What's the difference between the person who successfully loses weight and keeps it off and the rest of us?
Is it strategy? I don't think so. I've seen people succeed on all sorts of plans, from Weight Watchers to South Beach, from Curves to P90X. There are "how to" books, videos, and programs to be found around every corner. We are not lacking for information on how to lose weight and get healthy.
For those of us who struggle and whose weight sometimes comes off but often returns, the missing ingredient seems to be the "want to." We lack the motivation to do what needs to be done, or the commitment to keep doing what needs to be done over and over. We fabricate excuses so that we can blame external factors for our struggle (I can't find time to exercise with all these small children...Eating healthy costs too much...My body just prefers to be this weight...) instead of looking for the internal issues that are holding us back.
I've identified a few of the things that keep dragging me back to my old habits (of eating bad foods and living a sedentary life):
I tend to think "all or nothing," so when I have a small slip-up or a weak moment it's easy to convince myself that I am incapable of getting it just right. If you can't do something well, don't do it at all. Sound familiar?
I watch others who are succeeding, or who have never experienced this struggle, and I hold up my measuring stick. Mine is always shorter. Beautiful friends who've had numerous babies still looking as amazing as they did before the first pregnancy... Contestants on The Biggest Loser who rock out dropping ten plus pounds in a week... And then there's me. And I feel about two inches tall. And I think, "Why bother?"
These two internal issues reveal the third...
Am I losing weight to be skinny, to see a certain number on the scale, to wear a particular size of jeans? Do I believe that, by losing weight, I will somehow "measure up" in a new way and feel more beautiful? Or more worthy? What, really, is the goal that drives me?
So I need to remind myself of some truths. Maybe you need a reminder today, too.
The number on the scale does not define me. That number is simply an external indicator of an internal problem.
While looking great and wearing those size eights hidden away in the back of my closet would be fantastic, my appearance is nothing more than a side-benefit (the icing on the cake, if you will). The real benefit is how I will feel, not only physically, but spiritually and emotionally.
The goal is not measurable in pounds, inches, or sizes. Rather, my daily measure of success needs to be obedience. Moment by moment, decision by decision, asking God what He desires for me and then doing it.
For me, carrying this extra weight is symbolic of the burden I am hauling around that weighs me down from serving God and my family fully, completely, wholeheartedly, and with supernatural energy.
It's not about me.
I hope you needed a pep talk this morning, in whatever area your struggle lies. What is your struggle today? Did any of those truths resonate with you, too?
* This post is part of my Crave God, Not Food series, where I'm holding myself accountable to you and to Him on my quest for better health. Much of what I'm learning is based on Lysa TerKeurst's Made to Crave: satisfying your deepest desire with God, not food.