1diet n 1 a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed. b: habitual nourishment. c: the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason d: a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight.
2diet vt 2: to cause to eat and drink sparingly or according to prescribed rules.
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition
When I say the word “diet,” what pops into your mind? Jenny Craig? low-carb? South Beach? no dessert? pills? Or do you think, What I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner? There is a difference.
Let me explain. Most likely, when you hear the word “diet,” you think of one of the lose-weight-right-now regimens, methods or programs. Usually such a plan promises instant results if you drastically change what you eat or if you take some other dramatic action. Perhaps you have attempted at least one popular diet. Indeed, for many Americans, dieting has become an obsession—an all-consuming attempt to shed pounds and reduce the size of waistlines.
Some of the popular diet plans actually work—at least for a while. Therein lies the problem. When you complete the plan and return to a “normal” eating routine, the pounds return, too. Soon you turn to the newest weight-loss fad or the latest diet book. Thus, dieting becomes a cycle of losing weight and gaining it back, then losing and gaining it back again. Where are you right now on the lose-gain-lose-gain-lose-gain cycle? Let’s face it: If the last plan you tried had kept off the excess pounds, you would not have picked up this book.
Most diets eliminate certain food groups, often those high in carbohydrates or fat, or those laden with sugar. Avoiding such foods can produce the immediate results you seek, but rarely do they lead to long-term success. Why? Because a particular food group generally is not the culprit. In fact, if properly prepared and eaten in correct portions, no food is really bad. God created them all: meat, grain, fruit, dairy products and vegetables. He even came up with the idea of fat! If banishing certain foods is not the key, then what is?
I suggest that the “secret” lies in looking at Merriam-Webster’s other definition of diet. If you really want to permanently lose weight and improve your health, then you must begin to rethink the way you think about the food and drink that you regularly consume, not just what you eat when dieting. Moreover, you need to take a fresh look at how the shape of other areas in your life affects the shape you see in the mirror each morning. That is where the divine diet comes in.
What would a divine diet look like? Well, for me, a divine diet would allow me to
• consume my favorite foods and still lose weight,
• dine at my favorite restaurants and still lose weight,
• pick foods from every food group and still lose weight,
• serve my family the same foods I eat and we all lose weight,
• get down to my lifetime goal weight and stay at that weight without changing the way I eat,
• know that my diet was never going to endanger my health and
• be assured that my overall health would improve
Sounds like a great plan, doesn’t it? But is it possible?
I began dieting when I was 13 and have attempted just about every weight-loss formula ever conceived. A few of the attempts worked, but none of them lasted, until I was introduced to a Christ-centered health and weight-loss program called First Place. That was in 1981.
What I heard at the First Place meetings excited me. Could I really eat from every food group and lose weight? Sounds divine! I thought. If this is true, then maybe I can stay on this “diet” for the rest of my life. I learned that when you properly prepare your meals and eat moderate amounts, every food can be enjoyed. In fact, you will actually lose the excess pounds and become healthier than ever.
As I began to lose weight the First Place way, I found that I was beginning to look at dieting in a new way. In fact, I liked what I discovered so much that I am now the national director of First Place (sort of like Victor Kiam’s purchasing the company that manufactures Remington razorblades because he liked the product so much). While most diet experts create a plan and then go about convincing you that it will work for you, I found a plan that worked for me (and works for others, too) and want to let you in on what I discovered.
For nearly a quarter century, First Place has been the last “diet” for thousands of men and women. These people have lost and kept off their excess weight, but more than that, they have also discovered the rich and robust First Place way of living each and every day.
In First Place, we do not use the word “diet,” because the first three letters are d-i-e. (Isn’t that usually the way you feel when you are on a diet?) Instead, we call our plan Live-It.
As you read this book, you will come to see that the only divine diet is really no diet at all; rather, it is a balanced lifestyle that brings you health and wholeness. Balance is the key. When you learn how to balance not only your physical health but also your mental, emotional and spiritual health, you will obtain freedom and joy.
• Physical balance comes when you learn to enjoy eating healthy foods, not because you’re trying to lose weight, but because the foods taste good and they make you feel good. Regular exercise is a vital key to physical balance because it improves your health while regulating daily stress.
• Mental balance comes when you learn to change your thinking about the foods you eat. Changing how you think will change who you are. This book will help you develop new ways of thinking, not only about weight loss, but also about who you are as a person.
• Emotional balance comes when you learn that eating certain high-fat, high-sugar foods will never fill the empty place in your heart. In this book we will face head-on your grief-causing behaviors.
• Spiritual balance comes as you learn to ask God for the help you need to lose weight and to keep it off. This book will show the divine way to achieve a life of spiritual balance, a life that is full of love, joy and peace.
First Place is anchored in small groups that regularly meet in churches, homes and other places. A First Place group probably meets some place near you. Joining such a group and reaping the greatest benefits do take time, but losing weight and become healthy work well in such a setting because you become accountable to the group, to the leader, to God and to yourself. We emphasize connecting with other people while you transform your life because we have found that accountability is necessary if you are to succeed.
I can almost hear you thinking, Ah, this all sounds great, but I am too busy. I do not have time!
You are not alone in your plight and your fight to find the time. You want to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle but you can’t fit a program into your schedule, or perhaps joining a group just isn’t your style. I hear you, and that is why I have written this book.
What follows is a jump start to losing weight the First Place way. Here you have a quick scan of highlights and key principles that will point you in the right direction. If you embrace and act upon what I lay out, you will have taken important first steps and will see some immediate benefits. Many diets can help you lose weight, but what you will find in this book and in First Place will take you beyond dieting and lead you to living a healthy and whole life.