BOOK REVIEW: Seeking spiritual path in weight loss journey

Review by Liz Applegate
January 10, 2011
Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food
By Lysa TerKeurst
Zondervan, 2010
Paperback, 216 pages

January has many of us excited with the prospect of a New Year: a time to start fresh and tackle those resolutions. And just in time for setting weight loss goals comes Made to Crave.

Lysa TerKeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, blogger and author of nine other books including Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl (Zondervan, 2009), weaves her usual humor and insight into the text. Her casual style and pointed remarks leave you feeling as if you are on this weight-loss journey with a close girlfriend—someone you can trust and someone who has taken the same journey.

In her introduction, titled “Finding your ‘Want To,’” Ms. Terkeurst tells her own story of weight struggle and denial. She shares her excuses for not changing bad habits. Readers will be put at ease by her relatable story and familiar feelings. There is no judgment from the author, only understanding.

The book is not about recipes or magic solutions. Instead it focuses on “recalibrating our souls so that we want to change—spiritually, physically and mentally,” writes Ms. TerKeurst.

In fact, chapter three is the only place in the book that discusses finding an eating plan for an individual, after consultation with a doctor, personal research and developing a plan for everyday life. And that’s the key to success, says the author, who has chosen a balanced plan that works for her lifestyle with the help of a nutritionist.

Tough sacrifices will need to be made, she says, likening her weight loss to wanting a neighbor’s beautiful flower garden.
“For years I’ve looked at other people’s flowers and secretly wished for my own lush display. . . . [My neighbor] has a garden because he invests time and energy to make it. He didn’t wish it into being. He didn’t hope it into being.”

She adds, “I saw the man’s flowers and wished for my own—without a clue about all of the work that had gone into producing them. I want the flowers but not the work. Isn’t that the way it is with many things in life—we want the results but have no desire to put in the work required?”

Scripture is woven throughout each chapter with pointed questions for a time of personal devotion, addressing some of the deeper issues of weight problems. Chapters are easy to follow with names such as “Replacing My Cravings,” “I’m Not Defined by Numbers,” “Emotional Emptiness” and ‘Stinkin’, Rotten, Horrible, No Good Day.”

Chapter five, “Made for More,” is one of the most moving. Ms. TerKeurst describes her old habit of identifying herself through happenstance, and how she came to realize she was worth more than circumstances that had happened in her life. Readers are then asked to identify their own circumstances and work through a time of personal reflection to redefine that identity.

“The truth of my identity as a child of God empowers me to believe that living in victory tastes sweeter than any unhealthy delicacy,” Ms. Terkeurst writes.

Additional materials are available through the book’s website, MadetoCrave.org, including a six-week DVD series for group Bible studies. The reasonably priced series and workbooks make it ideal for a women’s Bible study or book club.

A 45-minute weekly webcast begins Jan. 10 on the site and will continue at 8 p.m. (EST) each Monday evening through Feb. 14. The webcasts will include an interactive Twitter feed, special guests, personal stories and additional insights from the author.

Made to Crave doesn’t offer quick solutions to weight problems. It isn’t about making excuses or candy-coating the reasons for being overweight. But it does provide a key to making beneficial lifestyle changes.

Published originally at The United Methodist Reporter.