How do you get the courage to quit dieting?

Q: How did you find the courage to change from dieting? I can’t emphasize how MUCH I desire freedom. But what will people think if I gain weight? What about all my clothes that won’t fit? Will my husband find me less attractive?

A: The fear of gaining weight is the #1 deterrent to women finding true freedom from overeating. At the time I made the choice to “let go and let God” with my eating/dieting, I was only 31, but I’d already lost and regained 30 to 50 pounds nearly every year of my life for 15 years. So I was already convinced that dieting only worked for short periods of time. Also, my binge-eating behavior was becoming more and more extreme, which scared me. But what pushed me forward the most was realizing that it was just flat the right thing to do – give up the legalism of dieting and trust God completely that no matter what my size, He would take care of me.

Yes, I did gain weight at first. I totally stopped weighing myself, so I have no idea about the pounds, but I went up three dress sizes. I had very little money at the time, BUT the mother of a friend of mine – who heard that I was taking a faith step regarding my overeating – bought me several outfits from a catalog. They were lovely clothes and fit as though they were made for me. God miraculously provided.

God knows what you can and cannot handle and will give you the grace to go through any changes that occur. Some participants in Weight of Grace groups don’t gain any weight. But what’s key is to be willing to be whatever size you need to be in order to have freedom. I don’t believe most people naturally carry a lot of fat on their bodies (although more than our current culture approves of). When you quit dieting, though, and start trying to reconnect with true physical hunger, you may go through a period of carrying a little more weight than ultimately is natural for you. That is what happened for me. After several months, I dropped down to the size at which I’ve stayed (with slight variations) since 1986.

Being attractive to your husband has way more to do with whether YOU consider yourself to be attractive. Surely you know some very happy couples where one or the other spouse is what our culture calls “overweight.” In the 1970’s, a friend who weighed 260 pounds considered herself to be quite sexy – and a number of men thought so too. She wasn’t a Christian and was quite promiscuous. Her attitude made her appealing.

You don’t have to psych yourself out. Start talking with God about it and ask Him to give you an accurate perspective about your appearance, about possibly gaining some weight, and about being exactly the person He created you to be – a natural eater whose body weight isn’t the focus of your attention or the yardstick by which you measure your worth.

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