I must start by sharing this happy realization. A few months ago, Heidi recorded a long winded 40-45 minute conversation with me about breaking free from dieting. The Lord has delivered me so far from dieting now that I can barely remember the details of how I broke free! Now, that’s freedom. But, I will use my journal to help me remember my steps because I want to encourage any of you who are still stuck, or partially stuck, in diet land to break free and leave it behind.
I was prepped from an early age to diet. I watched my mother and her friends diet, jazzercise, jog and talk about what they should and shouldn’t eat. While I did not follow an official diet until I was 31 years old, I knew that I should never eat chicken skin, fried food, chips, candy, ice cream, cream sauces, etc, etc. I knew the “rules” without following a particular plan. But, eventually I was tired of my extra 30 pounds, post-baby weight included, and I joined a popular dieting program. My type- A self jumped in with both feet and thus began my obsession with my weight, food, exercise and clothing size.
My mind became full of rules – about exercise and food – and I became obsessed. When I look back, I can’t believe the time that I wasted planning meals and workouts – and all of the attention I put on my body and not on the people who really mattered. I am the saddest when I remember hanging out with my kids and, while I looked like I was paying attention to them, my mind was really in food and workout planning mode. I thought I was happy when I was skinny, but I am now so thankful that I had health issues that caused me to gain weight and then forced me to stop exercising. God met me in that fearful place and revealed to me that I could live a life in freedom with Him. I am not exaggerating when I say that the first Thin Within workbook truly brought me to Christ and helped me to really understand who Christ is and what he did and continues to do for believers. I started to sense that freedom from dieting and exercising was possible, but the lies of the world kept pulling me back. It took almost 2 years for me to really see the Truth and to really commit to this way of life. And I am not looking back!
The breaking of my diet chains was multifaceted, but the most important part was prayer. I prayed every day, starting last January, to be set free from the bondage of dieting, over-exercising and body image issues. Then, in February, when I realized that had some heart issues that were contrary to godliness, I prayed Psalm 51:10: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Let me stress, I prayed this every day, multiple times a day.
And then I found the “God is doing a new thing bible study” in March and began focusing on the renewing of my mind. I took notes and studied the scripture and made scripture cards. With daily study and prayer, the Truths of God’s word and character and love moved from my mind to my heart. And within a few months, I knew that I would never, could never, diet again. I wanted my mind and heart set on my Creator and Lord, my Abba, my Savior, my Healer, and not on the size of my clothes.
Do I backslide? Sure. Sometimes I try on an old dress and hope it fits. Sometimes I eat too much at dinner. Sometimes I think about carbs vs. proteins. Sometimes I think I should run a few more miles. But then quickly, and it happens faster and faster these days, I remember the Truths in the Bible and the freedom, peace and joy that I feel when I live in God’s boundaries and on His path. I can then leave the worldliness behind and focus on Him. I put on His armor (Ephesians 6:10-17) and let Him fight my spiritual battles.
Friends, if you have put trust and faith in diets or workout plans, you are not alone. It is what our culture asks of its people, especially women. But you can break the mold, you can live in freedom. I, who used to be obsessed with counting every morsel that I ate and evaluating its nutritional value, drank a milkshake for lunch last week! A full fat butter pecan ice cream milkshake! But, since I have the freedom to drink milkshakes any day of the year (although this was my first in over a decade), I only drank 2/3 of it. I was satiated. It was enough. God’s love and grace is more than enough for each of us – they are sweeter and more satisfying than any dessert imaginable.
~ Carrie (Not South Africa) 🙂
What About You?
Do the chains of dieting still hold you fast? Do you believe that God can call you to freedom without the use of a diet or restrictive eating plan and rigorous exercise that is harder on your body than you know you should do? Will you consider possibly renewing your mind with truth? God never intended for food to torment us or for our avoidance of it to become an obsession. Let us know how we can pray for you.