Mary Lou Caskey

On today’s radio show, Mary Lou Caskey shared a little about her weight loss journey. She mentioned that her journey started by attending our Lose it for Life Workshop. She also talked about her new book, Show Your Food Who’s Boss.


Dieting Means Missing Something!

Stephen Arterburn and Linda Mintle

Diets promote us to miss something based on the premise that we may never be able to eat it again. Sound familiar? Let’s say it’s Christmas and you pass the buffet table at the office Christmas party. It’s loaded with your favorite chocolate eclairs. Usually the thinking goes like this: It’s Christmas. I only get these once a year. I’ll need to eat one, no two or three! After all, it’ll be an entire year before I see these again. I can’t let this chance pass.

Two weeks later you are at a baby shower. The cake has your favorite frosting, rich cream cheese. Oh, can you believe this? I’m on a diet and I can’t eat that cake. It’s right in front of me and I can’t have it. Everyone will enjoy the taste but me. I will miss out—I better grab it while I can.

One month later, you are in Chicago for business. You pass Giordano’s pizza, home of the best stuffed pizza you’ve ever tasted. I can’t be in Chicago and not eat Giordano’s pizza. That would be a crime! But I’m dieting. Even though I could order a small single pizza, I would miss eating all I wanted this one time. I’ll get the big stuffed pizza and take the rest back to my hotel for later. Of course, none of the pizza makes it back to the hotel!

Lose this mentality and lose it for life! When you diet, you keep restricting yourself in ways that set you up to fail. Dieting means you’ll be missing the good stuff, when in fact you could have just a taste, or just one piece, or just one slice of the good stuff. You wouldn’t gain ten pounds. But thinking you are going to miss out on something sets you up to overeat. What you can’t have, you want. This idea goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve were given the freedom to eat from any tree in Paradise, except the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That was the one tree Adam was told to avoid. When the serpent came to tempt Eve, he began by questioning what God had instructed. He sowed doubt in Eve’s mind. The very tree Adam and Eve were to avoid, they ultimately ate from! Think about it. They could have eaten from any tree but one! Eve was deceived and thought she was missing out on something, and Adam disobeyed with her. From the beginning, dealing with restriction has been a problem.

There is always a choice; to eat food, eat less of it, or skip eating it entirely. A little of something may satisfy our want. The problem is we eat without thinking and focus on what we might be missing. Again like sin, a little of something forbidden usually ends up being highly desirable. Rather than being self governed, we give in to the temptation.

Please remember there are no ‘bad foods’ (well, perhaps there are no bad foods other than the deep fried Twinkies at your local fair), but there are wise choices. Actually this is a grown-up idea. Most people over twenty-one can have anything they want, but this doesn’t mean they should indulge in everything just because they can. There are activities we should choose to do in moderate amounts, like watching TV or sports, and others we should do more often, like playing with our children. Finally, there are other things we shouldn’t do at all, like viewing pornography. In every case, we have a choice. Though we don’t have to miss a thing if we don’t want to, it is very important to note that though everything may be available to us, it is definitely not all good for us. This is especially true of food.

Join us for a weekend of encouragement and healing: Lose it For Life.

Think Responsibly!

There once was a TV commercial for a liqueur where the guy is trying to put ice in a glass. He picks one out of the bucket only to have it fall on the floor, a second, a third and finally he just pours the drink into the ice bucket and sticks a straw in it! The best part is the announcer’s voice saying ‘Drink Responsibly.’ Is it just me that sees the irony in that statement? I mean the whole idea of a commercial is to sell the product, right? It’s kind of like the nutritional guidelines being posted at the local fast food joint. Do I really want to know what’s in my cheeseburger? Well yes, as a matter of fact I do, that is if I want to think responsibly.

What am I putting into my body? (A scarier thought: who has prepared it? Eek!) What am I bringing into my house that will be a temptation for me? (Chocolate, soda, etc.) You get the idea.

Exercise is a big area in which we like to be irresponsible. I mean who hasn’t come up with the excuse ‘I don’t have any time to exercise’? There are so many excuses for not being intentional about exercise. Exercise is taking responsibility for your physical health, as far as it depends on you. We can’t always prevent certain diseases and disorders because we live in ‘jars of clay.’ However, we can do the best with what we have and experience the rewards!

Once a man got his truck stuck in the sand. Not on purpose of course, but it happened and he needed help getting unstuck. The tow truck arrived and the man warned the driver of the sand. The driver said with great pride ‘this truck won’t get stuck, it’s got (fill in the largest engine, wheel base, etc.) and there’s no way it’s gonna get stuck!’ So the driver got into the tow truck, drove about 5 yards and yes you guessed it, he got stuck! Well they took the winch 100 or so yards, hooked it to the man’s truck and pulled him out of the sand. Then the man hooked the tow truck up to his truck and pulled the tow truck out of the sand. The tow truck driver said a sheepish thanks and drove off.

Many times we put ourselves into ‘sand’ and pride ourselves on being able to not get stuck. We may even be warned by those who have been stuck.

Thinking responsibly requires wisdom and discernment. Watching where others have been, what led them into the sand trap, and how to avoid getting stuck in the first place. What have you learned about yourself? What are your sand traps? Who do you need to call if you get stuck?

Back to the commercial, nowadays the alcohol commercials also encourage having a designated driver. Again, thinking responsibly requires some planning. If we haven’t planned for exercise, it probably isn’t going to happen. If we haven’t planned to eat healthy, the junk food just jumps into the grocery cart (not really, but it seems that way!).

Begin to think responsibly about your life today! No matter what time of day it is when you are reading this! What is the next right thing for you to do? Maybe you are at work, plan to walk for your lunch hour. If it is late at night, go to bed and get a good nights rest. There are so many areas where we do not want to take responsibility for our lives! This is your life. Are you who you want to be? Think responsibly. your life depends on it!

What Are You Afraid Of?

Things that go bump in the night, an overbearing boss, or anxiety filled days–all of these and more affect the way we think and act. Sometimes we are frozen in our fears and don’t realize it. Fear is something we live with unknowingly, yet it can be a motivator in our relationships, work, and our life with Christ.

Fear and anxiety can lock us into beliefs that support our fears and anxiety. Codependent relationships, dead end jobs, and destructive habits all participate in the cycle of fear and anxiety. Are you recognizing fear and anxiety that is present in your life? What can you do?

Here are 7 ways to begin addressing the fear and anxiety in your life:

1. Eat well balanced, nutritious meals. Eliminate harmful substances.

2. Learn mind body techniques to help relax and reduce stress response.

3. Get enough sleep, rest, and relaxation.

4. Develop a relationship with God. Practice prayer and Christian meditation.

5. Exercise regularly. At least 30-45 minutes of exercise a day.

6. Counteract negative self talk and mistaken beliefs with positive reality and God’s Word.

7. Connect with other people in meaningful relationships, sharing life, love, laughter and serving one another.

Begin addressing your fear today by asking God to help you! Surrender your fear and anxiety to him, begin one of the steps above, and do not let fear or anxiety take one more day of your life!

Need some help? Join us at our next Healing is a Choice Workshop.

Move It and Lose It!

You’ve heard the saying, ‘Move it or Lose it!’ We’d like to alter it a bit to, ‘Move it and lose it.’ That’s right. The more you move it, the more you’ll lose it- or at least keep from going in the opposite direction! Even though exercise will not turn you into Twiggy (for those of you too young remember, she was a very skinny model from the 1960’s), it is responsible for keeping most of us from gaining weight.

Members of the National Weight Control Registry report that exercise plays a role in keeping their weight off as well. Most reported exercising about an hour a day.

Okay, so an hour a day sounds like torture to some of you. Not to worry! We are convinced that there is at least one activity you can really enjoy. There isn’t a requirement to exercise for sixty minutes straight either. So take a deep breath and relax! Exercise can work for you!

To begin, let’s look at the RISE formula and apply it to exercise.

Reduce: your negativity and lackadaisical attitude toward exercise.

Increase: your physical activity, water consumption, commitment to exercise, and accountability.

Substitute: the right attitude ‘ a cheerful one ‘ if need be, and also the right workout apparel for the wrong workout clothes.
Eliminate: all excuses for not exercising!

Exercising isn’t optional in weight loss! There are so many benefits when it comes to exercise.

Here are six of the best reasons:

1. Exercise helps reduce hidden belly fat, lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and some types of cancer.

2. Exercise prevents muscle form wasting and helps to lose fat.

3. Exercise helps the brain deal with stress more effectively.

4. Moderate cardiovascular exercise such as thirty minutes of brisk walking a few times a week can improve your memory.

5. Exercise helps to manage hunger. Research shows that exercising increases control over hunger and food intake. In fact, the physically fit person is often not hungry until several hours after exercise.

6. Exercise improves your immune system.

We can’t stress this point enough: When it comes to making exercise a habit, attitude is more than half the battle! Whatever reasons you have used for avoiding exercise in the past- it’s unpleasant, too painful, inconvenient, frustrating, or too time consuming ‘ the reality is that exercise is necessary if you are serious about being healthy. Regardless of your past experiences, regular physical activity is essential for weight control and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Substitute a New Behavior for Eating

Excerpted from the book Lose It For Life by Steve Arterburn and Linda Mintle

Pain is not optional, but misery is. You can’t always control pain, but you can do something about misery. If you are looking for a quick fix to emotional pain, you’re reading the wrong book (Lose It For Life)! Healing is often progressive because it requires changes in your character and actions. The way you cope with emotional pain must change if you decide to no longer eat your way through it.

Keeping a record of what you do when you become emotionally upset is a good way to watch your progress, perhaps in a journal. The journey to finding new alternatives to eating might look like this:

Event: Received an upsetting phone call from my ex

Emotion: Very Hurt
Reaction: Went to the refrigerator and opened the door to eat

Now, think of a new way to cope with that feeling. What could you substitute for eating?

New Reaction: Call a friend and let her pray with me

Here’s another example:

Event: Heard someone gossip about me at church

Emotion: Anger
Reaction: Stopped for fries at a fast food restaurant

New Reaction: Gently confront the person who did the gossiping

To help yourself choose alternatives to eating, make a list of twenty behaviors you can substitute for eating the next time an intense emotion triggers that desire. Your list should include things you can do while driving, being at home, work, or on the go. Post the list on your refrigerator and make a copy to take with you. Every time you are tempted to eat because you feel an unpleasant emotion, pull out your list and choose a new thing to do. Feel free to borrow ideas from this list:

  • Take a short walk and cool down
  • Listen to calming music
  • Take three deep breaths
  • Distract yourself with something in the room or car
  • Take a bubble bath
  • Call a friend
  • Count to 20
  • Take a short nap
  • Pray and ask God to help you
  • Turn up the radio and get lost in the music
  • Stand up and do some stretches
  • Go to the bathroom, even if its only to splash water on your face
  • Play with your dog
  • Play with your child
  • Watch a funny movie
  • Go somewhere quiet and practice deep muscle relaxation
  • Clean something
  • Run up and downstairs to release tension
  • Work on a crossword puzzle
  • Play a Video game or read a book

Maybe you’ve been hurt by a cruel divorce, an abusive father, a betraying friend, or an insulting boss. Whatever the cause of your hurt, it’s time to stop using food as an emotional crutch and let the pain surface. When you do, you might experience intense feelings of anger or fear, but there will not be healing until you face those feelings.

Just let the feelings come, and ask God to help you understand exactly why you feel as you do. Don’t try to edit your thoughts. Whatever comes in to your mind, grab that thought. Most likely it is a lie that was implanted at the time of the emotional pain when you first experienced those feelings. Try to identify the lie, and once you find it, ask Jesus to speak His truth to you. Wait and listen for His voice, whether it comes in the form of a whisper of His Spirit or a visual picture He may give you. Wait on Him and expect Him to bring truth. His truth brings release from that lie.

If you continue to take every hurt and pain to Christ, lay them at His feet, and refuse to believe the lies, the food handcuffs will drop off you like they have for others. Come out of the eating closet. Exchange it for the prayer closet ‘ a place filled with peace and rest.

Join us at our next Lose It For Life weekend.

Self Talk: Words of Faith

David Stoop

Words, said either in the privacy of the mind or spoken aloud, are powerful. Written across the pages of history are phrases uttered at crucial moments that turned the course of world events. At the beginning of World War II, Winston Churchill told the British people that even thought all of Europe might fall, ‘We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end—we shall fight on the seas and oceans—we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.’ And the free world rallied to the task.

Look back through the pages of the Old Testament. David as a young man, affirms his faith to King Saul and then to the giant Goliath. He tells the king, ‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’ (1 Sam. 17:37). Then, as David goes out to meet the giant, Goliath curses him. And David responds with powerful words; ‘I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand’ (vv.45-46). And history records the results.

Now that is not to say that the words in and of themselves are miracle workers. They are the reflections of what is in the heart and mind of David. And they release within David’s life the power of God. They are an extension of his Self-Talk during the years prior to that event. They are an expression of his faith.

Words Release Faith

Most of us think of faith as being trust in some positive benevolent deity. But faith is a process of life. No one is faithless. It is not a question of whether we possess faith or not. It is rather a question of where we place our faith. And our Faith is a process that works in releasing life-changing power in either a positive or negative direction.

For example, have you ever noticed how much more tired you feel after yawning and saying, ‘I’m so tired?’ You feel more tired because your Self-Talk has just released power in the direction of tiredness.

In the same way, recent studies have shown that people who begin to talk about the possibility of divorce often find themselves proceeding inevitably in the direction of divorce. Later they comment on how they felt trapped by their words. Things were not that bad, but talking about divorce gave power to that possibility.

All these examples illustrate the importance of our Self-Talk. We all talk to ourselves, sometimes out loud, but most of the time in the privacy of our minds. The result is always the same–the things we say determine the way we live our lives.

What are you in the habit of saying? What kinds of expressions would your family or friends recognize as being typical of you? You may have simply passed off some of these remarks as not being serious or even as jokes. But what you say and think is a very important indicator of where you are placing your faith.

Take some time now to make a list of the kinds of Self-Talk you usually make. What kinds of things do you say out loud? What kinds of statements do you make about yourself in your thoughts? For example, do you say or think things like:

“I can’t do this job; its too hard.”
“I’m always late. Guess I’ll be late for my wedding, even.”
“I’m so shy, I couldn’t talk to him.”
“I can’t lose weight. Nothing I do will help”

Write down some of the statements you make.

Now make another list, writing sown some of the statements you want to begin to make about yourself. For example you could change the above statements to read;

“I don’t like this job, but step by step I can do it.”
“I’ve had a habit of being late, but I can change my schedule and be on time.”
“I can lose weight, and I will find how I need to do it for me.”

For more help and encouragement, join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Revisit your Motivation

Steve Arterburn and Dr. Linda Mintle

We’ll say it again: Your motivation for losing weight should not be to please someone else. If you are doing this because your physician or spouse is upset with you, this is a set-up for potential failure. Decide if you are ready to lose weight for your own personal reasons. How important is it to you to live a life undefined by your weight and driven by food and eating? How important is it to you that you lead a healthy life?

If you are motivated to work on all parts of you life, spiritual, physical, emotional, and interpersonal, you will do well. You must take ownership of your goal to lose weight and keep it off. No one else can do it for you, but with God’s help, you can be successful.

It is also helpful to ask the question, ‘Why do I want to lose weight now?’ Since you have probably dieted in the past and been overweight for months or even years, why are you ready now? Hopefully you are ready to surrender this problem to God and accept the reality of your situation, including taking responsibility for your part of the problem.

Finally, are you experiencing significant stress in right now? If so, this may not be the time to try and lose weight. Instead, you may want to concentrate on making lifestyle changes rather than focusing on weight loss. Significant life stress greatly disrupts a person’s ability to lose weight for life. If this resonates with you, discover and make any lifestyle changes possible without overtaxing yourself. When you circumstances have stabilized, consider adding a goal of weight loss. has many resources to help you with your process to ‘weightlessness!’

Freedom for Life

I absolutely love it when I understand a Biblical concept! I know that sounds a little strange, not like the usual, ‘I love pizza’ or ‘I love that dress,’ but it is true! Too many times I have heard people say they, ‘don’t get that religious stuff’ or ‘Bible study is boring.’ If they only knew the freedom that comes from understanding God’s Word!

I have taught Bible study for over 10 years and throughout that time women have come to me and said that God’s word is just what they needed in their life and they would be lost without it. That is music to my ears and I am sure it is music to God’s as well! He gave us His word to help us. It is ‘living and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart’ (Hebrews 4:12).

So many of us turn to what the world offers for our life through magazines or books that may not be all bad, however, the Word offers us truth and hope in all areas of our life.

One of my favorite Bible studies is from Beth Moore called, ‘Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Life a Reality in Life.’ In the study Beth talks about the benefits of your relationship with God. They are

1. To know God and believe Him

2. To glorify God

3. To find satisfaction in God.

4. To experience God’s peace.

5. To enjoy God’s presence.

She goes on to say, ‘One of the most important truths I hope we’ve learned is that any benefit missing in our individual lives for any length of time is an indicator of a stronghold, an area of defeat. We are never more beautiful portrayals of mortals who know and believe God than when others can look at our lives, hear our testimonies, and say, ‘It is true.’ Beloved, that’s what it means to be living proof! If you bask in knowing God and dare to believe Him, someone close by has seen truth through your witness whether or not you are aware of the effectiveness of your testimony’.

‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM!” (2 Cor. 3:17)

What a life! Wouldn’t it be great if you could experience that freedom? To not be enslaved to the chains of this earth? Take a step towards freedom today. If you don’t know Christ as your personal Savior, choose to today! It is a great way to live and you will be an example of the hope that God offers!

Need some help finding the freedom offered through God’s word? Join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Faith and Fat (part 2)

Steve Arterburn

Connection is the key to a lifetime of freedom from obesity. This is most difficult due to the benefits of isolation. Some want to maintain it for fear of rejection. Their shame in their appearance and not being able to succeed produces feelings of intense inferiority. Many also enjoy the benefits of invisibility. They are not looked at or addressed as real humans so they can fade into the background with no risk of getting hurt or being known.

The second essential for long term success is breaking through a common barrier that does not seem to make much sense for those in such desperate shape. I make a challenge to them that they all have something in common, a bond among all who cannot stop overeating. Each one feels he or she is the exception to the rule, and believes that I will not deliver on my assertion. But I do.

That commonality is a ‘stubborn resistance’ to do anything but what they have already done. When I say it out loud and explain how they resist giving up their old ways, refusing to work through old problems and staying away from quick fixes that never fix, they all nod in reluctant agreement. It is this stubborn resistance that keeps them on the same path, creating greater frustration and weight every year.

The anecdote to this stubborn resistance is a humble willingness. They must humble themselves, come off the pedestal of weight loss expert and into the role of willing learner and courageous explorer of new things in uncharted territory. Showing up at Lose it For Life or in a counselor’s office is not a sign of willingness. It may merely be another attempt to prove that no one can help and weight loss is a lost cause. So I ask them to enter the process of willingness-willingness to listen, willingness to work on new areas, and willingness to connect.

The third essential for overeaters is to give up their fluctuating levels of effort to help and cure themselves. They have worked hard enough at severe diets, extreme exercise, and at trying to redeem themselves with greater efforts to win God’s favor and earn His forgiveness. Even those who are incapacitated due to their weight need to be told that they do not have the ability themselves to fix their own problem. They must come to believe that while they can’t save themselves, God can if they will let Him, even without trying to earn His favor.

And finally, they need to surrender their lives and will to God, seeking His presence, power and wisdom everyday.

Most will not do it unless they change their perception of God. Unless they come to believe in a God who loves them, rather than an angry and vindictive God, there is little chance for surrender. The concept of grace must be accepted deep within. They must see that they have been given unmerited favor that needs no work to earn. It is the understanding of grace that leads so many to finally give up and surrender. Once surrendered, they can go to work on the deeper issues of inner longings, deep-seeded appetites, and their empty souls. This new work becomes the core of their connections with others and the beginning of the healing process.

Without these three concepts being addressed and resolved, there is little hope for the overeater. They are doomed to wait on God’s miraculous touch or continue to discover the limits of self-effort, for it is not in effort that the solution comes. It is in clearing the roadblocks to the heart and soul of the underlying issues. Janel Puff, a therapist in Indianapolis and co-author of the Lose it for Life Devotional, wisely condensed the proper perspective on obesity and how to recover from it. She said, ‘The problem is physical, the cause is emotional, but the cure is spiritual.’

Helping people work on the physical aspects of the problem will only add to their frustration and despair. Unresolved spiritual issues of the heart will keep them locked into their old patterns and dependencies. Of course, the same goes for the drug addict and the alcoholic.