Author interview: Julie Morris & Sarah Morris Cherry
It seems like everyone is endorsing, writing or following some kind of diet plan these days. What prompted you to write Guided By Him, when there are already so many programs out there?
Julie: I wanted to share a fun and easy way to lose weight--especially designed for busy people who overeat when they feel stressed out. I know personally that this program works. It helps overwhelmed overeaters lose the weight... and worries... that weigh them down. Guided By Him (GBH) is encouraging, inspiring and can be done in just a few minutes a day!
You introduce 12 Steps for weight-loss in your book. Briefly describe the process and importance of these steps.
Julie: In 1982, when I first read AA's 12 Steps, I knew they were the answer! I had been trying to figure out how to rely on God's power when I lacked willpower with my eating and the 12 Steps showed me how to do that. The 12 Steps were written by Christians over 70 years ago and have helped millions of people around the world to overcome their weaknesses. GBH steps are similar to AA's, but ours are shorter and they focus on Jesus helping us to quit overeating.
You offer many practical tips, called Stepping Stones, to encourage participants to make intentional choices regarding food. Share a few of these with us.
Sarah: We teach you how to spend 10 minutes having a daily Quiet Time that will literally change your life. In those few short minutes you will learn how to draw closer to Jesus, recognize things that are driving you to the refrigerator that day, and surrender them to Him. We also teach you how to use a Prayer Journal so you will learn to cast your cares on the Lord, not the refrigerator, and Food Cards that will help you to eat in a well-balanced way without having to count calories. Other Stepping Stones provide practical ideas that help you to lose weight. Here are some simple weight-loss tips:
* A good way to decide how much a serving of meat is: look at a deck of cards. * Never eat while standing. * Make eating a meal a relaxing event (I'm finding that's really hard with a toddler!). * Brush your teeth frequently. It helps you reduce snacking. * As much as possible, stay away from foods that trigger your cravings (mine is peanut butter). * Chew gum or wear a mask if you're tempted to nibble while you're cooking.
You're a mother/daughter duo. You both bring years of experience to the writing table. How did your careers help you in the writing process of Guided By Him?
Julie: I am a wife, mother and new grandmother. I have been a secretary at the Pentagon, Spanish teacher, lay counselor, and RN. But the experience that helped me most in writing GBH was doing things WRONG for so many years, and then watching amazed as God helped me to change. I lost my extra pounds over 25 years ago and have kept them off. And God has changed my misery to ministry. I've been writing, speaking across the country and leading weight-loss groups since 1992.
Sarah: I am a wife, new mother and Licensed Professional Counselor. I have counseled people from two to 92. I have worked a lot with overweight people who desperately need to lose weight, but are overwhelmed at the thought of doing it. I love teaching them new ways to deal with stress, facts about healthy living and easy things they can do to help them become more like the people they want to be.
Sarah, how do you incorporate the principles in Guided by Him in your counseling ministry?
Sarah: I use them in many ways. I teach my clients how to use Anger Busters, Victory Lists, and Prayer Journals. And I teach them the fun-filled food facts and fitness facts in GBH. I talk to my clients about how quitting their Stinkin' Thinkin' can change their behaviors. One example of Stinkin' Thinkin' might be: "I have already blown it today so I can eat anything I want." I encourage changing that to "Shrinkin' Thinkin': "I need to plan a healthy, filling meal tonight because I am starving!"
When tempted to cheat on your healthy habits, what snack do you each reach for?
Sarah: When I'm snacking, I try to balance carbs and proteins so my body stays balanced. And I drink a lot of water with lemon or lime slices.
Because scripture is emphasized in this method of weight-loss, what is your favorite verse to use as a defense against overeating?
Julie: There are so many! I guess my favorite is 1 Corinthians 10:13 "...God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." For many years I thought the only way out of my temptation to overeat would be in heaven because I was sure that I'd always be tempted by unbearable food cravings while on earth.
How do you reward yourself for achieving your goals?
Julie: This sounds really goofy, but I'll tell you anyway. Every week, I tell my friend Sue how I have done with my eating, exercising and other goals (like not being grumpy). If I have achieved more than 80% of my goals, she gives me a pretty colored sticker. I love having a sticker on my Victory List each week. And I HATE having to tell Sue that I've done badly! But the biggest reward is that I feel so much better when I'm on track with my eating and exercising, and I really feel crummy when I'm not.
Sarah: For my rewards, I make extra time for myself to give myself a manicure/pedicure or to watch a favorite TV show. Sometimes I do "Wal-Mart Therapy" where I buy $10 worth of things that I don't normally buy at the grocery store (shower gels, an unusual tropical fruit, a new nail polish).
For moms out there trying to help their children to lose weight, what advice do you have for them?
Sarah: I have a two-year-old so I am finding ways to reward him with things other than food. They include hugs and kisses (of course!) praising him when he obeys and Play-Dough time (his favorite reward right now). I think it is super important to keep kids active, limit TV, computer and game time. Those things are privileges--not requirements--for kids. Other advice to help your child lose weight: exercise and eat in a healthy way as a family. They will do what you do. No pressure!
"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become." -C.S. Lewis