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John Bradshaw - Overcoming Obesity


John Bradshaw - Overcoming Obesity
John Bradshaw - Overcoming Obesity
TOPICS: Health, Obesity

John Bradshaw: This is It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. Thanks for joining me today. You don't have to go too terribly far, read too many web pages or open too many newspapers to discover that health care is a major issue in these United States and all around the world. Major health care challenges are affecting millions and millions of people today. And, remarkably, there are often some very simple things that you can do to minimize your risk or to get out from under that health burden. The Bible is a book that encourages us to take our health seriously. The Bible tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus came into this world to give us life more abundantly. Back in the Old Testament, God said, "I am the Lord who healeth thee". Well, we're going to talk about a health subject that relates to just about all of us, and my guest today is a good friend, Dr. David DeRose from CompassHealth Consulting. Dr. DeRose, thanks for joining me.

Dr. David DeRose: Great to be with you, John.

John Bradshaw: This is not our first discussion together, but this is the first time we've discussed here the subject of obesity.

Dr. David DeRose: Extremely important subject. Some three-quarters of Americans, and many people throughout the world, impacted by this disorder. And what's interesting to me, though, John, we throw out this figure, three-quarters, I mean, that's not just obesity, medically speaking; it's also overweight. But the problem is something that is getting so much attention because it's affecting our youth. Something like, uh, 1 in 5 youth now meeting the definitions for being significantly overweight.

John Bradshaw: So there's overweight, and there's obesity. When does overweight become obesity? What's the threshold?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, you know, we use numbers based on body mass index, which is, you know, based on kilograms per meter squared, and a lot of people, you know, their eyes kind of glaze over. But the simple point I like to make to people, John, is this. You know, we're speaking from a biblical perspective. The first thing I like people to know is, you know what, we can come to Jesus just as we are.

John Bradshaw: That's right.

Dr. David DeRose: Jesus is not saying, you know, once you lose enough weight, then you're good enough to come to me. He says, "Whosoever will take of the water of life freely". And so that encourages me, as we're coming from a biblical perspective.

John Bradshaw: Now, uh, we're going to have to talk about some pretty obvious things. Uh, if someone is obese, what they can do about it. But let's talk about some of the causes for obesity. Perhaps they're obvious. But let's walk through some of them anyway.

Dr. David DeRose: Well, let's talk about the ones that often don't come onto the radar screen.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Dr. David DeRose: First of all, there are early life history factors that affect our weight. Some people in the womb were exposed to stresses that predisposed them to high blood pressure or to diabetes or to obesity. Maybe in early life, one, 2 years of age, your feeding practices, not of your own choosing, were such that it primed you with more fat cells, so it's easier for you to be obese. Hormonal factors can affect you. There are actually metabolic hormonal causes. One of the classic ones is Cushing's disorder, or Cushing's disease or Cushing's syndrome, that actually can cause you to put on excess weight, even if you're doing everything right. And so here at the very beginning, I want to tell people you can't just look at someone and say, "Oh, you, you know, you didn't listen to It Is Written; you didn't listen to Dr. DeRose and John Bradshaw. Otherwise you wouldn't have this problem".

John Bradshaw: We're going to do our best to talk about this respectfully and in a nonjudgmental way. And I think, I hope, we're going to talk about this redemptively.

Dr. David DeRose: Most definitely.

John Bradshaw: What can someone do? We don't need to point the finger and be critical, but we do want to help people who want to be helped, or will help themselves, or receive the help that comes from God. So where do we begin with this?

Dr. David DeRose: The premise I take, John, is in the very beginning, when God created us, He knew what kind of environment, what kind of setting we needed to be in to live for eternity. That was God's original intention. So although we're not going to live eternally on our own devices, God still, in the very beginning, gives us clues about what the ideal diet, what the ideal activity level, other elements in lifestyle that can actually help us to avoid obesity, at least to a large extent.

John Bradshaw: You mentioned a moment ago that the challenge that we're seeing with kids who are overweight, that is on the rise, is it?

Dr. David DeRose: Most definitely.

John Bradshaw: What do we put that down to?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, there's a lot. I mean, there's studies showing that the more time we spend in front of a television, I hate to say it, but even It Is Written. If someone is just watching It Is Written nonstop, they, the research actually suggests it's not just sitting in front of the TV and not doing activity that's a problem, but it's also the commercials and the other messages. So It Is Written gets, you know, the green light on that basis.

John Bradshaw: Oh, I'm glad to know. All right. All right.

Dr. David DeRose: But we're spending far too much time doing inactive activities. Our kids are being pulled away from physical activity, and that's a huge determinant of how much we weigh.

John Bradshaw: Surely it's true, I have not read the study; I didn't write the study, but my, I have a hunch that, um, everybody's connected to the Internet; everybody has a device; there's so much you can do online. You can explore the world, connect with people, play games, veg out. Before, to get your entertainment, you had to run outside and play with your friends. Now you can sit in front of a screen. That's just true, isn't it?

Dr. David DeRose: It just is true, and it is something that is contributing to the obesity epidemic.

John Bradshaw: What can we do about that?

Dr. David DeRose: Basically, it's turning back the clock. It's, uh, not having so much screen time. It's parents telling their kids, you know, here are some limits on the television, on the electronic devices, and helping to do activity with them. There's nothing as powerful as what a parent models in his or her life.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so, now that we're adults, what can we do to begin to turn this back? Let's just start scratching the surface and come back to this in a moment. What can we do?

Dr. David DeRose: Let's start with a simple one, and I say it's simple because I've seen my own patients do it. I've got a patient in my practice right now. He lost 60 pounds over the course of probably six months. I said to him, "What did you do"? One simple change.

John Bradshaw: What was that?

Dr. David DeRose: He got rid of the sugar-sweetened beverages, and he's drinking primarily water. Now, he's a big guy.

John Bradshaw: I have a friend, I can tell you this, who lost 130 pounds. He was a big guy, too, big, tall guy. And, uh, I asked him, same question, "What did you do"? He said, "I used to carry soda with me everywhere I went. I got rid of it". Never realized quite how much he was drinking. And that was the thing that really, the, the primary component of him losing 130 pounds.

Dr. David DeRose: Isn't that amazing?

John Bradshaw: Yeah, it's amazing.

Dr. David DeRose: But many, many of my colleagues have told me the same thing, just that simple change: Go with the water instead of the caloric beverages.

John Bradshaw: And that is a simple change.

Dr. David DeRose: It is.

John Bradshaw: Okay, there are other simple changes, many of them. We want to get at this thing, obesity, and then we're going to turn it around and make some spiritual parallels that will bless you in big ways. Don't go away. We'll be right back with more.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. I'm John Bradshaw. My guest today is Dr. David DeRose of CompassHealth Consulting. Dr. DeRose, as we talk about obesity today, I've got a question because, um... I have a challenge with my belt.

Dr. David DeRose: Hmm.

John Bradshaw: My belt. And with a couple of pairs of pants. They used to give me no trouble at all, and now I find they protest more than they used to when I put them on. I don't think I'm doing much that's very different to what I used to do, except, of course, when I was a kid, I was super active, and now I'm a little less active. How much does gaining weight have to do with the natural aging process?

Dr. David DeRose: In medical circles, the million-dollar word that is sometimes discussed is called "sarcopenia". And in, uh, simple language, it means, as we get older, we tend to lose muscle mass. So even if a person weighs the same at 60 as they did when they were 30, the odds are, unless they've been very deliberate with a fitness program, they've got less muscle mass. And here's where the rubber meets the road in the discussion of obesity. It's muscle mass, lean body mass, that drives metabolism. So as I lose that muscle mass, my metabolism is slowing down. So it's not just purely a function of age, but age does tend to go along with a slowing of metabolism and a decrease in lean body mass.

John Bradshaw: Unfortunately, I'm, uh, I'm seeing that. And so, so what that means is, and most people are seeing that because most people weigh too much. What that means is, we have to be intentional about this, don't we?

Dr. David DeRose: It's so fascinating to me, John, that many times we take things for granted until they get out of hand. It's sometimes the diagnosis of high blood pressure, a diabetes diagnosis, with so many of these chronic diseases linked to gaining weight, and it doesn't have to be a huge amount.

John Bradshaw: How much?

Dr. David DeRose: I mean, even losing 5 percent of one's weight can make a measurable difference in these metabolic diseases.

John Bradshaw: Five percent. So for a lot of people who are overweight, that'd just be 10 pounds.

Dr. David DeRose: That's right. So someone who weighs in at 200, dropping 10 pounds can make a significant difference.

John Bradshaw: Oh, no kidding? That's all?

Dr. David DeRose: That's right.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so let's talk about that. Someone wants to drop 10 pounds. What should they do?

Dr. David DeRose: In the beginning, in Genesis chapter 1, God gave Adam and Eve a diet that was wholly plant-based. Those plant foods are loaded with fiber and water. So eating more of those whole plant foods is going to fill me up, going to satisfy me with much less calories.

John Bradshaw: Okay, so that's a simple place to start, although for some people, they can't imagine making those kinds of changes. Do you have to change all at once, or can you ease into this gradually? How do you go about changing what you eat?

Dr. David DeRose: The idea is just start doing something, okay? So have one meatless day a week. Have one meatless meal a week, if that's novel for you. And start experimenting more with beans and whole grain.

John Bradshaw: How quickly, you mentioned someone earlier, 60 pounds in six months, if someone gives themself to some type of lifestyle change, and there's got to be a variance here, how quickly is it reasonable to assume a person can see themselves losing weight?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, I've worked with intensive lifestyle change programs. We'd have people come in for two to three weeks at a live-in facility, and we would typically see weight loss in the range of 4-5 percent over that three-week time period. So a 200-pound person would drop 10 pounds over that, over the course of just two or three weeks. So, again, it's attainable with a, and that's a very deliberate program. And, uh, you know, we're helping them exercise, we're helping them eat right; they're more active; they're removed from their stressors. Because stress and those stress hormones, actually, by the way, they're the same hormones that are involved in Cushing's syndrome. That syndrome that causes obesity? You ramp up your stress hormone levels, and you're moving yourself closer, I mean, I'm using a little bit of poetic license here, but closer to a more Cushingoid state.

John Bradshaw: So do something about what you drink. Watch what you eat. Uh, certainly, you've got to get moving and, and start burning some calories and be mobile. But let me ask you this question: Is there an unhealthy way to go about losing weight? What are some things that people should not do?

Dr. David DeRose: I recommend that people make lifestyle changes that they're going to stick with for life. Don't go on these crash diets because they're really not sustainable. And don't set yourself up for failure by, by setting some kind of a goal that's totally unrealistic. When I was running a hospital-based weight-loss program, I would do a history. I'd ask a person, "Well, what did you weigh when you were, you know, 15"? If a person told me they weighed 400 when they were 15, and they're setting a weight loss goal of 120, I'm thinking, you know what? At 600 pounds, this is not really likely to be attainable. Set the goals too high, and even if you make a lot of progress, you're going to throw in the towel because you think, hey, I could never weigh 120 like my next-door neighbor.

John Bradshaw: You mentioned the fad diets. They're not helpful, are they?

Dr. David DeRose: They're generally not helpful at all. Now, some people say, "Well, but, you know, it motivated me to do this". But the problem is when you get on a diet that causes rapid weight loss, you lose muscle mass as well, and we already talked about how that drives metabolism. So it makes it so easy when you go back to eating your old way of eating. Now your metabolism's slower, and you actually put on more weight than you originally lost.

John Bradshaw: You mentioned, I think, a key thing: lifestyle change.

Dr. David DeRose: Huge.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, you can go on a six-week diet or a six-month diet and make a change, but you're going to go back to what you were before, and what you were before got you to where you didn't want to be. So it's really important to keep in mind, isn't it, the long haul? What changes can I adopt that I can stick with, that will continue to provide benefit?

Dr. David DeRose: It's really important. And when I work closely with people, I say, "Look at those things", if we want to just use diet as an example, "Look at the problem foods. What things do you have trouble controlling your consumption of"? Believe it or not, the best strategy is the same strategy we give the alcoholic or the nicotine addict. We say, "Leave that food out completely. Leave it out completely"! You know, they say, "It's my favorite food"! But that is the path to success if you have an addictive relationship with a certain food.

John Bradshaw: The wonderful thing about attacking a diet-related issue is there's so much to eat. And if you, if you don't, if someone tells you, "Lay off the M&Ms," man, you could eat blueberries or carrot sticks. I know that didn't excite you, the carrot sticks. But you could, you could find all kinds of fruit, your favorite fruit. You can find, anyhow, there are lots of good alternatives, aren't there?

Dr. David DeRose: There are, and the good news, John, is God has created us with the ability to develop new enjoyments. We make a clean break with those things that are harmful. We can develop new enjoyments for the blueberries and the carrots. And I think it's so interesting, when God speaks, typically, look at the Ten Commandments. He didn't say cut back on your stealing; do a little bit less in the way of extra-marital relations, right?

John Bradshaw: Right.

Dr. David DeRose: Clear-cut guidelines. Those are the most powerful when it comes to behavior change.

John Bradshaw: The fact of the matter is that one's diet or one's lack of following good health principles ends up with obesity, which will often just drag a person to an early grave.

Dr. David DeRose: That's right.

John Bradshaw: So one's motivation to want to make these changes should be really pretty high because the, not making the changes, disaster. Making the changes, fantastic benefits. Fantastic benefits, including a clearer mind that will more keenly hear the voice of God and discern the will of God. We'll discuss that more in just a moment.

John Bradshaw: Thanks for joining me today on It Is Written. My guest is Dr. David DeRose from CompassHealth Consulting. Dr. DeRose, as we discuss obesity, we're discussing, frankly, we're discussing a runaway train because the problem has just got out of hand in the Western world. That's true, isn't it?

Dr. David DeRose: It really is, and, you know, John, as we speak about the spiritual impact and the ministry impact, one of the sobering statistics is, if a person is overweight and has diabetes, that can increase their risk of dementia up to fourfold. So we're talking about things that not only cut our life short, but they definitely impact our relationship with God and with other people.

John Bradshaw: Uh, we talked about diet, making good choices with what you eat, what you drink. Uh, are there any other things that people ought to be thinking about?

Dr. David DeRose: Well, I would say have an accountability partner.

John Bradshaw: Okay.

Dr. David DeRose: I mean, it could be a spouse, could be a close friend, could be a church group. Because what we find about behaviors is if you have a supportive environment, it's powerful. Fascinating study in one of the science journals. This is a family of journals, the science family of journals. The comment of the authors was that basically who we keep company with is impacting our risk of obesity.

John Bradshaw: One thing that I find fascinating is that sugar consumption is linked to obesity. There's sugar in everything. Do you think people know, even when they eat health foods, they're often eating way too much sugar?

Dr. David DeRose: Yeah, it's a sad commentary. I tell people when they look at those carbohydrate-rich foods, shoot for one fifth of the calories of, from carbohydrates as being from simple sugars. So you're picking that granola because you think it's healthy, but that granola may have 50 percent of its carbohydrate calories as simple sugars, simple carbohydrates.

John Bradshaw: Found an interesting thing. Somebody gave me a snack at Christmas, you know, as, as you'll do around the office. And it was a, it was a sugary snack. And I had this sugary snack food in my hand. I looked at the sugar content. My wife had a granola bar in her hand. I said, "Do something for me. Look at the sugar content in that granola bar". What I had was obviously not a health food. What she had is taken to be a health food. It had more than double the sugar in the granola bar than I had in the sugary snack food that somebody had given me.

Dr. David DeRose: It is startling. And if you don't read labels, you'll get in trouble. And I've seen this happen with so many of the dessert options. You know, there's a low-fat dessert. You look at it; it's got twice the calories from sugar in it.

John Bradshaw: Mm, and calories from sugar is a real problem?

Dr. David DeRose: It is, as are the problems from, you know, with fat calories.

John Bradshaw: In most cases, not all, but in most cases we are dealing with a preventable health care crisis.

Dr. David DeRose: In most cases, you're exactly right. And a person, again, doesn't have to reach some ideal number, but if they can trim down, adopt healthier behaviors, their weight will come down, they'll feel better, they'll look better, and their ministry will be enhanced. You know, one paraphrase of a famous New Testament text is, "Don't let the world press you into its mold". And, uh, "Be not conformed to this world".

John Bradshaw: Yeah.

Dr. David DeRose: But, John, it's so interesting. You're right; it's often we slip into these habits. But it's being deliberate. It's refocusing our lifestyle. That's really where it starts.

John Bradshaw: Yeah, for sure. Okay, now let's talk about this. You eat too much; you, there ends up being too much of you. What about people who, uh, consume the Bible, uh, read spiritual books, attend worship services? They, they receive, receive, receive, but don't give. I've heard of spiritual obesity being referred to, where you consume and consume and consume. God wants for His children to be not just consumers of spiritual things, but sharers, producers. Discuss that with me as a minister of the gospel.

Dr. David DeRose: No, it's a great analogy, because Jesus, if you wanted to summarize His great commission in one word, the word is "go". And so it's, what we find in the obesity realm is true: It's not just the diet, but it's the activity. It's the going. And it's so true in the spiritual realm, John. You and I have seen it. You can have this lethargy, really, that comes over a person who just is so focused on "what can I get out of the Bible"? And, in fact, their spiritual life suffers. They can be going to church meetings. They can be watching all the It Is Written programs. But it's not at the spiritual level where they could be because they're not sharing.

John Bradshaw: Paul told Timothy to learn these things and then teach them to others, so that they can teach others.

Dr. David DeRose: That's right.

John Bradshaw: Yeah. So what would you say to that person who, who maybe, and there's a, there's a massive amount of people who've never shared their faith. Never. Never opened up the pages of the Bible with somebody, never witnessed, never invited someone to a, a church or religious service. How do we help those people to become spiritually active rather than spiritually obese?

Dr. David DeRose: I think it begins with recognizing Jesus' call for each one of us. We're all called to be disciple-makers. When we recognize that, it should change our prayer life. Lord, how do You want me to fulfill that calling today? Give me an opportunity. Show me someone that I can encourage, someone that I can share with.

John Bradshaw: I want to read that passage that you mentioned because it's just, it's just so important. In Matthew chapter 28, the great commission, at the end of the chapter: "Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.'" He said, "'Go therefore.'" Go. You can't go and be inactive. "'And make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.'" And then Jesus promises us His presence with us. God has commissioned every one of us to be a disciple-maker.

Dr. David DeRose: That's right.

John Bradshaw: And perhaps we are gifted in various ways, and it seems to come more naturally to some than to others. But you can't say, "Oh, sharing my faith is not my spiritual gift". There's nothing to hide behind here. God brings us into contact with people. If we're prayerful and we're on the lookout, we can find people to share our faith with. And that's just good for us on a spiritual level. Not just good for them, but good for us.

Dr. David DeRose: It is, and the way this all comes full circle is pray for someone who has needs like yours. If you're trying to lose weight, pray that God will bring you into contact with someone else who needs to trim down, and maybe that's a person not of your faith. Maybe they don't know what you know spiritually. But as you work together on your health, it opens up doors for you to share your faith.

John Bradshaw: Doing something about destructive lifestyle habits is an insurmountable problem for many people. However, here's what we remember. Jesus said, "I am with you always". Paul wrote, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". And he wrote in the same chapter, Philippians chapter 4, "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus". So we don't want to be talking about righteousness by works or health by works. Everything we do we want to do in association and cooperation with God, who blesses you, who, who dwells in you, and will work in you "both to will and to do for His good pleasure". So we would encourage you today: Take hold of the hand of God. If you're looking at losing some pounds, if you're looking at getting active, if you're dealing with a lifestyle condition that you know could be remedied or reversed, simply by making some simple changes, if you've never been able to make them, you can go to God in prayer and say, "This is what I need. I am willing. Work in my life". And Jesus says, "Ask and it shall be given. Seek and you shall find". So, if you have the knowledge in your head, Christ in your heart, it seems to me like you've got everything you need.

Dr. David DeRose: You do, and, uh, all His biddings are enablings. God will give you the power to make the changes He impresses you to make.

John Bradshaw: Dr. David DeRose, thanks for joining me today. This has been fun. I appreciate it.

Dr. David DeRose: Been great to be with you, John.

John Bradshaw: I'm thankful for the practical advice that you're giving people. And, uh, just quickly, one, one or two words, what would you say to that person wanting to do something about obesity?

Dr. David DeRose: Go for it.

John Bradshaw: Go for it. Go for it. Well, let's pray together. Can we do that? Let's pray now. Our Father in heaven, we thank You that in Jesus we can go for it, knowing that You are with us. You haven't called us to fail. You haven't called us to stumble. You've called us to victory and success and deliverance. Lord, I know that You want to dwell in us. We are, our bodies are the temple of Your Holy Spirit. So come, Father, and bring Your Holy Spirit's presence. Uh, if we're weak, seems to me that's okay because You told Paul that Your strength is made perfect in weakness. Unite our frailty to Your might, our weakness to Your strength, our failure to Your success. And in Jesus allow us to be delivered from all the things that You know are harmful to us physically and spiritually. We thank You today, and we pray in Jesus' name. Amen. Thanks so much for joining me today. I'm looking forward to seeing you again next time. Until then, remember: "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
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