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. Eva

    Thanks for a different outlook, love the article.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  2. cp4him

    Can't wait for the webcast!

    December 30, 2010 at 9:21 am |
  3. Susan

    Great article even for those whose faith does not include Jesus. The point being made here is that many people eat to handle emotions. Emotions can be handled in a more healthy way – by addressing them directly and/or by focusing on faith, as the author did. Even just the realization of what you're doing can be a powerful start. Thank you for sharing your experience. To those of you who are posting trite, off-topic and negative things – don't bother.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:20 am |
    • Pdine

      Awesome post! I would like it, but I can't do that here.

      January 2, 2011 at 4:34 am |
  4. Tonja Herbel

    I truly love this article. I love the speaker and I believe she is speaking from her experience. I know that this society we are in now definitely needs to try something different. Most diets are not working. And if we can grab hold of something that works than bring it on. Let us try God and see how that works. I know it will make a difference in our lives.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  5. Ashley

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words of encouragement! I can't wait to read your newest book.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  6. hj

    To cure a disorder by replacing it with another one is a lateral move at best.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  7. Jane

    Thank you Lysa! We all need to hunger and thirst after the things of God and not the things of this world! You are truly a woman after God's own heart.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  8. mr.giggles

    @doctore0.............I understand your desire to see starving children get fed......but don't complain that God is not feeding starving children when you have plenty to eat........don't complain about it, do something about it.....perhaps you are the person God could use to feed them.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  9. Lynn

    You hit the nail on the head, Lysa! I am looking forward to reading your book.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  10. Robin

    I have my book and I am very excited to start the Webcast. I cannot wait to read it.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:19 am |
  11. mkinbacon

    I got 8lbs of bacon in my stocking this xmas. and a $400 spree for McDonalds this xmas. gawd loves me too.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:18 am |
    • Katie D

      you are so right!!! He does love you!

      December 30, 2010 at 10:20 am |
  12. El Guapo

    Congratulations on losing the weight....BY YOURSELF. Since your god is a myth like all the other ones.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • Claire

      well el not so guapo, you are myth to Christians who know better than to think that the skys, earth and galaxies made themselves. God Bless you.

      December 30, 2010 at 9:40 am |
    • Katie D

      Just call out to him when you need him, he'll be there.

      December 30, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • El Guapo

      No he wont. He hasnt shown his face in...well...never. I doubt hes gonna come out of hiding for little old me.

      December 30, 2010 at 10:17 am |
    • CJ


      So what happened when all those people in the tsunami, the holocaust, 9/11 called out to him? ... yeah i guess they got his answering machine 🙂

      December 30, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • AchievementGap

      @El Guapo I bet you only read the article because it had the words "mad at God" in it. Sounds like your really angry with him. Don't worry he will reveal himself and you will wish he hadn't.

      December 30, 2010 at 10:53 am |
    • Bill

      "So what happened when all those people in the tsunami, the holocaust, 9/11 called out to him? ... yeah i guess they got his answering machine"

      Hello, this is heaven, press one for English. Numero dos por espanol.

      Were sorry, all of our customer service reps are currently helping others. In case of impending doom......you are fecked.

      December 30, 2010 at 11:13 am |
    • Primo.

      @AchievementGap....Yeah Im about as mad at god as I am at superman and batman for not letting me into the justice league. Try again budddy.

      December 30, 2010 at 11:33 am |
    • Karen

      El Guapo,
      I wondered if you'd comment here. God is real and He loves you. I truly believe that one day you will know that too. Keep searching out the "religious articles" my friend. Your ears won't stay closed forever.

      Still praying for you!

      January 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  13. Connie

    You spoke to my heart Lysa. I'm reading "Made to Crave" and it's really inspired me and I'm only 1/4 of the way into it. I highly recommend this book to others!! 🙂

    December 30, 2010 at 9:16 am |
  14. ssr

    Great news for those who, like me, think the goal is just too hard to accomplish.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  15. Jennifer

    Thank you Lysa for this oh-so-needed message! Her book, Made to Crave, is written as though each word were directed straight at me. Already the conepts of her book have done a 180 in my thinking, and the results are showing on the scale. I'm SO glad God laid it on Lysa's heart to share this message, and SO glad she was brave enough to do it.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  16. yvonne

    Food for thought! i know i couldn't help myself. but honestly take out food and put in the addiction of your choice and the result is the same. we need to turn to God and not other wordly things

    December 30, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  17. Crystal

    The article might help me lose weight from throwing up in disgust. God is a social construct invented by the weak to bring meaning to a world they can't comprehend. How very sad that rather than pat herself on the back for her individual strength she's thanking an imaginary construct. Might as well have thanked Santa, and then CNN could have put it up last week.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:14 am |
    • Brandon

      I agree, humility is so DISGUSTING! Why would anyone feel *grateful* after good things happen, when they can just say how awesomely better than all the other (weak) people they are? You are so wise to point out the stupid nature of a woman who is successful and happy, yet humble and trying to help others be the same. Yep, the article writer is the "sad" one. For sure.

      December 30, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • Tonja Herbel

      I hope you find out before it is too late that God is not imaginary. He is real and he will have the last word. If you would get out of yourself selfish thoughts then you too would find him and know that he is real. Try picking up his word.(The bible) and reading the truth sometime.

      December 30, 2010 at 9:30 am |
    • CJ

      But the important thing here is WWJD right? ... He would stop stuffing his face with fatty foods, accept the fact that he alone has caused his weight problem and move towards a healthier diet to resolve his problem!

      December 30, 2010 at 10:39 am |
  18. Tina

    The bible says to lay aside the weight and sin that easily besets you. God gave me insight that my physical weight was besetting me causing me to feel weak, ashamed and insecure. I since have lost a LOT of weight and feel more power to do great things for God than I ever did. I too have already downloaded Made to Crave and am telling EVERYONE about it. Thanks Lysa for your practical and spiritual insight on this issue that most women face daily.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  19. Shannon

    Great article Lysa. Thank you.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:13 am |
  20. Stephanie Romero

    You speak from the heart of my real issues. I know that the only real fulfillment I can find in this life is Jesus. It is amazing how that can affect every aspect of living, even in your food choices. I look forward to the deeper relationship with the Lord I will gain through Made to Crave.

    December 30, 2010 at 9:13 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.