Introduction: Love Food as Never Before
Most days I don’t go looking for adventure, but somehow one finds me. My life is a great adventure, and today is no exception. I had intended to write the introduction to this book weeks ago, but it didn’t happen. Then my flight from New York to Fort Lauderdale was canceled, so suddenly I have time on my hands.
After spending the night in a hotel, I’m sitting on a bench in Lower Manhattan, and it’s barely daylight. I’m one block from Wall Street, cabs are speeding by, and the people who pull the levers of high finance keep streaming out of a nearby subway station. It’s crazy how appropriate all this is, because in this book you and I are going to talk about deals.
We’ll look at the deal the world has been selling us all our lives—the message that we’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, and just basically that we’re not enough. Then we’ll talk about your particular deal. (Many of you have already told me your stories, so I have a good idea of what you’ve been struggling with.) And after that, I’ll tell you about my past deal involving a pair of jeans, living in constant fear of embarrassment, and much more. Thankfully, that’s all behind me.
Then I want to introduce you to the deal of a lifetime, which is available at no cost to you—at least no financial cost—and which has the power to change your life if you choose to go there.
You’ve heard all the hype, I know. You’ve been lied to by the diet industry. You’ve wasted your hard-earned money on gadgets and miracle pills and supplements that were supposed to melt the fat away. Right? So you’re understandably skeptical about me or anyone else who promises you a deal that will deliver what the other programs failed to do.
I was skeptical too, until I developed the program that made it possible for me to lose 200 pounds, tone my muscles, and maintain a healthy weight while pursuing a fun and active life. I described this program in my first book, Never Say Diet
. Now every day I hear from people who have adopted it and lost 15, 50, or 150 pounds. Their lives will never be the same.
I expanded on that program and put it within easy reach for anyone seeking weight loss in my book The One-Day Way
. That book simplifies goals, overall fitness, and sustainable weight loss to a committed focus on what you do today. By doing the right things for just one day and then repeating them when another day arrives, you can achieve the results you’ve been seeking.
Now, in Love Food and Live Well
, we are going to take the steps that will free you from the most damaging food traps. I will expose the lies that trap dieters in self-defeating habits, and I’ll show you how to break free from destructive attitudes toward food. Best of all, I’ll show you that fitness and weight loss don’t require you to hate food. Nor do they limit you to eating only boring, bland, unsatisfying meals for the rest of your life.
This book will open your eyes to a new way of maintaining your weight, health, and fitness. We will explore healthy eating and new exercises, to be sure. And we’ll arrive at the place where you will achieve all your goals and know how to maintain them for a lifetime. But what good is it to work and sweat to lose weight and get healthy if it means drudgery for the rest of your life? If it means you might extend your life span but hate every minute of it? Or if it means you live in a state of constant fear that you’ll slide back into your previous self-defeating habits? Who wants that?
That’s why I’m so excited about sharing the best deal you’ve been offered in a long, long time. Being fit and healthy doesn’t require that you starve yourself or even that you hate food. It doesn’t demand that you become paranoid that you’ll slip up and overindulge. Nor does it require you to drag around an exercise bike every time you leave town so you can be sure to burn off the calories from that meal you enjoyed with your friends while on vacation.
The deal we’re going to talk about involves more than just losing weight and getting strong and then maintaining a healthy weight for a lifetime. The deal we’ll explore involves losing weight, getting strong, living healthy, and loving every minute of it. Even better, it involves loving food while we live well! Great news! We can do both of these at the same time!
We all want to enjoy life and be healthy in all areas: body, mind, and spirit, right? Plus, who wants to go through life regarding food as the enemy? God gave us food not only to keep us strong and vital but also to enjoy. That’s part of the deal of a lifetime, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
When you’re stuck in New York City, you can either shop or work. And out of desperation to meet my deadline, I chose the option that wasn’t my first inclination. But I’m glad I had to stay over, because my improvised work station inspires me to tell you about the deal of a lifetime.
Soon after I sat down on this bench in sight of Wall Street, I realized this was the perfect place. Megadeals are made in this financial mecca every day. As governments and heads of state try to decide how to plug their leaking economies, I am preparing to introduce you to a deal you won’t believe!
This deal is personal for you and me both. Together, we are going to find the solution to physical, emotional, and spiritual bankruptcy. Struggling with your weight, your body image, your self-confidence, and your health can exhaust and defeat you. But I am here to tell you that you can overcome the forces that want to keep you locked in a lifestyle of discouragement, failure, and despair.
The road we will take is a superhighway to claiming the life you desire, and the bonus is that you will enjoy what it takes to get there. This road is fashioned with freedom. Traveling on it, you will find the enjoyment of living
well in every area of your life and experience more love than you have ever known.
When I woke up yesterday, I looked forward to getting home to hug my family the night before my daughter Ashley’s first big school dance. I wasn’t going to miss this for anything. I showed up at the airport nearly two hours early, which is totally not like me. I run late regularly and also miss airplanes on occasion. But not this time. I was excited and ready to get back to the zoo I call Home Sweet Home.
Ashley would be dressing up for her first homecoming dance. Jake would be an honored guest at a sports banquet where he would receive a football trophy. I was looking forward to both of these big events. Mostly, I was ready to just be Mom. You know, the lady who enjoys embarrassing her children by taking a million pictures.
As I strolled into LaGuardia Airport with time to spare, the place was in chaos. Battles were taking place everywhere, with people screaming at any airline employee in sight. I actually felt sorry for a few of them—until I had to stop and pray not to lose my cool with an insensitive airline employee myself.
I witnessed a fellow passenger sobbing uncontrollably. Between whimpers, she told the airline representative she needed to get to the wedding of her baby sister. In spite of her tears, he told her, “You should have planned better,” insinuating that she should have left a few days in advance. I wanted to take him out!
But I took the route of nonviolence and tried to focus on my own flight plans. As it turned out, the woman who was about to miss her sister’s wedding wasn’t alone. I was about to join her with my own travel crisis. Due to bad weather, all flights to Fort Lauderdale were canceled for the night. “So sad, too bad” should be the motto of the airline industry. I was totally stuck and completely frustrated, and there seemed to be no one around who cared to find a solution. Here’s a quote from the man behind the counter: “Mrs. Hobbs, we are sorry. Feel free to try us again tomorrow or perhaps the next day. It’s your call.”
I had to regroup and make a plan or else cry. I just went for it and did both. I needed a hotel at least for that night, so I grabbed my laptop and played a game I had played before. The Priceline.com Game, I call it. It can be fun because of the potential for saving money on a nice hotel room. Then there is an added edge of excitement that comes from the uncertainty of where you can end up for the night. I enjoy an occasional calculated risk, so I gave it a try.
First, I chose an area in New York City where I would be willing to stay. I actually put in seven. Then I decided on the quality level of the hotel. I chose four stars. (I was traveling alone in Manhattan, so safety was a factor.) Next I had to determine the price; I decided $150. This is about one-third of the going rate for a luxury hotel in this town. Then I clicked Buy and prayed. My fleece was out there, my cry was heard, and my bid was accepted! The winning hotel was in the financial district and rather swanky, judging by the name of it.
I grabbed a cab, and very soon it was obvious that the driver was lost, which is not that unusual, considering that cabbies get paid according to the meter. I phoned the hotel, and, shockingly, the front desk manager and a valet walked a full city block to find me. They also helped with my luggage. I had never been met by this kind of welcome committee in New York City. I was ecstatic. Remember, it had been a long day.
I settled into this beautiful hotel on a crisp, fall evening in the Big Apple, and then God provided one more treat. This was His way of reminding me I was under His wing for the night. Please, friends, don’t laugh. I really am being completely serious. I spotted a create-a-salad establishment across the street! I went over, grabbed dinner, returned to my room, got some sleep, and then woke up inspired to write. I had the entire day to work until I would be flying home.
Now as I’m talking with you, sitting here bundled up in three layers of sweaters with my laptop resting on a crossed leg, I’m going to tell you about a deal that will blow away every deal made on these streets of international finance. And I’m convinced God brought me here to think about how to introduce you to the deal of a lifetime. This deal will guarantee your freedom to live well forever! I promise you, this is more real than anything I have ever known.
With the title Love Food and Live Well
, you may be thinking this book will relate only to your relationship with food. Truthfully, it was the starting place for me when I decided to live healthy and then lost two hundred pounds. However, what I learned after I lost the weight and worked so hard to maintain it is this: after you succeed, you still face a struggle. How do you hold on to fitness and health and remain at a healthy weight without becoming obsessive about it? What good does it do to get healthy if you can’t also have a life?
If you think losing two hundred pounds is hard, try losing that much weight and then learning how to enjoy life again. It’s not as easy as it might sound.
But I learned that living well while loving food is entirely possible. Not only that, but feeling free to admit I like food was bigger than anything I could have imagined. It’s bigger because of the word love
attached to it. A word we often use and abuse and don’t completely understand. Yet we still seek to know more about it and have more of it than anything on the planet.
Too many of us confuse love with control. In the past, most things I really loved I loved poorly. I know this because as I tried to control them, I always felt out of control. Whether it was food, friendships, jobs, or material stuff, I lived in fear—the fear of losing whatever I was trying to possess. Eventually my attempts to control everything always backfired.
My lifelong weight struggle was a perfect example. The more I made food something to control, the more weight I gained. It seems crazy, but you may be able to relate after many years of living in this tug of war. God whispered my name, and I finally answered. It was there I began a journey to freedom. Of course the release from my weight problem took time, tears, and lots of hard work. However, I realized some amazing truths along the way.
Each of us is meant to love all the things God has provided. The problem occurs when we try to cut a deal that allows us to love them on our own terms. It’s tempting to try to swing a special side deal just for us so we can love food, for example, on our terms. If the deal has been designed by you, me, or the world, I can guarantee this: it will eventually lead to heartache. By seeking to maintain control, which usually involves shutting out others and propping up a false version of ourselves, who wins? Not me or you or anyone you care about, and mostly not God.
In this book I want you to recognize the power of being vulnerable. When you learn how to say, “I’m falling apart,” or admit you haven’t figured it all out, you can finally discover the path to peaceful living. Let’s face it: you’re not in control. It’s healthy to admit that to yourself and to others.
Even after admitting it, it’s easy to slip back into the fantasy that we can control our lives, our circumstances, and the people and the world around us. I fell back into that trap for a few minutes when my flight was canceled and I was stranded in New York. But then I remembered what I had learned the hard way, after losing two hundred pounds but still trying to control my personal world. Admitting that you’re not in control and living like you really believe it are huge! If you learn this well, it will change your life.
And all of this is captured in one word—surrender
—which is what makes the difference. Surrender to the fact that you are not in control. Admit it. Say it out loud. Believe it. In the chapters that follow, we will talk more about the power of surrender, and together we will practice living it.
Now, who doesn’t love a good deal? There’s a rush of adrenaline that comes when we get something of incredible value for less cost than was expected. For me, the more I save, the more excited I feel. Can you relate? Would you be interested in a deal that would banish the pain of struggling with food and weight issues forever? At the same time, this deal will deliver excitement and a passion for living well. This means there will be filet mignon and apple pie à la mode on occasion. Can you handle that?
What if I promised this freedom would be totally free? I’d guess you might be willing to strike the deal today. But hold on; there is a catch. This deal will still cost you something: you’ll have to hand over your insecurities, your pride, your self-protective habits, and your inhibitions. The deal you will be making is the same deal I made when I realized that healthy living was only a partial reward if I wasn’t also living happy and fulfilled. You can be fit and strong and still enjoy life. That’s what the deal of a lifetime does for you.
Before we move to the specifics of a life-changing diet and exercise program, I strongly advise you to consult your physician first. When I created the nutrition, cardio, and strength-training portions of Love Food and Live Well—the program I’ll introduce you to in this book—I worked closely with experts in medicine, nutrition, and physiology. The program is sound, but, regardless, you should see your personal physician before beginning this or any nutrition, exercise, and fitness program.
Now, I want to show you how your Creator, the God of the universe, is the ultimate Deal Maker and how you can love food and live well for a lifetime.
(Before you turn the page, I would love for you to hear the song that inspired me to write this book. Please visit www.faithfoodandfitness.com and listen to “The Way You Love Me.”)From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from Love Food and Live Well by Chantel Hobbs. Copyright © 2010 by Chantel Hobbs. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.