10/19/11

Are Donuts Your Bread of Life?

This title, taken from a book on weight loss, is all too true for many. In America's abundance, we've substituted the temporary satisfaction of "sweets" ~ passing fancies ~ for the true, lasting bread from heaven, and with devastating results. Overeating is just one sign of our indulgence.

Overeating is a growing problem ~ pun intended.


According to statistics, nearly two-thirds of US adults are overweight (with a BMI, body mass index, greater than 25, including those who are obese). Nearly one-third are obese (BMI greater than 30). Approximately 19 percent of children (ages 6-11) and 17 percent of adolescents (ages 12-19) were overweight in 2000, and another 15 percent of children and teens were at risk for being overweight (based on BMI measures). The percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has more than doubled since the early 1970s. (1)

It's easy to ignore the problem. Don't we see what we're doing to ourselves? Weight loss books line shelves at bookstores ~ oddly enough, often near cookbooks! Magazines at store check-out registers bring smiles... there are giant desserts pictured right next to an article about "Fighting Fat" or "Surviving Sugar Attacks."

The truth is, conquering gluttony or dealing with the emotional reasons behind overeating begins with a surrendered heart and ends with commitment to maintain discipline. Tools that help us do those things are valuable and appreciated.

Guided by Him to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! by Julie Morris, R.N and Sarah Morris Cherry, M.Ed., L.PC., is a lighthearted approach to weight loss ~ positive and fun ~ but it's not a bunch of fluff. Each chapter is truth-based and freedom-promoting. While some chapters are geared more to adults, it would be a wonderful resource to use with seriously overweight children and teenagers, too. It's useful for groups, classes, with accountability partners, or even motivated individuals.

Morris, a nurse, struggled with her weight until she took the Christian 12 Steps some 25 years ago. Cherry, her daughter, loves teaching people ways to deal with stress and "overwhelming health problems." Teaming up, they created a program to help people get rid of unwanted pounds by learning how to draw closer to God. It's a matter of appropriating His power, not human will power.

Guided by Him includes encouraging "12 Steps" based on biblical truth and practical tips. Some of the Quiet Time titles illustrate the humor behind their health focus:

  • "Tootsie Roll Tug-of-War"
  • "Do Broken Cookies Count?"
  • "Stinkin' Thinkin' Keeps Me from Shrinkin,'" and
  • "Is Fudge My Fortress?"
Each weekly lesson includes a question to consider, a "Step" to take (biblical motivator for action), and practical tips (like "Plateau Busters," food and fitness facts, and Relapse Cautions) to remember to lose weight and keep it off. Rounding out the Quiet Times are stories about people who have lost weight taking the 12 steps and suggested prayers.

Though fun, Guided by Him isn't "soft."

As I read the book, I realized I've been playing Tug-of-War with God, not letting go of the sugary foods I crave. I wasn't very healthy, because I seldom ate healthy foods.

The authors illustrated this convicting concept through the story of the Israelites who complained about God's provision of manna (Numbers 11:4-6). The truth is, God doesn't play Tug-of-War with us for long. He may give us what we demand ~ like when the Israelites demanded quail ~ but then He allows us to suffer the consequences for our foolishness. (2)

The root of my problem is that I keep "squirming off the altar" (Romans 12:1) ~ demanding my own way instead of surrendering to God's choices for me. While the authors' Quiet Time devotional about this made me laugh, it also made me uncomfortable enough to pray the Prayer of Surrender. (3) It's a prayer that must be repeated, again and again, I believe.

There are rich insights throughout the book. One that made me think for quite a while was this statement: "Humility helps me lose weight; humiliation makes me gain." Humiliation is a tool our enemy uses to keep us stuffing our faces. We think that we can never change. But humility helps us rely on God, who is the only One who can change us. (4)

I tend to be an emotional eater. When I get stressed, it's easy for me to reach for candy or something sweet. I found plenty of encouraging words in this book... like a list of scriptures to post on the refrigerator ~ titled, "I will cast my cares on the Lord, not the refrigerator!"

The Lord is my refuge, not a plate of See's fudge; and M &M's can never feed my soul.

By the way, I made the wise choice, recently, to cut 95 percent of the sugar out of my diet. (I'm not dieting, but I am eliminating junk from my diet.) I feel healthier, stronger, and more "alive."

Guided by Him is a resource that can help readers eliminate negative thinking and root out bad habits while filling up on the "fruit" of God's Spirit and the power of the Word of God.

If you want a fresh approach to weight loss, put down the donuts and get to the roots of your overeating with Guided by Him.

(1) Statistics at Overweight Teen
(2) Julie Morris and Sarah Morris Cherry, Guided by Him to a Thinner, Not So Stressed-Out You! (GBH Press, 2008), pp. 57-59
(3) Ibid., p. 115
(4) Ibid., p. 116

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