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?


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. Mark


    Evolution 101......say it over and over and over and over and.........

    I hate to be this direct, but you're a liar my friend. Neither you, nor any other" scientist" has "determined" how evolution works. Heck, you can't even produce one shred of evidence with which to even try to start. Where is it? Direct me to it....please. One by one everything that evolution scientist have paraded out for everyone to see has been shown to be a HOAX. Lucy? Hoax. Peppered Moths...Hoax. Ardi? Hoax. And on and on and on. When will you learn?

    Abiogensis (yeah I'm familiar with the word). Has never been observed in the laboratory by any Biochemist even under controlled conditions. That's a FACT.


    December 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • .Guapo.

      There are mountains of evidence. Genetics alone proves evolution without even looking at one fossil. Im not hear to give you a science lesson. Do the research yourself, learn the truth and stop parroting the propaganda given to you by answersingenesis and other creationist whack jobs.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • Larry the dictionary

      Actually, if you knew the word "abiogenesis", you would spell it correctly.

      The rest of your post is just too flailingly inaccurate and deluded to deserve comment.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:59 pm |
  2. Sandy Cooper

    Lysa, I can't wait to read your new book and more about this spiritual journey. I know this is a huge issue for so many people.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
  3. Mark


    "Being in a book doesn't make something true. Blindly accepting something because it's in said book is ignorant".

    Yeah, that's what I tell my kids when they come to the "evolution" unit in their science text books at school. Kinda funny. I thought Evolution 101 taught that we should read it and accept it. It's in the book, that's it, it's settled.

    The word for the day kids....is....HYPOCRISY!!!!

    December 30, 2010 at 2:40 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      You've already reproduced? 😦

      December 30, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Dave

      As long as that is all you say to your kids – fine. They SHOULD be skeptical until they can see something is logical and backed by experience. Which, of course, brings us to religion....

      December 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • .Guapo.

      Wow I feel sorry for your kids chances in a highly educated science trending future. But hey the world always needs ditch diggers!

      BTW evolution is in a science book because its been peer reviewed, is testable and makes preditctions whos outcomes are in sync with the hypothesis and are also testable and duplicatable. You know that crazy science stuff your pastor warns you about. The word were all looking for? Proof.

      Wheres yours?

      December 30, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      There is an enormous mountain of scientific evidence supporting evolution. There is not even one tiny of scientific evidence supporting creationism/intelligent design. There is no competing theory of any kind, religious or not, that has any scientific support or evidence.

      Evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity and aerodynamics are theories – there is an enormous amount of supporting evidence. Creationism/intelligent design/religion are theories in the same way the Easter Bunny is a theory.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
  4. Sheri

    I am writing this post to Lysa and to the editors at CNN. Thank you, Lysa, for humbling yourself and sharing your heart with others. I'm sad that you are being attacked so viciously. It HAS to hurt and I feel terrible that you are subjected to the darkness and evil that has been spewed onto this comment section. CNN, thank you for being willing to share a variety of subjects and persectives. It is responsible and unbiased news that you have offered today. While I have not typically visited your webpage in the past, I will be sure to make that effort from here on out.
    As I side "rant", I am disappointed in human nature today. Shame on any one of you that used this public forum and your right to free speech to spread hurt and hatred. I'm disappointed in myself that I spent any time at all in reading it.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:39 pm |
  5. JRez

    Wow. Desperate people really will believe anything so long as it means they don't have to get off the couch.

    Lady, you could have lost just as much weight reading Harry Potter in place of snacking.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Dave

      In a grouchy mood because you can't lose weight? Or are you just an internet troll here to rant...

      January 3, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  6. bob

    Who is making all this money off this book? God? Didn't think so.. LeAnn, save your work, it would be like me trying to get you to think MY way. We call New Religion Cults because people don't believe what they believe, how is this different from "old" religions? If believing in something or someone turns one's life in a heathly one, great for you, but you have to know that it wasn't God that made those changes, it was YOU! No one MAKES you do things but YOU.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  7. Prov31Fan

    Great job Lysa! Can't wait to read your book.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  8. sue

    Great article, thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading your book made to crave. Thanks!

    December 30, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  9. Chris PhD

    Thank you Lysa for having the courage to blog here. The battle of the bulge takes courage to face and overcome, and the spiritual warfare from all the cynics taunting and insulting you and believers in general takes even more courage. Be strong daughter of God, take courage, and know that God will work through your testimony to help others, the saved and unsaved, those who eat to much and those without enough to eat, as well as those who bless you and those who curse you. May Jesus have mercy on all our souls in 2011 and beyond.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:26 pm |
    • Teske

      Amen!! What a refreshing comment filled with truth, amongst a plethora of attacks from the enemy. God Bless you, Chris Phd!

      December 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
  10. Mark

    "We know why the body is the way it is and how it evolved that way"

    OK genius....enlighten us. We're dying to know. Even the most intelligent persons in science will admit they don't know that. Yes, even the evolutionists. Maybe they're just waiting for your call. You don't know anything but what you read in a "Nature" magazine article. Science does NOT know how we evolved (probably because we were created, but anyway). To state that is simply ignorance or a lie or both.

    Good to see you picked up on the fancy word "irreducible complexity". Easy to say, hard to get past though isn't it??
    Me and my "ilk" may not have figured it out, but you and your athiestic psuedo scientific evolutionist buddies have done no better. The evolutionist theory, otherwise known as the "oh......gee.....everything sprang from nothing and life simply created itself" is a hoax. It's been disproven again and again. Some of the best scientific minds in the present and the past have sided with creationism.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • Dallas5superrings

      Well Said Mark! Guopo is one of the atheist that cant stand the fact that there is a GOD. Why he is on this page, is beyond me...

      December 30, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • Dave

      Some of the best scientific minds in the present and the past have sided with creationism.

      Name one of these 'present minds' that an atheist would accept as an unbiased scientist?

      Evolutionary theory has NOT been disproved once let alone many times. Get your facts straight or keep quiet – surely your faith will forgive your ignorance?

      December 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      You guys are funny. 🙂

      December 30, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
    • .Guapo.

      Look Mark go and read up on the subjects youre debating before you talk to grown ups. We know exactly how the mechanisms of evolution work. There are mountains of data that prove it over a long list of scientific disciplines. The theory of evolution is as real as the theory of gravity or germ theory. Get used to it.

      Now what you are having a hard time with is differentiating evolution with abiogenisis (ooh scary big word. Look it up.). Abiogenesis deals with life from nothing and similar concepts. Thats a cutting edge part of science that is very promising. And just like always when we crack that we will pull all of you theists kicking and screaming with us into the future.

      Nice try Mark.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I am extremely, passionately interested to know which of the best scientific minds have disproven evolutionary theory over and over again.
      You do know that the Vatican accepts evolution, right?
      If Creationism is the Truth of how we came to be, then how exactly did two people spawn the entire human race without having to deal with any inbreeding problems? Even if Adam lived to be over 900 years old, as it says in Genesis.
      And hang on – it happened twice! Noah, when he was a mere 500 years old, took his wife and three other mating pairs of humans and again, repopulated the entire planet without having any problems with inbreeding.
      So along with evolution, Mendelian genetic theory is also false?

      December 30, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  11. Ykcyc

    You are fat, because you stuff yourselves and are lazy. Also, you lie because you are sared of the truth!

    Gluttony, derived from the Latin gluttire meaning to gulp down or swallow, means over-indulgence and over-consumption of food, drink, or intoxicants to the point of waste. In some Christian denominations, it is considered one of the seven deadly sins—a misplaced desire of food or its withholding from the needy.

    Feed someone else instead!
    You comit a sin and you will burn in hell!

    December 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
  12. twmorrow

    First of all, thank you CNN for allowing Lysa to post ! Thank-you Lysa for allowing God to use you in a mighty way! Our God does care about little things in our life as well as big things...Lysa's weight loss I think would be counted as small compared to the rest of her testimony for those of you who don't know it I encourage you to read about it at her website. Furthermore, I can't tell anyone what to believe or whom to believe in and I don't understand why some things on this earth happen, but if we never know pain, heartache and struggles then how would we know what happiness, joy, and peace is? I have found in my deepest darkest times in life I have asked God to help me and prove himself to me and he has time after time miracle after miracle.....things that I didn't have the will power or strenth or resources to make happen on my own....and these things dont happen by chance....I pray for all of you today that you will ask God to show himself to you....and just see what happens ...GOD bless you all...

    December 30, 2010 at 2:23 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Your god doesn't care. In fact, I have a hard time deciding which scenario is worse:

      a) she exists, and doesn't care, so why do you worship her; or,
      b) she doesn't exist, so why do you worship her

      The option you've chosen (she exists and cares) is clearly not backed up by any events that I've ever witnessed.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • esmiranda

      Sean, I just want to point out that going with the whole "she" thing regarding a God you claim not to believe in says that you care enough to purposely go with the less popular "God as a Female" option. I hate to point this out to you, but, making that decision shows you DO care about God. You purposely made a personal choice regarding your take on the essence of God. Okay, I lied about the part about hating to point this out – I LOVED pointing this out! Never said I was a christian....

      December 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @esmiranda: Actually, I just like winding up the believers, and that's one of the cheapest ways to do it.

      December 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  13. LeAnn

    I guess I'm just baffled. Why are so many self-proclaimed athiests reading a blog about faith? And, worse, why are they making such ugly comments? Faith is believing in what cannot be seen or proven. My faith is the source of my hope. My faith is what gets me through the day. Why would anyone want to take that away? Jesus has shown Himself to be very real to me. No amount of ugly comments could ever take that away. In fact, it has the opposite effect. It makes me want to work that much harder to share His Truth with unbelievers. You may not care about where you spend eternity, but I care enough about you that I do. I will be praying for God to reveal Himself to you in a very real, tangible and undeniable way. And... I thank God for people like Lysa who use the gifts God has given her for His glory and not her own. Thank you and WELL DONE!

    December 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Dave

      Why are so many self-proclaimed athiests reading a blog about faith?

      Because if you see and hear ignorance touted as knowledge you have a duty to try to correct it

      December 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
    • .Guapo.

      Ummm its also on the front page of CNN.com.

      Didnt you know that satan has his tentacles everywhere? Even the interwebs?

      December 30, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • Dallas5superrings

      I agree LeAnn.....IT seems like when a person of FAITH proclaims it, EVERY NON BELIEVER gets all worked up. Why are non believers even commenting on this page other than to let everyone know that THEY do not believe in GOD. I am SURE there are MANY forums that atheist and other non believers can vent on. I bet CNN would love it!

      December 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Because this blog regularly has articles on athiesm, like the one a few days ago on the athiest billboard in New York, or the one on the athiest view of December.

      Because we have freedom of speech.

      Because we feel the duty to criticize the inaccurate or unhelpful intrusion of religion on our lives and the well-being of others (and this woman's book is going to lead far far far more of you to misery – feeling you are spiritually inadequate because your diet failed – than it could possibly help).

      Because religious people, particularly Christians, persecute athiests at every opportunity (see the comments on the athiest articles and see how loving the Christians are).

      Is that enough reasons? I have plenty more if you need.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • esmiranda

      Atheists scream about God because they love to waste vast amounts of energy on what they don't believe, picking other people apart about their "delusional" beliefs makes them feel somehow smarter and superior, and well, they have to point out the facts, and only the facts. They sure do spend a lot of time screaming about something they claim not to think about!

      December 30, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  14. Al Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    If religion has anything to do with being thin, then you should convert to Hinduism, because the vast majority of Hindus are thin and the vast majority of Christians are not. Buddhism or Shinto would be a better choice also. Southern Baptist would be the worst choice.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      I'll take a Buddhist to a Christian any day.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  15. Sherell

    Lysa, great article! Hopefullly one person has been helped by the outpouring of your struggles and your transparency will make it even easier for that one to step forward, own up to the food obsession in their life and make the appropriate changes.

    December 30, 2010 at 2:08 pm |
  16. Shawn

    Lysa – I read your 'Encouragement For Today' a couple of weeks ago, and purchased Made To Crave the same day. The book spoke directly to my situation, and gave me new insight as to the source of my emotional eating. Thank you for allowing God to lead you, and sharing your journey with us!

    December 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
  17. Dallas5superrings

    Mention GOD and ALL the atheist are offended. Sorry that my GOD is real. If you knew me, you would know there was a GOD because only GOD could have gotten me through what I put MYSELF through. Nuff said

    December 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm |
    • .Guapo.

      Were not offended. We just laugh at you.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:07 pm |
    • Dallas5superrings

      .Guapo.....When you use the word WE, that means "more than one".....You can laugh all you want, but if a plane was going down, you would probably be the first to scream, "Help me Lord", then remember you dont believe in one...Im not offended by your stupidity. Just embarrassed for you, thats all

      December 30, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • Mr. Sniffles

      Gotta agree with Guapo on that. It's wonderfully funny to rediscover how gullible and irrational humans can be.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • .Guapo.

      Nope. I would scream out for Luke Skywalker to save me.

      December 30, 2010 at 2:21 pm |
  18. Becky

    Ok I really want to pray & do this struggle!

    December 30, 2010 at 1:59 pm |
  19. Dallas5superrings

    Why is it that this woman can share her faith in GOD, to help her overcome any issues or problems in her life, and she gets slammed for it. Some idiot wrote a moment ago he was a geologist and said he knew more about GOD than others, because he doesnt believe in GOD by his studies. What an idiot....

    December 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  20. Carol

    I believe Ms TerKeurst hit the nail on the head. So many of us "good girls" struggle with weight. I look forward to reading her new book. This should be a very good year.

    December 30, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
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About this blog

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.