Kathy Diamond Davis

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Author of the book "Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others," 2nd edition published by Dogwise Publishing. Canine Behavior Series at www.veterinarybehavior.com

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Praise Report

I wrote this about my Atkins journey, to share with people who want to read a Christian account of God's intervention in life:

I have to give a "praise report." That's lingo for giving God the credit, the praise, for something he is doing for me.

Fighting the weight battle--or rather, standing watch so I can let God fight it for me--I had a bounce recently and knew I was going to have to adjust my eating. For a year or two with menopause I didn't sleep, and now my body seems ready to resume that worthy activity. I had to go to one meal a day and eat all I could eat at that meal in order to maintain at goal weight during that non-sleeping time. Now I need to go back to more, smaller meals, and of course there's always the fear of it getting out of control--especially when I've just bounced up about 5 pounds. Maybe 10. It's very difficult to pin it down within 5 pounds because of daily fluctuations.

This morning--well, morning to me, the time I got up from sleep and weighed--I could see it's starting to work, praise the Lord! And listening to my radio as I fed dogs and other chores, the song "I've Got a Peaceful, Easy Feeling" came on. Some of the words that caught my attention were "I found out a long time ago what a woman can do to your soul...and then something about her not being able to take you where you don't already want to go...and then "you won't let me down. I've got a peaceful, easy feeling, 'cause I'm already standing on the ground."

Remember (if you're my age and were a Christian back then, you will) when there wasn't much Christian music we could listen to between church services, and popular music was often meaningful to us in that way? I really felt this was a tap on the shoulder from God, reminding me that he took this weight off, he brought this problem to my attention and showed me the solution, and he has paid the price for this weight problem along with everything else that will ever be thrown at me. It's my job to stand. And my feet are on that ground.

This is not the first time in my weight loss journey that I've been tempted to panic and have turned to God and been carried through. It happened all the way down from 345 pounds to my healthy goal weight of 164, and since then repeatly as I've stayed around goal weight since 10/24/2003. This October will be two years! Every time, my faith has become stronger, like a muscle. But the real strength is not in me, it's in God. Faith is only believing. If you really believe something, you act on it. What God has asked me to do in action has not been hard. Like eating this nice meal right now instead of waiting six hours to eat. Not hard. But left to my own ideas, I'd stick to one meal a day, try to cut it down, and be too hungry to do that.

The statistics are that losing that much weight without surgery is very long odds, and keeping it off is overwhelming odds. You would not be wrong to call it impossible. But as I read the Bible every day to read it through each year, I'm in the four Gospels right now. I'm being reminded of all the healing Jesus did, and what he said about moving mountains, and about the impossible. Jesus said it was impossible for rich people to go to heaven, but that because all things are possible with God, rich people can in fact go to heaven. So I can by the grace and power of God stay slim. Fact. Believe in that fact. Not following my feelings. Telling those feelings they are going to have to get in line, because we are following the truth! And thanks to God, we know the way. I know God doesn't want me to keep it a secret.

God bless you,

[This was written to a Christian who emailed me after reading my praise report. She has been healed of a very grave case of cancer, but struggling with weight. My praise report encouraged her. I responded to her email with this]:

Well, perhaps this will help. You found out that the doctors couldn't heal you and you couldn't heal yourself. You could seek God's direction about where to go for treatment, follow the treatment plan and most importantly follow instructions from God, and your doctor could prescribe treatment--hopefully with prayer for guidance. BUT, as you said, only God was able to give you the miracle of healing. We can't heal so much as a paper-cut finger, and neither can the best doctor in the world. Only God can heal, or give life in any way.

The same is true of weight loss, and keep in mind that science really understands very little about weight loss! You can seek God's guidance and surrender your will to do what he gives you to do. It will be pretty easy, since it's only a matter of food choices, and we are surrounded by those! Talk about "my yolk is easy and my burden is light"! Compared to getting a life-threatening diagnosis and taking radiation and chemo, surrendering our eating choices to God has to be a walk in the park!

But what do we do? We get all impatient. Imagine if you were a farmer. You prepare the land, put the seeds in the ground and start tending the plants. But you don't think the crop is growing fast enough. You keep going out there and looking at the plants, and when you don't like what you see, you get impatient and rip a bunch of them out of the ground and throw them away!

Only God can cause the plants to grow. And there is a Christian song I love, which is from a story in the Bible (II Chronicles 20--read it!) about King Jehoshaphat. The enemy army was closing in and King Jehoshaphat saw no way to defend from it. He prayed to God when he was under attack by a vast army. God told him:

"...the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord's victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!"

On the day, the king appointed singers to march ahead of the army, singing praises to God! At the very moment they began to sing, God caused the armies ranged against Jehoshaphat to start killing each other, til none were left alive. It took Jehoshaphat's people 3 days to collect all the plunder. That place became known as the Valley of Blessing. And God gave them peace on every side, because no other country dared to attack them!

When I started Atkins, I only hoped to lose "some" weight. I was so ill that I wasn't going to last long going into menopause if I didn't get rid of some of that huge burden. I had carried it so long. My high weight was 375, and I'd been very ill for a few years before starting Atkins at 345 and lost 30 pounds from the illness, but then couldn't lose more. I couldn't have imagined starting Atkins and losing 181 pounds from there. I have serious autoimmune problems, and was never able to "diet" after age 26 when my rheumatoid arthritis hit. I would immediately get so sick I'd have to stop. So the weight just kept climbing, though I was not a compulsive overeater.

God gave me more than I would have even dreamed to hope for by taking off all the excess weight. I did NOT do it myself. He didn't give me the strength to do it--he just gave me a path to follow, an easy path, and he produced the results.

I am determined to never be a person who blames people for being fat. I of all people know that it is no one's fault they are fat. Whether it's due to compulsive overeating or a medical problem or whatever, nobody chooses to be fat. Unlike smoking or drinking or drug using, you can't stop and look normal the next day. It's probably the habit that does the least harm to others, and in many people likely serves the same function as psychiatric medications--more safely! I'm not saying being overweight is something to wish for, but it's not that bad, either.

We need to stop seeing excess weight as shameful, as a sin, or a reason to think less of a person--including ourselves! We Christians of all people should never buy into the world's values about how someone looks having anything whatsoever to do with their worth. We need to take the guilt, the shame, the angst and the desperation out of weight!

The secret is that when you can stop letting it be about how you look, it is much easier for you to stand calmly in the eating behavior God directs you to use for losing the weight, and watch God fix it! I was very okay with my appearance before I started losing. I love my work and if someone thought less of me because of how I looked, what did I care about their opinion of anything?! The people who paid no attention to the weight and were my friends then are the ones I really know I can count on now.

I wasn't "the pretty one" in my family, I was the smart one. Looks fade, and now in menopause with aging parents I'm seeing how smarts fade, too! But we can count on God. Forever. Weight is a minor thing to him. A big deal to us. I think he waited to take it off me until I reached a point in life where it wouldn't go to my head.

Last week my husband got just as big a miracle--his dream job. He wasn't ready for it until now, either. I just hope that by the time we need more money, we'll be ready to handle that! God can't give us these things until we're ready to handle them without killing ourselves or anyone else! We Christians can be such unruly "King's Kids" sometimes!

God Bless You,