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. KB

    Amen, Lysa. Thank you for putting this message out there, it is a blessing to anyone that struggles with food or other "idols".

    December 30, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  2. James D.

    If got told you to get on a treadmill would you do it ?

    December 30, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • IntegralReality

      They can't seem to do any of the other hard stuff that their man-god asked them to do, so why should we expect them to at least do some exercise?

      December 30, 2010 at 10:51 am |
  3. IntegralReality

    Another "christian" using faith and ignorance to sell books... in clear contravention to the teachings of their alleged man-god, who it is claimed said this: It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God. Oh yeah, he also instructed his followers to sell off all of their possessions and to give the proceeds to the poor.
    Somehow that got twisted into: Come and use my words to make money so that you can buy more cheesecake and liposuction!

    December 30, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  4. Merri

    This article hits home! I think food is a problem - more than most of us admit. And that professor was right - our environment/culture does not help! Kudos Lysa for sharing your story.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:50 am |
  5. TheHoly

    You would have lost more weight exercising than reading the bible.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  6. Suz

    Oh for crying out loud. Why can't everyone just believe (or not believe) as they want and leave each other alone?

    I think it's safe to say that nobody here is converting anyone else to their way of thinking, so let's just stop trying and be happy for this woman for doing something positive with her life with a little help from her faith.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:48 am |
    • RUSH

      ...hug me....

      December 30, 2010 at 11:12 am |
    • Sean

      @Suz: I agree completely! Lets get the government to stop passing laws that are motivated, sanctioned, or driven by religious groups with religious agendas. Lets get the government to stop giving tax exemptions to religious groups based on their "non-profit" status. Lets get the government to stop trying to legislate morality. Lets all get together and define hate as hate even when it is in the guise of religious conviction (Westboro Baptist Church, we're looking at you...).

      When the religious right to believe stops impacting my right to not believe in any way, then and only then will the live and let live philosophy work. As long as government is influenced by religion, the rights of the believers infringe on the rights of the non-believers.

      December 30, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  7. Ronda

    Lysa, Thank you so much for your boldness for our Heavenly Father, the world needs more women like you that are not afraid to share what God had done for them and can do for all of us. I enjoy your blog everyday. Thanks for being a Women of God and sharing your faith with all of us. Blessing to you and all that read this.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  8. John Pope

    I have read better articles in the weekly comic section.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  9. Mary M.

    Thanks, Lysa for your honesty and candor. Weight loss is a touchy issue with a lot of people. I'm looking forward to reading your book, Made to Crave, (ordered and on its way!) and plan to take the online web class in January with a group of my girlfriends.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:48 am |
  10. Fred

    Worst Article Ever.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  11. criminy

    Oh Jebus H Cripes. Stuff a sock in it, or a dougnut.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:46 am |
    • Merri

      You obviously don't have a problem with food (or that you are willing to admit to anyway) or you would have a little more sensitivity!

      December 30, 2010 at 10:52 am |
  12. ljs

    Thank you Lysa, I am looking forward to the book. My prayers are with you.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  13. OO

    @ Woody,
    I agree with you 100%, ..... but sometimes you have to deal with the underlying issue before you can get the result you want. A house built without a foundation or weak foundation will always easily crack or fall when it is faced with a stress test. Until the foundation is built properly, no matter how many times you change the design of the house (in this instance your diet) you will always get the same result. I can train someone at the gym, show them what to eat even clean out their fridge and replace them with the right food, but the moment they are faced with trouble, stress etc they will easily go back to what gives them that temporary relief. To some it is FOOD, CIGARETTES, DRUGS and believe it or not to some it includes an obsession with WORKOUTS. My point is, find out whatever it is that is the underlying issue and deal with it. In the writer's case it has to do with here relationship with God.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  14. Julie

    Thank you Lysa for the courage to express your opinion and point us all to the Truth that is found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Keep up His good work!

    December 30, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  15. Danette

    Lysa is right. God created us with a special place in our hearts that can only be satisfied by a personal relationship with Him. In today's society, especially, it is easy to try to fill our hearts and lives that bring temporary and instant gratification. ONLY God can fill that spot...nothing else fits.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  16. Kristin

    Wow quite a lot of responses to this. Lysa I am so excited to get the book and believe that there are so many of us 'Jesus girls' out there that will benefit greatly from this book. Whether we need to loos a lot of weight or a little bringing our relationship closer to Jesus is the ultimate goal. I am very excited about this book.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:45 am |
    • David Johnson

      So, Lysa TerKeurst is going to be the patron saint of fat chics?

      Curious in Arizona

      December 31, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
  17. jet

    We all have something in our lives that is amiss........something we desire or seek to obtain....that something that will finally make us happy. It might be a spouse, or a job, or financial gain. We may obtain these things and feel happy for a time but then we desire something else. We have this hole in our hearts that needs something or someone to fill but its never filled with the things of this world. That hole is a God shaped hole that only He can fill. Things and people even the ones who truly love us will one day disappoint us. God will never disappoint you. He loves you just as you are. He has always loved you and always will. He has given us a guide to live by....it is HIs WORD....everything you need to know is in the Bible. Try praying, connecting with others who Believe in Christ, reading the Bible. Let God Love you and fill that hole in your heart.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:45 am |
  18. MG

    Great article. Obviously struck a chord with a great deal of folks.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  19. Brandi

    LOVE the article and the truth. Keep speakin' it!

    December 30, 2010 at 10:44 am |
  20. Bobbie

    Lysa, keep sharing with a lost world of people. I feel sad for those who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Continue to share your struggles and love for the Lord. We were all created to know Him and call Him Father. He did give us free will. Food and all addictions are for comfort of something we are covering up or deeply hurting over. It is through trusting God by repenting and then going forward one day at a time with Him, we can truly be set free! I read your blog and am encouraged by your struggles. Knowing Jesus and depending on Him, does not mean we are perfect or better then anyone else. With Jesus we can make a difference in all that we do to make this a better place.

    December 30, 2010 at 10:43 am |
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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.