I have been in the 200’s for the bulk of my adult life, but I finally crossed the threshold into “Onederland”—which is 199lbs or less—six months ago. I have to say though, it wasn’t as big of a deal as I thought it was going to be. Apart from sending an all caps text to my husband with a dark picture of my feet on the scale, there wasn’t much fanfare. Angels didn’t sing. My life wasn’t suddenly sparkly and new. It had felt like such a big goal to attain—and of course I was very proud of myself—but I couldn’t help but feel like I had already arrived in Onederland long before the scale ever said 199.
You see, I’ve come to recognize that weight loss is so much more than a physical journey—it is just as much a spiritual and emotional one. For someone who had been overweight her entire life—with all the disappointment and heartache that that brings, and with a body that has no concept of a “natural” weight—I had to completely shift my perspective and how I saw myself before I ever began to see real and lasting physical change.
Weight loss is so much more than a physical journey—
it is just as much a spiritual and emotional one.
There’s a verse in the bible that has always stood out to me: “…and may your body prosper as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2 paraphrased). It may be that John is just wishing his readers good health, but I can’t help but feel that there is a deeper truth in there; that the body and the spirit are intimately connected, and that one can have positive or negative influence on the other. Whether we choose to accept it or not, we are three-part beings: spirit (the eternal part of us, the part that came alive again when we accepted Christ into our hearts), soul (our mind, will and emotions) and body (our physical vehicle on this earth). In order to see real and life-long success in our weight-loss journey we need to have a plan that enables each part of ourselves to be transformed.
Step One: Spiritual Change
You have to begin with a spirit that is alive in Christ. If you haven’t taken the step to invite Him into your life, visit the START HERE page to begin your life-changing journey with Him. When your spirit is reborn, it is like an actual baby, needing to be fed and cared for. You need to make a priority of learning the ways of God, reading the Bible and spending time with other Christ followers so that your spirit can grow and mature. Your spirit is meant to become the strongest part of your three-part being, guided by the Holy Spirit and setting the standard and priorities for your body and soul. As you practice yielding your will and physical desires to the Holy Spirit, you will be rewarded with supernatural peace, patience and self-control that become invaluable in your weight-loss journey.
As you practice yielding your will and physical desires to the
Holy Spirit, you will be rewarded with supernatural peace,
patience and self-control that become invaluable
in your weight-loss journey.
Step Two: Emotional Change
We have all seen the epic transformations of the contestants from The Biggest Loser, and most of us have also heard of their failure to keep the weight off once the show wraps up. They changed physically, but they weren’t there emotionally. They hadn’t yet become the person in the mirror; the person who continues the fight and continues with the positive habits when the cameras are off and the coach has gone home. But as you work to see yourself through the eyes of God, your entire perspective begins to be transformed. Because He has shown you immeasurable grace, you are able to begin offering grace to yourself. A new sense of self-worth and respect for your body begins to grow as you recognize your status as God’s beloved daughter and the temple in which He resides. You begin to see beyond the reflection in the mirror, to the woman God intended you to be. There is new joy and hope as you affirm God’s promises in your life. Sure it will be a process; but you can be confident that as you keep pushing, keep getting up after setbacks, keep believing in His faithfulness—you will see the positive change you long for.
You will begin to see beyond the reflection in the mirror,
to the woman God intended you to be.
Step Three: Physical Change
If you are mentally ready to lose weight but have a bad plan, you will ultimately become disheartened with slow progress and setbacks. Take the time to do your own research with an open mind. Be willing to let go of what hasn’t worked in the past and try something new—even if it seems scary. Part of my journey was to let go of dieting all together and learn to simply eat whatever my body asked for mindfully. I was not excited about the prospect, and I actually ended up gaining 10lbs for a season—but it enabled me to move forward with a healthier relationship with food. When you do find a plan that works for you both mentally and physically, don’t push yourself too hard, too fast; if you start to recognize self-sabotage behaviours, you need to slow down and be more patient with the process. Let go of the desperation to just “get it off”—if you do manage to lose it in that state of mind, the weight will just pile back on when your willpower runs out. This is a life-long process. There will be new seasons with new obstacles to your health, it’s better to take the time now to really develop positive habits and build a foundation of robust health that you can rely on later in life.
Let go of the desperation to just “get it off”—
if you do manage to lose it in that state of mind, the
weight will just pile back on when your willpower runs out.
There are no one-size-fits-all routes to Onederland because we are all on unique journeys with unique histories and challenges. Trends like 21-day cleanses, 30-day shreds and any other quick fixes we come across are never going to offer the real and lasting change we actually desire. To become the women God created us to be—at peace with our bodies, enjoying a natural and healthy bodyweight—we need to allow Him to transform us one step at a time, from the inside OUT.
Where are you on your journey towards “Onederland” (or other health goal)? What are some valuable lessons that YOU have learned along the way?