Sundays were always my favorite day of the week. We would go to church and sit together as a family—four generations of us. We had been one of the founding families of that church. Dad and Grandpa had helped to lay the stones, build the walls, and even shingle the roof. It was a place where God’s family met together—a place where we all felt we belonged.
After church we would gather at my grandparents’ farmhouse for dinner. The smells that came from that kitchen! Thick, juicy ham, mashed potatoes covered with gravy, delicious homemade rolls and hand-churned butter, fresh vegetables from the garden—it all seemed to flow from that kitchen like a bounty from heaven itself. We would eat until we were stuffed, with more than one man in the family having to loosen his belt in recognition of the wonderful meal.
Afterward we would gather in the living room. Most of the men would nap; the women would meet at the piano to sing favorite hymns. It was the one day we all seemed like family.
No one yelled. No one was angry.
And no one called me fat.
Since you are reading this book, it’s a fair assumption that you have three things in common with Kale and most other readers:
After all, why should you as a Christian struggle with weight issues? Does your struggle mean you’re not “spiritual” enough? Shouldn’t the self-discipline that comes with following and obeying God equip you to say no to a hot-fudge sundae? If you’re such a great Christian, why aren’t you a thin Christian?
Part of the answer, of course, is that as hard as we try, none of us are “great” Christians. We are striving, falling, groping, stumbling-in-the-dark Christians who need God’s assistance on a day-to-day—even a moment-by-moment—level. We have our periods of successes . . . and our times of failure. Our very human nature, thanks to Adam and Eve way back in the Garden, ensures that we’re imperfect. And that lack of perfection manifests itself in a variety of ways—including our body weight.
Another part of the answer is that we tend to associate God only with the intangible things, the spiritual aspect of our lives. We think, whether on a conscious or subconscious level: “God is somebody we talk to on Sunday; He isn’t around when I’m standing in the mall choosing between a fat-free pretzel and a Double Doozie chocolate chip cookie. He is worried about my soul, not my cholesterol count. Right?”
Wrong. God, who created us, cares about all aspects of our lives—spiritual, mental, and physical. Yet we do not seem to seek His guidance as we make choices about how we treat our bodies. We treat our physical health as less important than our mental and spiritual health.
But God Himself calls our bodies His temple and makes it clear that He wants us to take care of them: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20).
Your body is the only “house” you have all the years you are on this earth. It isn’t until we are taken to heaven and transformed that we receive a different sort of house. So why not make the body you have right now the absolute healthiest body possible?
Almost all of us would like to have a healthier body.
The trouble comes when we try to do something about it. We get frustrated and think, “I’ve tried everything, and nothing works. If God wants me to be healthy, then why doesn’t He help? Why isn’t losing weight, balancing my food intake, and exercising easier?”
The Total Temple Makeover is designed to make it easier. It’s a twelve-week program for real people who are struggling with weight issues. In three months not only can you transform your body into a healthier temple, you can change your lifestyle and thinking—the only way to insure that your weight loss is permanent.
Over the last twenty years, after helping thousands at the Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Seattle, I’ve found that quick fixes always lead to disappointment and pain. I’m more convinced than ever that treating the whole person is the only approach that gives whole health. No matter how many times you’ve tried (and I’ve worked with people who’ve been overweight most of their lives), I want you to know that there is hope. Really.
But it isn’t enough to be at a healthy weight; you have to learn to live at a healthy weight.
Is this doable? Yes! Many have undertaken this program and succeeded. Each of them stepped out in faith, hoping for success, yet fearful of another failure.
Take Karen, for example. Her entire being seemed to revolve around her three children’s needs. She desperately wanted to be thinner, but the pounds continued to creep onto her five-foot-four-inch frame. Always considered chunky as a child, Karen was, as an adult, fast approaching obese. After a particularly difficult shopping trip, where she couldn’t find any clothes to fit her, Karen realized she just had to lose weight. She wanted a fast-track diet. Instead, the Center helped her focus on health, rather than weight; on long-term, rather than short-term; on nutrition, rather than calories. Today Karen has returned to a healthy weight. She no longer is obsessed with being thin, but has learned to appreciate her body—not as a physical representation of who she is, but as the temple given to her by God to serve Him and her family. She’s healthy, she’s happy, and she’s free from bondage to her flesh.
When Mike started on the program, his concern wasn’t his weight. It was his health. The report from his annual physical was sobering. “If you don’t do something different, you’re headed for serious health problems,” this forty-three-year-old was told. It came as a bit of a shock to Mike that something he thought was OK needed “fixing.” It didn’t help that he really didn’t want to do anything different; Mike was content with his life and his habits. So he fought the doctor’s advice. One day, however, he realized that his struggle with weight was simply a mirror of an ongoing spiritual struggle. When Mike was able to frame his weight problem as a spiritual battle, he was able to surrender his weight to God’s sovereignty. Now, day by day, Mike is winning by giving the battle over to the Lord.
Like Karen and Mike, you have to come to a personal decision to allow God to take over your battle with weight and make the temple He has blessed you with the healthiest one possible. This requires a change in focus, awareness, priorities, and trust. Can you give yourself three months? Can you dedicate yourself to health for the next twelve weeks?
This book is divided into twelve chapters, to fit the twelve weeks of this program. Each chapter has seven sections:
3. Thoughts for Food
4. What You Eat
5. The Journey Journal
6. Make It Real
7. A Voice along the Path
You can choose to read the chapter in one sitting once a week, or you can read one section each day of the week, depending on your schedule, temperament, and preference. Either way is fine. Along the way you’ll find practical advice, encouragement, specific tips to help you understand what you’re eating (and why), and exercises (don’t groan yet—they’re not as bad as you think!). You’ll also get a sneak peek at the thoughts of Kale, a person who is also walking through the program.
Are you ready for a healthier body? The time to start is now.
Let’s do it—together!