Instead of beating yourself up for your mistakes, trade your guilt for God’s grace in these 6 times on your weight loss journey.

I can’t be trusted around food. I’ll never be able to do this. I’m such a failure. I have too much weight to lose. I just overate…again. I could never run a mile. I’m fat so who would ever love me?

On my 100-pound weight loss journey, all of those thoughts went through my head at one time or another. And they weren’t just fleeting thoughts. They were thoughts that dictated my happiness, my self-worth, my confidence, and my insecurities.

Of course, it takes practical steps to lose weight, but you have to change the way you think before you will be able to change the choices you make.

The first step to accepting God’s grace in your weight loss journey is recognizing when the lies, the thoughts that do not line up with God’s Word, creep in.

Whenever you hear a voice whispering to you that you aren’t good enough, that voice isn’t God. You will notice a common theme in all of the topics below – the overriding voice is one of shame. 

I’ve written about the difference between guilt and shame before. Guilt can be great for guiding your behavior, like your conscience telling you what choices are right and wrong. 

But very quickly, that guilt can spiral into shame, which no longer tells you your action was wrong, but instead tells you that there is something wrong with who you are that you should be ashamed of.

It’s so hard to recognize it when it’s happening, but if you can start noticing when those lies creep in and start replacing them with God’s Truth, it could change the entire course of your weight loss journey.

Because, well, grace changes everything.

This is a core piece of our Faithful Finish Lines 2.0 Christian Weight Loss program, where we guide you through a process called “Trading Your Guilt For Grace.”

Woman standing on scale with 6 Times You Need God's Grace On Your Weight Loss Journey

1. After A Binge or Overeating

We need grace every moment of every day, but in the world of weight loss, this is probably the number one time I most needed God’s grace because it was the time when I was most likely to beat myself up.

I so vividly remember that feeling, surrounded by empty wrappers, right after I’d plowed through an entire box of Nutty Bars. The taste was so good as I ate – addicting, really, but never satisfying my desire for more. But the feeling afterward was a bitter mixture of guilt and regret.

(You can read about how I heard God’s voice in my emotional eating here.)

For years, I tried to avoid the truth. And, the truth is, overeating is a sin.

I’d love to be able to sugarcoat it for you (I glossed over it myself for years), but that doesn’t help you overcome the problem.

The Bible never says we should rationalize (it was okay I stuffed myself because it was Thanksgiving), minimize (it’s not that big of a deal…it’s not like I was hurting anyone else), or point the finger of blame (I only ate another slice of cake because my husband offered it to me) when it come to sin.

Our job is to see the situation as it is, accept responsibility, apologize, and ask for forgiveness.

I don’t want you to miss that last part. It can be so easy to dwell on the part when you sinned against God and sink into beating yourself up and just feeling terrible about yourself. But did you see the end? 

Yes, you admit your sin. 

Yes, you take responsibility for the choices you made. 

And then, God offers you a beautiful gift. 

Grace. The gift you don’t deserve and you can do absolutely nothing to earn.

After you’ve overeaten, check the thoughts going through your head.

The lies you tell yourself:

  • I’m a screw-up.
  • I should be ashamed of myself.
  • I can never follow through with my best intentions.
  • I will never be able to resist food cravings.
  • I deserve to be fat.

What the Bible says:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

– 1 John 1:9

This verse says nothing about earning your forgiveness by beating yourself up for a certain amount of time. No. It’s God’s job to be faithful and just and to purify us. We will never be able to work hard enough to achieve perfection. 

But when we do sin, instead of doing what we think is right (self-loathing, embarrassment, punishing ourselves), follow God’s instructions instead, lifting your eyes to Him instead of hiding in shame.

2. In Exercise {Feeling Not Strong Enough, Fast Enough, Etc)

I was always the kid who came in last in the mile-run in middle school. It was so embarrassing to see everyone running and laughing with their friends like running a mile was no big deal while every step I took with gasping breath required every ounce of effort I could muster up.

I wasn’t fast, I wasn’t strong, and even though I played sports, I was never “athletic.”

That carried on into adulthood. I was so ashamed that I was overweight that I didn’t want to exercise in front of anyone. I hired a personal trainer once and hated every second of it. And my inner voice of shame was just reinforced by her words. I still vividly remember her saying, “Oh, you can’t even do that exercise? You really do have weak arm muscles.” (Thanks. That’s helpful.)

So I did workout videos alone in my living room because it was my worst fear that someone would notice that I couldn’t do a pushup or keep up with the workout. I didn’t go on hikes or bike rides with friends out of fear that I couldn’t keep up. 

My embarrassment about my lack of physical fitness did two really harmful things:

  • it isolated me from other people so I didn’t have any support.
  • it kept me stuck. (I didn’t push myself because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it so I didn’t even try.)

When you are feeling slow, weak, and frustrated that your body can’t do certain exercises the way you want it to, it’s tempting to sink deeper into a place of hating your body and the choices you’ve made.

If only you were naturally athletic.

If only you had played soccer as a kid instead of taking piano.

If only your parents had given you the genes for strong muscles.

Those if onlys keep you stuck in the comparison trap feeling lousy about yourself. 

Lies you tell yourself:

  • I’m too slow.
  • I’m too weak.
  • I can’t do it.
  • Everybody will judge me.
  • I’ll never be able to do it.
  • I just wasn’t built for running/strength/etc.

What the Bible says:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

– Romans 12:1

Instead of hating your body and regretting your past choices (which you can’t change, by the way), remind yourself that your body is a living sacrifice. Grace.

You are holy and pleasing to God. The things you do with your body – running, jumping, playing tag with your kids, hugging your husband, cycling…you can make exercise an act of worship!

For more Scripture to help you in this area, check out these Bible verses on exercise.

3. When You Step On The Scale

Stepping up on the scale used to determine the entire course of my day. If I’d lost weight, I was thrilled! If I’d gained, my day was ruined. I’d throw on a baggy sweatshirt and drown my sorrows in a bag of Cheetos.

When you are trying to lose weight, the scale is a tricky beast. It can be such a helpful tool in letting us know where we are, but it doesn’t give you real-time results either.

I had days where I eat french fries, cookies, and drank soda and it showed I’d lost weight. Other days, I would eat veggies, lean protein, and go to the gym and it would show I’d gained. It was absolutely maddening! 

Don’t give the scale more credit than it deserves. It’s a tool, not a gauge of you as a person. I understand the temptation, believe me. But this is an important place to take your thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ.

The lies you tell yourself:

  • My weight determines my worth.
  • If I gain weight, I am a failure.
  • If I lose weight, I earn the right to be loved.
  • Every healthy choice I make will instantly show up on the scale.

What the Bible says:

For you created my inmost being;

    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful,

    I know that full well.

-Psalm 139:13-14

Trust that you are who God says you are, no matter what the scale says. You are not a mistake. You are not too far gone. You were created intentionally, uniquely, and wonderfully and no amount of weight can change that.

Above all, you are a child of God. 

4. When You Feel Like Skipping Meals Or Forbidding Foods

Let’s face it, the temptation is real to try to lose weight as fast as possible by skipping meals and getting rid of all treats from your diet. If that’s what got you into this mess in the first place, surely the opposite will get you out of it, right?

Instead of using fasting as it is described in the Bible, as a way to pursue God, we use it to:

– punish ourselves for our past choices (emotional eating, binging, missing a workout, etc)

  • get quick results (instead of working on a long-term, sustainable way of living)
  • as a way to forbid the “bad” foods from our diet (which usually leads to binging…this is how I feel about forbidden foods)

It’s a very positive thing to get back in control of the amount of treats you eat, but when you are focused more on punishing yourself than learning and growing in self-control, you’re not doing yourself any good.

The lies you tell yourself:

  • I don’t deserve good things.
  • I messed up again and now it’s time to pay for it.
  • I can’t be trusted with eating.

What the Bible says:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

– Ephesians 2:8-9

Grace is a gift that cannot be earned. You are never too far gone and you don’t need to try to cover your mistakes by swinging to the opposite extreme.

5. When You Feel Like Giving Up

When it comes to losing weight, there is only one thing that will make you fail.

Giving up.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is nothing special about me. I am a girl who loves Netflix binges, french fries, and Little Debbie Nutty Bars. I don’t crave workouts or kale. I have as much self-control as the next person.

It wasn’t eating a perfect diet or following a workout plan to a T that made me lose 100 pounds.

Oh, if you could only see all of the chocolate and missed workouts over those years!

The reason I was able to lose that large amount of weight was because I didn’t give up.

I didn’t know that I was going to be able to lose 100 pounds. That felt entirely too overwhelming at the time! Every step of the way, I was trying to focus on just one more pound.

It didn’t feel extraordinary along the way. It felt like one hard decision at a time, choosing what I knew was best over what I craved over and over again.

Sometimes I rocked it – going for runs, eating vegetables, and drinking water. Other times I failed miserably and ate thousands of calories of fast food and fruit snacks.

But I didn’t give up.

One day at a time, one choice at a time, one mistake at a time, one success at a time, I chose to keep going. And even all of those french fries and Nutty Bars couldn’t stop me from losing 100 pounds.

I know the road feels long. I know there are days when you feel like throwing up your hands and just going back to your old habits.

I know it’s discouraging, disheartening, and sometimes downright maddening when the scale doesn’t show all of the effort you put in this week.

But, please, don’t give up.

Ordinary people do extraordinary things when they don’t give up.

The lies you tell yourself:

  • I’ll never be able to do this
  • It’s not even worth it to try anymore.
  • Nobody else has to work this hard
  • I have too much weight to lose.
  • I’m too old.

What the Bible says:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Galatians 6:9

6. When You Feel Like A Failure

I am not one of those people who lost 100 pounds in a year. My weight loss journey was not at all a linear, steady progression. It was more like a demoralizing yo-yo.

I lost, I gained, I lost, I gained, and the cycle continued.

What I didn’t see in the middle of it all was that there was still a downward trend. What felt like failure was actually progress. 

Maybe not in the form I expected it, but it was there.

In those years of “failing” at weight loss again and again (and again), I not only lost 100 pounds, but I grew in self-control, patience, steadfastness, and so much more.

The enemy wants you to feel like a failure. He wants you to feel like you are too far gone, too messed up, too broken. He wants you to believe there is something so deeply wrong with you that there’s no point in trying anymore.

The lies you tell yourself:

  • Something is deeply wrong with me.
  • I’ve failed before, so I’ll fail again.
  • I just don’t have it in me.
  • I am a failure.

What the Bible says:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

– Ephesians 2:10

You may have failed, but you are not a failure. You were created to do good things – meaningful and purposeful. Your weight is not your worth.

God’s grace is more than enough to cover every single sin, every single shortcoming, and every single failure you can bring to the table. Catch those thoughts telling you that you aren’t enough and call them out for what they are – blatant lies.

This process of recognizing lies and replacing them with God’s Truth takes time. It takes calling out the same lie over and over again, but every time you do it, you will be forming a new way of thinking.

Take responsibility for your behavior.

Catch the lies as soon as you start to think them.

And, most importantly, keep seeking God in these moments when your identity is most under attack.

It’s only in His presence that you will find grace upon grace.

And as your thoughts transform, your behavior will too. When you stop hating your body, you will start treating it better. When you are reminded that you were made for a purpose, your choices will become more intentional, more mindful, more healthy. 

Your inner transformation will show in your character, your thoughts, your words, and, yes, your body.

You can do this. 

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Woman standing on scale with 6 Times You Need God's Grace On Your Weight Loss Journey


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