Self-control has been the fruit of the Holy Spirit, as listed in Galatians 5:22-23, along with patience, that I have struggled with nearly all of my life. Deciding to lose weight meant that I had to find a way to use these two virtues, if I were to be successful. My love of sweets and the desire for everything to happen right now were impediments to getting healthy, but through prayer and reminding myself each day that weight loss takes time and simply doesn’t happen over night or by magic!
As a Christian, prayer is a big part of my life, and I have found that God is faithful to answer prayer even in the trivial matters of our lives, which is how I saw losing weight, at first. But, I came to understand that there is nothing trivial about changing the way we have eaten for over 60 years, to increase the chances of surviving the coronavirus if I contracted it.
Before I started this journey, and it is a journey because it takes many twists and turns, the word “moderation” wasn’t part of my vocabulary. It was don’t open a box of cookies or resign yourself to eating the whole thing. I had absolutely no self-control, and, yes, I was ashamed of not being able to stop at five cookies or chips or donuts (I once ate nine Krispy Kreme donuts in one sitting!). The paradox was that the shame of not practicing self-control meant that I needed more comfort food.
But, finally, I found that if I prayed each night for self-control that I could get through another day without losing the fight. I began to feel such pride and joy when I didn’t go over the amount of food I could eat and still lose weight. Moreover, I stopped reacting to not losing a pound a week, as the impatience made me question if the whole process was a futile effort. Instead, I saw that my norm was a half a pound a week, and I learned, as it is written in Zechariah 4:10 not to despise small things, such as small weight loss or even none, but to revel in the fact that I was still trying and would be successful, if I kept pushing forward.
In a culture where we are taught to grab life by the throat and live dangerously, self-control and patience can be lost, costing us precious time and our health. I find moderation to be a good word, not the nasty one I thought of as denying me my pleasure. Learning to enjoy and be thankful for just two cookies has been hard, but being viewed as having a healthy weight is the reward.