(By Tammy Vaughn)
Lately I have been learning a lot about the process of losing weight. I started this journey in February 2013. My current diet is mostly based on Dr. Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” plan. It is a way of eating that has totally changed my life. It has been eight months now, and I have lost 62 pounds. What once seemed impossible is now happening little by little. How did this radical change all start? It started with me feeling hopeless and helpless.
My father passed away in November 2011 from a very rare and aggressive cancer called Sarcamatoid Carcinoma. The medical personnel kept saying that they could not get the proper read on certain medical tests because of his large habitus. “Large habitus?” It dawned on me that they were referencing his overweight body. The words “large habitus” would ring in my ears. Was it not awful enough that he had rare and aggressive cancer and was dying? Did they have to keep referring to his 350 pound body as a “large habitus?” This made me angry for a couple reasons, but mostly because it made me wonder what future medical treatments would be difficult for me since I also had a “large habitus”. Two weeks after my father’s diagnosis, my family had to make the difficult decision to take my father off of life support. Now let me say, I know that my father is with Jesus, so I rest and take comfort in that.
The next life event that made me focus on my weight was a knee surgery that I had in June 2012. My knee just never quite healed, and in the process of treatment, my doctor told me I would eventually need double knee replacements. I had just turned 40 years old. One of the main contributing factors to the decline in my knees was due to my “large habitus.” The key to putting off knee replacement surgery was to lose weight.
I was frustrated, embarrassed and in pain. It was sobering to think I would need surgery due to beating my knees down daily with my weight. Finally it was all catching up to me. The pain was so bad in my knee that I just thought to myself on several occasions, “I am going to have to live my life in a wheelchair or scooter.” I was getting comfortable, coming to a resolve that this was how it was going to be. I want you to understand how hopeless I felt. I was going to give up! After all, I had been on every diet you could imagine, including an all liquid diet for weeks. Nothing worked, and now I was looking at major surgery if I did not lose weight. Now a scooter or mobilized wheelchair is fine IF this is what is genuinely needed. For me however, I would end up in the power chair because I was overweight and did nothing about it. I would be choosing to live in defeat.
In talking to a close friend about this, I told her that, “I want to know the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in this area of my life.” To me this was a way to say, “Jesus, this area of my life is dead, hopeless, lifeless, stagnant, even sinful, but the resurrection power can bring what is dead back to life.” Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection” (Phil 3:10).
I have experienced that power in other areas of my life, so I know Jesus gives us access to this power. In fact, this is the reason He victoriously came and conquered death—so that I do not have to live defeated. Yet I was choosing just that. I knew in my head that Jesus has the power to heal and change people; I just did not believe it could happen for me, in this area of my life. Oh me of little faith! Here I had access all along to the power to change. I just felt extremely hopeless and overwhelmed. One large uphill battle!
While on a family vacation in January 2012, my brother came to me and told me about an eating plan he and my sister-in-law were going to follow. He said he saw me struggling and wanting to lose weight. He then offered to journey with me, not just to lose weight but also to get healthy. He presented Dr. Fuhrman’s “Eat To Live” book and plan to me. It was radical. He told me I would have to radically change how you eat. He said “I know you can know the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in this area of your life. You pray about it.” I did not really need to pray about it; I had prayed the same prayer earlier that week- to know the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. Reluctant to start yet another “diet” only to fail, I told him I was in!
Well, fast forward eight months. With the help of Jesus, good accountability, support from my family and friends and Dr. Fuhrman’s medical team in North Jersey, I have lost 62 pounds. I have gone down five pant sizes and two shirt sizes. Seems like a miracle to me some days; other days it’s not enough and I still have a long way to go.
I believe that Jesus will continue to help me lose weight. It is not easy. At times I want to give up. But Jesus has helped give me the strength to resist temptation, to persist and be disciplined one meal at a time. I have knowledge about food that I did not have before. And knowledge is power. I don’t see quitting as an option, although I want to some days. I can really feel God doing something new in my body and in my mind. I’m often encouraged by 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If any is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.”
I value the support of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I also call out to my brother when I am struggling or feel I cannot eat one more salad. God uses him to encourage me to get back on track. I view my eating as an act of worship unto the Lord. My body belongs to Him; it is His temple. Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.” I cannot possibly do all God has called me to do while slowly destroying my body and eventually killing myself with food. I was created for more than just drowning in my own fat! Maybe this sounds extreme. It is not extreme to me when I think about watching my father die in Cooper Hospital because he had tumors growing inside the fat of his abdomen that they could not see because of his “large habitus”. It motivates me to keep going.
I am fully aware that it will not happen on my own strength alone. I am so grateful for my wonderful loving Savior who loves me and cares about me and gave me a new sense of hope in this area of my life. The praise is all due to Him! I hope you feel encouraged to present the areas of your life where you feel hopeless and defeated to Jesus. Pray and tell Him that you want to know the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in that area of your life. That power is available to all of His Children. I hope someone is shouting Amen somewhere! I know I am!