Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Three Years and Counting

Today is three years since I started The Lord’s Table, the online Bible study that has helped me lose 81 pounds and was the biggest catalyst in changing the way I think about food. 

I had already started losing weight without realizing it.  One day I just became aware of the fact that for a couple months I hadn’t been eating as much food and had lost some weight.  I was clueless as to why I wasn’t eating as much but happy to have the loss, of course!  Later that year, I was boasting to a friend about my self-control in having McDonald’s for breakfast only 2 days out of 3. 

He told me about The Lord’s Table at www.SettingCaptivesFree.com.  I looked at it for a few days, decided to sign up, and the rest is history!  Except that it’s not only history; it was just the beginning and even three years later it’s the present.  I’m not doing that specific study any longer, but the truths about God I learned in that course still figure prominently in my decisions today and will for the rest of my life. 
In a nutshell, I was fat and didn’t want to be but thought it was inevitable and linked to genetics.  Surely the effort I was making should count for something.  Not eating the last bite of a sandwich…once…a month…should result in weight loss.  I’M TRYYYYYIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNGGGG!!!!!!

Ahem.  I think that red backpack was full of snacks and drinks in case we got lost in the corn maze. 

No, I wasn’t really trying, I discovered.  Through The Lord’s Table I learned that overeating is sin (which I repented of) and that I hadn’t been trusting God to give me what I need when I need it.  I had been getting it for myself.  Way too much of it (which I also repented of).   I’m typing this blog and eating lunch at the same time.  An hour and 15 minutes ago I had some leftover Smoked Mozzarella Chicken from Olive Garden, but I'm feeling hungry again.  I went to the fridge and got the leftover salad from Olive Garden.  I started to walk back into my office and heard God say, “You don’t need all of that.”  I went back into the kitchen, got a small bowl, and put about a third of the salad into it.  That’s what I’m eating now.  I call this feeling like Gideon.  In Judges 7, Gideon starts out with 32,000 warriors under his command, but God starts whittling his army down until he gets to 300 and then God says He will give Gideon victory over his enemies with just the 300 soldiers. 

Ummm…God?  I had 32,000 calories at my disposal.  [Figuratively, of course.  Stay with me; it’ll make sense in a minute.]  You’re telling me to eat just 300?  How can I possibly sustain myself on just 300 calories???  God answers, “You won’t.  I’ll sustain you.  I’ll cause your enemies to fight among themselves and I’ll give you the victory.”  My enemies, the world’s wisdom when it comes to weight loss, often contradict themselves.  A study comes out claiming that this food is the key to permanent weight loss.  Soon another study comes out debunking the previous one and claiming that this rare supplement found only in a 1-square mile area of the Andes Mountains is the key to permanent weight loss.  You know how it goes.  Situps are the key to a flat tummy!  No, planks are the key to a flat tummy!  No, lift weights so that you build muscle and burn fat even when you’re resting!  Sure, there’s a little bit of truth in all those claims, but do you see how they’re fighting against each other?  Some foods are good for weight loss when they’re substituted in place of another food, planks are fine (I do them regularly), and strength training does build muscle so that I burn fat even when resting.  That’s why men generally lose weight faster than women; they have more muscle that’s constantly burning fat.  Sometimes I start thinking that a new revelation (or an old one packaged in a new way) will be my key, so I start researching it, but then I find contradictory information.  I start researching that and find something that contradicts them both.  It’s ridiculous! 
So how do I make sense of it all?  This past Sunday I re-read one of my favorite weight loss Scriptures, Colossians 2:20-23.  “You have died with Christ and He has set you free from…this world.  So why do you keep on following rules of the world such as, ‘Don’t handle, don’t eat, don’t touch!’  Such rules are mere human teaching…These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.”  The world's methods work only on the outside, or rather, only on the body.  God's method gets to the heart of the matter.  "Are you going to trust Me, the One who made you, about what's best for you?  Are you going to obey Me when I tell you to do something?"

So the end of chapter 2 tells us what NOT to do, but are we TO do?  Keep reading in chapter 3.  “…set your sights on the realities of Heaven…let Heaven fill your thoughts.  Don’t think only about things here on Earth.” 
That’s what I did 35 minutes ago when I heard God tell me to eat only part of the salad and I obeyed. 

In the three years since starting The Lord’s Table, I’ve lost 81 pounds. 

I had lost 90 by this past January, but I’ve gained back 9.  I’d like to skip that part and just let you think it’s been all loss with no gains or plateaus but that would be deceiving you.  There have been a couple gains, this 9 pounds being the biggest one, and plenty of plateaus.  It’s been slow going, but that’s okay.  I recently realized why the weight loss has slowed.  For the past 1-1/2 years I’ve been concentrating on fitness, not just weight loss.  I started running (yes, running!) and love it!  You’d think that would help me lose more weight, but actually the days I run I’m VERY hungry.  I don’t overeat or gorge myself, but I do eat more on those days than on nonrunning days.  I’m trying to curb that.  (See Colossians 3:1-3 above.)  I think that if I stopped running I could consistently eat less and possibly lose weight faster, but I don’t want to stop running.  I enjoy it too much to stop!  I enjoy the increased fitness and challenging my body and my mind.  I’m constantly learning new things and tweaking what I do, though, so we’ll see.  I am conscious of the tendency to eat more on running days and am reining it in. 
So, to summarize, three years ago GOD, the past 1095 days GOD, today GOD, and tomorrow GOD. 
Simple as that.