Chocolate-flavored foods, as well as other sweet and fatty dessert foods, are designed to turn on appetite even when your hunger has been satisfied. When such foods appear, you begin to salivate, and your pancreas begins to secrete extra insulin in preparation for dealing with the sugar in the food. Both of these reactions actually make you feel hungry, even though you have already eaten. Indeed, every cell in your body seems to turn on all over again and scream, "Eat, eat!"

Candy and most other foods that fall into what is called the "junk-food" category are very hard to resist because of their "supernormal" status. If you have a choice of one of these foods (candy, cake, pie, cookies) or a more natural food, such as fruit, the supernormal food is almost certain to win out. Thus, it becomes very hard for an overweight person to exercise an appropriate choice of foods for weight control when "supernormal" foods are present to compete with normal foods at any given meal or at snack-time.

After I hand out the bar of chocolate to our group of weight-management participants, I ask them whether they can, even in their imagination, see themselves doing exactly what it will take to live with that candy (or whatever food tempts them the most to overeat) and not eat it when it is constantly present in their environments. You might take a moment and do the same thing: can you, in your imagination, see yourself in situations with all of the foods that tempt you the most doing exactly what you are going to need to do for the rest of your life to control your weight?

If you can't even imagine yourself doing what you need to do to deal with these situations effectively, how can you ever expect to do it in reality?

Because it is a natural physiological reaction to "turn on" in the presence of "supernormal" foods, the very best strategy for permanent weight management is to control their presence, that is, rarely allow yourself to be in their presence so that you do not have to battle constantly with temptation.

But such control over yourself or your environment is not always possible. I know many of you will have families that bring junk food in unexpectedly, and you may feel that the persons in your family who do not have a problem with their weight should not have to be inconvenienced by your desire to eliminate junk food in the home. Besides, wouldn't it feel great to know that you can control your "binging" without gaining weight? Although we normally do not keep quantities of high-calorie foods around the house, right now we have been celebrating the Christmas holidays with visiting house guests and dinner parties. We have one of my wife's incomparable chocolate cheesecakes in the refrigerator, one of my daughter's delicious pumpkin pies right out on the kitchen table, and a quart of my own homemade rum-raisin ice cream in the freezer. (The ice cream is pretty good, too.) Twenty-two years ago I might have overeaten and gained weight with all of these delicious desserts around the house, but not today. I am enjoying these creations - every single one of them - but in moderation.



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We need to stay focused on what the Spirit of God wants.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.

Just as there were early skeptics who thought pioneer aviators could not overcome Earth's gravity, skeptics today do not believe that you can overcome sin. Those skeptics will tell you that your efforts are getting you nowhere, too. They will tell you that you are wasting your time. They will tell you that you are crazy—you cannot reach your goal without depending on fat grams and exercise as your savior. They will cry out, "So where is your God that is supposed to rescue you? Maybe He cannot hear you." Your enemies will watch you fly above the food for a few days, hoping to see you crash. They love to distract you and they beg you to fixate on fat grams instead of heavenly things. Skeptics are inside and outside the church building. Some of them are living with you. They say once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic; or once you become obese, you will just have to watch it for the rest of your life. They have never seen a rocket orbit around the earth beyond the pull of the world. But I would ask them whether they have read or heard of 1 Peter 4:1,2:

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

Is that not about the most exciting thing you have ever read? Not only have I experienced it, but I have witnessed it firsthand in these small group sessions; and I have received truckloads of letters, not to mention thousands of phone calls. You do not have to listen to that voice again. You can fly, and you can eventually pull far enough away from the world (food) to escape its pull. Skeptics have never flown high enough to break loose of its gravity and soar freely I have broken free of the refrigerator's pull, and it no longer exerts a gravitational pull on me.

Do not concentrate on the enemy or enemies. That is part of the Weigh Down Workshopf homework God gives us. We will be like the pioneer pilots who, against all odds, reached their goals by setting their minds on what was not seen rather than what was seen— their skeptics and the early, inevitable failures. You do the same.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Remember, a great way to put our mind on the Father is to go to the Word of God. Carry your Bible around with you. Take it on the subway. Leave a copy at your desk at work. You will start the transferring process from food to God's word and get to the point that you can say as Job did, "I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread" (Job 23:12b).

Another great way is just to talk to God. Pray that you will not be led into temptation, but that you will be delivered from the evil desire. Jesus taught us to pray for that. So what if you have to pray it twenty times a day!?

Here is Jesus's prayer that I paraphrased from Matthew 6:9-13, and Luke 11:2-4:

Dear Heavenly Father:

Hallowed be your name. (How awesome and above all you are.) Your kingdom come. (We pray that Your ideas, government, justice, and ways to live come and replace this worldly way of life because Your kingdom is perfect.)

Give us this day our daily bread. (Give us this day the portion we need.)

Lead us not into temptation. (Guide us out of tempting situations.)

And deliver us from the evil one.

For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. (After all, You are It. And you are everything. You are all-powerful. You are who we worship, admire, and adore.) Amen.

We started this book with the passage from Colossians that states that man-made rules have no value in restraining sensual indulgence. The next sentence tells you what does have value in restraining sensual indulgence. Look at this missing key to rising above the captivation of the kitchen:

Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden, with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)

God wants your mind. When I gave Him my mind, He cleaned it up and made it pure, and He placed inside it more understanding than I had ever had before. He wants your mind, too. Give it to Him, for you will get much in return.


Weight Loss