Losing Makes Us a Winner! The Resolution: Lose the Weight

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From third grade to eighth grade I was overweight. I wore Husky pants. My legs rubbed together when I ran. My belly hung over the front of my pants. Sometimes people called me “fatty.” I cried.

I empathize deeply with people who struggle with their weight.

I chatted last night with a good friend who told me that when she was in the fifth grade, she weighed 240 pounds, and in college over 300 pounds. My heart felt nothing but compassion.

THE FAMILY OF ORIGIN

Both of us knew that our family of origin contributed to this struggle with obesity. In her case, she was subjected to satanic ritualistic abuse because of her parents. The trauma was such that eating was the one thing that soothed her and made her happy.

For me, I was in the third grade when my mom and dad got back together after five years of separation. From that year through eighth grade, I overate and put on way too much fat. They did not get along and it took its toll on me. It weighed me down (pun intended).

The emotional pain both of us encountered as kids drove us to eat. Eating brought a degree of relief to us, taking our minds off other things. Overeating made us fat.

The good news is that both of us came to a point where we said, “Enough.” We knew the loss of credibility, the poor self-image, and the ill-health associated with obesity outweighed (no pun intended) the benefits. If we did not lose the weight, we’d be losers.

Sure, most people would accept us and say nothing, but we’d always feel like the elephant in the room.

THE BIBLE

The Bible says, "Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7–8).

Note that Paul ranks godly discipline above bodily discipline. But Paul is not saying that bodily discipline has no profit. It has some profit.

All of us would agree that godly disciplines outweigh (no pun intended) bodily disciplines. Godly disciplines would be prayer, remembering Scripture in our hearts, and actively trusting and thanking God in trial. The list goes on.

Where does bodily discipline profit a little? Not being a glutton. A glutton is one who overeats. This overeating can be seen in obesity or those who are bulimic.

AVOIDANCE OF SCRIPTURE

I remember when Chuck Swindoll, the famous pastor and Bible teacher, had put on a great deal of weight and then lost it. He said about his days of being fat, "I used to drop my face into my plate and started sucking.”

When I heard him say that, I broke out in laughter. What a visual!

But it was no laughing matter.

He went on to say, "I avoided those passages dealing with gluttony.”

Avoidance is so true to human nature, and so sad.

Recently, I was in downtown in Grand Rapids. I noticed several hundred people at a convention exiting the conference hall. They were part of a denomination that was known to be extremely conservative in their fundamental, biblical persuasions—most of which I, too, believed. What hit me was the level of obesity in each person walking on the sidewalk. I did not observe one slim person. In shock, I watched them walk by and commented to Sarah, “Look at how each person is overweight." None of them were in shape. Not one could sprint up a steep hill for three hundred yards. They’d all stop.

None of them cussed, chewed, smoked, or drank. They would view those as unacceptable sins and would rejoice that they had said no to the vices related to these. However, overeating was a different matter. Pot lucks reigned.

I thought, How could they not see the major problem of obesity among them? As Swindoll said, “I avoided those passages dealing with gluttony.”

Where we have personal struggles, we tend to avoid the Bible on those topics.

SELF-ESTEEM AND CREDIBILITY

However, the challenge becomes greater than avoidance of Scripture. Swindoll also confessed, "One person said they could not listen to me preach because I was overweight.” In other words, when he entered the pulpit or wrote a book, this person could not receive what Swindoll preached because he stumbled over how Swindoll lived and ate.

I dare say that no one from the outside who watched that group of conservative Christians waddle down the street wished to hear what they had to say about Jesus. The lack of personal discipline in the physical realm discredited them in the spiritual realm. “How can you tell me that Jesus will work powerfully in my life and save me from my sins when you can’t push yourself away from the table? No thanks."

Does this mean no one listens to an overweight individual? Not at all. Many do. But each of us must ask: Is it worth it to me to be so overweight? Every day I used to get up as a boy, and look at myself in the mirror knowing that being overweight was not a good thing for me.

I recall my son David at around age ten feeling that he was putting on too much weight. Sarah suggested that he cut back on sweets like ice cream. That day he stopped eating ice cream and lost the weight.

Each of us must come to a place where we say to ourselves, “It is time. I need to feel better about myself and I need to be more credible with those around me."

THROWING STONES?

Am I throwing stones? Nope. I am throwing marshmallows to get your attention. Over the years overweight people will scarf down a package of Oreos, eat a box of chocolates in fifteen minutes, and go to all-you-can-eat buffets. Afterward they feel horrible, and then eat more later on. The cycle is killing them.

I do not want this for them. I feel their pain.

OBSERVED BEHAVIOR CHANGES

This year create a New Year’s resolution: lose the weight! But if you are like me, the resolution needs some assistance. I first learned from Swindoll this statement: observed behavior changes.

When we bring ourselves into the light with other people struggling with their weight, and mutually encourage the other, holding each accountable, good things begin to happen.

This is why alcoholics attend their A.A. meetings. That fellowship works miracles in helping a person who over drank to stop drinking. They are not at a point where they can do it on their own, and that’s okay.

The Bible reveals to us the importance of mutual encouragement: “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24–25).

It is okay to need others. There are great weight-loss programs who understand our fears and embarrassments. Get on the phone right now and make the call to join one of them.

Bodily discipline is of little profit.

-Dr. E