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December 30th, 2010
08:00 AM ET

My Take: When the fat girl got mad at God

Editor's Note: Lysa TerKeurst is president of Proverbs 31 Ministries and author of Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire With God, Not Food. Lysa blogs daily at www.lysaterkeurst.com. 

By Lysa TerKeurst, Special to CNN

Three years ago I was stuck in a rut of wishful thinking and excuses with my weight loss. At the beginning of each day I would say I wanted things to be different. I would vow in my heart to make things different. I would even make a plan to stop the snacks, increase the veggies, and say no to the desserts.

But then life would happen. And the excuses were so very plentiful. So, my resolve would melt away like butter on a hot yeast roll.

Of course the next morning I would always get up and weigh myself hoping that somehow magic would have happened over night. Despite my indulgences from the day before, maybe just maybe the numbers would have gone down.

But the scale was not impressed with my wishful thinking. So you know who I’d get mad at?

God.

I’d beg God to help me one minute while scarfing down an order of fries the next. And then I’d be doubly mad He didn’t steer my car away from the drive-thru.

I deemed myself a victim of tragic genetics, overactive taste buds and a stomach that demanded large portions.  What I failed to realize for years is there was a much more significant issue going on with me.

More important than the ever increasing size of my jeans was the deception going on inside my heart. My weight was outside indication of an internal situation. There was a crucial spiritual situation that needed to be addressed.

I was relying on food to be my comfort, my ever present help, my guide, the thing that got me through the valleys and the first thing I wanted to celebrate with in the good times. Honestly, I might as well have taken Psalm 23 and replaced the Lord’s name with various food choices.

My proper little Christian self would have never expressed that out loud. But my body wouldn’t keep secrets. I had an issue. And the ever increasing size of my body demanded the REAL issue be addressed.

I don’t write to point out anyone else’s issue. There are certainly medical situations that can cause weight gain. But my issue was truly a spiritual one. And no diet would have ever been permanently successful until I got to the real root of my problem.

The root of my issue was craving food more than God. I desired and depended on the instant high of physical gratification because I hadn’t learned how to let God satisfy my deepest needs.

God wasn’t causing my weight issues as some sort of cruel consequence for my poor choices.
God was actually the very thing I needed to help overcome my issues.

Dr. Floyd Chilton who teaches at Wake Forest University of medicine wrote an article that said, "Your willpower is in constant battle with your genes and your calorie-excessive environment. Often your best efforts are no match for your genes and environment which is why so many diets fail so miserably... Will power alone is not enough to bring about this change; start by realizing that can not do this alone. If you are a person of faith, use that connection to help you change."

So, I set out to understand what the Bible says about how to consume food without food consuming me. I started in Genesis and read through the Bible with an appetite for truth rather than chocolate, chips and cheeseburgers. This was a spiritual journey that yielded great physical benefits. I lost 25 pounds in 4 months but more importantly, I have kept it off for nearly two years. That’s a first for me!

Now, I sense my weight issue was actually a gift in disguise. I never thought I’d say that. And yes, three years ago I would have rolled my eyes at someone saying that too.

But I don’t say it as a Pollyanna lollipop girl with too much air between her ears and no cellulite on her hiney.
I know this is a tough issue. I’ve walked through the tears and the feelings of failure. Remember, I was the fat girl mad at God about this whole deal. So, hear me out.

Learning to turn to God to fill my soul instead of food to overstuff my emptiness, has changed more than just my jeans size. It has changed my outlook on life. I did lose the extra weight I needed to shed and kept it off. But the real reward was what I gained with Jesus in the process. He became the best part of my journey. And I wouldn’t have missed this new found closeness I now have with Him for anything in world.

“For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food,” Romans 14:17-20.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Lysa TerKeurst.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Food • God • Opinion

soundoff (1,314 Responses)
  1. phillydriftr

    I knew a girl in Indiana I think it was who died from a treatable form of diabetes because her parents prayed instead of take her to a hospital.

    Religions are retarded, there is no god, get over it. EVOLVE.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
  2. phillydriftr

    what a retarded, delusional hag

    December 30, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  3. razzlea

    I could to relate to her untill loving god came into play. http://razzlea.blogspot.com/

    December 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  4. Paige

    Very nice article Lysa.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  5. amy

    thank you, lysa, for not being afraid to be honest and truthful about who you are, and who you are in Christ! You inspire me to remember these simple truths that can be so easily hidden by the deceitfulness of this world. 🙂

    December 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  6. stevie frachise

    I also once knew this fat girl who believed in God. She prayed every day for God to help her lose weight. This went on for several months and nothing ever happened. Then she decided God was a waste of time and thought maybe eating right and exercising might work. She lost 40 lbs in 6 months and has kept it off for 3 years now and is happier than ever.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
  7. Kim

    Well said, Lysa! Thank you for all you do! It's so sad how many people have no faith. What an empty way to live...

    December 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  8. Julia

    There are far too many things that have happened since religion became secondary in our lives. Instead of having parents raise their children and instruct them within a religion to complement their teachings on morality, parenting is optional and the schools, government, and the TV are all too willing to do it for them. I understand the necessity of both parents working, but now instead of spending time with kids doing chores and making meals, we're running through the drive-thru and shuttling them to drama class. We stuff our spirituality with reality shows and Disneyland vacations rather than simplicity and order. While the Boomers may have shunned organized religion in favor of free love and do what feels good, we seem to have gone in the other direction where it's all about me and not about what's best for our families and communities as a whole. I'm not advocating that you go to the church (Lord knows there is corruption there too), but there's something to be said for having a responsibility to your fellow human beings that has been lost as religion withers on the vine.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Religion tends to preach resonsibility for your community of fellow religionists. Heathens, infidels, idolaters, non-believers are suitable for tolerance (meaning ignore them), conversion or slaughter.
      Xenocide lurks in the depths of most religions – especially the Abrahamic ones.

      December 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm |
  9. Jenna

    This is the silliest article ever. Fat person tries in every way possible to escape blame for eating her way into obesity. It's your own fault fat woman. Delusional fat woman.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  10. Fricsaid

    I've always said, show me a story about God or religion, and I'll show you an atheist in close tow. With always the same argument I might add. "Unicorns and faires." "Why all the suffering?" Blah, blah, blah. Do you do this, ever realizing, that it is exactly what Satan wants you to do? Mocking God, always focusing on the bad. You see what you seek. I seek God, therefore, I see him. And I promise you, no one would ever be able to change my heart on that.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  11. Blessedgirl

    Way 2 go Lysa!!!!!Keep on sharing!!! Your messages are uplifting!!!!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
  12. Tammy

    I am so encouraged by this article. I am ordering your book, Made to Crave, and cannot wait to read it and allow God to direct my journey to glorify Him and lose weight! Thank you, Lysa!!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm |
  13. Nichole

    What Lisa says is so true and so relatable! I am reading 'Made to Crave'. I am not done with it yet, but I already LOVE it and have learned to much! Thank you, LIsa. You are a blessing in my life!

    December 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  14. Mark

    @Shawn...
    There's no one forcing anything upon you here. No one made you read the article. No one made you post your reply. No one forced you to do anything here. All of you "non-believers" spend your time looking around the CNN (and other) websites trying to find articles pertaining to "religion" or better yet "Christianity" and then you want to quickly bang out some kind of insulting (usually incorrect) reply to all the "nut job" Christians. And then you cry....."Don't force anything upon me!!!!!!!".
    This was very simply a story about a woman's struggly with her weight, and how that played into her struggle with her relationship with God. Sorry if you somehow misunderstood that as her trying to forcefully convert you to Christianity.
    No truly born again follower of Christ I've ever known goes around promising to others that things are going to be "just great" if they'll only believe in Jesus. Jesus Christ himself told his followers just exactly the opposite.
    Do all of you professed athiest and agnostics not even realize that the gospel message is growing by huge numbers in some of the most restrictive places on the planet??? Do some research for crying out loud before posting a bunch of nonsense. Places like China, North Korea, and the middle East the gospel of Jesus Christ is being spread and people are being saved. Don't give me this garbage about people only coming to Christ becasue they've been promised something. These people have everything to lose and yet they're still trusting Christ.
    Your problem with Christianity is not the conversionist stance. Your problem with Christianity is the same problem that all non-believers have. You don't like to think about the fact that we've all sinned and that we need a Savior. Christianity is the only "religion" (I hate that word) that says salvation must come through Christ and we can't save ourselves. All other religions preach the gospel of ME ME ME. "I can save myself". "I'm good enough to please God all by myself". The Bible says that "there's no other name under Heaven whereby men must be saved". But, hey...no one's forcing you. The decision is totally yours.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • .Guapo.

      All of those places your myth is spreading too are filled with uneducated and ignorant masses who are perfect candidates for your delusion. Its no wonder its spreading there. However places like europe and America religion is slowly dwindling and church attendance is down. How wonderful is secular education and science!

      December 30, 2010 at 12:09 pm |
    • CP

      First off, "truly" born again acknowledges that there are false messages out there, yet you insist yours is somehow uniquely divine. Aren't you just full of yourself.

      But on the more obnoxious element: China, North Korea, Middle East. What do those people have to lose? Poverty, hunger and disease?

      December 30, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Mark
      So discouraging personal responsibility by having to go through a divine intermediary is what makes your religion truer than all the others?
      Ever read "Gulliver's Travels"? The King of Lillput could only be addressed through his flapper – a man who would jostle the royal ear with a bladder on a stick to get the monarch's attention.
      You're effectively asserting that God has a flapper in Jesus, so He therefore is more real than any other deity.

      December 30, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
    • CP

      Oh, and as for your "me, me, me" issue, how is it more honorable or respectable to rely on another to redeem you than to do it yourself? If I do something wrong, I should make amends myself, not ask someone else to bail me out.

      The need for Christ as your method to salvation was created by the Roman Catholic church as a means to subjugate people and create an industry that would compete with the Jewish church. Why let poeple save themselves when we can charge them for it?

      December 30, 2010 at 12:18 pm |
    • Jo

      Applauding Mark. Good for you!!!

      December 30, 2010 at 3:10 pm |
  15. bugsmom1

    Is it because these people do not have God in their heart they feel it necessary to insult those that do? How sad a life must be to have nothing better to do than insult and say hurtful things to people. Satan is certainly busy with all these non-believers. All the more reason why I choose to believe in Him because I certainly would not want to be the kind of person that sits around so miserable that I have to put othes down to make myself feel better.

    December 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • phillydriftr

      No it's because you're delusional and we're trying to help you. And if you send your kids to catholic school and theyr'e smart they will resent you for the rest of their lives. ap pre-calc/trig, ap trig, 2 years ap bio, 2 years ap chem, 3 years tenor sax, 4 years stage crew, graduating as stage manager, 73rd/435 breeze. Oh, and...religion.

      December 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
    • bugsmom1

      Don't recall saying that I was catholic. I think I'd rather take my chances with what you call being "delusional" than to come judgement day find out that I will spend an eternity burning in hell. If you are so resentful of religion, why do you bother reading this stuff? So you choose to be a non-believer, that's your choice but it's not cool to bash those that do. If you have an issue with religion being forced upon you, you should take that up with your parents. However, it was your choice to read this article. Nonetheless, my God teaches me to love all so I will continue to pray for you and all the other non-believers.

      December 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm |
  16. Becky

    What a revelation! Just what I needed to bring in the new year!

    December 30, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  17. Justin

    Eat to live; don't live to eat.

    December 30, 2010 at 11:56 am |
  18. LB

    I can not believe how many people out there are blinded by the enemey(Satan). It is soo sad to see how many people do not accept the Lord as their savior, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I pray that before your end you are able to see the power of the Lord. It just hard to imagine: you can look out the window, your door, the TV, or even in the mirror and see the terrible works of Satan, and you cant believe in our GOD. Heartbreaking!

    December 30, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • Bill

      What does god sound like?

      December 30, 2010 at 11:59 am |
    • Guapo.

      Just looked in all of those places. Didnt find that pesky devil (which your god allows to exist). You know what else I didnt find? God, angels, demons, thor, unicorns, toot fairy, spiderman, krishna, vishnu, allah, etc...

      I did find that missing remote. So thanks for that!

      December 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • CP

      Satan does not exist. In fact there aren't even really that many references to "Satan" in the Christian bible. Most quotes simply refer to evil. Now, evil is subjective and debatable, but if it does exist, it is more as abstract as the bible portrays. I would interpret most biblical references to be more about the evil within man. So, let's take responsibility for our own actions and not just say "the devil made me do it."

      December 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm |
  19. Diane

    Well said! Great article. Thanks Lysa!

    December 30, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  20. matrioshka

    This must be the lamest column I have ever read. Terrible writing, weak premise, just...CNN what were you thinking?

    December 30, 2010 at 11:53 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.