Take-Aways from Terry Toler’s The Jesus Diet: Health and Wellness Through the Power of God’s Word

This past month, I’ve been reading Terry Toler’s The Jesus Diet. I really enjoyed the book. It was a little long winded in spots, but overall it’s spot on. This post covers my action plan moving forward to implement what I got out of the book. The post isn’t even finished yet, and I’m already looking forward to being able to update this post down the road with how Toler’s suggestions are helping me make progress through the Learn and Survive cornerstones of the Blessed Be Today philosophy.

Book Review

Toler’s book was fantastic! I strongly recommend you get it, but before you do, check out my full review on the Podcast. The book is great, but it’s not for everyone. Episode 3 will clue you in on whether you’ll love it or loathe it.

Physical

The primal philosophy really doesn’t come into play at all in Toler’s book, so not much going on here.

Spiritual

My husband frequently brings up ‘red button syndrome’ when it comes to our four boys. When you tell them not to do something, it’s like a big red button. Inevitably they can’t wait to push the button.

The sad thing is, we’re no different as adults. A diet is essentially a huge red button and we tend to obsess over not pushing it by willing ourselves not to eat ‘cheat foods’ or by sticking to a specific workout routine, etc. Toler doesn’t say anything about red buttons in the book, but he does say:

“Here is the bottom line. What you are doing right now is not working. The teaching we have been given over the last twenty years is not working. Your self-efforts are not working. You are probably thinking it is your fault. You are right. It is your fault. You can’t do it on your own. Trying to do it on your own is your fault,” (emphasis added).

My take on Toler’s take is that with faith in Jesus, divine health comes when we cling to the Lord’s divine promises because we remove one of the worst parts of any modern diet—guilt. Isn’t that essentially what the love story of the Bible is all about? A good God, who loves us, and sacrificed His son so that our sins can be forgiven?! With Jesus in the picture, the red button is nowhere to be found because there’s no purpose for guilt.

For me, removing the red button is uuuuuuuuge. Possibly a game changer. As a perfectionist, I don’t want to make mistakes or let myself down in any way, and when (notice that’s a when, not an if!) I do, it’s devastating—regardless of how far I’ve come from the starting line. Is it the same way for you?

Jesus takes the guilt away and so instead of a downward spiral after a setback, there’s only forward movement. Ever hear of the 80/20 rule (or 90/10….. whatever)? It’s where you try and stick to your goal 80 percent of the time and give yourself a break the rest of the time. For me, I’m used to going 100%……. 100%……. 100%…….. then 0%. Why? Because as soon as I get to the 20, it turns into a downward spiral. What Toler hangs his hat on is forgetting about the 80/20 (my words, not his), forgetting the red button/guilt (again, my words, not his), and just going 100% all in w/ Jesus—all the time!—rather than with a diet that requires your will alone. You’ll have to read the book to see exactly how he suggests going about it—and I agree when he says it will look different for everyone—but read on to see what it’s going to look like for me (at least to start off).

Action Plan

Learn

Depending on my will alone is a mistake. The guilt I feel when I fail—which inevitably happens somewhere along the journey—is a huge setback.

Remove the red button, guilt, shame, etc. This is big for me. I’m thinking it might be big for you too. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a stupid movie where it’s night-time and every corner I turn around there’s a chocolate chip cookie bad guy in a trench coat, hat, and sunglasses stalking me… getting closer and closer until he comes in for the kill. It’s pathetic. The more I run from him, the more control he has over me! So instead of running, I’m going to tell myself it’s time to just turn on the lights. Stop running, hold out my hand and introduce myself in broad day-light. Stop sneaking around in a nightmare and bring everything into the light of day. Okay, so what does that look like actually. Here’s what it looks like… if I want a cookie, I’m going to have a cookie, and when I enjoy a cookie, I’m going to savor every bit of it and praise God for the gift of being able to enjoy something so sweet… literally and figuratively! The ‘I need to will myself to stop this’ mentality goes, starting now!

Survive

I need help to guide me toward better choices. i.e., I can’t live, or be healthy, eating nothing but chocolate chip cookies all the time! I can will myself to ignore them for however long a period of time, but regardless of how low-carb I eat, the desire is still there… it’s not a craving… it’s a desire to enjoy something that I really…… well…… enjoy! I need something other than my will to change my desire.

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

Philippians 2:13, NLT

Instead of depending on my will, I’m going to ask for what I need by praying that the Holy Spirit takes away my frequent desire for cookies and replaces it with a new, beneficial—according-to-the-Holy-Spirit—desire.

Before you roll your eyes and ditch this concept, consider this: it’s already working.

I’m all about making small changes and continually moving forward. I’m not a cold turkey person because will only lasts so long. I’d rather making something easy a habit, stick to it long term, and grow it over time. Direction first… then magnitude. That’s how I’m going to approach my application of the principles Toler presents in The Jesus Diet: Health and Wellness Through the Power of God’s Word. While I do believe there are other actions to take in order to benefit my health according to his advice, I’m not focusing on anything right now other than showing myself grace for the damage I’ve done physically and spiritually to my own health, and praying for the Holy Spirit to invade my heart and impact my desires.

Now that my first steps are on the books, it might be a good time to mention that my focus is really just a side-light compared to what Toler focuses on! But… these are the things that speak most loudly to me. For you, it might be something totally different.

Recap

Toler does a great job of outlining 12 principles that will greatly affect your health and wellness depending on how active you are in implementing each of them. My plan to remove the red button between me and my own downfalls is something that seems to have tripped me up in my past, and seems critical to moving in the right direction in my future as well. Depending on the Holy Spirit to help me make good choices while removing the guilt that surrounds my past decisions seems like a step in the right direction. I am really excited to see where this goes because the few steps I’ve taken so far seem to have moved me a greater distance than any other steps I’ve taken prior.

Prayer

Lord, my prayer is that my words, and Toler’s book The Jesus Diet, are able to help someone, (hopefully more than one woman!) find your will and the Holy Spirit’s guidance regarding their own health. Lord there are so many promises in the Bible regarding health and healing both physically and spiritually. Please help those of us looking for health and healing to find it not only in your word, but to action it in our every day lives. Help us to move where you need us to move in order to find the blessings you’ve prepared for us! Help us to reach out and grab wholeheartedly what you’ve given to us already in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. I love you Lord and I pray with all my heart the women who need healing find this post and ultimately find you.

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