Caterpillars and bulbs have something in common with me. They are examples of transformation. A transformation, by definition, means a thorough or substantial change is form or appearance. That has definitely happened to me.
Plant an ugly old bulb in the fall, and by spring, you will have a beautiful tulip; that is, if it's the right type of bulb. The process takes several months, but when the flower blooms, it is indeed a picture of transformation.
Caterpillars, if they are the right type, will change into beautiful butterflies. From a baby worm crawling on the ground to the splendid winged insect flying high takes only four to five weeks.
Both of these transformations are God-created occurrences. My transformation took a lot longer than either of these. Yet, if I had not stopped insisting on my own way and finally begun to turn everything over to God, my transformation would have never happened.
I used to weigh 430 pounds. I've lost 250 pounds, but only by allowing God to lead me every step of the way.
After losing the weight, I retraced my steps to understand exactly how, with God's help, I totally changed my lifestyle. It's difficult to understand while one is in the midst of it, but dissecting how it happened has allowed me to help others.
Every person is different, and every person's journey should be different, but God showed me there were basically five key stages I went through, and others who want to lose weight must go through as well. These steps were necessary not to just go on another diet, but to lose weight, change our habits and keep the weight off.
Acceptance, Ownership and Surrender
My journey started with acceptance that I had a problem. In this stage, all I wanted was to find the perfect diet to "fix" me. Diets, though, were more of a problem than a solution for me. They promised quick weight loss, but never lasting weight loss.
Before we can change anything, we have to know what needs to be changed. In the second stage, I had to understand and own my specific issue. For me, that was sugar addiction. To get through that, I had to surrender my dependence on foods made with processed sugar to God.
For me, this was the hardest stage, but without it, my transformation would have never taken place. Weight loss may have occurred, but I would have gained it back again plus more, as I'd always done. After this turnaround point, weight loss became the easiest hard thing I've ever done.
Tools, Discipline and Experience
Once I surrendered sugar, though, I had to understand how to change my habits, which included eating sugar to assuage every emotion and anesthetize every pain. This led me to the next two stages of learning tools and disciplines necessary for me to change my lifestyle, and going through life experiences while putting these in action.
It was in the third and fourth stages where weight loss began and continued for me. It's where I learned how to continue my change journey without falling back into old, harmful life patterns.
The last stage is the stage of mastery, or the wise overcomer. To step into this stage, I had successfully changed my habits and lost weight. I had also lived through the difficulties of life and come out holding tightly to God's hand. This is the stage where we stay strong, and if we fall, we know to turn to God, a mentor and others on the journey to encourage and support us.
This is also the stage where we can begin to help others on the journey. We can mentor them sharing the process that has worked for us.
Transformation is not a quick process. Losing 16 pounds in four weeks as some weight loss programs promise will just mean gaining it back in the next four weeks unless we've learned how to totally change in every way—body, soul and spirit.
We didn't get this way overnight, and we won't change overnight. It is a journey where we progressively change.
Romans 12:2 is the transformation Scripture. The Amplified Version says: "Do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]."
Doing the Will of God
That's a mouthful, but notice that progressively changing, not changing overnight, is necessary to do the will of God. There is no doubt that the health of our bodies is God's will for us. When we take care of our bodies, we glorify and honor God (1 Cor. 6:20).
Make this the year you focus on changing your habits in order to not just lose weight, but honor God with your consistent lifestyle.
Teresa Shields Parker is the author of seven books, all available on Amazon. Her latest book, Sweet Hunger: Developing An Appetite for God, is available now, and Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds is the No. 1 Christian weight-loss memoir. She is also a writing and weight-loss coach, blogger, speaker, wife and mother. Visit her online at TeresaShieldsParker.com to find her books, coaching programs and free gifts.
This article originally appeared at teresashieldsparker.com.
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