One minute I am sitting in the
green metal lawn chair in my uncle's front yard, talking and laughing with my
aunt while cousins and our children play hide and go seek.
The next minute I feel the
collapse of the rounded legs as they slowly lower me to the ground.
Even though I'm sure the sight of
a 430-pound woman sitting atop a pile of metal is funny, all laughter stops. My
uncle jumps to help me.
Being super morbidly obese I
always try to blend into the wallpaper and not make more of a spectacle of
myself than I already am.
This day, the proverbial cat has
been let out of the bag.
I'm fat, really fat. I break lawn
chairs like twigs. I can't be trusted to sit anywhere.
My uncle brings me a sturdy
dining room chair, which I eye suspiciously. My aunt pats my arm and tells me
it's fine. She never liked that old chair anyway.
I am embarrassed for the rest of
the day. I don't dare eat the three platefuls I would normally eat at lunch. I
take only one piece of cake though I'd love to pile my plate with the four
other desserts as well.
I know I have a problem. I deny
it constantly. I try to push it under the rug. This day I cannot ignore the
I am a really good Christian. I
have never tasted an alcoholic beverage except that one time a "friend" put a
little vodka in my orange juice just so I couldn't say I'd never drank alcohol
before. I've never done drugs, smoked cigarettes, had sex before marriage, gone
to an x-rated movie, watched or listened to pornography. I go to church every
Sunday. I teach Sunday School and small groups. I work in ministry. And I am a
Pastors don't talk about such
things because they like their sweets and breads as much as I do. Mine is the
sanctified sin I don't have to worry about.
Until I begin to break chairs and
the cardiac surgeon tells me my body is too big for my heart and I will be dead
in five years if I don't lose a minimum of 100 pounds and keep it off.
This was my life 10 years ago.
Today, I've lost more than 260 pounds
For years when I would pray about
my weight issue God would give me a plan. Stop eating sugar. Eat more lean meat,
vegetables and fruit. Stop eating so much bread.
I could never get past step one.
I thought I would die without sugar. Truth is, I was dying with sugar.
The light bulb moment came
listening to a former alcoholic tell his story. He mentioned that alcohol is
liquid sugar. Then it hit me, if an alcoholic can get free by not drinking
alcohol, maybe I can get free by not eating sugar.
All my life I had wished my
problem was alcohol instead of food. My reasoning was an alcoholic could stop
drinking alcohol because it is not necessary to survival. However, I can't stop
eating because I have to eat to survive.
Understanding that processed
sugar is my nemesis gave me the final motivation to follow what God had been
telling me for 30 years.
So I did. I knew beyond a shadow
of a doubt I was a sugar addict. There wasn't a question in my mind.
Walking Out His Plan
There also was not a question as
to whether this was God's direction. As I looked back through my journals, I
saw the same plan. God had given it to
me at least five times in three decades. I had heard God. I just hadn't
When I began to walk out what I
knew was His plan, I felt His wind at my back propelling me forward to health
and wholeness. It's from this place I can minister. It's from this place I can
complete my assignment here on earth. It's from this place I can live.
Although I have had situations
where I have strayed, I always come back to what I know is right for me.
In this place of obedience, there
is freedom, real freedom. It's not just flowery words. It is real
honest-to-goodness, I-feel-it-down-in the-tips-of-my-toes freedom.
When I go to a family gathering
today, I am not pulled towards the desserts. I eat fruit and salad and meat. I
make sure there are those choices because I bring them myself. Honestly, processed sugar is not something I
want to eat today.
Sanctified sin enslaves the same
as any other lifestyle that is contrary to God's best for us here on earth. And
it certainly never tastes as good as freedom feels.
Teresa Shields Parker