When my wife, one of my sons and I moved to Philadelphia for a new job I was fifty pounds overweight. At this point in my life fast food restaurants was an acceptable place to get something to eat, and I didn’t really limit myself on what I ate or how much. A month or so before the move I interviewed with the company, and I got this feeling that I knew if I were to work here I would get healthy. Maybe it was because Craig, who would be my boss, was conducting the interview in shorts and a t-shirt, because he just got back a physical training class he leads using Russian cattle bells.
Within the first week at my new job, I talked with Craig on what I should do to get in shape, and the first thing we worked on was what I ate. Not only that, but Jennifer, the right hand person of the CEO, regularly sends out e-mails on health tips, and the company runs programs such as Biggest Loser, healthy snack Fridays, a nutrition group, yoga classes, Qigong, joint mobility… the list goes on. This is the healthiest place I had ever worked. Now I knew where my feeling came from. It was the Holy Spirit prompting me to make sure I got a job here so I could get healthy.
All this motivated me, and within the first few months I lost 25 pounds by just on changing my diet. Cutting out fast food and limiting my portions is all I really did. No exercising. This was the first time I cut 25 pounds, but it came just before the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. By January 1st I had put the 25 pounds back on. I did this a few more times, when my wife decided to lose weight too, and for me it was do or die.
The worst thing I found in trying to lose weight is having a family around that isn’t trying to lose weight. It makes it very hard when they are cooking all kinds of goodies and you are eating celery. The truth is, the worst thing I found is that I was too weak to do it on my own, and not disciplined enough not to get snared into binge eating.
The third time is a charm.
Before going on the diet with my wife, I prayed and I poured my heart out to God to help me beat it this time. Within a day or two I was sitting on the train going into work and I was inspired to read Daniel. I had never read Daniel, but that day I wanted to read about him, and so I did. (It is always important to take a bible with you wherever you go, especially if you are chasing after God). When I read about the fast that Daniel and his 2 Jewish brethren went on to avoid the temptation of King Nebuchanezzar’s food (Daniel 1:8-16), and about their dedication to God, right down to walking into a furnace (Daniel 3:12 – 30), something in me clicked. My blinders were on, and I wanted to commit myself to God like these men did.
One of the first things I did was to buy myself a wedding ring. I never owned one, because I do not like anything around my wrists or fingers… well, I used to hate it. But I wanted a ring. For one I wanted a ring to show my commitment to my marriage, but more importantly, I wanted it for my commitment to God. This wedding ring is more for my walk with God than my marriage, because the commitment to my marriage is also a commitment to God. This ring is my reminder of my dedication to following Him in all that I do as a husband, father, and child of God. This influences what I eat, what I do, and my journey all the way Home.
So now I had committed myself to God, had my blinders on, and I was only eating proteins – I was ready to cut weight and do it tenaciously.
The worst thing about diets is finding food you like to eat, but God solved that for me. You see, when I started the diet I started to find that all the things I enjoyed really weren’t all that great. I started to weigh the ROS (return on satisfaction) of the food – was the flavor from the food worth the carbohydrates and calories I was consuming? More and more the answer was no. So, I stopped eating a lot of different things. Now, there are very few things I find completely satisfying.
This is one of the first things God taught me. It was as through the process of losing weight that God opened my eyes and my mind and poured in some great knowledge. I had epiphanies about food, and these Gifts helped me understand my issue with weight. God showed me that really the only things I crave are sugar, salt and animal fat, in the way of butter, cream, and yes, the delicious fatty portions of a grilled rib-eye steak. (Mmmm-mmm-mm.) But really, that is all it comes down to. When I boil it down, these are the core components I passionately seek when I was binge eating. Of course, there are seasonings that compliment those three components like cilantro, curry powder, rosemary, anise, and although not a spice, garlic
What foods I believed I loved before the diet was just perception. I used to have a list of favorite foods, but through evaluating each bite I realized that it was not all that I had once thought is was, and I really didn’t enjoy them as much as I did. My list got very short, and it is getting even shorter today.
I wondered what had happened. This was another one of God’s lessons. I was binge eating because I was looking for something to satisfy me. I, just like most people, constantly crave things. We try to find things in this world to satisfy the cravings. Cravings use all 6 senses, and we try desperately to fulfill the desires of those senses. When we don’t practice temperance, our senses can become like animals with their own minds, carnally craving to be satisfied. But God is our only answer, not food, sex, drugs, music, incense, and hot women with low cut dresses and high level cleavage. It is God who fulfills us.
The senses are Satan’s way of keeping us distracted from what is really important, the Truth. If we seek the Truth, the closer we are with God and the further we are from Satan’s control. Therefore Satan tries to stifle our efforts any way he can, and does it through our senses. I was eating to fill a void that only God can fill. My lack of attention on God, and the extra attention I was putting on food was leading me astray. My faith was weak because I was relying on a vice, or a chocolate caramels, to fill that hole, rather than seeking fulfillment from God. What a mistake… what a sin!
I allowed myself to be distracted from God, and remember what Christ taught use, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:28-34. This is the way to our salvation from all things that keep us from the Truth.
So how can this be a sin? It was merely a mistake, right? Well, it is a sin, as God pointed out to me, because this behavior is not new to anyone. In fact it is recorded in the bible, “…For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags…” Proverbs 23:21. Have you ever felt tired after eating? Or do you feel tired all the time? Well, before you go to your doctor to be evaluated for depression, step on the scale. If you are over-weight then you are probably a glutton as I am.
That is what God showed me. Eating with no limits has its price, although we may not realize it. We may not put two and two together, but one day God put it together for me and if you seek Him, He will put it together for you too. The results of my actions, my lack of will power, and my poor decisions made me a glutton. Plain and simple! It hit me sort of hard, like what a schizophrenic must feel like when he realizes he is the only one in the room. The reality of being a glutton slapped me in the face, and I was stunned.
Since I had my blinders on chasing after a goal, and now given new life in God, I was only stunned momentarily. I realized the truth of the bad news but left that baggage right where I received it. I was once a wretch, but now I am found, and I am not going to sit still long enough to let that baggage weigh me down. No one should. “For God will break the chains that bind his people and the whip that scourges them, just as he did when he destroyed the army of Midian with Gideon’s little band.” Isaiah 9:4.
As I said earlier, trying to find recipes to make the diet interesting takes so much time and energy… and money. But I found a way to do it easily and cheaply and safely. During my diet I saw my doctor to get blood tests and a physical, and when everything came back with great results, I bought a case of eggs. I boiled eggs, and ate hard-boiled eggs. This was a protein only diet I did for about 2 months, and in that time I lost 45 pounds! It took me about 6 months to lose the other 5 pounds as I bounced around a bit enjoying my new body.
Eggs are cheap, and I could hard boil a bunch in the morning, and eat them all day long. Simple, easy and natural! I believe what God taught me through this diet that I needed to discipline myself so that I would not be susceptible to the temptations of the taste buds. No salt and no seasoning on the eggs. Just hardboiled eggs plain.
“Don’t people complain about unsalted food? Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg? My appetite disappears when I look at it; I want to gag at the thought of eating it!” Job 6:6-7.
Another thing that God taught me was temperance. He not only inspired me to eat the food that would cause Job to gag, but He challenged me to eat as little as I could each day. He taught me that we really do not live on food alone. (Matthew 4:4). That through eating little, or even fasting, that a new wonderful life would open up to me…and it has. I remember the first time I fasted a full day, I was so excited I called my Pastor Dennis and told him about it. This is a man who probably fasted a thousand times before, and was wondering why a grown man was calling him at night to brag about not eating for a day.
The reason is was such a big deal for me, is that I used to have episodes, basically psychotic episodes, when I didn’t eat enough. I would get confused, faint, irritable, nasty to everyone, belligerent, and my tongue was “an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8). I was irritable and I would go off into rages. I would be so mad that my head would burn for days after having an outburst. Seriously, it would feel like the top of my head, my brain, was under a heat lamp for days. This is what my family was exposed to. I was a monster. I was a gluttonous monster. I created this monster myself through the decisions I made, or the decisions I didn’t make.
Well, God delivered me from that. When I lost the weight, those days were gone. Years before when I was trying to cope with this by seeing psychiatrists and psychologists, I was diagnosed as bi-polar and stuck on meds. I unofficially diagnosed as hyperglycemic, then hypoglycemic, then another form of bi-polar-ism, and more drugs and more doctor bills. The bottom line – I was fat. I was overweight, and I was a glutton. God showed me this, and lead me out of that bondage! And it was free, with no drugs, and I didn’t have to beat up a pillow pretending it was my mother, which I never did but was encouraged to do by one psychologist.
Now I can fast, water only, as often as I wish. The longest I have gone was over a week and a half, which I know is amateurish compared to some real Holy-Spirited people out there, but I am happy with my progress. I fast quite often, several times a month, to honor God and Jesus for this miraculous life they have given me.
I still am a glutton. I still fight with the 3 temptations – sugar, salt and fat. I have climbed back up fifteen pounds and am in a real battle for this last hurdle – overcoming the 3 temptations. A few weeks ago I fasted for 4 days and dropped 12 pounds, however, on the fourth day I put on eight pounds. Satan is laughing at me, but I will have the last laugh. I know I can do another 4 days. I also know that in those four days I can do a 12 mile hike on day 3, and another 6 on day 4, just as I did on the 4 day fast. That is the kind of power I get when I do something with the Lord.
So, there is my weight-loss testimony. It really starts off earlier in my life than when I first came to Philadelphia, but I wanted this to be a short and sweet version. Here we are 5 pages later. (And I complain because my wife doesn’t get to the point fast enough). Holy cow.
I am just so thankful that I attached my wagon to the God train. That I can call upon Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit and be delivered from whatever binds me. It is my hope that this testimony provides some inspiration to others who have had the same experience as I have and would be willing to put it in God’s hands to claim a victory over this bondage. For those who are non-believers, this testimony will hopefully touch your lives, and you make a decision to put your life in our God.