When Is the Right Time to Lose Weight?
By Julie Morris, R.N.
“I can’t lose weight. Things are just too hard right now. Maybe later when I’m not under so much stress,” Joyce said sadly. As we sat in the office at my church where I am a lay counselor, she told me about all of the problems she was having with her husband, kids and stress at work.
But Joyce had come to me the week before, ready to take her first step toward losing weight because her extra pounds were making her even more miserable. However, after trying a few days to make a few simple changes in her eating, she had already given up. She was clinging to food as if it were her best friend and only hope.
I encouraged her not to rely on food to numb her stress, but to turn to the Lord to help her. And I told her something she would have figured out for herself if she had stopped to think about it: There will never be a time without problems. Life is always challenging, and if we put off making needed changes until things are easy, life will pass us by and nothing will ever change.
Joyce and I had a long talk about small things she could do to start on her journey toward a healthier lifestyle. Together, we decided on a simple plan she could do in just a few minutes a day that would help her to grow spiritually, lose weight and start exercising.
Here are Joyce’s goals:
- I will have a quiet time every morning for 15 minutes—in writing. I will write God a prayer about anything that is bothering me and ask Him to help me to cast my cares on Him—not the refrigerator.
- I will listen to my Bible CD in the car on the way to work.
- I will write down the food I eat during the day.
Later, Joyce added two more goals:
- I will limit trigger foods that make my cravings worse. [For Joyce, these were things with a lot of sugar.]
- I will walk up and down the stairs in my office building during my lunch break.
A few weeks later, after success with those goals, she added another one:
- I will make the healthiest choice possible every time I eat.
A while later Joyce joined a Christian weight-loss group at her church. She made going to that group a priority and was delighted to find how much it helped her to share with others who also struggled with overeating. In her group, they talked about “fattening emotions”–feelings that made them want to overeat such as, anger, self-pity and shame. And they studied the Bible to see what it says about how to deal with their negative thoughts so they wouldn’t eat over them.
During our last counseling session, a thinner Joyce told me that she felt so much better. She said that even though her problems hadn’t changed, she was able to cope with them better now that she was having a daily quiet time. She said, “Those 10-15 minutes have made all the difference!” Then she added, “And it’s also such a big help to have my Christian weight-loss group to encourage me!”
As we were getting ready to leave, Joyce said something that so many people need to understand: “I’m really glad I didn’t keep waiting until things were easier to try to lose weight. There will always be problems. And I will have even more of them if I turn to food to numb my stress instead of dealing with my problems. I thought that overeating was making my life easier, but it was really making it harder. My problems grew…and so did I!”
Julie Morris is the founder of two Christian weight-loss programs, Step Forward www.stepforwarddiet.com and Guided By Him www.guidedbyhim.com. E-mail her if you struggle with overeating [email protected]. Follow her on FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/