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.
Carrie, wow! Thanks so much for sharing about breaking free from diets. As I’ve been going through the “Thin Within” book I’ve seen that I’ve been dieting since right after I had my 2nd baby. UGH…I had called it healthy eating….but it really was dieting…and now my mind goes there automatically (well, it has been over 20 years). I’ve been discouraged because now that I’m on day 28 of the book I find that I’m trying so hard not to go to the diet mindset….but that is where I land. I love your practical application! I had never thought about praying that I would be set free from the bondage of dieting. That is what I’m going to start doing! I’ve been praying …what is wrong with me that I can’t not think of dieting…but I see know that it’s me trying to do it and I’m not allowing God to set me free. Thanks!
If I was set free from the chains, you can be as well! I did a long stint of “healthy eating” too. I made everything from scratch- meals, bread, yogurt. All really to control my weight under the guise of health. I will pray for you to experience His freedom and peace.
This (ackroll) is Carrie. Didn’t mean to put that name. 🙂
If I may also just chip in here. (As I have definetly been delivered from dieting). If you find that you just can’t shake those dieting thoughts, it could be that you need to do some warfare! Rebuke it in the name of Jesus! Praise Him every time your mind even starts to think about meal planning or dieting. Pick up your sword which is the word of God, and do some fighting.
Absolutely! I’ve found that in the Bible, we are usually called to be active. The battle is the Lord’s, but we have to surrender to Him, to call on Jesus, and to be active in our fight – we are called to not be conformed to the world, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to take captive thoughts and make them obedient to Christ, to praise, to give thanksgiving, to put on God’s armor etc. These instructions are not about sitting and just hoping things will change, but are about doing.
The Whole Armor of God (Eph 6:10)
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Yes…Carrie…I agree. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Even though the Lord who is in us is greater than he that is in the world, it helps us NOT to be unaware of the schemes of the enemy. Thanks for mentioning this.
Beth, it takes a long time to create the dieting mentality. Renewing our minds helps, but it will take a while of renewing the mind. Just keep at it! You will see strides forward! I trust you even already are! 🙂
Carrie, I too, am stuck here, either on or off a diet my whole life. In January, it will be about my 4th time at re-visiting the Thin Within program when Heidi begins her class.
WOW a milkshake for lunch! I can’t even imagine that. A Second WOW…stopping 2/3’s in….now that is also crazy….would love to be so free I could actually do that.
Thanks for sharing, it was powerful!
Karon – as you can read, it took 2 years to really decide to commit. I was so tired of thinking, “sure I’m doing Thin Within”, but always looking for a diet or exercise that would fix everything. I wasn’t really committed. But once I really committed and prayed about it, God started changing me on the inside. I will be praying for you.
Karon, I am so glad you haven’t given up and that you keep on trying. God is doing a new thing. You have never before had *this* particular support system and *this* particular information and wisdom. YOU are in a unique place and God is doing a work in and through you. 😀
Amen, amen, and AMEN!