Connection is the key to a lifetime of freedom from obesity. This is most difficult due to the benefits of isolation. Some want to maintain it for fear of rejection. Their shame in their appearance and not being able to succeed produces feelings of intense inferiority. Many also enjoy the benefits of invisibility. They are not looked at or addressed as real humans so they can fade into the background with no risk of getting hurt or being known.
The second essential for long term success is breaking through a common barrier that does not seem to make much sense for those in such desperate shape. I make a challenge to them that they all have something in common, a bond among all who cannot stop overeating. Each one feels he or she is the exception to the rule, and believes that I will not deliver on my assertion. But I do.
That commonality is a ‘stubborn resistance’ to do anything but what they have already done. When I say it out loud and explain how they resist giving up their old ways, refusing to work through old problems and staying away from quick fixes that never fix, they all nod in reluctant agreement. It is this stubborn resistance that keeps them on the same path, creating greater frustration and weight every year.
The anecdote to this stubborn resistance is a humble willingness. They must humble themselves, come off the pedestal of weight loss expert and into the role of willing learner and courageous explorer of new things in uncharted territory. Showing up at Living Light intensive or in a counselor’s office is not a sign of willingness. It may merely be another attempt to prove that no one can help and weight loss is a lost cause. So I ask them to enter the process of willingness-willingness to listen, willingness to work on new areas, and willingness to connect.
The third essential for overeaters is to give up their fluctuating levels of effort to help and cure themselves. They have worked hard enough at severe diets, extreme exercise, and at trying to redeem themselves with greater efforts to win God’s favor and earn His forgiveness. Even those who are incapacitated due to their weight need to be told that they do not have the ability themselves to fix their own problem. They must come to believe that while they can’t save themselves, God can if they will let Him, even without trying to earn His favor.
And finally, they need to surrender their lives and will to God, seeking His presence, power and wisdom every day.
Most will not do it unless they change their perception of God. Unless they come to believe in a God who loves them, rather than an angry and vindictive God, there is little chance for surrender. The concept of grace must be accepted deep within. They must see that they have been given unmerited favor that needs no work to earn. It is the understanding of grace that leads so many to finally give up and surrender. Once surrendered, they can go to work on the deeper issues of inner longings, deep-seeded appetites, and their empty souls. This new work becomes the core of their connections with others and the beginning of the healing process.
Without these three concepts being addressed and resolved, there is little hope for the overeater. They are doomed to wait on God’s miraculous touch or continue to discover the limits of self-effort, for it is not in effort that the solution comes. It is in clearing the roadblocks to the heart and soul of the underlying issues. Janel Puff, a therapist in Indianapolis and co-author of the Lose it for Life Devotional, wisely condensed the proper perspective on obesity and how to recover from it. She said, ‘The problem is physical, the cause is emotional, but the cure is spiritual.’
Helping people work on the physical aspects of the problem will only add to their frustration and despair. Unresolved spiritual issues of the heart will keep them locked into their old patterns and dependencies. Of course, the same goes for the drug addict and the alcoholic.
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Janel Puff, a therapist in Indianapolis and co-author of the Lose it for Life Devotional, wisely condensed the proper perspective on obesity and how to recover from it. She said, ‘The problem is physical, the cause is emotional, but the cure is spiritual.’