I was curious, so I “duckduckgo’d” [I don’t use Google] the amount of money that the weight loss industry makes.  The results I found averaged 40,000,000,000 dollars each year.  That’s a lot of money.

As I read some comments surrounding these numbers, one anonymous would-be weight loser said that all weight loss products were either “common sense repackaged as science” or “snake oil repackaged as science.”

Personally, I wouldn’t take it quite that far since there are legitimate tools to help with that endeavor, but I would chalk up most of the weight loss industry as crock.

Take for example, the Cookie Diet.  Who would try such a thing?  People who love cookies of course.  And why was the Atkins diet so popular?  Because it didn’t require you to eat less as long as you were filling up on steak and cheese.  (Too bad it doesn’t really work that way).  And why was the baby food diet such a flash in the pan?  Well, obviously, because no one in their right mind cares a flip about being fit if it means eating mashed peas out of jars for the rest of your life.  Yuk.

The problem with most of the weight loss industry is that it does its best to take discipline out of the equation.  It is all geared toward helping you lose weight effortlessly.  And when people realize that 1) it does take effort; or 2) it requires no effort because there are no results, they bag it.

In the meantime, “they” make money because we hate being disciplined so much that we would rather fork over our hard earned dollars than say no to a brownie or get up and go jogging—even when we know in our heart of hearts that it isn’t going to work.  If there is a way to accomplish our goals with little or no discipline, that’s surely the route we’re going to take.

I picked on dieters, but problems with the “D” word are not limited to our eating habits.  How many budgets have I written?  How many have I stuck with?  The answers are “many” and “none” respectively.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much my budget says I’m going to save if I don’t actually say “no” to myself.

Discipline is difficult.  That’s why we don’t read our Bibles, pray, and memorize Scripture like we should.  That’s why there are such things as credit cards, alcoholics, and porn addicts.  We just don’t know how to say “no” to ourselves.  Or we just don’t do it.

And in this anti-legalism generation, we have become allergic to rules and anything that resembles rules.  And discipline kinda looks like and smells like rules.  So we don’t talk about it anymore.

I found myself asking—is discipline even biblical?  It would sure be convenient if it was not.

But discipline is a very biblical concept—ask Paul.  Or Daniel.  In fact, so much so, that God takes it upon Himself to discipline us when we do not do it ourselves.  Hebrews 12:6-7

With that in mind, how do I discipline myself?  And what are the things that truly matter enough to be worthy of the endeavor?

I duly noted that the most effective means of changing people’s behaviors and habits—across the industries—includes accountability.  We immediately think of the military when we think of discipline.  Why?  Accountability.  All day long.

God did not expect us to do the Christian life alone, so He established the church.  Successful organizations and businesses alike have copied God’s idea and established successful groups for everything from addiction recovery to quilting—because we are more likely to get something done if we are being strengthened by others.

Being accountable to someone means there is someone in your life that will speak the truth to you and you will give their words respect.  It does not mean filling your life with gushy friends who will always tell you what you want to hear.  So there goes the quilting example.

If we hate discipline enough, we will surely hate accountability.  We will come up with excuses like “they just don’t understand” “they expect too much” and “they won’t accept me just the way I am.”  And we move away from home, get divorced, or quit our job.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  If you are so fortunate as to have a friend, a spouse, or a parent that speaks the truth to you—regardless of whether or not you wanted to hear it—be oh, so grateful.  And if you don’t, you should seek one out.

The more I’ve pondered this, the more I have realized how closely akin discipline is to meekness.  It is strength under control.  It is giving up my way for a better way.  It is confining the steam in my engine to the straight and narrow tracks of God’s will.  It can be loving, creative, and powerful.  It is just putting off immediate desires for some better end result.

That leads to my second question… What are the things that truly matter enough to be worthy of the endeavor?  Because we really don’t want to be caught in the vortex of living life by the numbers on the scale.

And that will be a thought for another day.

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