If you are a Christian and you have found yourself struggling to lose weight or to find balance in your relationship with food, you are NOT alone! As a believer, it is easy to feel like a failure in this area. We know that we “should” be able to experience complete freedom by reading our Bible and diligently praying, but we haven’t gotten there.
I will be the first to say that I 100% believe that this is the case- there is unlimited freedom available to us through the Word and prayer. However, if you are a little thick-skulled like me, you can benefit from some additional resources. Resources that help to pave your way to the Godly wisdom.
Below you will find several books and studies that I have found to be helpful over the years. Remember that these books are not our answer- Jesus is! However, if we can wash our minds with Biblical truth from every direction, we will only be better for it.
Please note that each of these books has bits and pieces that I (or you) may not completely agree with and it’s ok. As Christians, we have been blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to help us discern that which is right for us. What is right for you may not be what is right for me and vice versa. Don’t get caught up in what you disagree with; look for the nuggets of truth for your life (Satan would LOVE to steal those gems from you!).
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LOVE TO EAT, HATE TO EAT
Love to Eat, Hate to Eat, Breaking the Bondage of Destructive Eating Habits, by Elyse Fitzpatrick is one of my all-time favorite books. Elyse targets the state of the heart when it comes to food, above all else. Rather than providing a checklist of what to eat, like most diet books do, she provides a spiritual checklist to review at each meal. Questions such as, “Does this particular food demonstrate a heart of independence?” and “If I eat this, will it create an inroad for sin?” are used to examine our motives.
Elyse does recommend finding a healthy eating plan, although there are very few specific recommendations (I like that!). This book is a great fit if you want to really target your heart issues with food.
Uncommon Vessels, A Program for Developing Godly Eating Habits, by Elyse Fitzpatrick is a study guide based off many of the principles from Love to Eat, Hate to Eat. This book has a helpful introduction and 40 daily studies. If you are anything like me, this book will take you much longer to go through. Each of the scriptures and questions are so convicting and thought-provoking that you can’t help but camp out on them for a bit.
There is a Daily Diary for recording your food choices which may be a helpful tool for some.
Thin Within, A Grace Oriented Approach to Lasting Weight Loss by Judy Halliday, R.N. and Arthur Halliday, M.D covers a little bit of everything helpful! A 30-day program, Thin Within marries intuitive eating with a solid scriptural base. You will spend most of your time focusing on how you eat, not what you eat. One of the coolest tools is an hour-by-hour hunger graph that takes the guess work out of listening to your body.
If you are looking for a solid scripture-based program that will connect you with your physical body, Thin Within is going to hit home for you!
MADE TO CRAVE
Made to Crave, Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food, by Lysa Terkeurst is one of the most well-known Christian “weight loss” books to date. And, for good reason. Lysa’s conversational writing draws you in, making reading not only beneficial but fun. A strong emphasis is placed on noticing your cravings for food and directing those cravings to God. If we are turning to food for anything other than sustenance, we can learn how to let God take care of it.
Lysa shares a bit about her diet but does recommend that you find a plan that works for you. She later went on to write more about the specifics of her eating program but I found those teachings less beneficial.
THE WEIGH DOWN DIET
PLEASE do not be mad at me for mentioning The Weigh Down Diet by Gwen Shamblin! I struggled a lot with the decision of whether or not to share this book but finally decided that there was enough helpful information written in these pages that I had to.
If you are not familiar with The Weigh Down Diet or Gwen Shamblin, here’s a quick overview. In the 1990’s the “Weigh Down Workshop” based on this book was all the rage. Participants had great physical and spiritual results following the teachings of Miss Shamblin. Then Gwen published a follow-up book while becoming involved with a controversial church with unbiblical theology. The book, the program, and the teacher were all shunned. I get it and I am glad.
However, the first glimpse of food freedom that I experienced was when I initially read this book and participated in the workshop. Can you see why I felt compelled to share? You may not want to buy the book but you can certainly check it out at the library or skim it while sipping coffee at the bookstore.
What I DO love about the Weight Down Diet: The message of ALL foods being “good”; the admonition to eat the foods we want rather than what we think we should; the focus on eating slowly, savoring each bite; the encouragement that we can fly above the gravitational pull of food BY focusing on Christ; and the importance of a heart of true repentance.
There is a lot of meat in the book among a few bones. Eat the meat, throw out the bones!
THE BECK DIET SOLUTION
While not specifically a Christain book, The Beck Diet Solution, Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person by Judith S. Beck, Ph.D. is an excellent accompaniment to any study or plan you decide to follow. Dr. Beck is an expert in what is called Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT, which is basically a psychological term for renewing your mind.
The book has several chapters of explanation and the 40 days of studies with a topic and task for each day. I have taken groups through this book and all of the participants found it to be hugely beneficial! You’ll learn about the importance of behaviors such as eating slowly and examine negative thinking traps that may trip you up on your healthy eating endeavors. Now or later, you’ll definitely want to check it out!
Learn more about the companion workbook.
As you can see, there are a quite a few quality resources to supplement our faith-based health and fitness efforts. These are not “bibles”, they are books written by humans that can teach you Godly tools for your journey! Keep an eye out for your tendency to look to outside sources for solutions and use these as supplements to your spiritual “diet”!
Are there any books that I did not include that you recommend? If so, please drop me a line, I’d love to check them out!