Weight Loss with the Bible - Stage 1 ~ The first 2 weeks
The beginning of a Bible Study to accompany the Spark People Diet
Summer is ending, but just because the days are growing shorter, it doesn't mean that our healthy goals need to dwindle too.
This Bible study, and the weight loss program that inspired it, is about more than getting in shape. It's about becoming the best, healthiest, most self confident "you" you can be. If you happen to get into a smaller size while you're doing it, then that's the bonus prize.
I'm really glad you've stopped by today. I'm hoping you're here because you want to start a new healthier lifestyle, not just a way to drop a few pounds for your Summer swim suit. And I'm praying that what you find below will motivate you and help you grow in your endeavor to become the best "you" you can be!
I lost 30 pounds between August 2007 and August 2008. Better yet, I've kept it off! My goal is to lose another 20 pounds before it's all said and done, but after carrying around that extra weight for 26 years, I'm excited to finally be in a size 6! Plus, I'm healthier than I have been in a long time. (A lot of people think "Size 6 and she wants to lose another 20 pounds! Is she crazy?" Confession time - I'm really short! I need to be at 120ish - so that's where I'm aiming!)
What drove me to this? Well, I've tried countless weightloss programs in the past, but none have worked. In May 2007 at the age of 44, I had a TIA - for those who aren't in the medical field that means I had a mild stroke. No one knows why, but it made me decide to finally take this "getting healthy" thing more seriously.
Thanks to my sister, I found this FREE online site called SparkPeople. Their tips, advice, articles and encouragement is what helped me finally lose the weight. It also inspired me to create a Bible Study based on their program. Here's where you'll find that study.
I hope this study and my story helps you find freedom in eating as well as health in your relationship with Jesus Christ. If you use the study, don't forget to leave me a rating or a comment to help others find it too. Thanks for stopping by!!!
Photos courtesy of MorgueFile.com
Stage 1 Introduction
This is where it all begins
I'm really excited you've decided to enter this endeavor. Not just to lose weight, but to change your lifestyle so you can live the most abundant life possible.
I'm not a weight loss expert or a nutritionist, but believe it or not, I've studied the stuff for a long time because I've had a lot of problems with food addiction. Over the last 10 years or so I've made small lifestyle changes that have gradually brought me to where I am now. What you are about to read is my first attempt to combine the strategy and information found on SparkPeople with scripture and Bible Study.
I love the points on SparkPeople. For some strange reason, they motivate me to DO something toward my healthy lifestyle. So, you'll find points that you can earn every day. I encourage you to meet with others who are striving toward a healthy lifestyle and go on this journey together. When you meet each week, if you report your points to each other, you'll actually be telling one another whether or not you did something to contribute to your new healthy lifestyle.
You're going to start with Stage 1. SparkPeople calls it "Fast Break." This stage will give you 2 weeks to make small, slow changes in your life. Each week you'll have an article or two to read, scripture to study and small goals to reach each day just to get you started. In week 3, we'll move on to Stage 2. This stage is called "6 Healthy Diet Habits." I'll get you more information on that stage when we get there.
The most important thing you can do in the next couple of weeks is set a few small goals for yourself and do your best to meet them. To get the full benefit, I hope that in addition to those three goals you'll make a commitment to be an active part of a small group make a commitment to be there every time they meet, share your thoughts at every meeting and encourage every other group member to share their thoughts.
So, are you ready? Are you prepared to change your life forever? Are you primed to commit to become the best YOU you can be for Christ?
Here we go!
Stage 1: Fast Break Week 1
How's your self esteem?
Self Esteem is one of those topics the world talks about all the time, but what does God think about my self-esteem? We hear so much about Christians being humble and meek that often we think self-esteem is a "worldly" value, but this week let's look at what the Bible says:
- As you read each of these verses, take them personally. Each one was written just for you!
- Genesis 1:27 ~ What does it mean for you personally that you are created in the image of God?
- Psalm 139: 13-14 ~ What are your thoughts when you consider that God knit you together from scratch, and He made you wonderful.
- Jeremiah 31:3 ~ Remember this verse was written for you. God knew that you'd be reading it today and wanted you to realize how much he loves you!
- After reading just these three verses, how do you think God wants you to look at yourself?
- How often do you eat or eat things you know aren't really good for you because you don't feel good about yourself?
- How might your eating trends gradually change if you used these verses to remind yourself of how special and important you are to God?
- How do you think it makes God feel when we second guess our self-worth?
- If you question your self worth, what things can you do this week to begin to realize how important you are in God's eyes?
Recommended SparkPeople Reading for this week:
Download Worksheets to go along with this study - here: This is the link
This is one of the very first books I ever read as I began to try to eat to honor God.
You are Beautiful - If you aren't convinced, listen to this song
A Healthier You Begins With a Healthier View
I'm not a medical professional, but in all my years of talking to people, it seems as though unhealthy weight is always a symptom of some other problem. Weight gain as well as excessive or unexplained loss can be an indication of many health problems, diabetes, celiac, cancer and more. But in addition to being a symptom of physical illness, both may also suggest spiritual, emotional or psychological illness.
The verses this week are designed to help you begin to determine if your weight problem has a spiritual, emotional or psychological root. Whether your struggle is with anorexia, bulimia or the exact opposite, often these stem from a poor self image. This week I want you to begin to look at yourself like God does. I want us to begin to ignore the things the world continually tells us and focus on the words our Creator has spoken for us over the past 2000 years.
As I've gone through this study with others, I've discovered that as we look at those first three verses of scripture, we are terribly tempted to answer the questions in a "what I need to do" form rather than "what do they speak to my soul." Many people have answered, "Since I'm created in God's image, I should be . . .," and while that's not necessarily a WRONG answer, it's not where I'm hoping these verses will lead you.
You see, I stand in awe that I am created in God's image. To think that the Creator of the universe would decide I should "look" like Him is amazing to me. That means that somewhere deep inside of me is the potential to be truly good and perfect. Yes, the humanness will continue to come out as long as I live on this earth, but I was formed in my mother's womb in the image of my heavenly Father. This week I hope you'll avoid focusing on your failure at this startling revelation, but instead explore the possibility, the potential, the excitement the future holds as you grow into everything God planned for you to be.
Another question that has come up during these discussions is the meaning of the word "fearfully" in Psalm 139. When you look up "fearfully" in the dictionary, one of the definitions is "causing awe and reverence." Have you ever considered that your creation caused "awe and reverence" in the heavens?! Picture the angels watching God form you. He gets done molding you, and the angels begin to be in total awe. One finally speaks up and says, "Holy One, that might be your most wonderful creation to date." All of the angels begin to agree. They are completely shocked after all these years God can come up with another one so amazing and wonderful! In fact, some of the other translations use the words amazing and marvelous to describe this event. And they are talking about YOU!
I hope if you answered those questions about how God looks at you with a more "what I need to change" attitude, you'll go back now and reflect on your beauty and worth in the eyes of God. On the day that I wrote this page, God put a little toad in my flower bed. He hid himself under the mulch, so only his eyes and nose were visible, but I saw him move just a bit and discovered him. When I posted a picture of him on Facebook with the word "cute" in the description, one of my friends replied that she wasn't sure "cute" was a good word for him. I think perhaps toads aren't exactly her thing. As soon as I read that I thought of these verses. He is a toad, so he's not created in God's image, but I think that God still fearfully and wonderfully created him. It doesn't matter if we think he's cute! His Creator (and his mother) think he's absolutely adorable.
I'm praying as I write, that as you read you will discover what you think you look like is probably very distorted. God see you differently! God sees you through the eyes of Creator. He sees you the way He made you, not the way that the world has misshapen you through abuse and lies. My goal this week is to help you to begin to see yourself through the eyes of Christ. I want you to understand how remarkable you are! My prayer is that your self-worth will become tied less and less to what the world has shown you is perfect and more and more to the One who is truly perfect, the One who made you, the One who loves you, the One in whose image you have been fearfully and wonderfully, amazingly and marvelously, made.
Christ put this song in my head for a solid week several months ago. I felt as though he was speaking directly to me . . . I am Beautiful . . . and so are you!
Stage 1: Fast Break Week 2
Have You Been Made New?
Hopefully this past week you've begun (if you haven't done it earlier in your Christian journey) to realize that you were hand crafted by God as a precious jewel, a valuable treasure. I pray if you remember one verse from last week, you'll remember that in Jeremiah God said He "loves you with an everlasting love. You are irreplaceable as far as your creator is concerned.
Our problem is that as somewhere in our life we've learned some habits that aren't healthy. We've kind of messed up what God created perfect. The good news is that Jesus came to make us just like new again. Stop and think about it. If you bought a fine watch and after many years it started gaining time, would you take it to any old jewelry repairman if the person who handcrafted it was available to make the adjustments. And especially if his services were free!
Let's take this week to look at having the Craftsman of our Lives helping us make the adjustments we need to live a full and abundant life in Him.
- Read Ephesians 4:17-24 - We're going to look at this scripture from the angle of healthy living, so let's reword the first three verses to relate more closely to a healthy/unhealthy lifestyle (without compromising the Word of God)
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the ______________ do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all ____________, they have given themselves over to ____________ so as to indulge in every kind of _________, with a continual ________ for more.
- Make of list of futile "dieter" thinking? Which ones are you willing to give up?
- In verse 23 Paul says to be make new in the attitude of your minds. What kind of attitude toward dieting and weight loss do you need to change so you are living to be healthy instead of being concentrating on losing weight?
- How can a new attitude help you put on a "new self"?
- Of all the changes you've talked about this meeting what one thing can you adapt to your new healthy lifestyle?
This week's recommended reading:
The worksheets and leader's guide is here: This is the link
More ideas to help you live a healthier lifestyle!
I feel very privileged that Nancy included my story in her book, and she put me right up front! Plus there are many other stories in this book to inspire you!
The Next Study in this Series
- Portion Size - A Great Way to Start
Controlling portions is the first step in your new lifestyle. It's also a very Biblical concept. Check out this study that will help you develop Biblical habits to help with your portion control
The Fine Print
This Bible Study hasn't been endorsed by SparkPeople and is in no way related to SparkPeople or any of SparkPeople's affiliate websites. To read about SparkPeople's terms of service, please refer to SparkPeople's Website for all the details.
Thanks so much to Morgue File for the photos used in this Bible Study series.