
1. Praise and Prayer - I do this to some degree, however, I am not always worshiping in such a way that I internalize the experience. What do I mean? I mean that I read scripture and then write about it, but I don't always seek to find God and wait for him to come. It's kind of like a one-sided conversation. Have you ever had a friend sitting across from you, listening intently, and as you talk you begin to answer your own questions. You may carry the conversation, ingrained in the topic, and then before you know it, it's time to leave. You thank your friend for being a great listener, and you're grateful for their time. But, in a moment of reflection, you realize you did not take time to ask them their opinion. You never received their feedback.
This is how I sometimes approach the Lord. I seek his presence. I dump my thoughts, my worries and my needs on him. I talk and talk and talk, but I don't always take the time to listen or to acknowledge thankful I am that He is there for me.
This is an area that I can easily modify. I want to praise God by acknowledging how much I love and need Him in my life. I want Him to know that I am so grateful that He sits with me every morning and listens to my stories. I also want to take the time to listen to what He has to say. He is the source of wisdom and I need to take the time to wait for His response.
2. Hunger and Fullness: Gwen wants me to wait for stomach hunger, and she wants me to eat small amounts of food, slowly. For the most part, this is what every diet regime recommends. The difference, however, is waiting for stomach hunger. Most diets encourage you to eat first thing in the morning, and eat at specific times of day. Eating a healthy breakfast first thing in the morning is supposed to jump start your metabolism. Waiting until I feel stomach hunger is going to be a big challenge for me. It goes against everything I have been taught. But, isn't that the way of the Lord. His thoughts, and his ways, are different than my thoughts and my ways.
3. Less is more. Gwen says to stop eating when you are full and get the food out of sight. The goal is to not focus on food. It takes 20 minutes for the food to hit the bloodstream, which means it takes 20 minutes to feel full. She says that hot drinks can make us feel full so it may be helpful to drink hot herbal tea before going for seconds.
4 Pray when I am tempted to eat but not hungry. This is what I did when I fasted a few days ago. It was amazing how often I turned to God throughout the day. It actually felt good to know that I could go to him, and he would help me. Gwen states, "all other temptations to eat, including head hunger, mouth hunger, tv eating, car eating, social eating, lustful eating, escape eating, comfort eating, and mindless eating have to stop being excuses to eat! No more excuses!
5. Transfer it to God and be blessed. Just like Dr. Caroline Leaf says, "what you focus on will grow", Gwen states "If you redirect your focus, you will modify your desires forever!" She reminds us that food is an energy source, not an indulgence. When we eat the way that God designed us to eat, we will have more energy to carry out the plans he has for our lives.