Use these 5 steps to taking your thoughts captive to re-focus on Christ when you have doubts, fears, & insecurities about your body image or weight loss.
It’s amazing how many lies sneak into your thoughts every single day.
- Seeing another weight loss ad – You’re such a failure. You’ve tried so many diets already and nothing has worked. You must be broken.
- Looking in the mirror – Look at that muffin top pop out over your jeans. You’re so fat. You’ll never be able to lose the weight.
- Stepping on the scale – You didn’t lose any weight after all of that effort this week? You should probably just give up.
- In emotional eating – You had such a stressful day. You deserve a lot of chocolate. It’ll make you feel better.
Do you see the lies in each of those thoughts?
Lies about your identity, about your worth, about the future, and about giving things (like food) more power in your life than they should have.
And I’m sure you’ve seen how detrimental those “little” thoughts can be!
- They can make you doubt who (and Whose) you are.
- They have the power to get you to give up (even when you’ve made a lot of progress!).
- They can convince you that you are broken beyond repair.
- …and so much more.
I experienced all of those things and more on my own 100-pound weight loss journey.
It’s incredibly important to take those thoughts from Satan captive and make them obedient to Christ.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5
And that’s the most exciting part of all!
We often just let our fleeting thoughts run rampant and tell us what we believe, but that doesn’t have to be the case!
You are not a victim of your thoughts.
You have the power to change the way you think. The Bible says it and research backs it up!
So, how do you do it?
How Do You Take Your Thoughts Captive?
1. Look for problem areas in your life.
This is an important first step, because like I mentioned earlier, oftentimes, we just let our thoughts slip into autopilot.
If we think it, we just accept it as truth.
Be intentional about your thoughts, carefully weighing which thoughts should be tossed out as fleeting thoughts and which should be considered more seriously.
It could be in your overeating, beating yourself up after making a mistake, your insecurities in how you think about your body, your low self-esteem preventing you from living fully and stepping out in faith, or so many other areas.
Instead of just seeing them as roadblocks and deeming yourself a failure, take a closer look.
2. Recognize the lies you are believing.
This is the hardest step of all because nobody is intentionally believing lies!
It may have started small and felt like we were being humble at first (I was sure that thinking less of myself was humility for such a long time!).
It may not feel like a lie at all, but is it something that God would speak to you? Does it line up with His Word?
Take some time thinking about those problem areas in your life and what thoughts you are having about it.
Not sure if you are hearing God’s voice or not? Here is some help in discerning the voice of God.
I find it helpful to journal things like this because it helps me to process them better than just thinking it through.
3. Look for what God says on the subject.
The Bible is the ultimate source of Truth that we have to rely on.
Even though the Bible doesn’t specifically talk about calorie counting, tracking food, stepping on a scale, or feeling embarrassed working out in front of people, you better believe there is a verse that applies to every situation you are going through!
There are Bible verses on discouragement, perseverance, hopelessness, feeling like a failure, feeling powerless, getting tired of making the right decisions day in and day out, and more.
Every single struggle you are going through – there’s a verse for that!
I have all kinds of Bible verse collections on a bunch of different topics like weight loss, healthy eating, emotional eating, self-control, not giving up, self-esteem, and more if you are looking for ideas, but a quick Google search can help, too!
Try searching things like, “What does the Bible say about _____” or “Bible verses on _________ ” or “encouraging Scriptures for when I feel _______ .”
Take the time to find the Bible verses that apply to that situation.
4. Run your thoughts through Philippians 4:8.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Is it true? Noble? Right? Pure? Lovely? Admirable? Excellent? Praiseworthy?
This is a great verse to keep in mind, not only as a filter for your thoughts, but also as a guide for how to redirect them.
Chances are, the lies you were thinking were defeating and condemning.
How can you turn those thoughts around to be true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, or praiseworthy?
I’m not saying that’s an easy task. When I’m feeling down on myself, it’s much easier to come up with a long list of reasons why I’m not good enough and should be beating myself up for it.
But putting in the work here is so much more worthwhile.
5. Practice redirecting your thoughts every time you notice the lie pops up.
It takes a lot of practice to change your old ways of thinking but it IS possible.
Don’t expect the lies to immediately disappear.
Expect that this will take time and practice and there will be times where you will mess up along the way. Just don’t give up.
Keep redirecting your thoughts back to what God says is true.
Every time you redirect your thoughts, you are changing the way you think, which is such a powerful tool!
The more you do it, the more you are creating a habit and your thoughts will more naturally bounce straight back to God instead of sinking deeper into the lie.
You have so much power to transform your thought life with the help of Christ!
Taking Thoughts Captive In Action!
So, let’s take an example through these 5 steps.
Let’s say, you just stepped on the scale after working really hard on making healthy choices this week and you saw that you didn’t lose any weight.
The first thought that pops into your head is, “Are you serious? What’s the point of even trying? I’m never going to be able to lose this weight.”
Step 1 – Look for the problem area.
You might not have been able to recognize that thought as a problem immediately, but often our feelings can be indicators. If I’d had this thought, I would be feeling hopeless, discouraged, and frustrated.
Those are good signs that something might be off!
Step 2 – Recognize the lies.
Your initial reaction to the question, “Is this thought true?” might be, “Yes! I’m a failure and it’s not worth the work!”
But, like we’ve discovered in this post, often, our initial reactions can’t be fully trusted to be truthful!
Does this sound like God’s voice? Not at all.
This voice is full of condemnation, discouragement, hopelessness, and frustration – all characteristics of the enemy’s voice, not your loving Savior’s.
So, we can determine this is definitely a lie.
Step 3 – Look for what God says on the subject.
I have a list of Bible verses you can use when you feel like giving up, but the one that sticks out to me right now is Galatians 6:9.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
This is a direct answer to your question, “What’s the point of even trying?”
The point of trying is to develop endurance because if we don’t give up, the results WILL come.
Step 4 – Run your thoughts through Philippians 4:8
You already know this thought wasn’t pure or lovely, so how can you flip it around?
Try thinking something like, “I tried my best this week and if I continue to work hard, the results will come” (this speaks hope!).
Honestly? This step may feel a bit cheesy in the beginning. It’s much easier to beat ourselves up than to think encouraging thoughts about ourselves. But your thoughts have a direct impact on your feelings, which have a direct impact on your actions.
So, if you’re constantly telling yourself you can’t do it…you probably won’t be able to.
But if you turn those thoughts around and work on building your patience and endurance (very Christlike qualities!), they are going to pay off.
Step 5 – Practice redirecting your thoughts every time you notice the lie pops up.
Now that you KNOW that thought is a lie, you can be more prepared to take it captive every time it tries to sneak into your thoughts (which it will).
Be careful not to just tell yourself, “Don’t think that!” and stop there. That’s kind of like setting a big red button in front of yourself and then telling yourself not to press it.
It’s better to give yourself a replacement thought, which we came up with in step 4.
When the lie sneaks in, you can now tell yourself, “I know that’s not true, but this is. I tried my best this week and if I continue to work hard, the results will come.”
With time, practice, and consistency, you will be snatching all kinds of lies from your thought life and experiencing more and more freedom in Christ by the day (in weight loss and EVERY area of your life!).