“What do you think about Weight Watchers?” When I saw the reader question, I thought “Uh-oh – do I really want to get into the problem with diets?”
To give you some perspective, let me share my own history with Weight Watchers.
In the over 20 years of struggling with my weight before I achieved lasting success, I used the Weight Watchers program at least twice.
Although I did lose weight, I ended up gaining the weight back, plus more on top of that.
However, you’ll notice that I did not call this article, “My Problem with Weight Watchers.” That’s because my problem is not about Weight Watchers specifically.
My problem is with all traditional diets on the planet.
Now to be fair, some weight loss programs are good. I count Weight Watchers as a good program.
Problem with Diets #1: The Critical Flaw
However, my problem is because of a critical flaw within all traditional weight loss programs.
The flaw is that a typical diet industry program works on an external approach – outside, in.
Here’s a good example: Back in the 1980s, I was a regular Oprah Winfrey show viewer.
Interestingly enough, Oprah is promoting Weight Watchers now!
I will never forget the episode when Oprah emerged on the stage, looking slim and trim in skinny jeans, dragging a wagon load of fat behind her.
Oprah told viewers that she lost the weight on a medically-supervised liquid diet.
Well, Oprah looked great. I needed to lose a lot of weight too, so I decided to do what Oprah did.
I discovered that a local hospital offered the Medifast diet. It was very expensive, costing hundreds of dollars a month.
I would be limited to eating 2 small meals supplied in a silver vacuum-packed bag along with drinking 3 protein shakes per day.
Plus, I had to have blood work drawn every few weeks to ensure my blood chemistry remained normal. After all, that way of eating is not normal.
I did the program for two months. The meals weren’t half bad, but the shakes were horrible. They tasted like chalk.
But I was willing to endure the shakes if I was going to end up looking like Oprah!
Well, you probably know the end of the story; I did lose the excess weight. I looked great, but I felt awful.
My energy level was in the basement.
I couldn’t wait for the diet to be over.
As soon as it was, I threw myself back into eating the way I did before the diet. So did Oprah.
We both gained the weight back – plus more.
What happened to us is the traditional diet mentality in action.
Problem with Diets #2: The Diet Mentality
The diet mentality says: “I’ll eat this way until I lose weight, then I’ll go back to eating my ‘normal’ way.”
That is why people are always losing weight and gaining it back constantly.
Old ways = Old weight.
Even though the diet works on their external actions, their hearts and minds remain unchanged.
And that’s the problem.
That’s why they always go back to the place (habits) that caused them to gain weight in the first place.
That’s where their hearts and minds where!
The Solution to the Diet Problem
To quote pastor James McDonald:
Nothing is different until you think differently.
Our behavior is always going to live up with the Person we believe we are.
That is why I believe a Christ-centered approach to weight loss works best.
God’s way to change is internal, inside out.
The only way to lasting change is the way the Bible prescribes:
- “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).”
- “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).”
Only abiding in His word has the power to change your mind.
In the over 15 years I’ve had Take Back Your Temple online, I have discovered that many people who struggle with eating and weight issues have heart issues driving them.
They also typically have beliefs that are keeping them overweight.
A traditional weight loss program can never minister to issues of the heart and mind.
But Jesus, the Great Physician can!
As long as you just work on the outside and don’t address what is driving your external behavior from the inside, you’ll be doomed to riding the weight loss roller-coaster forever.
But when you slow down and decide that you no longer want to live a diet, but want a way of eating that powers your purpose and your life, then you are on your way to lasting success.
For a Christian, we realize a larger issue is at stake than just looking good.
After all, how we travel through this life has eternal consequences.
So the wisest thing to do is to lay aside every weight that entangles us in this world.
Our aim is run the race the Lord sets before us with endurance.
We learn to experience freedom from our food issues – and inspire others to do the same!
Be blessed with health, healing, and wholeness,
Author of the Take Back Your Temple program
P.S. When it comes to weight loss, do you often know what you should do but have a hard time doing it?
I struggled with this issue on my own weight loss journey, but I discovered that “Nothing is different until you think differently.” – Pastor James MacDonald
The value of the Take Back Your Temple program is that you will learn how to think differently through using Biblical keys to overcome obstacles. You’ll discover how to win the Spiritual and mental battle that often causes us to become inconsistent and get off-track on our weight loss journey.
Join a community of other Christians losing weight and keep it off.