Happy New Year! Welcome 2017 — the year of the braver, better, stronger YOU! Who’s with me? Who wants to be braver, better and stronger than you were last year? Anyone want to lose some weight? I’ve got a secret for you. When you’re done reading this post, you will have the tools to drop significant weight today. Yes. TODAY!
If you’re as smart as I know you are, I bet at least one eyebrow is up and there’s, perhaps, the hint of a skeptical scowl on your face. Hang with me. If you’re on a mission to lose weight, weight is what you will lose. The weight of expectation, doubt, fear, measurement, and the debilitating weight of comparison. Paralyzing, excruciatingly painful weight.
I say it all the time: You are more than your body. Do you want to look your best? Of course. I get that; I do too. But until you change the paradigm, until you change the motivation behind working out, your body will never change.
Whether you need to lose 5 pounds or 500 hundred, if you don’t change the way you think and feel about your body, you’ll fall into the same ruts and patterns and be blocked by the same barriers that have risen up before. Shame, discouragement, judgment, failure. Not enough. Too much. Just like if you don’t change the way you think and feel about food, you’ll fall for the same old temptations and traps.
I so get this. Two years ago I made the decision to stop drinking alcohol for a month. Did I have a problem with alcohol? I don’t know. But it happened one too many times that I had one too many glasses of red wine. One too many times I woke up with a headache, a foggy memory, disappointment in myself, or stupid regret. I didn’t like it, and I certainly didn’t feel good about it. Plus, there’s a history of alcoholism in my family. I thought I should stop drinking and never have it again. But why? Was it because I had a problem? Or was it simply because I thought I could control it? And could I? Should I?
Or was there a bigger issue?
There is always a bigger issue. I’m prone to think in black and white. If too much alcohol is bad, no alcohol must be good. It’s the same kind of thinking that considers: If over-eating is bad, maybe deprivation is good. We live in this no-middle ground world where the pendulum swings wildly from opposite ends. Bad — good. Fat — skinny. Drunk — sober. But what if it isn’t so black and white? What if it’s actually a heart issue instead?
In the Bible we read: Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. 1 Cor. 6:20. That certainly feels like a heart issue. A God issue. For me and alcohol, it was a very personal issue with God. In the eyes of the world I didn’t have a problem. In the eyes of God, I knew what He wanted for me was more. Again and again He convicted me in my spirit. Not condemnation, not shame, but in the tender, correcting, loving way that is His, He made me understand it wasn’t good for me. And I speak only for me.
I drink red wine again occasionally now, but with a heightened awareness and respect. Armed with the knowledge of how much it affected me, and how truly and deeply I desire to honor God, my husband, my children and myself, I am aware. Present. I stay connected with my body so I can feel it’s subtle effects and know when it’s time for me to stop.
What is it time for you to stop? Not because it’s bad or wrong or forbidden, but simply because it’s not beneficial?
Your battle is not food or weight or alcohol or anything else. I guarantee you: It’s your heart.
Here are 6 ways you can LOSE significant weight this year:
- LOSE your excuses: Over the years I’ve had plenty of excuses for bad behavior. Whether it was gossip, food, alcohol or exercise, I came up with a myriad of justifications for the times I went too far. Excuses are simply enablers. They don’t care enough to tell you a hard truth. They’re so busy trying to protect you that they prevent you from growing, learning and changing the very behaviors that will bring you freedom and life.
- LOSE control: You are not in control. If you think losing weight, quitting an addiction or creating a new habit are about willpower, you will fail. Almost every single time: the root is not in control, but in the heart.
- LOSE self-doubt: You’re okay right now, just as you are. I did this exercise a few months back at a retreat where I randomly picked a balloon out of a few hundred in the room. On the outside, we were to write the fear or lie we are most prone to believe. I wrote: “Too much.” I didn’t realize someone had put slips of paper inside the balloons before they were blown up. When I popped my balloon, the words “too much” shrunk and shriveled and the message inside read in all caps: WARRIOR. How great is our God? Here’s the message that speaks to all of us: You are not the lie the world wants you to believe. In fact, you are probably the opposite. You were made to have a voice. You were made to take up space. You were made to create. You were made to dream. You were made to do hard things. Stop believing the lies. Stop telling yourself you can’t. You can.
- LOSE the scale: Who needs a number? I weigh myself about four times a year. People use the excuse that they need to know where they are and if they’re getting off track. Here’s the truth: You don’t need a scale to tell you if you’re off track. You already know. You know by the way your clothes fit. You know by the way you’ve been eating or moving. You know by the way you feel. You don’t need a number to tell you anything other than some way you’re failing or falling short. I’m about fifteen pounds heavier than the number I would love to see on a scale. I haven’t been at that number since the eighth grade and I’ll never be there unless I starve myself. I was made strong. I take up space. My grandma always said I was “built like a brick sh** house.” (Wasn’t she sweet?!) Weighing myself would only make me feel defeated and who needs that?
- LOSE unrealistic expectations: Perfectionism is a terrible liar and a thief. I read a quote once that said, “Hang on it gets easier and then it gets okay, and then it feels like freedom.” It’s so true. Before you head into the new year with any resolution, make sure you lose unrealistic expectations first. Your job is obedience and usually that’s a very messy road. Hang on.
- LOSE performance: Whatever your goals or objectives may be, it’s not a show for the world to watch and it’s not about, or for, anyone but you. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Your life, the way you live and the choices you make are between you and God. It may never make sense to anyone else. That’s okay. You are under no obligation to make sense to anyone.
Carrying extra weight is a heavy burden. It requires more effort and slows you down. But some weight is easier to lose. Some weight is merely a choice. A choice between control and surrender. Condemnation and conviction. The flesh, and the heart.
You were made for more. To be more than your body. More than your past failures. More than your mistakes. You were made to speak; to take up space; to get bigger and brighter and reach farther the freer you get, and you are already on your way. Go you, leaving all that dead weight right where it landed. Live free.
It’s your time.
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