Day 19: The power of “I can”

Thought for the Day: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” (1 Corinthians 10:23, see also 6:12)

Reaching my weight loss goal is a precarious place for me. That’s because I find it is a blessing entangled with a curse. The “curse” is the assumption that freedom now means I can return to all those things I’ve given up for the past months. The sacrifices … the missed treats … the deprived taste buds high on salad and low on French fries. I’m tempted to celebrate, live it up, and invite all those foods I’ve missed to a little welcome-home party.

Yet, I can’t fling open the door to all of those missed foods without welcoming back the excess calories, fat grams, cholesterol, sugars, and addictive additives. Most of these guests fall under the category of junk foods. The interesting thing about these guests is that they send out little signals to our brain begging us to party with them again and again. A welcome-home party becomes an invitation to be roommates again, which spells disaster for what we hoped might be a lifestyle change.

A chips-and-chocolate girl like me can find it hard to un-invite certain foods to the party that have been regulars for years. It’s even more difficult to reconcile that they aren’t my friends. Some can be casual acquaintances on a very limited level, but others need to be banished for good. Only you can determine which foods are allowed back, and which are not.

One of my favorite Scriptures in this process is 1 Corinthians 6:12: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” I quote it over and over reminding myself that I could have that brownie, or that cheese dip, but they wouldn’t benefit me in any way. That powerful thought has helped to make a healthy choice, rather than wallowing in being deprived of an unhealthy choice.

So, lest we start mourning what will be lost, we must celebrate all that’s being gained through this process. “I can” instead of “I can’t” is a powerful little twist for a girl feeling deprived. For example:

  • “I can” helps me walk into a dinner party and find the conversation more appealing than the buffet.
  • “I can” helps me stay on the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresher, healthier selections abound and smile that I know this tidbit.
  • “I can” helps me reach for my water bottle and find satisfaction in its refreshment.
  • “I can” helps me look at the McDonald’s menu and order a fruit tray without even giving a thought to the Happy Meals that used to be snacks.
  • “I can” reminds me to look up a restaurant’s nutritional information on the Internet before going out, ensuring wiser choices.

“I can” reminds me that no food will ever taste as sweet as lasting victory!


  1. I could eat “heatlhy” oven backed stack crackers, BUT I wouldn’t stop at just “1”- so for me it’s better to eat vegies, nuts, low-fat cheese and fruits for snacks. Today I was craving french “fries,” so I made an oven “baked” fry. No hot oil, no added fat, just potato baked in the oven. Now I’m not craving “fries” and my over baked was more healthy.

    The great thing is that I feel so good standing before Jesus, I didn’t indulge in fast food fries, I prayed and found healhtier alternative. I’m also finding I feel so much better now that we’re eating whole grain bread/pasta/rice, lots of fresh vegies, whole fruits, nuts, and more fish. We’re taking sugar out of our diet, step by step and feeling better! Added exercise and boy does that give one energy.

    Praying more, in God’s Word more, feading on Him and his presence in our lives! I sleep better, have more energy, am loosing weight and feel victorious everytime I say no to junk food! Is it worth saying no to junk food and sugar? YES, YES, YES! (I never wouold have written this before Made to Crave. Thanks Lysa and God!

    • Sally in TX says

      Good for you!!! and a Great testimonie for God.

    • Loreta,
      Thanks for sharing, I was having a moment yesterday and it was that time of day, I actually munched on roasted vegatables and the craving passed. This morning I feel so amazing and blessed. Let me say that when these feelings/cravings came, I prayed for the strength that was not mine. The praise is not to me but to God in me and you and all of the ladies taking this journey.
      We are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

    • Loreta,
      My experience is much the same! Isn’t God is good! 🙂 Thank you Lysa for pulling the scripture and upacking it in a way that is helping me to break free from the bondage of food!

    • so happy for your victory! Praying for mine to follow someday soon. I still need to make a God approved plan and pray I can stick with it. I still need someone to pray with me and help hold me accountable. Any suggestions? Please? Bonnie J [email protected]

  2. Yesterday (Sunday) I ate out twice. The first time I did pretty good, but not great. The second time was far worse. I ate a salad….before I ate 3 pieces of pizza. I didn’t think it would make that much difference, but this morning the scale tells me otherwise. Pizza is NOT my friend. Lesson learned. It was permissible and socially acceptable for me to eat the pizza but it was not beneficial to me. That just goes to show me that I am easily led astray and need to either excuse myself from eating at those places or discipline myself to order the healthier salad as my meal. And I did not feel good after I ate the pizza either. I was too full and uncomfortable. May God help me to think and plan more before I go out to eat and guide me in my choices.

    • I can identify with the 3 slices of pizza. I already KNOW pizza is not my friend. I do not understand how people can eat one slice. I have to eat THREE at least. You did good eating three and stopping, honestly, 4 is where I typically park. But today is a new day, consider that you have a lesson learned and move on in the freedom from condemnation and live in the acceptance and love of Christ. We fall down my sister, but we get back up! Blessings

  3. Reading Made to Crave has helped me to pause and make wise choices when I get hungry. It has also given me the courage to say no forever to foods are binge triggers because ” ‘everything is permissible for me’ – but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Cor 6:12). Like Lysa says, freedom tastes so much better than the junk foods I used to eat.

  4. I want it to help. It seems like the only way I can ever beat the sugar demon, is to never have it again. It is an all or nothing thing with me. I realize it is the lack of self control. This seems to be an issue in several areas of my life, not just diet.

    • Oh Teresa, I hear you! I think we have to just keep looking solely to Jesus as our source and make good use of all the strategies we are learning here.
      I had felt led directly and lovingly by the Lord to give up all in-between meal snacking. It was amazing to me how smoothly things were going, too. Until tonight. I decided that I had to have a glass of milk. That’s not a snack, is it??? But deep down, what I really wanted was to mix a small pack of cookies with the milk. Which, sadly, is just what I did.
      I am now confessing, repenting, and claiming the cleansing God offers me (I John 1:9)–and moving on.
      I’m praying for you right now. Please pray for me, too.

    • Y’all, sugar is like a drug. Once it’s out of your system, give it at least a week, you’ll not have the terrible cravings. Oh, you’ll still be tempted, but resisting the temptations is easier once your system is purged of sugar. Diabetics deal with this as a way of life. We can too. I gave up sugar for Lent and Lysa’s Day 19 is totally relevant for me as Easter approaches. At first I thought I’d go to IHOP after Church to celebrate the end of Lent, but I need to plan now which foods (and restaurants!) I will let back into my life or I’ve struggled in vain and haven’t learned a thing. Like all of you, I’m looking for a lifestyle change.

  5. I have never had a problem with weight, which I am thankful for. But I have always put much more emphasis on the food rather than the task at hand. Food is such a great excuse for shying away from people, from homework, or from life. I liked the comment about finding the conversation more appealing than the buffet. It convicted me to lay aside my desires for earthly things and care more about the eternal things (such as souls, or even just the work God has given me to do this day). At times, I find fasting a couple meals to be the ultimate, “I can’t”. But when the spirit tugs on my heart, he gives me the grace to do it! Woa! I CAN be healthy, one moment at a time, by God’s grace.

  6. I think I posted this before, but it I fits too well with the “I Can” theme. My personal trainer sister, Shannon, says “I can waste it (junk food) here (point to self), or I can waste it there (point to trash can). Either way, it’s a waste.” We CAN choose where to waste the junk. Thinking of this saying, helps me, especially when not wanting to waste larger quantities.

    Great idea: to keep from eating left over birthday cake, some friends have a special day where the birthday honoree gets their face smashed into it. They have some fun and a mini cake fight, so it’s not a total waste of the cake. But, they don’t eat the entire thing either. I think that’s a creative way to enjoy something, keep it from getting too unhealthy, and make some great memories.

    • I can waste it in the trash, or waste it in my body. I love it! Thank you for posting it this time (I did not see it before) because God meant for me to see it this time and find encouragement from it. Thank you. Be blessed my sister and how do you like having a trainer? I thought of doing that but the images of Jullian Michale’s leaps into my mind and me cowering on the floor crying. I love Jullian, I think she is beautiful, but hard core, you know? How do you like having a trainer?

  7. These wonderful daily challenges have been such an inspiration to me. I pray that God blesses each of the persons responsible for offering this to me and I pray that this goes on forever! I never want to see it end. Reading this one really gave me a feeling of security as I lean back in my jeans that had formally gotten too tight so I had to have the top button open with a shirt pulled over. I am settling into the liberties that a Jesus girl has who wants to live holy and dedicate her life to God. During lent I am giving up desserts and that is a BIG thing for me. Please pray for me that I will reach to pray to God each each night rather than reach for a dessert (that I ALWAYS get)! But if my God could give his son for me, how much of a sacrifice, or a comparison, is a slice of apple pie a la mode? My God is greater and I crave him, not sweets! I love you Lisa, you may be a Jesus girl, but you are MY girl too! 🙂 Blessings my sister

  8. This devotion is ridiculously right on time for me! Just about an hour ago, I was thinking about my choice (actually it was God’s prompting) to give up all things sweet and delicious (including soda) for Lent. I have been doing really well so far and in fact tonight, I made my son’s birthday cake without snitching ANY cake batter, cake or frosting. That is truly a first for me. Anyways, I was thinking, “I wonder if I will ever be able to eat those things again, as I don’t see myself stopping at just one.” And, Bam! in my inbox comes this devotion! We will see what the future holds for me, but for now, 1 Cor. 6:12 will be my anthem! Love you all!

  9. I can choose to eat the fruit and not the carbs at a party that I just attended tonight. Even in the midst of differing values, I was able to eat small quantities and turn down a pie. If it weren’t for my commitment and my values, it would not have happened! Thanks so much!

  10. Having had weight loss surgery at the insistence of my GI doctor almost five years ago, I thought that this particular struggle was over for me. But as the years go by, the new wears off, and even though I praised God daily for my new life, I have discovered that my thinking has not been transformed.

    “Made to Crave” has brought so many of my issues to the forefront of my mind; it is with thanksgiving in my heart and mind that God has lead me to read this book!

    This particular passage describes my current struggles. From reading and applying the Biblical truths that I have found so richly in these pages, it is has been shown to me that there are many foods that I will not be able to add back; they are triggers and should be avoided.

    “I can” has become such an important part of what I think when I am faced with difficult decisions and choices.

  11. Angela Kelley says

    I like the way Lysa worded this message today. I need to un-invite such friends as ice cream, pop tarts, chocolate goodies of all sorts. These are the friends that no longer need to be welcome EVER! They kick-start that craving and it takes so much praying and struggle to get back in God’s will and plan.

    Good message. “You are not invited to the party anymore!!” : )

  12. My “guests” were knocking on my door this afternoon. After being so good at lunch (looked up the menu before I met my friend and choose well as I focused on conversation rather than food), I drove home feeling a bit deprived… mainly dwelling on the permanence of this lifestyle choice. Said a quick prayer for strength as I ran into the grocery store and then came home to read this post. Thanks, Lysa!

  13. Lysa, I love that Made To Crave emphasizes 1 Corinthians 6:12: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.” The Lord drew my heart like a highlighter to the word, “beneficial”…helping me see the root of that word as “benefits”…God knew that would ring a bell with me since several years ago I learned from Scripture the Five Key “Benefits” God Intends for His Children as:
    (1) To Know God and Believe Him
    (2) To Glorify God
    (3) To Find Satisfaction in God
    (4) To Experience God’s Peace
    (5) To Enjoy God’s Presence
    I also learned from Scripture the Five Obstacles which stand in the way of the Five Key Benefits God Intends for His Children
    (1) Unbelief
    (2) Pride
    (3) Idolatry
    (4) Prayerlessness
    (5) Legalism
    As part of my quiet time each day I pray for these Five Obstacles to be rolled away from my heart so that I might experience the Five Key Benefits God Intends for me as His child…so the Scripture 1 Corinthians 6:12: “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial” helps me realize that my choices regarding food, focus, fitness, and lifestyle, will either be aligned with the “beneficial” or “benefits” column or they will be aligned with the “obstacles” column, which does not lead to the “benefits” God has for me…thank you for focusing on this Scripture…it is one of those “ah-ha” moments I will now incorporate in my quiet time.

  14. I have a question, Ladies,
    First, I am so enjoying doing this walk with you and finaly asking God to come into this area of my life. I have been feeling unexpectedly healthy giving up the sugar and junk – praise God! But this past weekend I have had a nasty cough and to get through church and another program, I was continually sucking on little cough drops. And now – today my sugar craving are just brutal!! Do you have any suggestions or other anti-cough tricks on how to get through an event without the cough drops? I’m trying to resist the craving attack and sure don’t want to deal with this again!

    • Vitamin C (and lots of it!) is good to take daily, but especially when you are feeling even a bit sick. For cough specifically, I recommend Raw Honey with Lemon. I also take Apple Cider Vinegar, Vitamin E and B, and Chlorophyll liquid on a daily basis. These prevent me from getting sick and give me energy to do the job that God has laid out for me for the day! Hope this is helpful.

  15. Jamila Hassan says

    Beth Willis Miller,

    Thank you for sharing this, because it has certainly made a difference for me. I thank all of my Jesus Girls for the journey we’re on together.

    May God continue to bless and strengthen us all on this journey to knowing Him like never before and having Him order our steps in all that we do. Whatever we do it should always be done to His glory!

    In Christ with love,

  16. I managed OK during this lent fast from sugar, had a few slips and a couple of intentional breaks from it. But today is the end of it, because of family being in town and it’s Good Friday. I started the day continuing not to put honey on my natural peanut butter/banana toast, because I don’t need to go back to that extra sugar. But then I finished breakfast with 3 cookies that I had been thinking about in middle of the night. Of course, I feel defeated. What a way to break a fast. I don’t want to go back to old ways of needing sweets all the time. It comforts me to read about the failures and victories of the ladies participating in this challenge. I’m not alone and it’s never too late to get up and start again. I also appreciated this devotional today. Now I will order the Made to Crave book and continue in this journey with all of you. I have continually been thinking of the ingesting without digesting that Lysa wrote about. That’s me! Through this lent time I’ve been reading the challenges and taking in very good information, but now I really need to digest it all. Please pray for me!

  17. Anyone who has ever had a relationship with a toxic friend can relate to Lysa’s words today. When you break off your friendship with this person, you know that you don’t completely stop caring about them. But even when you reconcile with them, you can only let them have limited access to your life because they will continue to take advantage of you, hurt you and drain you. Junk food is like that toxic friend. It takes advantage of you, draws you further away from the life you want, and drains you of your power. “I can” is powerful, victorious freedom in living a life to God’s glory!!!

  18. Thanks Lysa,

    You always have the right encouraging words to help us on our journey.

    I, too struggle some with food. My problem is that I’m a somewhat picky eater and trying to eat healthy is hard and expensive. My biggest weakness is chocolate – especially dark. Along with my hubby I am working on a better diet/eating plan to get and stay healthy for the rest of our lives. Plus this will please God – as our bodies are temples for Him to enjoy!

  19. hi ladies:-)

    i just wanted to say what a blessing it is to have so many sisters w/me on the road to spiritual and physical health:-) my friends really aren’t in a place where they’re dedicated to changing their lives. i respect that it’s a place that the Lord has to bring you to. i would love to connect with another MTC-Jesus Girl:-) is anyone interested in being buddies??

    i praise God for you all and i pray that the Lord continues to bring His truths to mind when tempted. may we always remember that the goal is PEACE and obedience. may we not be swayed by the numbers on the scale….whether they are good or bad. i took my eyes off of the long-term prize this weekend and got distracted. the enemy of my soul told me that i was wasting my time b/c the numbers on the scale were slowing creeping up. i made the choice to listen and agree… ignoring/forgeting all of the truths that i’d learned. my scale is no longer in my house!! i will not be ruled by numbers. if i’m making healthier food choices and getting regular exercise, i am doing what i’m called to do. if i’m holding to the Lord’s hand and turning to Him when tempted… then i am doing what i’m called to do. i AM successful and i am NOT a failure. my obediance is now my barometer for success.

    anyway, be blessed and thanks for being there for me to share with:-)

    in Christ,

  20. Mary Colleen says

    I see where some foods would not be welcomed ever again for a healthy lifestyle change now….giving me awareness of what is not beneficial to me…and for this I am thankful and convicted. Making my no…NO and my yes…YES with good choices to grab hold of…Having inner peace is so much better than overindulging eh? God’s way IS the BEST way! Thanks Lysa for showing us this truth….God Bless!

  21. My demons have always been with portion control. Even when eating healthy no-to-low sugar foods, fruits, veggies, etc…, I would over indulge. Celery and natural peanut butter meant the entire stalk of celery and an entire jar of peanut butter – for ONE meal! After praying and searching and more praying, I realized that I had freedom in what I could eat, God just needed me to recognize HIM has my portion and make healthier choices. I had a huge breakthrough on May 17, 2011. I had been on a no-sugar, low-carb, no dairy diet for about 10 days and I had an intense migraine. To top it all off, I was overdue for a doctor’s appointment and had NO migraine meds. I was determined to make sweet tea to get rid of it, but instead I laid down with an ice pack on my head and cried out to God. And He answered! He told me exactly what he wanted me to do to get healthy and healed my migraine. I began tracking calories-in and became more intentional with exercise. I eat what I want, I just watch portions and I never eat if I’m not hungry. And I count each and every calorie. Since May 18, I’ve lost 12 pounds. Only 140 more to go :).

    • Congratulations Marcy! I too struggle with portion control. I overeat on fruits, veggies, and nuts. I know that I will eventually need to track my calories, but for now, I’m limiting myself to 3 meals a day and eliminating certain trigger foods like sugar. I pray that God is continuing to succeed in you!

  22. I never looked at it that way. The “I can” method is so much better than saying “I can’t have that.” Negativity get us nowhere in life and this is an area in mine that I will definitely start saying “I can” make it. “I can” find fulfillment is things other than food.

  23. .Im still struggling
    ..God hear my cries.amen

    • Praying girl!
      Each day is different and some days
      Each hour is different
      But God hears
      And will bless!

    • Hi Carol,
      Be encourage!:) We all are going through one thing
      Or another. Keep the faith and know this to shall pass
      And take one day at a time for He never gives you more than you can
      Love in Him, April

  24. This is exactly where I mess up. I know I can lose it, I’ve done it so many times before. But I always have that “party” and it last a long, long time and before I know it I’m fatter than I was when I began losing the weight the last time. It’s horrible!!! But this time I’ll have the Made to Crave study under my belt (that belt will help keep my size 22 pants up when I lose!!) so I’ll be ready because victory is much, much, much sweeter than anything I could ever put in my mouth. Thank you Lysa and PRAISE THE GOOD LORD FOR LYSA’S EFFORT SHE PUT INTO ALL THIS. WE ARE GRATEFUL.

  25. you know I have been following this and had a rough start, but now I am seeing some victories and changes. I stopped eating candy. For me it is a food I need to delete as I have no control over it or better yet it soothes and controls me. I knew this was a sin and had been trying not to eat candy for months. something else my sweet Saviour mentioned through my pastor is that when we pray we worship God. It has been so helpful and I’m so touched that God is really trying to encourage me to worship him and not food. Gluttony I do believe is a sin I have been committing without acknowledging and repenting of.

  26. amy black says

    I SO needed this.. will be making my I can list when I get home… thank u…

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