It's one thing to lose weight. It's another thing altogether to keep it off. That was the real goal, I told myself over and over again after I lost 160 pounds more than 11 years ago. This time, with God's help, I was determined to keep it off. And so far, so good! On a day-to-day basis, spiritual joy fills my life so much, the weight is no longer a problem.

For years and years, I would diet and lose weight using one austere fad or another. Then I would return again to my compulsive overeating and bingeing. After the deprivation, starvation, and diet-pill depression was over, I'd feel free again to feed my deepest hungers. Soon I was back up to 300, 350, 400 pounds again.

No amount of fast food, chocolate sundaes, brownies, or extra helpings could give me the peace and joy I craved. Even though I'd lost weight, I hadn't solved my problem at all. I was still hungry and unsatisfied. I may have looked good, but I felt bad.

But I was fed up, desperate to feel better, and determined to find a way to keep the weight off. I wanted to be able to just eat and live like an ordinary person. I had to find the missing piece of my personal puzzle. I had to feed my deepest craving, and I knew it couldn't be done with food. I knew there had to be something that could satisfy me so that I wouldn't always have to stuff my face. But I had no idea what that was--I had tried everything. So, I gave up. I didn't lose hope, but I gave up trying all those crazy diets and exercise schemes.

Even though I'd lost weight, I hadn't solved my problem at all. I was still hungry and unsatisfied.

That was the answer: giving up. I said to myself, to a group of strangers at a spiritual support group meeting, and to God that I'd tried everything and couldn't do it on my own. I needed help. In other words, I surrendered. I prayed to God to take over my life and solve my problems. I prayed to be given the power to eat like an ordinary person and not depend on food for emotional comfort and stability. I asked, "God, please help me. I can't do this alone."

It was embarrassing and humiliating at first to own up to defeat and seek spiritual assistance, but it worked--not in a way I expected, and unfortunately not in a way that meant I didn't have to keep trying.

What happened was I got the most amazingly powerful feeling of God's presence. I no longer felt alone and helpless. I no longer felt empty inside. It was an experience full of joy. I now had a connection with God, a partnership, which satisfied me to my core. It was a feeling of hope and potential that, if I made the effort, Divine Grace would see me through.

Everything became easier: I slowly learned to eat in a balanced, moderate way and lost my intense cravings to overeat. I started to enjoy taking short walks every day. On one such walk, I was meditating--asking God to give me an eating plan--and suddenly the Bob Marley song "One Love" wafted out of an apartment window, and it hit me: I should just have one serving at a time from each food group. That revelation also filled me with joy. God was showing me how to eat. I gradually created my "Joy of Weight Loss Plan." Based on this one-serving concept, the weight slowly came off; about one to two pounds a week, with no dieting or heavy exercising at all. I still had problems and things were hard--my work, raising and providing for our family, making the right decisions in business. But now these everyday problems were much easier to tolerate and solve; I no longer had to resort to food for comfort.

Because I connected with God as often as possible (all day, every minute of the day surrendering and asking for help), God connected with me and gave me enormous amounts of spiritual joy and the motivation to do my best. Today, every day, I eat three small meals and three snacks balanced from all the food groups. I walk, dance, play sports, or swim about an hour a day and love it. I have a great wife and family, and a purposeful career as a writer and producer. Most important, I am free to live my life however it comes due to the grace of God.

Now, keeping the weight off is no longer that hard at all. It's a joy.

No single approach to weight loss works for everyone. We urge you to consult your physician before making any significant changes in your eating habits or physical activities, to ensure that what you propose for yourself is nutritionally sound, safe, and healthy.

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