It’s that time of year again. The time when every other commercial on TV is either weightwatchers or NutriSystem. Now they’ve even got Oprah on board, so who wouldn’t want to jump on that bandwagon?? I certainly did—year after year after frustrating year. I dove into whatever the latest craze was that would hopefully help me get my diet under control. I journaled what I ate. I counted my calories or portions or carbs or whatever else there was to count. And of course, I always had an intense workout plan to match. It felt so good to get all fired up for the new me that was surely about to burst forth on the world. It was a high, really – a buzz that started with a New Year’s Resolution and a promise to myself to quit binging on all the sugar. To do better. Be better. To fit a smaller size. To finally conquer my body image issues once and for all.
And I’ll admit that there were a few times that I actually did it. As a natural size 12, the smallest I ever got was a 7. And I did stay that size for a little while. I got a lot of compliments too. But soon the magic wore off, as it always did. Soon I was back in the kitchen downing a batch of cookie dough and wondering why I always sabotaged myself. I assumed it was just a lack of willpower. If only I’d known at the time that it went so much deeper than that. Actually I take that back—I knew deep down that part of it was I was an emotional eater. I just didn’t know what to do about that. I didn’t know how to stop. And besides, a ton of women I knew did the very same thing. After all, we joked about our chocolate stash all the time in Relief Society. And in the end, was sugar really that bad of an escape to have? It’s not like it’s cocaine or heroin or cigarettes. But all that rationalizing did was keep me stuck in the same rut like a mouse on a wheel. I knew this area of my life was out of control, but I’d tried to change so many times that I finally ran out of steam. I accepted the fact that I’d take my food and body image issues with me to the grave.
Well, thankfully, more than 10 years later, I can now say that I’m no longer stuck in that awful, hopeless rut. In fact, I’m now healed both body and soul. I’ve written a lot about it in the past (both in my book and on my website) so I won’t go into all the details here, but I will say that every time January rolls around, I want to make my own TV commercial. I want to shout to the world, “There really is a way to stop the madness and get things under control! You don’t have to try and fail a million times only to try and fail again!” But to find it, we’ve got to know where to look to find answers and healing. And it can only come through the strength of the Lord.
The truth is, only Christ has the power to help us overcome the tugs and pulls of the flesh and land ourselves in a place of peace when it comes to our physical body. One of my favorite scriptures is Galatians 5:22 where it says that temperance (the original Greek word means self-control) can only come as a fruit of the Spirit. It’s a solution that’s WAY better than trying to muster up more white-knuckle willpower. In fact, I think it’s even more addicting than sugar. Offering my diet and body image issues to the Lord to fix and heal changed absolutely everything in my life. And once I tasted His power flowing through me and giving me strength to eat the way I should, I never wanted to live any other way ever again.
So that’s my $.02 on the whole weight loss craze. In the words of Moroni, “in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way” (Ether 12:11). I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
**It just occurred to me that I have to clarify that I’m not knocking weightwatchers or NutriSystem or any other diet plan. I just strongly believe that we should go to the Lord first for help. Then if He prompts us to use a particular program or book or system (whether it’s weightwatchers or any other kind of plan), then we know we’ll have the grace needed to stick with it and make the needed changes. That’s all I’m sayin’. 🙂