I wrote a couple of posts about losing weight, because it is something that so many of us wish we could do successfully. The first post dealt with the fact that it can be a tough thing to navigate when talking about it and talking to people who’ve done it. The second one was about how to do it. This one is about how to thrive…because it’s one thing to actually lose weight, but it’s another thing to be joyful, satisfied, healthy and flourishing.
When I use the term healthy, it must be understood that there are many facets to the word health. Someone can look very healthy on the outside and actually be very sick on the inside. On the flip side, someone can look not so healthy on the outside but their numbers may be in the healthy range. Someone can be beautiful–the picture of health– on the outside but hurting and in a dark place on the inside. I was talking about my thoughts on this topic with a friend and fellow blogger at Fan and Flame, and he suggested that I title it “How to Thrive”. I think thriving encapsulates exactly what I want to discuss because simply looking healthy on the outside or reaching number goals can be unfulfilling. To thrive–and thrive once “health” is achieved–is what I believe should be the ultimate goal when losing weight.
So what does it mean to thrive? What does thriving look like? What are the obstacles that keep one from thriving?
- Thriving means freedom; free from the chains of bondage that addiction brings. Cre, a friend of mine who recently lost 60 lbs, said this, “I came to realize that food was a ‘drug’ to which I was addicted, and, as I believe was the case with any addiction, I was going to need God to show up in big and tangible ways if I was going to break free from it.” While many identify with this kind of bondage, there is another kind that exists on the other end of the spectrum. If gone unchecked, the bondage of structure and numbers–diets and calories–can be an obsession that can be a major obstacle in thriving as well.
- Thriving exudes inner joy. It is exciting to reach goals and receive encouraging comments about one’s appearance. However, when one’s happiness and mood is dependent on whether or not someone recognized how good they looked that day, or if their weekly weight loss goal was reached, or if they had cake at their friend’s birthday party last night, then a healthy balance has not been achieved. Happiness can change in an instant but joy can be constant.
- The biggest obstacle to thriving is self-confidence. Let me explain. By self-confidence I mean being confident that you can do it yourself and relying only on your own strength to do something–like overcome addiction. If I am honest, there are things in my heart that I simply cannot overcome on my own. Things like lack of self-control, or obsession with numbers, or the constant comparing of myself to those around me. These things are the result of sin in my heart, and I cannot win that battle on my own. When I sat down and talked to one woman about her weight loss journey, I started off with, “How did you do it?” The first thing out of her mouth was, “Through prayer and by the grace of God.” She knew that she couldn’t do it on her own, and God gave her the tools (like self-control) to lose the weight she needed to lose to be healthy. Another woman I talked to told me about how when she lost weight in the past, it went to her head and that self-confidence became her downfall. When she was successful the second time around, she said that she “wanted people to know about Christ’s love.” I think what she meant by that is that God cares about people and loves them. He wants us to thrive.
So…how do we thrive? Whether or not you are trying to lose weight, thriving begins with a look at the health of your heart. What is it’s diagnosis? The truth of the matter is that without a cure, we are all very sick. Tim Keller sums it up like this: “We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” Thriving begins with understanding this truth, and clinging to it daily.