Do you ever find yourself saying, “I can’t believe I’m still struggling with my weight! I should be over this by now!”? If you do, you’re not the only one. That’s one of the most frequent comments I hear from women about their weight.
We think we should have it all together, but it’s not surprising that we don’t! After all, we love food. We eat for emotional reasons. And this isn’t a goal we can check off our list and say, “There! That’s done!” Instead, we need to keep following our boundaries day after day, month after month, and year after year. No wonder we feel like a weight loss failure at times!
Here’s the thing though: We’re not weight loss failures. Let me say that again. We’re. Not. Weight. Loss. Failures. Instead, we’re people who broke our boundaries today. It’s important that we make that distinction in how we talk to ourselves. Because if we’re defined by failure, there’s no use going on. We might as well give up right now and start eating what we want. But if we’re just a person who failed at following her boundaries today, then it would be better to look at why we failed and correct our course so we’ll be less likely to fail tomorrow.
We can do that by looking at how we spend our days, what food is in the house, what we do when life is hard, and what we do when we break our boundaries. In this podcast episode, we’ll look at what we do when we break our boundaries.
Picture yourself following your boundaries. Life is going well and your weight loss program is going well, but then one day you break your boundaries. Majorly. You now have five options of what to do next.
5 Options When We Just Broke Our Boundaries and Think We’re a Weight Loss Failure
- Give up. Quit trying to follow your boundaries. Eat what you want for the rest of the day or better yet for the rest of the week!
- Persevere in your own strength. Get up the next morning and say, “I’m going to follow my boundaries today!” but then don’t go to God for help when you break them. (And I don’t know about you but I am FAR more likely to break boundaries the next day if I broke them the previous day.)
- Persevere in God’s strength by asking Him to change you. Keep trying to follow your boundaries and regularly ask God to help you follow your boundaries.
- Persevere in God’s strength by asking God to help you follow your boundaries and then renew your mind every once in awhile. Renew your mind every once in awhile (but not often enough for the truth to really sink in), and visit with God about what you learned. Ask Him for wisdom, insight, and strength to follow our boundaries.
- Persevere in God’s strength by asking God to help you follow your boundaries and then renew your mind either every time you feel like breaking our boundaries or several times a day. Renew your mind several times a day or every time you feel like breaking your boundaries (even though you don’t feel like it and you’re sick to death of doing it), and visit with God about what you learned. Ask Him for wisdom, insight, and strength to follow your boundaries.
Now let me ask you a question. Which option do you think would give you the best hope of lasting success with following your boundaries–which translates to lasting success with weight loss?
I think we’d all say the 5th option, but we also know how hard it is to take that 5th option. Our flesh doesn’t want us to take it (because it wants to eat), we don’t want to take it (because it takes too much time), and Satan doesn’t want us to take it (because he likes to see us controlled by food). I’m hoping my new book Say Goodbye to Emotional Eating (on shelves November 1) will help you take the third option.
In fact let’s take that third option right now. Following is one of the renewing exercises from Say Goodbye to Emotional Eating. In this exercise I list five lies we believe when we feel like a weight loss failure. These lies come from lies women have told me in coaching sessions and also lies I’ve told myself!
When You Feel Like a Weight Loss Failure (page 220 in Say Goodbye to Emotional Eating)
Write truths for the following beliefs.
- I’m a failure because I can’t stick to my eating plan.
- It’s terrible to be an overweight person.
- I am not worthy in the eyes of the world.
- I have to be skinny or I’m an utter failure.
- People will like me better if I’m skinny.
What I Would Write for the Truths
Did you write down your truths? What I usually find as I record truth to the lies I’m believing is that my desires and emotions actually change as I’m writing them. If you find that your desires and emotions aren’t changing, check out the 8 tips I have for recording the truths to your lies in the chapter on truth journaling in Say Goodbye to Emotional Eating. Following are five possible truths you could write. (Note: I may write a completely different set of truths if I was doing this exercise tomorrow.)
- I’m a failure because I can’t stick to my eating plan. I am not a failure. I’m a person who failed today at following my boundaries. And as I said earlier in this blog post, this is normal. I will fail! The question is, what will I do after I fail? Anytime I stop, it’s a victory. So if I stop after seven donuts, that’s a victory because I could have had eight donuts! Renewing my mind will help me stop. Lord, please help me to develop this habit of renewing every time I break my boundaries!
- It is terrible to be an overweight person. War is terrible. Child abuse is terrible. Famine is terrible. Being overweight is unpleasant, not terrible! Lord, help me to be thankful for the blessings I have and see myself through your eyes!
- I am not worthy in the eyes of the world. I may not be worthy in the eyes of the world I’ve drummed up in my mind, but that’s not the real world! While it’s true that our culture seems to be obsessed with skinny, it’s not true that the people in our world are obsessed with skinny. Most people care how they themselves look. Some (maybe few) people care how their kids or spouses or boyfriends/girlfriends look, but very few care about how anyone else looks. What they really care about is how I interact with them, how I treat them, and my character. Those are also the things God cares about. Seek to please Him, not man!
- I have to be skinny or I’m an utter failure. This is soooo untrue!! There are so many parts to who I am. I’m a person who likes to hike. I like doing puzzles. I enjoy visiting with strangers. I love helping people grow. To say that I’m a failure because I’m skinny objectifies me and turns me into just a body. Don’t do that! Be thankful for how God made me and all the gifts He’s given me!
- People will like me better if I’m skinny. The vast majority of people out there could care less what I weigh. The only person (people) I can think of that might like me better if I’m skinny is (fill in the blank). And my guess is that that’s because I’m related to him/her and it hurts his/her pride when I’m overweight. This is his/her problem, not mine, and God doesn’t want him/her to be proud so this is a good trial for him/her to work on that. :) (NOTE: I’m just giving one possibility here!) It’s also true that some people might like me better if I’m overweight as some people are intimidated or jealous of skinny people. And I also don’t want to cater to that! The truth is, I will feel much happier at a lower weight. God wants me to accept myself as I am, but He also wants me to work toward being more healthy.
Do you see how writing the truth would change my desires? Truth really does set us free. It makes us want to follow our boundaries!
When we break our boundaries, it’s essential to see ourselves through God’s eyes, rather than our own self-condemning eyes or the (imagined) eyes of a society who (we think) condemns us (even though most of them don’t). God doesn’t look at us and say, “You’re a weight loss failure!” No, He looks at us and says, “You’re my beloved child. You’re my beautiful creation. Or even, you’re my friend!” And then He says, “Come to me, my beloved, and let me help you.”
Renewing is a way we go to God for help with changing the things we can’t change in our own strength (Romans 12:1-2).
Resources Mentioned on the Podcast
- Pre-Order Bonuses at saygoodbyetoemotionaleating.com
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Judy Garris says
This was “awesome”. It helps me to understand more about how to renew my mind. I am so thankful for the way God is using you to help me with my weight problem.
Barb Raveling says
I’m so glad it was helpful, Judy!