(First, a disclaimer, albeit definitely not an apology: I am a woman of faith. Therefore, this blog will refer much to my beliefs. This is not intended to offend or alienate anyone, but if I'm going to be honest in a blog about my weight-loss journey, a journey that is as much emotional/mental/spiritual as it is physical, my faith is a big part of it. Feel free to skip this blog if you choose to, but if you read on, please realize you might feel a bit like it's coming from a cyber-pulpit!)
Today, I was sitting in church next to a man I love just about as much as I can possibly love someone. That man, my 87-year-old grandfather and one of the greatest and most brilliant evangelists and businessmen I've ever known, has lethal cancer that is literally devouring his jawbone. His teeth are falling out. He is in constant pain. The doctors have told him there is nothing more they can do, and they don't know how long he has on this Earth. Yet, he was there this morning, in his purple suit jacket, singing hymns next to me about finding "rest beyond the river." When we sat down between songs, I picked up his old black Bible, the same one he's carried for all of my life, and I opened it to see what sorts of things an old Baptist preacher might have scribbled in the flaps and margins. On the first page of that blessed book, in Grampy's familiar left-handed penmanship, he wrote, "'Is there anything too hard for me?' Jeremiah 32:29." Curious, I turned to that scripture for a moment while the preacher talked about the details of the upcoming church Valentine's banquet. (Hey, I don't have a Valentine to join me anyway! As far as I'm concerned, Cupid can keep his arrows to himself. I'll just buy some Conversation Hearts on Single Awareness Day, because they'll be on clearance and they're only 80 calories.) As it turns out, I either read Grandpa's writing wrong, or he made a "typo," because the verse he meant to refer to was Jeremiah 32:27, which literally says, "Behold, I am the Lord...is there anything too hard for me?"
What's any of that have to do with weight? Plenty...for me, at least. Because as I was standing there next to that man today, I glanced down at myself and was instantly guilted. So many times, I've declared that I "can't" lose weight or I "can't" stop eating or I "can't" afford healthy food or I "can't" figure out how to cook an edible meal. (Truly, it should be a felony for me to even attempt to use any cooking appliances, but I digress.) That man standing next to me at church today could sit back and say he "can't." But he doesn't. Why? Because he knows our God CAN...and because of that, we CAN.
There is certainly scientific evidence that lowering calories and raising the rate at which we burn them will melt our fat away, but before any of that can happen, there has to be a change of mindset. We have to stop saying we can't. We have to start knowing we can..because our Creator CAN enable us to do so.
I am not suggesting that some cosmic, grandfatherly type is going to float down in a cloud and snap his holy fingers and whisk away the Oreo damage we've done to our thighs. I'm not even suggesting that He will give us some sort of supernatural willpower against the Chinese buffet. On this Superbowl Sunday, God is not going to ring the doorbell and stand there demanding that we fork over the hot wings and step away from the cheese-slathered nachos. What I am suggesting is that God - and the faith we have in Him - can be beneficial on the mental/emotional/spiritual part of our journey, and that will manifest itself in what we do in the physical part.
A man who lost 150 pounds and kept it off for 20 years has this to say: "What I learned through years of dieting and nutritional interventions, failing a lot, losing weight and gaining it back, was that I had to also put my mind and spiritual beliefs into practice. I couldn’t just focus on my body. I had to deal with my emotions, mental beliefs and improve my spiritual life as well." (Read more of his amazing story at https://www.huffingtonpost.com
-away-the-pounds_1_b_910788.html) That man found one way, prayer, to get on his can.
We can also weigh the other benefits of faith in a weight-loss quest:
-- support of the people in your congregation or faith community
-- the ability to turn to prayer, devotions, meditation, and other spiritual "distractions" when those cabinet creepers start calling
-- the peace that comes from letting someone else, someone more powerful, step into the driver's seat
-- the inherent idea of being grateful, which is often a side effect of faith
-- an underlying desire to take care of the body God has given us and to avoid the sin of gluttony
and, maybe most on point for this blog...
-- the belief that "All things are possible..." because they ARE.
If you are a person of faith, you have a distinct advantage in the Battle of the Bulge. That advantage is a deep knowing that you CAN, because, well, "Is there any thing too hard for me?" The answer is NO. Don't get off your can. Do better than the Little Engine that Could. Don't just THINK you can; KNOW you CAN, because He CAN...no matter how much devil's food gets in our way!