As we think about the physical aspect of losing weight, some people will need to cut out certain foods - sugar, wheat, etc. from their diet; that's fine, no problem, if that's what you need to do. Others will be able to eat "all things in moderation." Either way is OK because this is not the real issue. In this course, we will seek God for a plan tailored specifically to help you get to a healthy weight and stay there.
An important principle that I have learned in my weight loss journey: God, our Creator, has lovingly made our bodies to alert us when we need to eat by giving us hunger pangs. That's how we know it's time to eat.
Notice this passage very carefully (emphasis added):
“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NCV)
The primary teaching of this passage is that God humbled His people through hunger so that He might then feed them supernaturally with manna from Heaven, which taught them dependence on Him. They learned that life is not merely about the physical. Spiritual life comes from listening to God's Word, which points us to Jesus. He is "the True Manna that came down from Heaven to give life to the world" (John 6:35-51).
But notice too: God caused the Israelites to hunger, and then He fed them. This truth has taught me the value of hunger. "He has filled the hungry with good things…" (Luke 1:53).
Man copied God's design when creating the fuel tank on cars. When we get down toward empty, we see the gauge that reads "E," maybe a light comes on, or a chime sounds. The car alerts us to the fact that it's time to put fuel in it. Similarly, our bodies tell us when to eat. The "chime" (hunger pangs) goes off when our bodies have assimilated our previous meal (no matter what or how much we previously ate) and are now ready for more fuel (food). We have built-in feedback specific to us.
Conversely, if we eat before our bodies require fuel, the excess is stored as unwanted fat since it is not needed to provide immediate energy, and this is hazardous to our health if done repeatedly.
Exercise is important too. God designed our bodies to work (Genesis 2:15). We need to do some activity that elevates our heart rate every day. When just starting, this might only be walking to the next room. If we are in good health and used to exercising, we might walk around the block at a brisk pace, hike, work in our yard, ride a bike, run a race, etc. God has designed our bodies to need exercise (1 Timothy 4:8). And as we elevate our heart rate regularly, we experience hunger pangs (belly growls) sooner, because our bodies have assimilated our previous meal and need more fuel to keep going.
What an ingenious system God has given us in our bodies! It is simple yet efficient, can be used at home or traveling abroad, doesn't require any monitoring, counting or tracking, and perfectly designed to work for you as an individual. It works cooperatively with the gospel to break the obsession with food!
There is no "one size fits all" when it comes to the how of losing weight. Each of us must ask God to show us what we have been doing wrong and how to change it (asking for a specific plan from Him). But hunger must be part of the plan. We don't want to walk around hungry all day, but we need to be experiencing hunger at some point in our day.
As I write this study, I am using an intermittent fasting schedule to determine when I will eat, and I will mention it throughout the study. Intermittent fasting is a well-documented way of improving health and losing weight. A quick search on the internet will provide education on the benefits and explain why waiting to eat until hungry (stomach growls) is such a beneficial way of living.
If you are unfamiliar with Intermittent Fasting, it would be helpful to watch the following video introduction to Intermittent Fasting by Nurse Practitioner and Nutrition expert, Cynthia Thurlow. [Note: Setting Captives Free does not endorse and is not affiliated with Cynthia Thurlow in any way, but this video is helpful.]