Most people in the Western world have tried many fad diets, quick fixes, and even weight loss pills. Most have failed and ended up right back where they started—or even worse off.
What's responsible for this failure? We know what to do, and often know how to do it, but can't seem to stay the course. Instead of continuing to "try" harder or search for a magic formula, why not ask God to show us the root of the problem?
Why failure is your friend
Instead of looking at failure to achieve wellness goals as a dead-end, think of it as a sign that something is blocking your success.
Most people are so focused on their fitness goals—weight loss or waist-size—they miss the true benefit of pursuing wellness: whole-person growth. When you hit the wall, it's an opportunity to learn something about yourself, face the facts, heal, and grow.
That's how failure can be your friend. So let's look at the two main causes of un-wellness: fraud foods and attitudes.
Of course, part of the reason diets and resolutions fall short is because we're eating fraud foods. Processed food and junk snacks are not real food—they're impostors. The real question is, Why aren't you choosing to eat real foods?
There are six possible reasons you've failed to improve your health—and sabotaged your goals with bad choices. And they're all FRAUDS.
FRAUDS is an acronym for:
F = Fear
R = Resentment
A = Anger
U = Unforgiveness
D = Disappointment
S = Shame
Let's take a look at each of the six aspects of FRAUDS.
Fear keeps you out of trouble. Before you pull out from a traffic light, you look left and right, based on a healthy fear of harm. But fear can also keep you in trouble.
When I (Mark) was growing up, I struggled with approval. I still do, to some extent. The fear of rejection stems back to childhood—being an only child, adopted, and not one of the cool guys in school.
If you know there is something new you need to do, you know there will be fear. You have to do it afraid. Growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone.
Have you ever had the experience of seeing someone you know and wanting to walk the other way? That's resentment.
I (Michele) look back on the hurts I experienced in my younger years—wounds of abandonment, abusive relationships, personal injury, and homelessness. Little did I realize resentment is like an infection that won't heal. Eventually the wound of resentment turns into anger.
Anger will drive our blood pressure up, which can drive up our cortisol. Cortisol drives blood sugar, and when blood sugar goes up it drives insulin. When insulin is up in a chronic way you'll begin to store fat.
See how emotion can easily impact our health?
In the early spring of last year, a young man came to see us for help with his weight. He had tried every diet, weight loss strategy, and even tried a few types of diet pills. He turned to us as his last hope. In order to get to the root, we like to ask a lot of questions. After all, we want success.
We asked, "How long have you struggled with weight?"
"Did your parents show any favoritism towards you or your sibling?"
"Yes, my brother was their favorite."
"Did your brother struggle with weight?"
"No," he snapped. We could see emotions rising up.
So we asked, "How did they handle that with you?"
"Well, my parents used to tell me to lose weight—and be more like my brother."
We could feel the burden he carried, even though his parents had long since passed. He went on to marry a woman who seemed to be able to eat anything she wanted and not gain weight. When she told him he needed to lose weight, all the fear, resentment, and anger came rushing back like a bad dream. This was the root of his food addiction.
Sometimes we have to go back to our childhood years to find the root of anger.
God doesn't expect you to be perfect. We sure aren't. But what we expect, and what you should expect, is perfect effort. This means when you fall down, there are three choices. Number one, you can lay there and let resentment turn to anger. Number two, you can cry. And stay in the sadness and wallow in the pain. But there's a third option.
You can dust yourself off and say, "Well, I fell. It happens sometimes when you move. So I choose to forgive myself and get up."
Why not begin with you? Are you willing to forgive yourself? (God is always willing.)
The long-term effects of fear, resentment, anger, and unforgiveness create an outlook of continual disappointment and despair.
We prescribe a unique tool to every one of our patients: healing words. We recommend replacements for statements like, "I'm a victim of my father's alcoholism," "I'm fat and ugly," or, "I'll never lose weight." Instead, create and speak positive statements about you and your future, along with scriptures that build faith.
Pay attention to your words, and prescribe healthful words instead. If you don't take disappointment seriously, and treat it like a deadly disease, you may fall victim to the final of the FRAUDS.
We are often ashamed of our actions, and even ashamed of life's twists and turns. Instead of seeing ourselves as a person who's overcoming, we see a person who's been overcome.
People who hide shame often over-talk and make fun of themselves. They're always hiding—which is easy to do on social media. The problem is, social media is a breeding ground for comparison and shame.
All together, FRAUDS lie—about who you truly are.
Freedom from FRAUDS
I (Michele) had to walk through the stages of FRAUDS myself to evaluate why I did what I did, and where my emotional drive came from.
Growing up, all the neighbors had really nice houses. Except us. My family was very poor and unhealthy. Our yard was unkept and my parents were obese. I was ashamed of who I was. At some point in life you have to look back and ask, "Where are all these toxic emotions coming from?" and face those emotions.
All the exercise and good food in the world may not make you healthy if you're emotionally sick or poisoning yourself with FRAUDS. It's not only what we eat, but what's eating you.
My new normal
It's "normal" to have fear, resentment, anger, unforgiveness, disappointment, and shame. But this doesn't have to be your normal.
You were designed to be well—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. That's who you really are. You're not a fat person, or a weak person, or a failure. The real you is seeking health.
Let's stop standing in its way and embrace the life God gave us.
— Dr. Michele Niel-Sherwood is a trained Doctor of Osteopathy and Dr. Mark Sherwood is a trained Naturopathic Doctor. While most doctors focus solely on the physical component, as Christians, Drs. Mark and Michele use an integrated approach involving emotional and spiritual health in their medical practice. Their newest book, Surviving the Garden of Eatin' is available now. Discover more at https://sherwoodwellness.tv.