Staying Power: Lessons Learned over 20 years of Battling Overeating

1/2 lb "the works" hamburger with onion rings from fuddruckers

I love food.

I love to eat when I am happy, sad, bored…

To celebrate.

To grieve.

To live.

Over the years my weight has fluctuated about 30-40 pounds every 2 years or so since I was a teenager.  Some of that was prego weight, but mostly it was just me- eating too much and then trying to dig myself out of the mess I made.

Here are some of the tips I have learned over the years.  I pray that they will help and encourage you.

1.  Try lots of different ways to exercise.

  • Class at the gym
  • Running
  • Walking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Video/DVD
  • Find an accountability partner

Don’t give up if one thing doesn’t work for you.  Find the thing that works with your personality and lifestyle.

2.  If at all possible- weight train. Why?

  • Weight training builds muscle
  • The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn- even when you are sitting and resting
  • you will NOT bulk up- use low weight- lots of repetition
  • Esp. do leg exercises- your legs are some of your largest muscle groups-they burn lots of calories.

3. Don’t diet- make a lifestyle change.

  • Make a list of the five foods you can’t live without and keep having them in moderation.
  • Educate yourself about what food your body needs every day- start eating a balanced diet (carbs, veggies, fruit, protein)
  • Replace processed foods with fresh veggies, fruits, yogurt, beans (yes, they are so good for you!)
  • Count your calories for a while.  It is good to educate yourself on how many calories you eat in a day.  There are a lot of great websites and apps that can help you (I used the daily plate).

4.  Sign up for a race.

  • Signing up for a public walk, run, or bike can help you to meet others in your community or area who are seeking to be physically fit.
  • Their support and accountability can be a blessing on the road to meeting your goals.
  • Start up conversations with people at the race; pray that God will help you find support and encouragement.

5.  Read a book about someone who lost weight and reached their goals.

  • We need support, community
  • If you don’t have someone close to you who can hold you accountable/support you, read a book about someone who overcame the odds and lost the weight
  • It can help inspire and get us through tough times when our motivation is low

6.  You will feel hungry.

  • Be prepared for feeling hungry in the beginning
  • Your stomach is shrinking
  • Give your body time to digest- it takes at least 20 minutes for your body to register the food you have eaten
  • Counting calories is a great tool to fight the temptation to eat too much- when you look at the numbers and know that you have had enough- that can sometimes mentally give you the power to say No.

7.  You will have set backs.  Do not get discouraged- keep pressing on!

  • We all have bad days…or a few bad days…or a week.
  • Get back to it- don’t give up- no matter what!
  • The scale can be discouraging mentally- avoid it.  Instead- pay attention to clothing size- clothes feeling a little loose?  Try on the next size smaller- cheer yourself on!  (I don’t own a scale)

8.  This is a spiritual battle.  We are battling the desire of our flesh.

  • One of the most powerful temptations in my life that I constantly fight is the desire to eat to comfort myself.
  • Dwell on the truth that eating will not bring comfort- it only brings regret.
  • It does not deliver on its promises.
  • Keep tempting foods out of the house for a while if you need to. Or throw them in the trash.  I have wasted food when I have been really struggling with this temptation.
  • Pray when you are tempted to eat. Sit down and beg God to help you- call a friend or family member for support.

9.  Avoid the all or nothing rut

  • Sometimes you just don’t have time to spend 30 minutes straight working out with no interruption
  • Do two 15 minute work outs
  • Just do two leg exercises- leg lifts and swing your arms in circles
  • Just do something- dance in the living room with your kids
  • Sometimes we raise the bar of expectation so high- we don’t feel motivated to even get off the couch.  We can’t meet our own expectations for what we “should” be doing

10.  Celebrate your success

  • When you achieve a weight loss goal, celebrate!
  • Buy a new dress
  • Call friends and share the good news
  • Make sure to find a way (without using food) to reward yourself for your hard work

What would you add?

Share your story- or ask questions- let’s support each other!


Women’s Strength Training Anatomy  by: Frederic Delavier
Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook– I love weight watchers b/c they are all about counting calories but not depriving you of the foods you love.
Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desires with God, Not Food by: Lysa TerKeurst
10 Lessons from a Former Fat Girl: Living with Less of You and More of Life  by: Amy Parham
Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness by: Candace Cameron Bure and Darlene Schacht

(I have not read all these resources (except 1st- I own it), but they have been recommended to me- let me know if you have resources you want to add)

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4 Responses to Staying Power: Lessons Learned over 20 years of Battling Overeating

  1. Jaimie says:

    I’m proud of you. :) These are great ideas! I’ve been blessed with a metabolism that means I’ve been at a steady weight for the last four years (my mom says to enjoy it while it lasts…once I have babies this will probably change!) BUT I’ve led a very sedentary lifestyle. In the last year I finally discovered that I liked working out. I did mostly strength training in the gym, but I also bike and/or walk at least two miles most days. It took a couple of my best friends to get me started, motivated, and to keep at it, but I feel better than I have in a while. :) It’s so worth it! Now I’m working on learning ways to help my husband and me eat more healthfully. Processed and junk foods are a major rarity in our house–we’re getting there!

    • Rachel says:

      Thanks for sharing Jaimie! I hope and pray we can encourage each other and share ideas/things that have worked for us along this journey. God bless you. :)

  2. Deanna says:

    I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I had kids. I finally got on the path to healthy living after too many years on the yo-yo. These are all great tips!

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