The Weight Roller Coaster

Zig Ziglar on

When she was just 5 years old, Rosalie Bradford felt the pain of abandonment, and found solace in food. She weighed 250 pounds when she met her husband, and by the time their son, Rob, was born, her weight had escalated to 374 pounds. She chose to be a stay-at-home mom, and started eating 10,000 calories a day. She weighed 500 pounds by the time Rob graduated from nursery school.

At that point, she elected to stay in bed, and her weight continued to escalate. After five years, when she went into the hospital for an intestinal bypass, two beds had to be chained together to accommodate her. Postoperative complications resulted in a blood infection that turned her leg blue-green and made her temperature rise to over 105 degrees. The leg required 12 surgeries, and caused her considerable pain and frustration.

Discharged from the hospital, Rosalie went home and "took an eight-year nap." She continued to gain weight; her husband had to quit his job and devote himself full-time to her care. At this stage in her life, she no longer just wanted food, she had become addicted to food. She was demanding, and chastised her husband and anyone else if they for any reason refused to bring her food. Throughout the ordeal, her husband prayed for her, but never considered abandoning her, because, he said, he felt that "when you got married, that you were married to that person until 'death do you part.'"

Within 10 years, Rosalie weighed 1,200 pounds and had an 8-foot girth. Bathing was an hour-and-a-half ritual, and there appeared to be no hope. At this point, a friend wrote to a celebrity fitness coach about Rosalie. He sent her his diet plan, and for the next 18 months, called her almost every day. It was some help, but she still struggled with losing and gaining, losing and gaining again. Chances are good that many of you who read these words have suffered from the same experience. For 24 years of my life, I was on the weight-loss/weight-gain roller coaster.

Rosalie also invited a Christian psychologist to counsel her. The first thing he did was tell her to "fluff up her bed pillows and talk to Jesus." She decided to give control of her problem to God. She recognized she couldn't solve the problem, nor could any individual solve it for her. She quit thinking of goals in terms of the future, and concentrated on today. Now, she was ready to re-enter the world.


The story does have a happy ending. After being a prisoner of fat for almost 10 years, Rosalie Bradford walked out on the porch outside her bedroom and stayed as the warm day turned into a cool night. "I could see the stars," she said, "I could see the top of the trees, and didn't have to look out a window." Just a few months ago, Bradford moved to Auburndale, Florida. She weighs 304 pounds, and credits God with helping her recover. "God did for me what I couldn't do for myself. He made me aware of my responsibility. I'm responsible for what I eat."

Yes, you can become addicted to food, just as you can become addicted to tobacco, drugs, alcohol, pornography, and so on. In many of these cases, God is the only solution. Every successful drug-rehab and alcohol-related program I'm familiar with ultimately recognizes that these are addiction problems that only God can solve. What a shame so many people use the Creator of the Universe as a last resort instead of the first resort. Reversing that order would certainly bypass many difficulties people encounter along the way. The good news is that Rosalie Bradford and many others finally come to the same conclusion. They need help, and they can receive help beyond what man can do.


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