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I adjusted the top of my jeans, pulling them up and “over” one more time. They were pretty tight around the middle area and it was creating more “tension” than the tension on my button.
So much of my identity and our identity as a society is based on how we look. Truthfully, this thought makes my spirit cringe and my stomach kinda hurt… or maybe that’s just my tight waistband.
As a Christian woman who longs to please God, how do you pursue better health and weight loss without allowing it to become an idol in your life? How do you stay motivated when losing weight is so tangible and fickle and pleasing God feels steady but abstract, still? What do you do when you just want to be skinny.
In this post, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about Christian weight loss. With this information, you can build a solid foundation on that which matters most, so that your results are meaningful and lasting (for here and eternity).
HOW IS CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS DIFFERENT?
“They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” John 17:16 ESV
Let’s be honest here, Jesus stood out. I often worry that I would’ve been one of those people who thought He was weird and wrote Him off.
He didn’t fit the mold of religious tradition and worldly values. He saw people as THE most important thing and our hearts the soil He was saving.
In a world where weight loss is marketed as popularity and successes, it’s hard to separate ourselves from its messaging. Teenage girls see fat as fatal and wives hide in the dark– afraid for their husbands to see how they fail to meet Hollywood’s standards of beauty.
Christian weight loss is different because it swims upstream, just like Christ did.
Rather than making ourselves great, we make choices that nourish and strengthen our bodies so that we’re equipped to minister to others. We peel away the layers of selfish ambition in our hearts and learn how to walk outside of the dictatorship of our flesh.
Christian weight loss is based on putting God first. Not because we have to but because we see our personal pursuits are getting us nowhere. We place our weight loss aside, trusting what His Word tells us.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25, 33 ESV
MAKE YOUR WEIGHT LOSS MATTER
Weight loss from the world’s perspective is all about things that don’t matter to God. This is a big, glaring, neon clue to why losing weight with worldly measures may not be working for you.
Whatever we put our precious and limited energy into needs to be a meaningful venture. Weight loss is shaky motivation because we have zero control whether or not the scale moves. Our behavior may be spot on, but the numbers may not change.
This means our drive to change bottoms out and it hardly seems worth it to pass on foods you feel deprived of.
On the flip side, an eternal perspective doesn’t fade. Ever.
Being healthy to serve others, to love your family, and to step away from the fridge when the Holy Spirit prompts you are independent of your body weight. This means you’re better positioned to be consistent because you’ve stepped away from all-or-nothing thinking.
What you value in God matters most.
MY #1 BIBLICAL WEIGHT LOSS SECRET
What’s a girl to do when it’s 8 pm and she’s already messed up her diet? Does she keep going because tomorrow she’s going to follow her diet “perfectly” and she’s never going to eat those processed carbs covered in chocolate again?
I’m fairly confident that diets have played a big role in your current weight loss challenges. You started out with the best of intentions, but each attempt to trim the fat and find food freedom led to greater bondage.
You started to feel good when you ate healthily or lost weight… and shame when you veered off course. How you ate became a way of measuring your worth, and food started to attach itself to morality.
Your commitments to yourself to do better next year, next month, or tomorrow became empty promises and your word began to mean nothing to you.
All-or-nothing eating set in and you felt sunk.
My #1 weight loss tip is that it’s never, ever, EVV-V-V-V-E-R all-or-nothing.
Let each and every food choice become independent of another and you’re poised for success. What you ate one week, one day or even one minute ago is irrelevant to how you eat NOW.
The here and now is the one and only moment you have control over. Stop making decisions based on your past choices and make them based on your values.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GRACE IN CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS
My blog name used to be A Joyful Plate. For reasons I’m about to explain, I hesitate to even type those words. About 9 months into my blogging journey, I received a letter that made my heart sink and tears flow.
A cease and desist arrived at my front door, informing me that I was in trademark violation and at risk for some serious fines. In a panic, I rebranded, grasping for any name I’d deem even a decent substitute. And Grace Filled Plate was born.
In hindsight, I wonder why it took a legal matter to get me to the heart of God’s message for you and me. My only hope of success has always been and always will be founded on God’s grace. We can’t earn His favor to find freedom with food or to excel in our “Christian diet.”
It’s only in recognizing our weaknesses and realizing our desperate state of need for Him that we can acknowledge our unworthiness and celebrate His endless gift of grace.
God’s grace is found when we miss the mark. It says “you’re loved, no matter what.” Yes, even as far as “I will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17) despite that box of Girl Scout cookies you just ate.”
The sooner we can let grace catch us, the closer we are to our weight loss goals.
THE KEY TO DIET GRACE
The key is learning how to manage slips. I consider a slip being eating something you think you “shouldn’t.” Whether it’s based on conviction of the Holy Spirit or diet condemnation, you see it as an infraction.
What happens to most dieters is that they see the slip as a reason to indulge. We say things like “I already messed up today, so I may as well keep eating and start again tomorrow.”
Now, I’m going to say something that, if you can grasp it, it’ll transform your relationship with food:
It’s not the slip that matters but what happens after the slip.
Read that again for me, please.
The extra cookie is NO big deal. It’s the other 5 you ate because of it.
That handful of M&Ms you grabbed off the receptionist’s desk really doesn’t matter all that much. It’s how you stopped for fast food on the way home because you already “blew it.”
When we can relax and stop acting as if we’re shocked when we discover we’re human (once again), we can let imperfections go and– here’s the kicker– get back on track much, much sooner.
WHAT TO EAT FOR CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS
Any time I offer a new product in the Grace Filled Plate Store, one of the first questions I get is about what that resource requires participants to eat. We’re so programmed to follow a food plan, it’s hard to let go of.
However, I believe with all my heart that there is no one “right” way to eat.
I’ve had clients excel eating vegetarian or grain-free or with no diet framework at all. It’s never about searching for the perfect diet plan; it’s about finding what’s right for you. And no one knows you better than the Holy Spirit.
And, if you’re not sure how to eat better, start by eating more whole foods, or take some time to tune into your hunger or fullness signals. These simple habits will get the ball rolling and start to shine a light on areas you could improve upon.
All the while, never forgetting that what God cares about most is the state of your heart.
HOW TO EAT FOR CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS
We sing about being a light to the world from the time we’re in Sunday school. In church, we learn about the Great Commission and how our actions can be the only Bible some people ever read (William J. Toms). And yet, it’s so easy to make how we eat a strictly personal venture.
But, how we live matters.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 ESV
I used to be dreadful to have over for dinner. You never knew what I was eating that week or how my previous meal’s success determined what I was “allowed” to eat. I put myself and my diet drudgery before others. I’m so glad God helped me to stop dieting.
While I’m not proposing that we sustain ourselves with junk to be all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:19-23), I do want to remind us that how we interact with food can glorify God.
If we’re bound to food and lacking self-control, this message says something to outside observers about the God we serve. While our struggles can never taint who He is, it may tarnish another person’s perception of Him.
Now, don’t let the enemy bog you down with condemnation. He would love to do that. Rather see this as an invitation to do more for God for bigger and better reasons. Food and weight loss can become an idol but we can tear it down.
WHAT TO DO
So, what’s next? You’ve got this great information but what can you do with it? Here I provide a simple, yet effective way to get your weight loss going. Please know, this isn’t a quick fix. I wouldn’t do that to you! Rather, this is about making small, sustainable changes that stick around.
- Brainstorm. Take a few minutes (or even a few days) to braindump every idea that is swirling through your mind. Thoughts about changes you’d like to make or new priorities you’d like to pursue.
- Rate. Go through the list marking each with one with a number of 0-10, based on your perception of importance and value. Don’t overthink it, just jot a number down (0= Not important at all; 10= High importance, high value).
- Separate. Now, write all of your 8-10’s on a separate sheet.
- Practice. Prayerfully choose one item (your new habit) to focus on, and practice that change this week.
- Evaluate. Once a week, evaluate how that change is coming along. Determine if you’d like to continue to work on this habit for one more week or add another practice.
This process ensures that you’ll be putting your effort where it matters most. You won’t be bogging yourself down with burdensome rules. Rules that stress you out over those minor details you can get hung up on. Rules that ultimately overwhelm you and cause you to give up.
CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS RESOURCES
Here’s a list of vetted resources I highly recommend. You’ll find your best, next steps here.
BIBLE STUDY FOR CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS
If, as Christians, we believe that the Word of God is our authority and that it is alive and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), then we’re going to want to make the Bible a foundational part of our weight loss journey.
Having a regular time when we read our Bible is essential. Not only because it has the ability to change us, but having the words fresh in our thoughts allows them to be brought to mind when we need it.
While we could be meditating on diets and what we’re going to eat each day, how much more productive (here and eternally) to think about heavenly things!
If you’re having a hard time nixing negative food chatter, consider giving yourself something else to think about by reading the scriptures.
This weight loss Bible Study post comes with a free printable study sheet that’ll teach you how to get YOUR revelations about how to eat and move directly from God.
You may also want to check out two studies you can purchase right here from Grace Filled Plate.
Chew the Word is an interactive 30-Day (6-week) scripture study that will take you from reader to doer.
Each weekday, you’ll be provided with a purposefully-selected scripture verse to study.
Then, you’ll be asked 5 simple yet profound questions that will teach you how to dig out God’s truths for YOU from His Word.
Over the weekend, you’ll complete a Weekly Reflection where the Holy Spirit can tie a bow on all you’ve learned.
“Courses”: A 7-Course Feast For the Soul teaches a Bible study technique that will show you exactly how to get the answer to your food and body image struggles directly from the Word of God!
This 7-week study will show you 7 key areas to SATURATE with God’s truth so you can walk in freedom and fully live out the calling that God has on your life!
BLOGS FOR CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS
Here is a list of the Christian weight loss posts here at Grace Filled Plate as well as some awesome resources across the web.
- 7 Truths for How to Lose Weight with God’s Guidance
- 10 Bible Verses About Overeating
- 10 Bible Verses About Self Control
- 10 Bible Verses About Healthy Eating
- 10 Bible Verses for Weight Loss
- 10 Verses About Food For When You Are Sick of Diets
- 15 Ways to Glorify God in Your Eating
- Has Weight Loss Become More Important Than Your Faith?
- How to Find Food Freedom with Fasting (made easy)
- How to Get Rid of “Bad” Food Once and For All
- How to Pray for Weight Loss Effectively
- How to Pray More Intentionally About Food and Fitness
- How to Root Your Weight Loss in Christ
- Start Losing Weight with the Power of God
- The Key to Weight Loss Bible Study
- What Does the Bible Say About Diets (How to Eat in a Way that Glorifies God)
- What You NEED to Know About the Bible and Diets
- Why God Isn’t Mad You Blew Your Diet
- Why You Need to “Tithe” on a Christian Diet Plan
FREE PRINTABLES FOR CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS
BOOKS FOR CHRISTIAN WEIGHT LOSS
I’ve created a post with a full list of The Best Christian Weight Loss Books that I’ve read and recommend.