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Have you ever tried to solve your dandelion problem by mowing your lawn?
We all know what a ludicrous idea that is. Not only will they just come right back, you’ll likely make the problem worse by spreading the seeds.
To solve a dandelion problem, you have to pull out the root!
It’s no different with weight loss.
Weight gain and obesity are most often directly related to the soul and spirit. While we are all made to be different sizes, and some may never be a size 2 or 4, it is not healthy for our spirit, soul or body to be 30, 40 or more pounds over our healthy weight.
This extra weight is not only hard on our joints and internal organs, it acts as an unhealthy insulation and barrier.
It insulates us from having to invest in healthy, satisfying relationships.
It is a barrier in our relationship with God because it is a clear indicator that there are unresolved issues in our hearts.
Trying to resolve weight issues with weight loss programs, without having first resolved the inner issues of the soul and spirit, is no different than mowing over your field of dandelions.
When I look back over the selfies I took during my weight loss journey, it is clear that in 2015 something clicked in me; because suddenly my excess weight began to drop off. The yo-yo stopped.
What clicked inside me in 2015?
I began to ask myself very hard, probing questions about when my weight gain began and why. It was then that I realized that every time my weight spiked it correlated with a trauma or difficult circumstance in my life.
The correlation was unmistakable.
Food was my comforter.
The problem was that after I moved on from the pain the desire for soothing food was still there.
Studies show that refined sugar and certain foods high in carbohydrates are highly addictive. I believe this, because while I have made great strides in overcoming comfort eating, I still find my desire for soothing food extremely hard to resist.
In fact, I have found it much harder to overcome this than my addiction to caffeine.
My defining moment was in the summer of 2015.
I was sitting in church and while I cannot tell you what the sermon was about, the speaker referred to this verse:
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Suddenly the question hit me, “What do I live by? Do I live by my emotions or do I truly live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God?”
I have a question for you.
What drives your physical appetites? Your soul or your spirit?
Weight loss has to start from our soul and spirit. We must identify why we are eating, otherwise it will never last!
You see, the answer to this will give you the key to unlock the door to freedom. I believe that for most of us, our soul drives our physical appetites. Our mind, our imagination that is out of control and driven by fear, pain, and negativity. Our will that has never been properly exercised to resist those things that are not good for us, and to do those things (exercise) that are good for us. Our emotions that fluctuate with with the wind and have never been brought under control so that we are more even keel.
So when our soul is not under the jurisdiction of the Holy Spirit our whole life becomes out of control because our appetites are driven by a soul that is out of control. Because a soul that is not in submission to the Holy Spirit will always go out of control.
Simply admitting to myself that my physical appetites were controlled by my soul, and not my spirit, began to unlock some areas of my life that had long been a mystery to me.
Every time I’d open the cupboard or fridge the question would come to me, “What is driving your appetite? Hunger or a desire to soothe?”
And I’ve found this to be freeing, because it is better than any diet I’ve ever been on!
By identifying the source of my physical appetites I can eat when I’m truly hungry, without cutting out “bad foods”. I can choose to resist the temptation to soothe with food.
But there’s one more element here that we have to examine.
What is the real root of comfort eating?
Because if we never answer that question, we’ll find new ways to soothe our souls.
You see, using food to numb pain, comfort, or insulate, or satisfy us is really not much different that using drugs or alcohol for the same purpose.
The root is the same: idolatry.
Turning to any substance or activity for comfort, rather than turning to Jesus Christ for healing, is idolatry. Food, in this instance, becomes our source of comfort and fulfillment. But as with any idol, it’s not real. It’s not lasting and it leads to destruction.
To truly begin our weight loss journey, we must begin with repentance. Repenting for our idolatry. Repenting for turning to anything other that Jesus Christ for our comfort, joy and fulfillment. Repentance for allowing our souls to govern our lives, and not the Holy Spirit in and through us.
And when we do this, the transformation will be lasting. Because true transformation begins in the inside first!