Pumpkin Pie 'n' Praise

Jeenie Gordon

“Gimme some more of those mashed potatoes ‘n heap on the gravy,” I
begged as a skinny kid. I then loaded up on turkey and dressing -
mounds of it. Topping it off with pumpkin pie and lots of whipped cream
(to kill the taste of the pumpkin), I went through another Thanksgiving
dinner. But, as a kid, I gained not an ounce.

Well, those days are long gone! As an adult, I’ve gone through too many Thanksgivings where I actually laid on the floor – groaning. Stomach overload.

It finally dawned on me that it’s supposed to be a day of Thanksgiving, rather than stuffing – that’s for the turkey.

Hans Selye was an Eastern European physician, who discovered the correlation between our physical bodies and stress. “One of the greatest stress relievers,” he reasoned, “is to have a grateful heart.” Interesting, God recorded that theory several thousand years earlier — “In everything give thanks.”
(II Thessalonians 5:18)

A few years back I received a wonderful idea to help my journey toward being grateful. I say the ABCs and list one attribute of God in praise. Here’s an example:
“I thank You, Father, because You are:

A. Awesome,
B. a God of bounty
C. Care for me,
D. my Defender,
E. Eternal,
F. my friend . . . “

I continue through the alphabet and end the praise with, “You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.” A grateful heart begins to emerge – one of thanksgiving and one in which food is secondary.

Think on these things:
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute . . . ” Philippians 4:8

It was our first Thanksgiving alone. My former husband had left the marriage for someone else, and our extended family was out of town. I was feeling sorry for myself. Big time!

Fixing a yummy Thanksgiving dinner, my daughter and I invited students from the nearby Christian University, even pulled one young man from the dorms to fill our table. None of us knew each other. Sitting down rather stiffly amid the china and crystal, at a table laden with food, the blessing was offered.

“Now,” I suggested, “we’re going to tell stories of thankfulness.” Here’s how it goes – start out the story by saying, “I’m so thankful I never got caught the time I . . .” . As tales of childhood antics emerged, raucous laughter filled the room. We were soon well acquainted and the afternoon was filled with fun.

“Okay, who’s hungry?” I asked later in the evening. Putting the turkey and dressing on the stove top, I urged, “Dig in and pick this sucker clean.” They needed no second invitation. Laughing, they used the digits on the end of their hands.

We learned that every student guest was an M.K. (missionary kid) – continents away from family.

Overeating took a back seat that year — a thankful heart took over.

Am I Reaping A Harvest of Weight Loss?

Brenda Allison

One thing I know for sure is that in the area of weight loss, the
proverbial ‘garden of life’ is not a success only journey. Actually, I
guess none of life is. However at this fall season, I think of harvest
time and how I have worked strenuously throughout the year. It is time
to gather in some of the good that I have sown.

I happen to be a farmer’s daughter, who grew up in the corn belt of our nation. I know about planting and reaping and all that goes on in between. Just as there has been a seed sewn for every stalk of corn, so for every good ‘effect’ there was first a ’cause.’

In order to enjoy my harvest, I have had to plant healthy ideas, followed by positive action.

At this harvest time, if I am returning home from the fields with an ‘empty basket,’ perhaps I have not given my health and self-care the importance it deserves. If I want to count on a consistent supply of the abundance that life has to offer, I must plant and attend my own crops. Maybe I’ve spent too much time working in other people’s fields, to the neglect of my own health and my own crop. Do I need to study where my property boundary line is? Respecting that my neighbor’s field may be their responsibility is an important step. If I haven’t cared for my own crops, I must remove the weeds that are chocking out my own healthy seedlings [ideas, intentions, creativity]. It is possible to plant and allow my crop to fall into neglect. Am I busily running about engaged in endless activity that produces little for me, or am I fully conscious of my patterns and actively trying to change them?

Some of the dangers to my weight loss crop comes as ‘virtual’ pestilence, drought and scorching sun. I have to recognize and be on the alert to these dangers to keep my crop from dying. These dangers include isolation, disappointment, relaxed effort, crisis, reward-punishment, and the fixed fat belief. This fixed fat belief is about me telling myself I will always be fat, so I might as well give up.

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Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time
we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

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The truth is a year ago, my weight was in the obese category because I was at least 20 percent above my ideal weight and had more than 30 percent body fat. Today although I am not yet at my ideal weight, I am reaping a harvest from working to take myself out of the risk category for weight related diseases such as adult onset diabetes, hypertension and weight related cancers. Before I could accomplish this I had to be gripped by the fact that four of the ten leading causes of death are diet related, which means they are preventable.

Now as always, there is more work to do in my garden. At present, the biggest threat to my crop is something I’m very good at; inching my way back up in weight. Instead of doing this, I will plant seeds for success in reaching my ideal weight, followed by more effort to maintain that crop. Today, I will consciously plant,  water, and cultivate the soil around my weight-loss efforts, with good habits such as an environment that is free of tempting food, a consistent exercise program, hydration, healthy foods, spiritual care, accountability, a food journal, and a support system full of people of grace. I will also give of myself to the world around me when God impresses upon me to do so; however, not when guilt or shame coerce me.

References: ‘Daily Affirmations’ by Rokelle Lerner
The Ultimate Weight Solution: The Seven Keys To Weight Loss Freedom’ by Dr. Philip McGraw

Looking for helpful resources? See our Lose it For Life products.
Also, if you haven’t already, we encourage you to prayerfully consider joining our Lose it For Life group at our next New Life Weekend.

My Love Affair With Food

C. E. Pryor

Although I am married, I have to admit that I am having a passionate affair behind my husband’s back. I think he is suspicious, but I am pretty good at sneaking around. I am completely and passionately in love with food. It calls to me all day long. It is beguiling and beckoning with promises of pleasure and satisfaction. I try to resist its enticement. But before I know it, I am drawn into the arms of my lover: mounds of noodles with lots of butter and garlic, 2 six-inch subway sandwiches (I can’t decide which one I want most), cherry pie with real cream poured over the top. The list is endless. My lover changes from moment to moment. Sometimes we meet in the open. But most of the time we meet in secret ‘ when my son is at school or when my husband is gone. Even when people are around I hear the luring soft sexy voice of my lover, and I can’t wait until I am alone so that I can enjoy the intoxicating happiness that he seems to bring.

The problem with my love affair, as with all love affairs, is that when my lover leaves, I end up feeling alone and lonely. I also feel lied to, used and abused. I feel guilty and ashamed. All I am left with are the gifts my lover leaves behind. My hips are enormous. I am covered with fat from head to toe. I have trouble doing the easiest parts of dressing. I feel so ugly that I don’t bother buying new clothes. NOTHING LOOKS GOOD ON FAT PEOPLE AND NOTHING MAKES FAT PEOPLE LOOK GOOD. I smile and laugh like most fat people, but on the inside I shed oceans of tears and wonder why I can’t seem to get my act together. I promise myself that I am going to end this affair that I will be strong and resist his temptations. My life will be different. I will be different. I will be in control of my life from this moment on. My love affair with food is over.

But wait! Here comes life with its daily stresses. My 17 year old needs new shoes NOW! My husband needs me to do some research for him. My oldest son needs to borrow money for insurance. My friend is having trouble with her children. We need a new pump for the well. The credit card debts keep growing, and all of our other bills are due. I am tired and feel alone in this sea of responsibility. I hear the voice of my lover calling to me, reaching out and beckoning. Come away with me! I will save you from the pressures of this world. I will fill you with love and happiness. I will give you comfort and energy. I will take care of you and give you strength.

I run into the arms of my lover (a giant double cheeseburger, 2 tacos, small order of fries and a chocolate malt) and I feel better, if only, for a moment. Then in rushes the guilt, the shame, and the realization that I have once again given in to temptation.

How do I break this vicious cycle? How do I end this empty love affair with food?

From somewhere deep inside the answer comes. It starts as a wee small voice, but is soon a thunderous shout! I need a new lover, a faithful lover, an honest lover, and a safe lover who will help me to be the best that I can be. I need to know the one who loves me most……the one who cares about the stresses in my life…the one who loves me so much he sacrificed his life for me. Jesus Christ is the lover of my soul…and he when he died on the cross he paid for my love affair with food. But not only did he pay for my affair, he gives me hope and power to live a transformed, healed life.

To become acquainted with the One who loves you the most and the best, we encourage you to join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Visual Stimulation and Sexual Integrity

Joe Dallas

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
- from First Things First by Steven Covey

Visual stimulation is a common struggle’so common, in fact, that I’d say it’s almost universal. If you’re a man serious about sexual purity, your inner man is going to be attacked by two formidable challengers: erotic images and memories of past sexual encounters. Both of these are powerful opponents; both can be faced and conquered.

Erotic images pose a challenge. I dare you to try to escape them. There was a time you could do so pretty easily just by avoiding pornographic magazines, but those days are long gone. Take a drive and you’ll see some model flashing her wares on a billboard. Thumb through a magazine’a regular magazine, mind you’and you’ll get hit with clothing ads that show more flesh than clothes. Watch television and you won’t get away from sexual themes no matter what channel you turn to. Try as you may, you can’t get away from erotic images without going into hibernation. In our modern cult of physical beauty, the gods and goddesses of the Perfect Physique demand your attention wherever you are.

Exercise the Emotional Muscles of
SELF-RESTRAINT and MENTAL DISCIPLINE!
The Payoffs are Incredible!!

You probably respond to erotic images according to cycle: visual contact, stimulation, sexual arousal. You notice, or ‘flash on,’ a picture that got your attention, whether or not you wanted it to. There’s a quick charge of stimulation, a recognition of the kind of image or person that excites you. You feel pulled into the image, prone to linger over it and consume it. Sexual arousal follows, with a drive to unite with the image in a mental sexual encounter.

You can abort this cycle through, again, simple decision-making. Integrity is a process of daily decisions to remain consistent with your beliefs. Nine times out of ten, you don’t decide to flash onto the magazine picture, billboard, or attractive woman walking down the street: she’s simply there. But at the moment of recognition (‘Wow, that’s just my type’), you can decide to move on. The earlier you decide, the easier it is not to be obsessed with the image.

Your responsibility is not to keep beautiful women out of your field of vision (an impossibility) or to force yourself not to be attracted by them. Rather, you’re responsible to keep moving, not letting yourself dwell on what you are seeing. You grow considerably each time you do this, because you exercise the emotional muscles of self-restraint and mental discipline. The payoffs are incredible.

Remember, it is no sin to be tempted. It only becomes a sin when you act upon or deliberately feed temptation. It is up to God, not you, to diffuse the power of sexual attractions, so don’t take responsibility for what you cannot control. As a man who’s committed to fighting Every Man\’s Battle, you’ve got enough to contend with as it is.

For more help see, Every Man\’s Battle.

Slave to Creditors

Excerpted from Every Man Ministries by Kenny Luck

There was a time when I needed an overhaul. It happened about 10 years ago when I was a credit-card company’s dream customer! My gold card fed my appetite for all sorts of ‘needs.” Clothes, birthday and anniversary trips, and lavish dinners out were all benign events for which I supplied perfect justifications. Christmas gifts, home improvements, and repairs on my snazzy foreign sports car became part of my lifestyle. And just as reality should have slapped me in the face, additional lines of credit would mysteriously arrive.

I started to earn more money, but I also started to believe my own rationalizations regarding my finances. I trusted our credit cards more than I trusted God. I certainly didn’t have the faith to believe that if we gave our 10 percent, He would make the other 90 percent work for us. So I gave less to the church and spent more on myself. I refused to deny my family any desire. I ignored my wife, Chrissy’s urgings to tighten our financial belts, which only accelerated our insidious spiral into financial bondage. All of the turmoil caused tremendous amounts of anxiety that remained invisible to outsiders but was visibly and verbally incinerating our home and marriage at the end of every month.

10 years ago I was a
credit-card company’s
dream customer!

One night, following a lively discussion with Chrissy about our messed up finances, I happened to open my Bible. My eyes fell to these words: ‘The borrower is servant to the lender’ (Proverbs 22:7). Seven words, seven tons of impact. I was a slave ‘ to my creditors. I had also enslaved my family because of my inability to say no to myself. Worse, my character deficiency had moved God away from the center of my life and replaced Him with financial anxiety. This was a form of idolatry. That truth kindled my repentance and a desire to change, which I confessed to my wife.

I also sought help from friends. Not financial help, but prayer and counsel regarding our precarious financial situation. I can remember weeping in front of my close friends after I disclosed that we had rung up twenty thousand dollars in credit-card debt. I was embarrassed in every way, but I was past caring. I was determined to do what it took to get honest with myself and with the mess I had created. The only way I knew to accomplish that was to humble myself before God, my wife, and my buddies and ask for their help. I remember saying, ‘Whatever it takes, Lord.’ Simply put, if that meant living with one car, so be it. If it meant giving to the church when it made no sense, I would give. If it meant submitting myself to an austere monthly budget for two years to get out of debt, that too, was what I would do.

 I became the RICHEST of all men
because, deep inside,
I was committed to the course!

That day, the last major bastion of control fell into God’s hands, and His victory was both humbling and liberating. Although I was awash in debt, I became the richest of all men because, deep inside, I was committed to the course.

What bastions have you erected against God’s goodness and blessing in your life? Most men can name them in a nanosecond Gad has already been speaking to them, convicting them that their priorities are seriously out of line. God’s message, and mine, is that those walls have to fall ‘ for the sake of His kingdom.

Entering the Life of God

John Townsend

When we enter the life of God, we begin the process of loving him with
all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). This means a
couple of things. First, it means bringing yourself to his ways, so
that you will be on his path; it means dedicating yourself to him:
‘Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this’ (Psalm 37:5). When you begin to fully love him, you start down the path of living life the way you were designed to live, which is the way that works best in this life.


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Allow God
to be GOD
in ALL of your life!

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We also allow God to be God in all of our life. Most of us have specific and disconnected parts of our heart and life that we compartmentalize as if they had nothing to do with our life with God. We may have one of the underlying internal struggles mentioned previously, or we may have an unreconciled relationship, a habit, a secret sin, or an unconfessed hurt that we have not integrated into our life with God. These parts of ourselves exist in darkness; they have no connection to God’s warmth, love, grace, or protection. They live in a sort of suspended state, without love and hope, and they often manifest themselves in eating problems. As it has been said, ‘Sometimes it’s not what you are eating; it’s what’s eating you.’


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It’s not
what you are eating.
It’s what’s eating you!

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Many people have found that their weight problems were highly related to these specific, disconnected areas. We encourage you to search your heart to see if there is anything preventing you from allowing God to be God of even the darkened parts of your life.

If this is your suspicion, we suggest that you pray for enlightenment about what part of you is lost; perhaps your sadness, your anger, your past, or your dreams. Make yourself vulnerable not only to the Lord but also to people who can help you get connected to yourself through safe and intimate relationships, as relationships connect us to others and ourselves. Begin to grow and heal in those areas.

If you haven’t already, we encourage you to prayerfully consider joining our Lose it For Life group at our next New Life Weekend.
Also, please consider taking advantage of our Christian counseling or coaching programs by calling 1-800-NEW-LIFE.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship: Part 3

Steve Arterburn

The fear and food addictive relationship cycle spins in the following order:

‘ Denial

‘ Emotional Pain

‘ Food fuels the process

‘ The cost (weight gain and other costs)

‘ Self-loathing, followed by:

‘ More denial

‘ More pain

‘ More food (and the cycle repeats itself on and on)

Do these steps sound frighteningly familiar? Do you have a sense that this cycle is true for you, but you don’t want to think about it right now? That’s understandable, but it’s these tendencies that give the cycle energy. If you want to ever really stop or get off, you have to pay attention to the whole cycle. In the next few articles I will talk about five steps that will help you get off this addictive wheel.


STEP THREE – Recognize That Food Fuels the Ferris Wheel

The addictive process is an endlessly turning wheel until something breaks the cycle. For the alcoholic, the chemical content of alcohol keeps the wheel moving. Food addicts have to accept the fact that food can have a similar effect on them.

Let’s enumerate a number of the effects food can have.

First, food can kill pain. Often people overeat because feeling full gives them a sense of well-being, which pushes away the gnawing anxiety they felt before the meal. Unfortunately, the effects of consistently overeating pile up around the waistline and the overeaters don’t like the way they look. They are actually punishing themselves by becoming unattractive and endangering their health.

Second, food also has a tranquilizing effect. When we eat, blood sugar levels rise and neurochemicals called endorphins are released to give us a sense of well-being. After a few minutes of trotting, runners often experience a similar pleasant sensation. Food has actually turned into a tranquilizer. The quest for this feeling of well-being turns people into food addicts.


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The addictive process
is an endlessly turning wheel
until something breaks the cycle!
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Third, food can distance us from others. People who were sexually abused or felt the intense pain of a broken love relationship find that eating excessively can put enough fat around them to keep members of the opposite sex away from them. Consequently, they protect themselves from any further abuse or unexpected rejection.

An oral addiction can also take on many other forms. Smoking, excessive talking, using profanity, grinding teeth ‘ all can be expressions of the same pain. In each of these activities an addictive agent is fueling the Ferris wheel of our addiction.

If you are caught in this swirl of confusion, you must put food back in its proper place. You cannot allow the pleasantness of eating to distort what you actually require for your life.

What is the first step toward healing? Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Breaking Up the Fear and Food Addictive Relationship Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5.

I Hate Exercising

Julie Davis

This is one of the most common statements that I hear, and one that I have said myself many times! It may be because the word ‘exercise’ seems to evoke all kinds of fears: fears of pain, frustration, failure, humiliation to name a few. Wow. No wonder many people avoid ‘exercise!’ But what if ‘exercise’ triggered memories of ‘fun,’ ‘play,’ ‘laughter,’ ‘excitement,’ ‘connection,’ and ‘success?’ I bet there would be less ‘how to exercise’ books on the shelf and more people actually out there moving their bodies!

So, how do we change our beliefs about exercise from negative to positive? How do we jump for joy and get to it when it’s time for exercise rather than procrastinate, negotiate, speculate and deviate?

First, it’s important to find out what type of movement is pleasurable to your body. Do you like to dance? Golf? Walk? Garden? Shop? Whatever it is that you like to do, you can transform the activity into a ‘moving’ experience by decreasing your negative attitude and increasing your pace. Instead of thinking ‘I have to exercise,’ consider doing your favorite activity at a faster pace, more often. For example, there are many women who enjoy window shopping at the mall. They put on their athletic shoes, meet for coffee at the local mall and then walk together at a brisk pace while checking out the storefronts and chatting about all the things they’d like to buy. Another example is dancing. Either join a dance lesson three times each week or make up your own moves in the comfort of you own home. Put in your favorite CDs and start boogying! Even golfing and gardening can be ‘exercise.’ Pick up the pace by leaving the golf cart in the shed and walk.

Remember, it takes a month to change a habit. So if you have trained your body to NOT move, you may need the encouragement and assistance of others to re-train it to MOVE. Just remember to pick an activity that you enjoy doing. If you join a gym, make sure you love treadmills and exercise bikes. Otherwise, find some friends and start a dance group, a mall walking group, a power-walking golf group, or a dog-walking group.

You are a unique individual with your own likes and hobbies; your own ‘feel goods.’ If aerobics, jogging, and Curves aren’t for you, adapt your favorite hobby into a ‘moving’ experience.

Haven’t attending Lose it for Life yet? What’s holding you back? Join us at our next New Life Weekend–you’ll laugh, learn, and by God’s good grace will leave transformed.

Being God's Man is Worth the Risk!

Excerpted from Every Man Ministries by Kenny Luck

During the past several years, I have witnessed men commit to becoming God’s man through Every Man Ministries. I’ve found that it’s not about asking guys to do more; it’s about asking them to be more. It’s not about asking them to pursue a plan or respond to a cool idea or even to a dare. It’s about convincing guys, deep down, that being God’s man is worth the risk. Why is that?

Doing more puts a man in control.
Being more puts God in control.


Doing more
is a safe style for men.
Being more is risky.

Doing more implies there’s an end to it.
Being more is a process ‘ fluid and unpredictable.


Doing more
lets a man pick the changes he needs to make.
Being more allows God to reveal the changes a man needs to make.


Doing more
requires trying harder.
Being more relies on training humbly.


Doing more
engenders spiritual pride.
Being more produces humility through surrender.


Doing more
is about correcting behavior patterns.
Being more is about connecting with God’s character.


Doing more
attaches to the public persona.
Being more reaches the private self ‘ the man God wants to reach.

The men’s movement of the last fifteen years has been challenging men to love more, say more, pray more, read the Bible more, discipline themselves more, love their wives more, and serve their kids more. Men have wanted all those things, but the majority of them are failing over the long haul. The men’s movement has asked men to do what their hearts and characters cannot deliver.

So here’s the bottom line.
Author Dallas Willard got it right: What’s needed is a renovation of the heart before a renovation of lifestyle.

I trust you will hang in there with me as we talk in the next few months about how it is we can BE God’s man and how it is that we ‘bog down spiritually’ when our offense should be in full attack mode for Him.

For more help on this subject see Being God’s Man.

Fat and The 'Be Nice Rule'

Jennifer Cecil

The ‘Be nice rule‘ is an oppressive rule that we learn early in
life. If we are sensitive, easily hurt and have experienced significant
emotional pain in our lives, we are a good candidate to adopt this rule
as a way of life. We know what it feels like to hurt. God forbid that
we would inflict such pain on others. We want people to like us. We
have found a way to avoid rejection from the people in our lives. The secret is to ‘ALWAYS BE NICE.’ No matter what! Smile, look pleasing, nod your head when people talk, act as if you are agreeing even if you aren’t. Tell them that they look great even if they don’t. Tell them that they did a good job even if they didn’t. Conceal your personal truth for their sake. Abandon your opinion for the ‘good of the cause.’ Avoid conflict at all costs. The outcome: People will love you! They will say that you are so NICE. They will want to be around you. They will seek you out because you are such a good listener and make them feel comfortable. It’s ALL GOOD! So, what is the problem? You ask.
The problem is we have become liars. Good ones at that!

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Does your OUTSIDE SELF
match your INSIDE SELF?

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We are also COWARDS. We are so afraid of rejection that we will tell anyone anything that they want to hear. We lack integrity. Our outside self does not match our inside self. We are, as Brennan Manning says, ‘Posers, fakes, and wannabees.’ Sounds, harsh, doesn’t it. It is sobering when we realize how much God emphasizes being committed to the truth. One of the Ten Commandments is ‘thou shalt not lie.’ (Exodus 20:16) Satan is described as ‘ a liar, the Father of lies and the truth is not in him’ (John 8:48). Scripture commands us to ‘Speak our truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15) and tells us that ‘we shall know the truth and the truth shall set us free.’ (John 8:32)


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The price we pay
for pleasing others
is that we are miserable!

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How does this tie into weight control? I believe that we create problems for ourselves when our goal is to please others. We move far away from who we really are. We betray ourselves and our personal truth. The ANXIETY from this can cause us to medicate with food. If we risk speaking truth and someone gets hurts in the process, then we feel GUILTY as if we have done something terribly wrong. We will eat to soothe our guilt. Therefore, the price we pay for pleasing others is that we are miserable. We are fat and unhappy. Our self-esteem suffers because we know on a deep level that we are not ‘truth-tellers.’ We put other people first, not because of a godly, altruistic motive, but because we are FEARFUL. We will never get a handle on our food issues until we face and embrace our fear.


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Begin to ask yourself in every situation:
‘What is truth?’
‘What is my fear if I speak the truth?’
‘Am I willing, with God’s help,
to risk rejection to become a truth-teller?’

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Muster up all the courage inside, and speak your truth. Experiment with it, knowing that you will ‘bump up against the sides’ in the beginning. You do not need to be perfect; you just need to make progress. Even if it does not go well in the beginning, pat yourself on the back for being brave, and see how your eating patterns begin to change with this increased level of honesty in your life!