The thing that makes losing weight so annoying are the endless questions on what you should eat. It really can become extremely stressful as one has to balance "eating the right things" between your desire for the "wrong things". We all know the story: Trying to eat the right things often turns into wishing you had the "bad things" and before you know it – you are off the diet. Another cycle of feeling defeated and frustrated begins.

What if I told you that losing weight and eating healthy foods were two separate things? Popular culture informs us that in order to lose weight we need to change our diet and increase our exercise. I am not disagreeing with the benefits of eating healthy foods and adding exercise into your routine. This is very important to your health and nutrition. However, if you are someone who currently struggles with overeating, the real problem is not as much about what you are eating, but rather, the fact that you don’t know how much you need to eat. We often start with the food, and become frustrated because things don’t quite go as we would like them to within the plan. I equate traditional diet plans with attempting to "paint over old nail polish."

I admit, sometimes I become extremely lazy, and try to paint my toenails without removing the old layer of nail polish. This is often done when I’m in a hurry, and I looked down and realized that my toes are unacceptable to be seen in public. While my toes might look good for a couple days after my "quick" application, eventually, the nail polish starts to show itself and look even worse it did before I painted over the nails for a second time. I should have just removed the bottom layer, washed my nails, and put on a brand-new coat. This is how we often approach our weight loss goals. Instead of removing that "old layer" of beliefs and behaviors, we attempt to "paint" over them with eating healthy food and increasing our exercise. Sadly, the old layer always seems to show itself and our efforts are likely to end in frustration as we don’t lose as much weight as we would like, or we cannot keep up with the new routine. We have to spend time cleaning off and removing the old layer.

So, as a result, in order to lose weight permanently, your first step must be to learn of your hunger, eat to satisfy it, stop when you have had enough food (full, not stuffed), and don’t eat another bite until you are hungry again. You can do this while eating ANY TYPE OF FOOD. I lost weight eating camp food (my job for the summer), which consisted of hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, and maybe some iceberg lettuce on a daily basis. Everything in me told me that there was no way I was going to be able to lose weight that summer, as I was not having access to all the "right foods." However, I decided to still be obedient, eat within my boundaries of hunger, and to my surprise and joy, the weight kept falling off. When I started to see that losing weight was not necessarily connected to eating certain foods, I was able to gain my freedom and learn how to eat the right foods for nutrition rather than the "potential weight benefits" that were attached to them. It was only by "eating what I wanted" that I was to learn how to eat what I should.

So, if you are just getting started, don’t go buy anything different than what you normally eat. This, I know, seems like ludicrous and strange advice. However, this is quite essential if you are going to start the path to regaining a normal relationship with food. You first need to seek the Lord in prayer, cultivate a relationship with him, and purpose in your heart that you are done with overeating and gluttony, and walk on the path of obedience. This is where you are going to have to activate your faith, and watch God surprise you as he begins a new phase in your wonderful journey.

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