Weight loss is hard. It can feel impossible, even. Past failures might have you thinking, ‘Why bother’ but sometimes a new perspective can make all the difference in helping you finally lose the weight for good.
Have you hit rock bottom when it comes to losing weight? Maybe a better question would be–how many times have you been there? As I look back over my rock bottom moments, there have usually been tears and there has always been praying.
Have you tried program after method after company after book after plan. Yup. Me too. Some successful, some not. But after all of this, there is one thing I’ve learned with 100% certainty. The only true thing about weight loss.
Ready for it? ….. Here ya go:
There is not just one way to lose weight.
I mean, I guess scientifically there IS just one way—burn more calories than you take in. But what I’m saying is that there is not simply one plan or program that will work for everyone. And (unless you are magnificently lucky) it will likely take some trial and error for you to find what works for you.
Weight Loss Trial and Error
Almost 25 years ago I convinced my husband to purchase our first piece of exercise equipment: the Nordictrack. You see, an acquaintance had lost considerable weight, and when I asked how she did it, she said “The Nordictrack.” (I found out later she was also on a doctor supervised program of appetite suppressants. So no big surprise that my weight didn’t fall off like hers.)
Over the years I have lost and regained too many pounds to count. I lost weight quick with a fasting program that caused my hair to begin falling out. I’ve counted calories, fat grams, carbs, steps, and more. And I even volunteered for a clinical trial. Yeah, that didn’t work either.
Everything that did work…well, the continued cost always got to be too much and I had to quit. Pounds back on.
So if you are feeling hopeless and overwhelmed….I feel you. I have been there.
What exactly do you need to be successful?
After my latest rock-bottom moment, I began to create a list of what has worked for me over the years. I decided I needed to focus on those things.
(1) Something I can do for the rest of my life
I don’t do well with rules. Lists of dos and don’ts have never been effective. “Creating a lifestyle” is a catch-phrase you hear a lot. But if your plan for my ‘lifestyle’ involves cutting an entire food group out…I know myself well enough to know I will not continue that for the rest of my life.
The most successful I’ve been in a way of eating that I know I could do for the rest of my life is focusing on eating only within the God-given boundaries of physical hunger. No rules about what I can and can’t eat, just when and how much. It’s about being intentional.
I learned about this about 20 years ago in The WeighDown Workshop, and have had sporadic success with it at various times since. This article also has some really helpful and tangible suggestions for recognizing satisfaction while eating and putting the fork down.
(2) Accountability is key
I need accountability. As a giant quitting quitter by nature, I need someone all up in my face. I need somewhere to check in. Someone to be expecting a report from me. Something!
(3) Focus on multiple aspects of health
I recognize that lasting weight loss involves more than one aspect of health. One program I did a number of years ago involved eating, exercise, and the psychological aspects of losing weight. I had a lot of success with it, but couldn’t continue due to cost.
(4) I need to exercise
Lastly, although it’s not always my favorite thing, I know that exercising regularly makes me feel better. The program I mentioned above had a fantastic trainer who pushed me to push myself physically. It was the only time in my life when I craved exercise. It felt so good to feel strong and fit.
Finding something that works
Amazingly (but really, not, since God is so good and kind) after making my list and praying about it, I almost immediately found a course and a book that covered everything on my list…and maybe your list too.
The beauty of the course I found is that it was tailored specifically to your needs. Each week you work to establish a new habit. (Do you notice me speaking of this course in the past tense?) Healthy Habits, Healthy Living! really was great, but unfortunately it has since closed. I will leave a link here for it in the hopes that it re-opens sooner rather than later.
The cool thing about God is that he presented this course to me just when I needed it, it was such an encouragement! Since then, He’s shown me something else that I’m all in for: Faithful Finish Lines. The creators, Sara and Becky, have each lost 100 pounds and kept it off (that’s the kind of leader I will line up to follow). And, just like Healthy Habits, the focus is on making small changes…exactly what my focus is on.
Faithful Finish Lines
It’s always disappointing when something that is working for you ends, yet at the same time, God will often show us something that is even better for the place we are at. When the Healthy Habits, Healthy Living course was closed, I was determined to just keep pressing ahead in developing my habits. I wasn’t looking for something else.
Then–BAM! Faithful Finish Lines showed up on my screen and I’m kind of giddy excited to share it with you. I heard once that you should find someone who has achieved what you want to achieve and follow them. The two creators of this program have each lost -and kept off- 100 pounds. That’s significant success. That is who I want helping me!
I love that they let you get a taste of their courses with a free 5-day challenge. (Can I tell you, I teared up twice while doing this…it clearly struck a cord with me!)
I love that there are a number of options of courses (my fave is the 7-Weeks to Christian Weight Loss, Healthy Eating and Fitness).
And I love that these two ladies are totally invested in helping others achieve what they have. There’s a great vibe here, I’m telling you.
Since God is so clever and kind, wouldn’t you know I found a book while cleaning that I had ordered forever ago and never read. It’s called Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction.
I am struck on every page with wisdom that just about knocks me over. After finishing the book, I decided to go back through my much written-in copy and choose from the numerous underlined and starred passages to find gems to copy into the journal I’ve dedicated to this process.
Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. -Isaiah 55:1-2
I will not seek comfort in what doesn’t satisfy! God’s greatest desire isn’t just to kick sin to the curb. He wants to draw me closer.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. -Matthew 5:6
As much as I’m pursuing a healthier body right now, I am more actively pursuing my relationship with my Creator. The first -and most important- thing I am committed to doing every day is my daily Bible reading.
Walking the Walk
Most of my weight issues stem from food, so I know that’s where I need to begin to solve them. Having said that, I know I also need to exercise. I had a bad experience with a gym last year and as a result found something else that I’m still sold-out on…. something I can do in my own home: Leslie Sansone’s walking videos. And they are really pretty fantastic.
I subscribed to her monthly calendar of walking videos at Your Daily Walk. It’s under $10 a month and I can do any distance (from one mile to 4) that I want. As a fitness beginner, I feel encouraged and motivated. (As opposed to bad about myself and judged…like at the gym). And I love that I can do the workouts whenever I want…. which is a lot more often when I’m feeling healthy with my eating, I find.
As my fitness level increases, I don’t know if I’ll stay with these or move on to something else. For the time being, I’m in love.
So far I have been losing 2-3 pounds per week. That may not seem like a lot, but anything that is happening consistently, I’m happy with! I’ll keep you updated on my progress!