Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would come up to us and say, “Here’s your weight loss boundaries! Follow them for x number of days and you’ll lose that weight pronto! Oh, and did I mention that it will be fun and easy?!”
Then they’d give us a high five and walk off, leaving us to float into the happily-ever-after weight loss future!!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually work that way. Instead, we read an article on the Internet of someone who lost a bunch of weight and think, Maybe that plan will work for me!
Or we’re listening to a podcast about how to lose weight and think, Maybe that’s the plan for me!
Or we see our friend who lost a hundred pounds. We know how she lost it and think, Maybe that’s the plan for me!
There’s just one problem. “The plan for me” changes from month to month or week to week or sometimes even day to day! Often, the problem isn’t that we don’t have a great plan–it’s that we have too many great plans and we don’t know which one to choose.
Let’s take a look at a few lies that keep us from choosing a plan. Then I’ll give you some questions to ask that will help you find your own plan.
Lies That Keep Us From Choosing Weight Loss Boundaries–or Make Us Change Them Too Often
Lie #1: If I can just find the right plan, this will be easy.
Truth: If I love to eat, eat for emotional reasons, and am not opposed to eating large quantities of food, NO plan will be easy because I’ll want to break every plan that doesn’t allow me to eat what-I-want-when-I-want!
Lie #2: Her plan must be better than my plan because she’s lost more weight.
Truth: This is a sad truth, but here it is. Her plan’s not better, it’s just that she’s following it more carefully than we are. Or she’s exercising more. Or she has more weight to lose than we do so it’s coming off faster. Or she has a higher metabolism. (I told you it would be sad.)
Lie #3: This plan is the answer to all of my weight loss woes!
Truth: Unfortunately, a plan can’t change us. It’s just a plan. Romans 12:2 tells us that we’re transformed by the renewing of the mind–so in truth, God is the answer to all our weight loss woes, and He changes us through the renewing of the mind.
Lie #4: I’ll get to eat more with that plan!
Truth: This is another sad truth. No matter what the plan is, we end up eating about the same amount of food because there is only so much food we can eat and still lose weight.
If we’re interested in quantity, some plans might allow more vegetables or protein, but no matter how hard we look, we’re not going to find a plan that will allow us to eat a huge quantity of our favorite treats.
Lie #5: I think it will be easier to follow another plan.
Truth: This is actually possible. Depending on our personality, lifestyle, likes, and dislikes, some plans may be easier to follow than others. Explore that idea when you get to the questions, but just remember to keep the truth for lie #1 in mind while you’re looking for that plan and hold the plan lightly.
Lie #6: That plan sounds more fun than my plan.
Truth: Again, probably not. At least, it probably won’t be so fun that it will allow us to eat unlimited amounts of our favorite foods. If it is that fun, it probably won’t help us lose weight!
Lie#7: I don’t want to choose any weight loss plan because then I’ll have to suffer.
Truth: Either way, I will have to suffer. I just need to choose what type of suffering I want to go through and what benefits I want to enjoy. I have five options:
- Give up on trying to lose weight and eat what I want when I want (which means I’ll probably gain weight).
- Keep thinking, I really should lose weight, but don’t do anything about it because it’s too hard or I really don’t want to suffer unless I know I can do it successfully and lose the weight.
- Make the sacrifice, choose the boundaries, and follow my weight loss plan, but feel like I have to be skinny or it will be the end of the world.
- Make the sacrifice, choose the boundaries, and follow my weight loss plan, all the while holding both food and skinny with open hands.
- Give up on trying to lose weight and just try to maintain on three meals a day, holding food and skinny with open hands. (Check out this blog post for help with the skinny idol.)
Option 3 and 4 are the only options for weight loss, but option 3 is a path of greater suffering because it will be so stressful.
In some ways, I think option 2 and 3 are the worst options because they’re so stressful. At least with #1, we’re not trying to lose weight or struggling with indecision–not that I recommend #1.
Option 4 and 5 will force us to go to God for help because we can’t hold skinny and food with open hands without going to Him for help! All things said, I think #4 and 5 are the options of the least amount of suffering!
Lie #8: Maybe a new plan will work better for me. I need to change my plan.
Truth: The truth is, changing plans too often usually does more harm than good. First, it reinforces the lie that it’s the plan that changes us, rather than God through the renewing of the mind.
Second, it reinforces the lie that we can lose weight without suffering because each new plan is like the magic lottery ticket that will help us lose weight easily.
And finally, we usually eat so much during transition time that we gain more weight!
If you’re a chronic weight-loss-plan-changer, I would consider choosing a healthy, well-balanced plan and putting up a boundary like this: I can only change my plan once every three months (or whatever time limit you think would be best to help you to not think about changing plans all the time).
Now that we’ve got those lies out of the way, here are some questions you can ask to help you find a plan that will work for you (these are different questions than the ones at the back of the Taste for Truth Weight Loss Bible Study). Journal through these questions and then choose two or three plans you think might work (some popular ones are Weight Watchers, counting calories, Thin Within hunger/satisfaction, the Daniel Plan, paleo, three meals a day, and low carb). Give it a couple of days to mull it over and pray about it and then choose a plan.
Questions That Will Help You Choose Weight Loss Boundaries
Begin by asking God for guidance and then write the answers to these questions in a journal, taking breaks to visit with Him about your answers as you go. If you have a hard time choosing boundaries, set a deadline for when you need to choose them by–preferably within a week–so that you don’t have to live in indecision for long.
- Have you lost a considerable amount of weight before? If so, what boundaries did you use each time you lost weight?
- Do you lose weight best on your own or with a group?
- What boundaries fit into your lifestyle the best?
- If you’re married, does your spouse have a preference? If so, why does he/she want you to use those boundaries?
- Is this a healthy, well-balanced plan? (Don’t choose a plan that’s unhealthy!)
- Do you really need to lose weight?
- Is there a certain weight loss plan that tends to lead you into obsession, or do you tend to obsess over your weight, food, and exercise regardless of the plan you’re on? Explain. (If you obsess about weight loss, consider doing the idolatry series on my blog with the skinny idol in mind.)
- Which weight loss plans seem most interesting to you and why do they interest you?
- Have you ever been on a weight loss plan that you hated? Why did you hate it?
- Would you rather have one set of boundaries to lose weight and another set to maintain weight, or would you rather have the same set for both weight loss and maintenance?
- If you’d rather have the same set, what boundaries could you live with for the rest of your life?
- What weight loss plan would you like to choose? Is there any good reason to not choose that plan?
- Is there any reason God would be opposed to that plan or to you trying to lose weight? Explain.
Questions Not to Ask When Choosing Weight Loss Boundaries
- Which boundaries will make weight loss fun and easy?
- Which boundaries will allow me to eat what I want when I want?
- Which boundaries will guarantee success?
Other Weight Loss Resources
Taste for Truth: A 30 Day Weight Loss Bible Study is focused on the lies that make us eat, body image, and the weight loss process. I wrote this Bible study to go along with the questions and Bible verses in I Deserve a Donut, and although you can do the study without I Deserve a Donut, it’s best if you have both books.
I Deserve a Donut (And Other Lies That Make You Eat) is a renewing of the mind resource to use in the midst of temptation and also to prepare yourself for temptation. I use it all the time, just for regular life. It is filled with 36 sets of questions and over 150 Bible verses that you can use to have conversations with God about life and food. The questions and Bible verses will help you renew your mind, taking off the lies that make you eat and putting on the truth that will set you free. It’s also available as a free app.
Freedom from Emotional Eating: A Weight Loss Bible Study is more focused on emotional eating. Although there is material on boundaries and breaking free from the control of food, most of the book is devoted to learning how to let go of negative emotions. The comment I get most often with this book is that yes, it helped me with eating, but it helped me even more with letting go of my negative emotions.