What if your weight loss as a Christian wasn’t just about the result of your goal weight, but instead the process of becoming a living sacrifice?
If anybody asked me about my health and weight loss goals during my weight loss journey, I gave one answer. “My goal weightis 150 pounds.” That number on the scale was the only thing that mattered to me. I had no desire to be more active, eat healthier long-term, drink more water, or anything else. I didn’t care how I got there, I just wanted to lose the weight.
I had myself convinced that the day the scale showed me the numbers 1-5-0, my life would be transformed. I would be happier, thinner, more beautiful, and more confident. My clothes would fit perfectly, men would be pursuing me, and all of my insecurities would disappear because I had arrived at my goal weight, the only result I desired.
Spoiler alert – that’s not how my 100-pound weight loss journey went down.
At church last Sunday, they gave a definition for the word sacrifice that I’d never heard before.
Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love more.
I’ve been thinking about it all week.
We live in a world of instant gratification. It feels good to want something and get it now, and that’s especially true in weight loss.
When we start a new diet or weight loss program, we want immediate results without putting in the patience, time, and energy.
We want a pill that will cure our cravings.
We want shakes that will magically melt away all of our extra pounds.
We want to believe that if we can just follow that exercise plan for 30 days, that we really will come out with 6-pack abs on the other side…even if we still have 75 pounds left to lose.
It’s why I tried extreme diets like juicing, Atkins, and giving up all sugar (none of which worked well for me in the least).
But what if your weight loss journey is not just about your goal weight? What if it’s not about the results, but the process?
The most common question I’m asked about my weight loss is, “How’d you do it?” And, every single time, my answer is, “One small change at a time.”
It’s not an answer people expect. They want me to sing the praises of a miracle diet or program. They want me to give them a formula for how to lose the weight they want to take off themselves. I’m sure they would love if I immediately handed over a meal plan with exercises to ensure their own 100-pound weight loss.
Because they are only focused on the results.
But the reason I was able to not only lose that large amount of weight, but also keep it off, is that I learned to sacrifice what I want now for what I want more.
I’ve become quite good at it now. I can actually have a pantry full of sweets and not overindulge. I’ve become that person that can be satisfied after 4 M&Ms or 2 bites of a candy bar (I know…weird, right?!).
It took me years of practice and, let me tell you, I’ve failed more times than I can count.
There were a whole lot of opportunities for me to strengthen my willpower muscle and self-control, learning to say no to those things that I just didn’t need.
No to the donuts at church, no to the fast food on the way home from work, no to the candy in the checkout aisle, no to the 4th slice of pizza, no to taking the whole bag of Cheetos to the couch, no to the pint of Ben & Jerry’s.
And after learning to say no, time and time again, I started seeing that it wasn’t just about depriving myself of something good, it was about saying yes to something bigger, something better.
Sure, weight loss.
Yes, good health.
Absolutely, a smaller clothing size, feeling better, having more energy, being more confident, and conquering my insecurities.
But even more than that, my something I love more became God, the most important thing in my life.
I began to see Him intersect every food and exercise decision I made. Exercise became an act of worship. Eating became about nourishing the holy temple He has gifted me with.
When I started to see that He gives those healthy boundaries in food as a way to take care of me and protect me, I started seeing my weight loss journey as a love note from Him.
I wanted my life, my body, and my weight loss journey to be a living sacrifice for Him.
With every decision I made to honor Him, He was growing me into a stronger person.
That self-control in my eating started spilling over into other areas of my life.
I became more patient with people. I was better at handling money because I didn’t splurge on everything I wanted in the moment. I stopped myself from saying unnecessary negative things and filled my words with encouragement instead, even toward the people who were unkind to me.
That willpower in my exercise started making me a more responsible person in other areas.
I started willingly step in to do chores that others didn’t want to do. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and talked to more people, I built a business, I pray out loud for people regularly.
All of those wonderful changes in my character didn’t happen because all of a sudden I weighed 150 pounds. They happened because I made the decision, again and again, to sacrifice things I love for things I love more.
And you can have the same transformation in your own life.
Every time you make a sacrifice in your weight loss journey, it’s out of a love for something more.
It’s great to have goals that you’re working toward. Goal weights aren’t a bad thing, but they aren’t the only thing.
There will be (a lot) of times you need to say no on your weight loss journey. No to soda, sleeping in, downing the bag of Cheetos, dessert, sitting on the couch, that extra helping of mashed potatoes, yet another piece of Halloween candy.
But don’t let it end there. With that “no,” what are you saying yes to?
What do you love more?