Set unrealistic goals.
I propose we throw out the scale. How many of you reading this check your weight everyday? Twice a day? More? Or even a few times a week? The scale is a tricky thing. It can be exciting, liberating, appear as a baramoter of success; or it can be defeating, discouraging, send you into a panic, and put you in chains. It can just be a tool to fuel insecurities about our bodies. Create pride and arroagance at how "little" one may weigh. Someone can be overweight or underweight and carry the same issues.
We see the scale as this measurement (which is true to an extent) of which we succeed or fail when it comes to weight/body image. What the scale tells us makes us believe things about ourselves; good or bad. So we turn to diets, we count calories, we restrict ourselves from foods we like to eat often, we skip meals, and sometimes we go drastic with exercise and starvation. All to hit a number on a scale.
But what if we stop going by a scale and start truly living in freedom with our weight? How you ask? Well, I've talked before (HERE and HERE) about starting with giving it to the Creator of our bodies, and that health is really a matter of the heart. So this is going beyond that. What does it look like to live a free life with weight, exercise, and eating?
1. Prayer- I don't mean, say a prayer and be done for the day. This is a constant relationship with our Father about everything. It's leaning on Him to guide you when you're faced with the day. It's turning to the Word or speaking to God about a struggle such as not wanting to exercise or really wanting to go buy that ice cream and oreos. It's figuring out what things you turn to instead of Christ.
Are you tired after a hard day of work and all you want to do is check-out in front of a TV, order pizza, stuff yourself, and then have some cookies and milk? You know that is not the life God has for us. You know why? Because when we live like that we are living for instant gratification. We don't want to give up 30 minutes to exercise. We don't want to make a better food choice because it might not taste as yummy as a greasy pizza. We feel like we deserve to do what we want since we worked hard all day. But you know what? When we lean on Christ and die to ourself, we will experience an energy, stable glucose levels, better sleep quality, and hopefully a spiritual boost and confidence that comes from death.
2. Involving others- I think this is very important with ditching the scale. What's life about? God says it's "Love God and love others." Those are the most important commands in scripture! So that means community. Involve the people around you. Be real with them. Tell them your struggles, ask them to pray for you, ask them to help you! If I had a friend tell me their struggles and they say they have problems eating healthy on the weekends, would like accountability, and tell me carbs and cheese are their weakness; by golly if I invite them over on a Saturday night I'm going to try and not have pizza and mozarella sticks waiting when they get here! I'm going to try and help them!
When are we going to stop trying to get healthy/fit/lose weight on our own?! This life is meant to be lived with others. It doesn't have to be a shameful/guilty experience. It can be a freeing, liberating, and life changing experience. How many people can you impact by not trying to stick to "rules" but find freedom in loving God and loving others more than laziness and food? Tell people so they can champion alongside you and if they won't then look for different people...they are there!
3. Forgiveness- another big thing to ditching the scale is forgiving yourself (maybe forgiving others too). When you eat a cupcake or truly don't have time to exercise one day, don't beat yourself up. God's grace is so abundant, it runs all the way down to every bite of food you take. He isn't there to slap your hand when you mess up, so stop slapping your own. Sometimes when we "mess up" with these habits we tend to not forgive ourselves and throw in the towel. We quit. It's a journey not a score sheet. Just like the Christian walk, it's not about doing this or that to be made right with God, it's a journey, a relationship. That's what matters. So if you have past hurts and you're holding onto them, let go and give them to God. Forgiveness is a choice and not a feeling.
4. Pay Attention- stop looking at your scale and start paying attention to what you're really doing. Are you choosing to lay on the couch for hours at night? Are you buying candy everyday at lunch? Are you turning to the fridge when someone makes you upset? Are you eating too fast? Are you feeling "entitled" to not exercise or eat better? Are you skipping vegetables for another roll at mealtime? Are you choosing another piece of pizza because you like the taste?
Or are you exercising 3 times a day and eating only 2 meals the whole day to hit a goal? Are you speaking negatively to yourself everytime you look in the mirror? Do you talk hatefully to yourself when you get hungry so you will be too upet to eat? Do you hate putting on your clothes? Are you on medications for weight-induced problems? Are you embarassed to show your legs in shorts or your arms in a tanktop? Do you hide behind sweatshirts and sweatpants because you think it'll hide your extra weight?
STOP. Each time you encounter these things ask yourself "where is that coming from?" and "what's God saying to me?" If you start talking to Him about this, He WILL SPEAK TO YOU. I can attest. From there you will have the opportunity to truly deal with what's going on inside of you and move on bringing freedom!
THEREFORE, this is what I propose. I propose we take back our bodies, eating habits, and ditch the scale. Ditch it for at least a month. It's not bad to weigh yourself every once and a while but the point is to remove chains. Start doing those practices I mentioned and stop tracking, starving, dieting, and beating yourself up. Slow down when you eat. Plan. Talk with God. Sit down with your spouse, your family, a friend, a mentor, or anyone you can trust. Go back to basics. When you remove all these things (counting calories, buying weight loss pills, trying the newest craze, etc) and start eating foods that God made perfectly for us, actively talk to God/others, and forgive areas of your life that comes to your attention; I think your life will be less cluttered and more free to live the way you want.
I will say that measurement isn't always a bad thing. I'm talking about balance. Check how you feel after meals, how you sleep at night, your energy levels during the day, your glucose levels after meals, whether you have regular bowel movements, stomach aches, headaches, serious health problems, your body fat percentage, how you see yourself, how you speak to yourself, etc. These are all measurements. It's not all about the scale.
If you want to ditch the scale with me for at least a month then please let me know. I would love to be one of the people that cheers you on! I would love to share in your journey. Freedom is possible. One of my pastor's has said a few times, "God will only meet you in the present." Freedom comes today, not yesterday and not tomorrow. It starts NOW. :)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9, 10 ESV)
"Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you."
(2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV)
"Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but it is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."
Love God. Love Others.