One of the questions I am asked the most is how can I stop eating sugar like you did? That question is one I personally never asked myself because I didn't want to give up eating foods made with processed sugar.
I never thought I would have to do that. I foolishly thought I could just eat less. Friends, if you are a sugar addict, eating less just never works.
I didn't know I was a sugar addict until God confronted me. You may not think you are either but if you are, there are definite steps you need to take that are different from just going on a diet to try and fix your problem.
You may be like I was and don't really want to know if you are a sugar addict or not. I knew that would mean I would have to give up a lot of foods I grew up with.
Those foods came with all sorts of great and endearing memories attached, memories that are highly connected to holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you've been listening to my podcast for any length of time, you know that at one time I was super, morbidly obese and weighed 430 pounds, and stayed there for quite a few years. So even though eating sweets were attached to many fond childhood memories, overindulging in sugar was heading me toward an early grave. A cardiac surgeon had given me five years to live if I didn't lose weight and keep it off. And that was when I was still in my 40s.
Does Food Control You?
I coach women who deal with lots of various food issues that they feel are controlling them: things like sugar addiction, carb addiction, binging, bulimia, overeating and others. Some don't look large because they hide their issues well but they long to get free of the stronghold that food has on their lives.
If you are resonating with any of what I have said so far, you are likely stuck in bondage to food and don't know how to get out. I get it. I was there for way too long.
Food is an inanimate object. It does not have the ability to jump off the plate and overpower you, and yet we let it control our lives. If you think about it, though, it's not the food that is controlling you; it is the emotions surrounding the food and our desires to have it at any cost to ourselves.
In Luke 9:23 (AMP), Jesus tells us that to be His disciples we must deny ourselves, which is defined as setting aside selfish interests. He adds that we must be willing to take up our cross daily, expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come and follow Him.
My main selfish interest was eating what I wanted, whenever I wanted and however much I wanted. It made me feel comforted. In other words, it was a selfish desire. This issue with food was one I had to face head-on. If anything is more important to us than Him, then we are not following Him. There definitely was a time when what I ate was more important to me than Jesus.
Before anything happens with what we eat, when we eat or how much we eat, there are steps we must take to understand why we eat the way we do when we know we shouldn't eat that way.
Following God Is the Key
If you are a recovering sugar addict like me, you can't go on a maintenance plan where you add stuff back in. That doesn't work. I must eat what God has told me to eat. Meat, fruits and vegetables; no processed sugar, no flour.
If it's within those boundaries, I can eat it. If not, I don't eat it. There's no in-between in God's kingdom. We are either listening to Him or we are not. My plan may not your plan. The important thing is to find out what God's plan for you is and follow it.
To understand that, we must begin to change our focus to what God wants for us. What we eat must flow out of our love and obedience for God and His desires for us. This is one of the main things we work on in Overcomers Academy.
Accept Where You Are
The first step on this journey is to accept where you are. I had to accept I was a sugar addict. For years I prayed for magic fixes. I wanted a pill, shake, patch or diet plan that would fix me. I wanted to walk through a prayer line and 250 pounds just fall from me.
I wanted a wand waved over me so I would magically want to eat healthy. I wanted something to fix me so I didn't have to go through the grueling effort I knew it would take to lose the weight I needed to lose.
Gaining up to 430 pounds wasn't hard but weighing 430 pounds was the pits. I had diabetes, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, arthritis, was tired constantly and my brain was always foggy. I needed to lose the weight and even though God had given me the plan, I couldn't figure out how to follow it.
Surrender to God
After exhausting every other resource known to humankind, I finally realized I had to surrender my issue to God completely before any change could happen in my life. God wants to help us and He will if we choose to obey and follow Him.
"May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He'll do it!" (1 Thess. 5:23-24, MSG).
This Scripture gives us a path to follow and God is the One who will help us get to the end goal. God's end desire is for us to be holy and whole. When we surrender to Him, God will put us together—spirit, soul and body—and keep us fit. He's completely dependable or faithful. All we must do is follow Him.
Focus on God
We must focus on God, not on food, but it's not just enough to follow Him theologically. We were put here in a body to overcome the pull of the flesh. One big, fleshly desire is to eat when we are not physically hungry.
Food plans aren't the most important thing. The most important thing is to focus and depend on God and not what we think we need, which always boils down to what we want.
Thanksgiving is here and Christmas is coming. Following God in what you eat during this time may be difficult. With faith and commitment to God, though, you can do it. I know you can.
Here to Help You
If you want help, really want help, I'm here to help you. Doors are open now for Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy. I'm only taking members who really want to work with God to be the best person they can be. If that's you, I can't wait to see you in the group. Go here: https://teresashieldsparker.com/overcomers/
If you don't know if you are a sugar addict or not, I have a free sugar addiction quiz that will help you understand where you are and give you some additional information. Find it at: https://teresashieldsparker.com/sugar-quiz/
For more on this topic, check out Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast episode 108: Am I A Sugar Addict?
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of six books and two study guides, including her No. 1 bestseller, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds. Her sixth book, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds, is live on Amazon. She blogs at teresashieldsparker.com. She is also a Christian weight-loss coach (check out her coaching group at Overcomers Academy) and speaker. Don't miss her podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, available on CPN.
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