Worth the Weight

By Shewanda Riley,


“I want to lose 46 pounds” is what I stated to my nutritionist on my first visit with her in July 2017. As she nodded her head and continued taking notes, I was a little fearful of the goal I had just set for myself. I explained to her that since I was getting closer to a new decade of life, I wanted to go into it looking and feeling my best. A big grin spread across her face as she then gave me a healthy eating plan with dozens of foods I’d never heard of. She then explained how the plan was not a restrictive diet but that I should consider it a change in my lifestyle of poor eating habits. After I looked over the list, I thought I might not ever reach the weight goal that I had boldly proclaimed if all I could eat was quinoa, flaxseed crackers, and lentil pasta.

One of the things she emphasized was that although my working out 3 days a week was good, since it had not led to any significant weight loss, there was probably something else going on. When she told me I probably had a leaky gut, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or be insulted. She explained that for some people even if they have healthy eating habits and exercise, they still might not be able to lose weight if they have a leaky gut. Leaky gut or not, I bought my flaxseed crackers and started my journey. Throughout this journey, I had many days that I doubted I would meet the goal because I didn’t care about losing weight anymore; I just wanted a burger and fries. However, I stuck with it and quickly started to see results.

Within 2 weeks of starting the plan, I noticed that I’d lost a little weight, but the biggest change was going on internally. My blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol levels had all significantly dropped. I was sleeping better and stopped taking my allergy pills. 5 years later, I’m excited to share that despite my many complaints about how boring and difficult my new plant based eating plan was, through faithful persistence, I’ve been able to maintain my 50 pound weight loss I deliberately picked a goal that at first seemed impossible so that when it happened, I would have to declare it was because of the grace of God!

The focus on taking care of the internal and not just focusing on what my body looked like from the outside reminds me of Matthew 23:26 where Jesus emphasizes that transformation starts from the inside out: “Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” Sometimes, I think we get it wrong being so focused on what things look like on the outside, for example having a form of godliness (quoting scriptures, going to church, or wearing a big cross necklace) but not really allowing the power of God to transform us on the inside.

Shewanda Riley is a Fort Worth, Texas based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.” Email preservedbypurpose@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.

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