Image Source: iStock Photo

Image Source: iStock Photo

Do you ever wonder why you can’t beat this? Why you keep doing yet another study about food and weight? Why you can’t just SHAKE loose of this challenge, this relationship with food, this weight?

The answer may be as simple as focus.

Let me illustrate:

Right now, don’t think about green gorillas.

No, really. Don’t think about green gorillas.

You aren’t, right? 🙂

Sit there for 30 seconds without a single thought of a green gorillas.

You aren’t thinking about green gorillas, are you? 🙂


Ok, be honest…what are you thinking of?

If you are like most, if someone says “Don’t think about green gorillas,” that is precisely what you think about. When we try NOT to think about something—either a food that is off our “diet foods” list (when we were on diets), or a food we want to eat and are free to eat, but when we are not hungry—we can’t help but to think about it! Diets tell us what we can’t have and can’t think about. The more we try not to think about or not to want these things, the more we think about them and want them until we become overwhelmed and give in, sometimes after we have already eaten the dieter’s version of whatever it might be.

Read Colossians 2:20-23 in your Bible or below:

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world,

why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:

21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?

22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship,

their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body,

but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

Please take a moment and underline descriptive phrases in this passage in your bible that are used to describe the mentality that Paul is confronting. Two are done for you.

Now write down what you underlined in the passage above:

  1. _____Rules________________________________
  2. _____Destined to Perish with Use_____________
  3. _________________________________________
  4. _________________________________________
  5. _________________________________________
  6. _________________________________________
  7. _________________________________________
  8. _________________________________________

Which of the above descriptive words and phrases could also be used to describe a prescriptive way of managing weight or, which of the words above fit in describing “diets?” Circle any that apply.

What can’t diets do according to this passage?

Did you notice all those “do nots” in the passage? When told DO NOT, what do we do? Do you find it true that, often, you end up doing the very thing that you are told NOT to do! (Just like not thinking about green gorillas?)

Most often in worldly programs we are challenged to merely be “self controlled.” With these programs, we have often found ourselves eating foods that, while “good for us” don’t match up with what we really desire—they don’t satisfy. We have tried desperately to conform ourselves to an outward standard while resentment builds deep within. We are told not to eat this or that and, often, we give in to what we wanted in the first place.

God’s way of freedom from the chains that bind us, the coping mechanisms that constrict us, the addictions that hinder us, is for us to experience freedom from these outward restraints, to have our hearts and minds renewed and to transform us from the inside out! As our hearts are transformed, our choices will be as well. Moment by moment, our choices, when built one upon another, will radically alter externals—our appearance and behavior. We can walk in freedom!

This is why I have been crowing about renewing our minds for so long (and I will continue to do so!). We have to be willing to do the work it takes to change the way we think.

God has created us to experience joy in life—even in something as mundane as eating! We can praise HIM for his marvelous creativity in making mangos, asparagus, ice cream sundaes, and cheese enchiladas. Eating was never intended to torment us, but to bless us.

Dieting has caused us to be focused on ourselves, on our food, on our weight, on our size…on everything ME.  Some of us have “done” Thin Within the same way we have done dieting—with the focus all on ME, MYSELF, and I. The focus has been on the externals…on my appearance, my behavior, my food, my exercise…ME. In embracing these approaches, however, we have done nothing to change our hearts in a positive direction. In fact, often, we come out of our experiences with these programmatic ways of handling food with an even deeper fixation on food or our bodies.

This is forming and shaping our hearts…not just our bodies (if physical changes happen at all). Do we really feel that the way we are becoming more self-absorbed is God-honoring and worth it as long as we lose weight? I hope not!

Let’s be intentional…and choose to take a radically different approach. Let’s allow our King to have our heart, our focus, our desires. He is going to do something major in our lives so it stands to reason that we want to have our focus in the right place.

How About You?

Are you ready to “do” this differently than you have done diets or Thin Within in the past? Do you want this to really be the last time you have to “start over?” Are you ready to do the work that is involved? If so, I strongly encourage you to go to the Renewing of the Mind Bible Study page here and do these studies (again if you have done them already). Do that and/or do a search on the blog for “Truth Cards.” I believe you will be SO blessed as you work on the way you THINK and on where your focus is. When we stop thinking ME ME ME and start thinking GOD GOD GOD some amazing transformations begin to take place. Honest. 🙂