• Tamra Andress

Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds with Teresa Shields Parker

Sweet surrender may sound good coming out of your mouth, but actually releasing control is so hard. Teresa Shields Parker broke a massive stronghold that allowed her to lose pounds, not in an instant, quick way, but through a journey with God. A journey of learning when to say yes and when to say no, and always surrendering to God. We are all carrying much more than the scale is intended to hold, but God wants us to set down those things and surrender to Him. Enjoy this beautiful conversation with Teresa and Tamra!

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About Teresa:

Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss coach and author who has lost 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013. Today her goal is with God’s help to teach women how to transform their lifestyles, lose weight and live healthy. She does this in several different ways. She coaches mainly through Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and also does individual coaching. She offers her insights weekly on Sweet Grace for Your Journey podcast which is also on Charisma Podcast Network. She is a regular contributor to Charisma magazine and regularly blogs at She has published six books and two study guides all of which are on Amazon and her website. Her first book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor was number one in Christian weight loss memoirs for five years. Her most recent memoir, Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds is quickly moving up in the rankings. She has also written Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation; Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help; Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God; Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy; Sweet Grace Study Guide and Sweet Freedom Study Guide. She has a free ebook on her website, What Is A Stronghold, that is an introduction to Sweet Surrender. It is available by going to or simply going to her website and then the free tab and finding it there. She and her husband, Roy, live in Columbia, MO. They have two grown children and a son-in-law. They are active in their local church and enjoy traveling. Teresa has been a guest on numerous Christian television and radio programs, summits and podcasts. Many of these are available on her website and her YouTube channel.

Where to Find Teresa:

Stay in touch with her via Facebook


Write to her at

Show Notes: Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds

Sweet surrender. It sounds so pretty when it comes off of your tongue and out of your mouth. And yet we know how incredibly difficult it actually is to release control, to be on your knees, to say, I can not without you. And that is exactly what Theresa Shields Parker did. She broke strongholds a massive stronghold that enabled her to lose.

The pounds, she was over 400 pounds at some point, and she had to let it all go. And while the journey was not one as quick as she had anticipated in that process of becoming the same one, I speak to you guys about all the time. She learned a lot. Of what not to do and what to do when to say yes. And when to say no, and ultimately always in a state of surrender.

So I hope today, as you listened to this podcast, you unpack something new about yourself and whether you have tangible or physical weight on you or not this part. Just for you because we're all carrying too much. We're all carrying more than the scale. Isn't it tended to hold burden is light, and yet we are willing to carry bricks pounds.

And so today's conversation is to encourage you to set them down. Friend. I pray that it blesses you. I pray that her sweet and settle surrendered spirit touches you as God intense. What if you would do me up most honor of subscribing to this podcast right now, screenshot and get tagging us in all the places, the fin pay podcasts and Tamar and dress your host.

Yes, that's me. And literally just come back. It means the world, and I cannot wait to shout out any reviews that you leave on the podcast on the regular. So love you guys and enjoy the sweet.

This is your God wink. The moment that heaven says for such a time as this it's time to own your joy, prioritize your health, discover your wealth and exude your wholeness. It's time to become truly fit. However, this isn't a fitness podcast though. I'm a retired personal trainer and nutritionist, this isn't business jargon or tips and tricks to landing your successful passion project, though.

That's totally aligned with business goals. This isn't a quick fix health detox ploy though. I'm all for therapy and I love whole foods. I do have a Yolo side, sweet tooth though. This isn't confusing religious banter though. I'm an ordained minister, still figuring out the many things and facets and faces of Jesus.

It's really none of that. So I'm wondering if you're wondering what is this? Well, this is an opportunity to join me alongside other big dreamers. Okay. Movers and lifestyle shakers, as we explore and share our messy comeback stories and discoveries with each of you, Bella passionate seekers, the fit and faith movement was birthed through my own trial and error discovery of mind, body, and soul alignment, and to be totally transparent, my own entrepreneurial crash and burn experiences.

I've learned firsthand that being fit isn't about our physique at all. It's not about our qualifying abilities or titles. It's not about our potential. It's truly about our God gifted passions, meeting our purpose, or one step away from achieving your idea, your dream, your calling, your purpose, whatever you want to call it.

And I want to be there for the moment that you say yes, in freedom, clarity, and confidence that you are living fully fit and who, and whose you were made to be welcome to the fit and faith podcast with me, Tamra and dress, there is no better time than now to get.

Oh, welcome. Welcome to the fin faith podcast. I'm so happy to have you Theresa. Thank you for being here. Thank you for having me. Awesome. You guys, we have been a long time in the making for you guys to have this show. We were having a conversation offline between cancellations and, and ailments. There's been one thing to the next.

And so we're going to say and smash the enemy right now, not today, Satan, and really help unlock women. Um, and just, I believe you work with men too. Specific area of passion of my own, not just because of the fit and faith podcast, but so many other pieces to my testimony. So you guys, if you didn't already know Theresa Shields Parker, you're about to find out a lot about her.

And she is a Christian weight loss coach and an author of many, many books. And I am such a propelling person towards sharing our testimonies and putting it in written format. So I'm excited to dive into all of the different books. Yeah. Thank you so much. Absolutely. Yeah. So let's, let's jump in. Let's jump in with this, this beginning testimony.

Where were you when this all started and ignited in you that there was more for your life then? Yeah, well, I, I don't know how far back to go. So, you know, I won't go all the way back. That'd be bull go all the way back there. Like one time I was born to Brenda Renee Cornwell, no as early or as late as you want, we're here for it because you know, when people asked me how you lost 200, you know, how long did it take you to lose 250 pounds?

I usually tell them. One second or hour per many years. I old, I am like, I'm a 67 years old because it really takes a lifetime to understand your issues and what's going on, but it takes that one second to surrender to God and to understand what your issues are because in my story, surrender was really the big piece, right.

You know, I was, I was saved when I was seven, so I've been a Christian for a long time, grew up in a Christian home. Um, and I think when you're saved that young, you have habits that you form throughout your life, but he don't really realize that they're, um, sinful habits or their habits that can grow into something that is.

Really not what God wants for you. And so that really is sin. When, if you're doing some God doesn't want for you that sin. So the first time I really even understood that was in regard to my weight issue was in 1977 and I was sitting at a. I was sitting at, in my little two bedroom apartment. I remember exactly where I was sitting at the kitchen table was doing my quiet time.

And, um, I was reading Matthew 1720, which says, if you have faith, the grain of a mustard seed, you can say this mountain move and middle booth. And I re wrote in my journal, God, I have a mountain of flesh on my body. How can it be. Now at that time, I had gone to over 200 pounds, you know? And so that's the, the, you know, that's like the tipping point, I think for a lot of women, they don't want to go there and maybe for others, it's, it's less than that.

But for me, that's what it was. And, you know, I really wanted to know how can I. I wanted to know, but I didn't. I realized I didn't really want to know because God spoke to me really directly then. And I wrote it in my journal. Exactly what he said. I know it was God, because I've never thought of it before.

And it just popped into my mind. And he said, stop eating sugar, eat more meats, fruits, and vegetables, and stop eating so much bread. And I wrote that in my journal and I said, I also wrote this in my journal, which was my response, grateful, God, I love it. They could do that. I would lose weight, but I can't.

And so for the next 30 years, actually, I went on a lot of diets that had an aspect of what he had told me because I realized, you know, that I over each other. And I realized, you know, I know a lot of that was from my growing up years and had a wonderful grandma. She didn't name too, but yeah, of course she contributes to my demise anyway.

Um, you know, I, uh, I tried all of these diets and I could lose weight on them. The problem is I didn't hear gun. Very first word that he told me, stop eating sugar stop. I didn't hear that. I didn't, I'm like, okay, I'll stop for a little while. Right. Um, and you know, I'll stop in order to, uh, lose a hundred pounds, you know, because by that time I needed to lose that much.

So I'll stop for, for a little while and get that done. And so I would do that, but then I would reward myself with something that my grandmother had always baked and made me feel comforted and stuff like that. It was like a reward. And then I'm right back on the path, because what I eventually realized is I'm a sugar addict and all of these years, you know, after God had told me that to stop eating sugar, I sort of.

You're being mean to me, God, all of these other people can eat all this stuff and you know, be, be fine. So why can't I, why don't you just fix me so that I can, you know, have, uh, have the things I've loved to eat the things that make me happy? Why can't you just do that for me? Just fix me. And, um, what I didn't realize is that even way back then.

He was showing me what, you know, he was trying to keep me from the hell that I was going to go through in the next 30 years of gaining up to 430 pounds because. A living nightmare of its own, uh, to, to be at the weight, to just feel like you can't function and, you know, great limitations with all of that.

Uh, you know, anybody has been that size. They know the limitations that are there and I don't, I, I don't believe in body shaming anyone, so I'm not body shaming. When I say this, I'm saying it from experience. For me, it was very, very difficult to do even daily, uh, everyday things. And yet I was still. Doing everything going to the grocery store, working full time, you know, um, managing my two children.

Then we, we took in, we've taken in 10 foster children and young adults through the years. We're retired from that now. But you know, we were doing a lot of things. I was still writing. I was still doing all of that kind of stuff at that weight. And so it's, it's just, it's difficult. To do the hat and I really wanted to follow God's plan, but I did not realize, and this is really what my, the last book that I wrote is about is the stronghold that I had.

Now. I used to think that sugar was the stronghold. Okay. Sugar is an addictive thing for me, but the strong hold. According to second Corinthians ten five. It tells us what a stronghold is says. 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.

So the stronghold is really the mindset that is contrary to God. So I definitely had a mindset contrary to God because he had told me something specific to do. And I knew it was God. I knew he had told it to me. And it was at least five to six times more throughout the years that when I would get to the bottom of myself, like I go on a diet, I'd lose the way.

Then I had to gain all that weight back plus more. So all diets. Uh, for me, uh, all they served to do was to, uh, make me gain even more weight. And, um, you know, it, it, it did not help me and I rebuild against it. So, you know, I did not like, um, the boundaries, the really extreme boundaries that diets put on me and diets are just, that's really what they are.

They're a short-term fix for a long-term person. And they're never really intended for us to be on that for longterm, but see, God gave me a plan back in 1977. That was actually something I could do. I just didn't think I could do it. So Mike turn around time came when I was in and there were a lot of, there's a lot of steps to it, but the major turnaround time.

Came when it was about 2009, I was in a meeting with a mentor of mine and I actually just came to kind of support him. He was, he was, uh, thinking about starting a group for those who had a harmful light patterns. And he was a 30 year sober alcoholic. So I came to kind of support him in what he was doing.

Right. That was what I said, but I really needed to lose weight. So I had a harmful life pattern as well, and right. And he's telling his story of being why he, how he got off of the alcohol and all that kind of stuff. And right in the middle of his story, he says, alcohol is one molecule away from sugar.

Alcohol is liquid. And that was it Tamra. That was it. That was like my come to Jesus moment. That was, that was my moment of surrender. And I waited until the end of his, what he had to say. I asked the question. Can you be addicted to sugar? Because at that time, the internet, wasn't a really big deal. It was around, but you didn't hear all the things that you hear today on the internet.

There wasn't anything really being said about sugar addiction, at least that I had heard. And I didn't even know if it was a thing, but when he said that I knew I was a sugar addict. You know, an alcoholic gets free of drinking alcohol by, you know, by stop gets free of alcoholism by stopping drinking alcohol.

So I knew that if my only thing was to get rid of sugar in order to not be a sugar addict, that's what I had to do. And so I asked him, I said, um, is there, you know, can you be addicted to sugar? And he said, I don't know all of the physical natures of it, you know what it's, what all that involves he said, but you can be addicted to anything that control.

And that was it. Yeah. Hopefully powerful. You guys. I don't ever generally let somebody have the mic for that long, but I'm like in thrall by every component first off, you're an incredible storyteller. And I really feel like I was there with you and all of the thought patterns, all of the trials and errors of the different diets, all of the weight.

Um, and I think, uh, knowing a lot about alcoholism because of my own life patterns and, um, connectivity to it. Uh, I, I hear the desperation that you had towards that this desire to change, but you really didn't have that aha or that awareness, even with this up and down experience over 30 years, I think there's so much to unpack in this story.

One. I think it's incredible because I have been exposed to all of the different diets and fads and trends because of the internet, because of what we see and what we're exposed to on a consistent basis. And I know that they don't have that eternal change, right. That they have maybe something works and maybe they stay thin, but I don't think that it necessarily takes away the stronghold piece, like you're saying.

And I think stronghold anything that has control over it. Supersedes God, like you said, and that second Corinthians verse, I mean, whoa, that's the realization that we are addicted to so much more than something that might have control over our body. Are we addicted to our phones? Probably. Are we addicted to this fast paced culture?

Are we addicted to that? Hi. There are so many different places. There's the shopping, the consumerism, the market. I mean, there's so many things that we are addicted to and that we literally can not let go of. And it supersedes our faith, whether we think it does or not, it's a checkpoint when someone can parallel it to something that you realize, I don't want to be like that.

And so you were sitting there like, well, I'm definitely not an alcoholic, or I would never allow myself to be an alcoholic. Where's the weight. Right. Well, and I say this physically, that's not my intention in the, in the parallel of language, but it's no pun intended with full pun intended. Right? Where's the weight of that.

There's no, um, differentiation in sin. Sin is sin is sin. And it's really interesting to think. First off, if you guys aren't watching her live and you're just witnessing her sweet voice, but we're 130 pounds. I, I can't even imagine you in that state. Because I like you have this gentle spirit about you, that I'm sure was still persistent during those seasons.

And yet I'm sure you felt like you were another whole being literally, and now having shed that, like there's been such a transformation in you. And so I'm excited for people to learn after that revelation, after that sweet surrender, which by the way, surrender, I think. The culminating point of every person's quote unquote rock bottom, because you cannot, and he can not make way if we're not surrendered.

And that's why in every miracle in the Bible, any change agent that happens it's because that person is surrenders to self and they're willing to let go of the stronghold. Some people's strongholds are things that you would never even imagine could be a strong hold. The thing that just has been a comfort zone for them for so long because of childhood trauma, because of childhood love.

I love that you said my grandma was an agent to this and she did it out of love. She didn't know. And definitely then people didn't know that sugar was going to become, or that breads were going to become what they have become today. So you're in this experience, you have this moment with him at that point where you at that 430 pounds.

Yeah, I lost a little bit of weight cause I'm on a diet that was realizing that it wasn't working, right? Yeah, I was, I was regaining the weight. Can I ask before you go onto the next step, how did that emotionally feel in that yo-yo experience of the, of the losing and yeah. Yeah, it was, it was this high of, you know, I I've met my goal cause I'm like this all or nothing kind of person I want to, I want to do the whole thing or not at all.

And so, you know, the high of meeting the goal followed by the low of, of realizing I'd done it again to myself and now I'm even, I've even gained more weight because every time. I would do that. I would gain more weight. So it's just, it's very, it's the roller coaster of emotions. And really that's what my life was like.

It was that roller coaster of I've done. Great. And now I've failed and I've done great. And now I failed. Yeah. And meanwhile, in the process of fostering so many children and raising your own children and having a marriage, it's like it's wild to me, but it's also, I've witnessed it in other scenarios where, when someone is dealing with a lot of emotions, And the, their way, even in the control of their own body is to deflect that emotion towards helping other people or helping animals or helping anything besides themselves, because there is a control in that and you feel good about it.

And since you can't feel good about. And your choices in that regard, you can then shed light onto, well, we have this new foster baby. Well, we have this new, this, oh, we have this new car. Like it there's always a deflection. And so I, while having a car versus having a foster baby have no parallel, I honor you and that experience and bringing up safety to this children, but it's um, do you feel like that was the re, was that a part of the reason that it was a healthy deflection?

A worthwhile Christianese thing to do. Well actually, yeah, part of it was, you know, we had a great family, we had great family unit and we just felt like maybe we could help other people. But the other part of it was actually for me to be able to stay home with my kids and actually provide some income to the family.

Because these that we took care of were extremely high maintenance kids. They were, they. All teenagers or young adults who had mental challenges and behavioral challenges. Wow. So they were, they w we thought, oh, they'll love being in our family. Cause they haven't had good families. And, and we've learned that when, when you have a kid who has those kinds of issues, but it's going to take a long time to get them integrated into a normal.

Family. So we had a lot of ups and downs, but I will say this, and I'll say this about my weight loss. I'll say this about all the trials and tribulations we had with all of these kids is I have the most amazing, consistent. Loving husband who is like always there and he doesn't have a weight problem either.

He's just, he just very consistent, very, always, always been there for me, always loving, always supporting me in whatever I decided to do. And even now with, with everything I'm doing. Cause I have a podcast too. Like you said I've written six books and really writing my, I started out as a journalist of writing is really my kind of thing.

I really, really loved the writing aspect of things. So, um, yeah. And maybe it's a little bit of deflection, but yeah, definitely. It was kind of just a survival. Yeah. I will say this, that when you're gaining a lot of weight, Uh, number one, you're eating a lot more food. So there's some money involved in that and you're always buying a larger clothes.

So there's money involved in that. So overspending became a problem for me as well. So I was embroiled in kind of two addictions. And so I do want to talk about the stronghold a little bit, um, because, um, the strong hold is really this thought process that gets us. To doing whatever we're doing. So for me, the stronghold was really the, the biggest stronghold was I can't live without sugar and that was directly in opposition to what God had told me.

He told me I could and I shouldn't live without sugar. And I just, I didn't know how to connect those two. Those two dots. And, um, but that's what a stronghold really is, is it is the mindset that, you know, sugar comforts me. I've got, so I've got a habit. Sugar itself is an inanimate object. It doesn't have any power in it.

Alcohol is an inanimate object. Cigarettes are an inanimate object. Drugs are an inanimate object. Money is an inanimate object. We get addicted to them because. Of this thing up here, this brain that, um, you know, the evil one comes in with a half-truth and it's, that's really a lie, but, but there's truth in it like, oh yeah, I really do need sugar.

I really do. It helps me. I think it helps me. Right. Helps me get through the day, helps me not, not think about my feelings or, you know, deal with my emotions. It helps comfort. Helps me, um, not get angry, but that's not even true because sugar has this volatility to it, as far as your emotions are concerned.

So, you know, I, wasn't always very even keel. I had the wild swings of emotions when I would be. You know, eating the sugar. Yeah. And I think that that parallels to every addiction too, right. It's like, I'm thinking of a little kid who has a desire and they want to do the same thing over and over again, they could be addicted to TV or tablets.

Right. That's probably a commonplace now, um, in today's household. And if they don't get that thing, if they don't get that sugar, that's a great parallel for little kids. They get angry if they don't have the sleep right. Or vice versa, there's too much sleep. There's such an alignment zone in every single thing that we do.

And the things that you were mentioning that we're creating this stronghold where things like comfort things like, uh, emotional, um, you know, just stability, all, all of the things that literally God promises he is. Yup. And that he is the ultimate competitor, that he is the one who will help us in our emotional stability, that he will bring peace and light and kindness and control and self control.

It being one of the fruits of the spirit is often the last thing we want to raise our hand to be like, oh yeah, self-control that sounds really hard. That's not something we aspire to, but how much more beautiful is it when God gives us self control towards our faith, towards our well-being towards our health, towards this exact conversation.

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We are going to be joining in Lexington, Kentucky with none other than the beautiful rise and grind community with Glenn Lundy, who will be co-hosting this incredible conference. This is the second annual, and he has taken me under his wing to be able to share the stage to motivate and inspire. And I cannot wait to see you there November 5th through the seventh.

If you want to come in for the VIP experience or two doesn't want to come along for VIP, that's all access passes. The speakers and the artists, and you will be able to dine with us in the private rooms with your own special bathrooms. So of course, come one day, two day, three day passes available as well.

And we cannot wait as good. And I say to hug your neck, see you there. Um, so I'm excited to hear how you like persisted in that. And then when was the revelation of like, I want to help other people unlock this. Well, um, you know, surrender is only the first step. So when, when I surrendered, you know, it was this gut branching kind of thing.

I realized the enormity of what I had done, how I had gotten, I had really damaged my body and, you know, I, it was, it was a repentance time. It was. Uh, cause I remember driving home from that particular meeting and I drove home through the country, pulled off on the side of the road and just wept and just cried out to God and said, I am so sorry.

I did not do what you wanted me to all of these years. And you showed me and you were trying to lead me and I was rebelling against you and I was in sin and please forgive me. And, um, teach me what to do now, because I didn't know Tamra. I had tried diets all my life. They hadn't worked. So in the past I had surrendered sugar, like for nine months on a diet and it w and I would always go back to eating it.

And I didn't know how, I didn't know how to do it. I needed a really, I needed Jesus with skin on to show me what to do. And so God provided that same man who, um, shared his story. He did a, um, kind of a weight loss group called it. I think he called it the, the do it now group or something like that, or just do it or something like that.

In other words now implement your faith basically. And he started teaching us how to. Change our habits and it seemed kind of counter intuitive to me because I had surrendered sugar low. Right. So how do I get, how do I stop eating this stuff? And he taught us how to do, how to realize that, you know, we have this neural pathway in our brain that has said.

We have well ingrained in us that says, eat sugar, eat sugar, eat sugar, eat sugar. When you're tired, eat sugar. When you're stressed, eat sugar, when you need comfort, you know, for me, it was a, everything was each and I had to rewrite that neural pathway. And so I had to start, I had to. A bad habit and start a good one in its place.

But what he, what he led led me to do at least was not to stop all sugar at once. And, you know, he said, let's have a small slice of success, so you can understand that you actually can do this. And so I started with Kim. Cause candy is like very childish. Right. But it was something I had started doing, started eating, you know, like one at a time and, you know, then the bag is gone and, you know, I could sit at my desk while I'm typing and doing other things and just, you know, eat a whole bunch of stuff, you know?

And so. I stopped eating candy and I started exercising and he had me, you know, make sure that I said specifically what I was going to do when I was going to exercise where I was going to exercise a long, I was going to exercise, you know, how I was going to get there, put it on my calendar, all of those kinds of things so that I could actually tell my brain what to do instead of eating the cake.

He told me he put firm boundaries around the sugar, around the candy and then, you know, go all in with the extra sets. And so that's what I did. I started three times a week for 30 minutes a day. And loved it because I was going to the water to exercise and it's a habit it's just, you know, it's become my new habit.

And, um, just that's how I began with doing all of this, you know, because once, once I stopped the kid, Then, of course I started eating other things with sugar in it and I, but, but God kept showing me okay, here's the next thing to give up? Here's the next thing to give up and buy? I don't know. I think it was in about three months.

I was finally to the point where I felt like I could give up all sugar because part of my issue with being an all-in person, right. I didn't want to say, I'm going to give up all sugar and then see that I've eaten something that accidentally had sugar in it. And then I would just, you know, blow it and say, well, I, I give, you know, I need to just give up.

And so, you know, there's a lot of issues there that we have to work through when we're doing this kind of plan. And that's why having a mentor. And he actually had a group that we were with that were doing that same kind of thing. And then that's what led me. Too. When I, after I wrote my first book, sweet grace and people started doing that, I had a study guide with that.

People started actually doing that in the churches and telling me they were doing it. And I'm like surprised. And then I did it in my own church. I'm like, well, maybe I need to do this in my church just to, you know, understand how this works in and get all the kinks out of it. And so I did that. And then at the end, Towards the end of the hat.

Some people in the group came to me and said, we don't know what to do after this. And so that kind of led me to, uh, I thought, well, I'll do a, like an in-person kind of group, but then I realized that really this needs to be. Open to more people than just local. And I was in a business group that was online.

And so I realized how to do that. And so I just started doing it that way. I just started doing an online coaching group back in 2014. Um, and so I'm still doing that. That's so incredible. I think the next piece that I wanted people to take note of was that understanding that. When we start to rid ourselves of the thing that controls our minds and our minds become more clear, we have a more abundant ability to listen.

And so as the holy spirit was, you know, giving those, those next nuggets of conviction, the conviction didn't feel impossible because you were already bearing witness to what these small steps were helping in the transformation process. Um, and even though you had that instantaneous surrender it, wasn't instantaneous.

Right. And I think a lot of people, um, especially when they come into their Christianity for the first time, perhaps they have this understanding or belief that's been given to them, or they bear bear witness to that. Their surrender is their magical moment and they're never going to have to deal with that struggle.

And that simply is not the case as you and I both know. And an addiction is an addiction is an addiction. And so there's always some sort of background noise, even when you've been able to overcome it, that you then have to still fight. And I think that it is a. It is a beautiful space to be in, to be able to be convicted by the holy spirit and then to act.

And yet it feels hard. Um, and yet there are a lot of negative connotations to it, but what happens on the other side of the obedience to that conviction? And so I love that you provide this to people on so many layers and that you took listening to the next level. When someone came to you and said, check, I was able to, you know, completely do this course or this program with you, but now I need more.

And then there's that consistency of conviction. There's that consistency of accountability. I know that's a huge part of it and that sharing of symmetry in the same struggle. Um, so you have. The overcomers Christian weight loss academy, you have the eating stress, um, mini cores, and then you've got all of these books is the, are the books where they reveal to you in a sequence as you wrote them or something as a part of the program that you knew people needed?

How did you know what to write when I think that's so interesting. Yeah, I wrote sweet gray street grade since my story. So my more in depth story. So God definitely told me in 2013 to write this book, I had always wanted to write a book. I always knew I would, at some time write a book about a person who had done something great with God's help.

And always, as you know, I wrote, I've written a lot of stories through the years. Published a regional Christian newspaper here in, in our mid Missouri area. And I've always written stories about people. So I was always looking for that story, you know? And so between 2009 and 2013, I had gone through a lot of struggles and this whole issue of losing the weight.

And it was in January of 2013 that God literally like tapped me on the shoulder and said, now is the time. And I'm like for what he said, now's the time to write your book. And I'm like, great, God, you not going to asking you what's the book about? And he said, it's your story? And I didn't, even at that time, I had not really even calculated how much weight I'd lost, but then I realized how much weight I had lost.

And so, you know, then. You know, I kind of struggled in the first few months of writing that. And then, because I'd never written a book before. And, um, then I went to a writer's workshop with great lady that really taught me how to do this. And by, within a month of being at that, uh, writers conference, I had the first draft of my first book, which is sweet grace, how I lost 250 pounds and stop trying to earn God's favor.

And then I wrote the study guide to go with it. Because people began asking me on my, on my Facebook page, my business page or whatever you call it is, you know, how do I do this? And I kept getting private messages from people. So I wrote the study guide to kind of show them how to do it. And then once I started my first coaching group, which I called that group suite change.

And, uh, as, as people within the group started having successes, uh, it was, I had really, God had really laid it on my heart to write it and write a book. About, um, the transformation process. What, what triggers the transformation process? Cause it's different for everybody. Right? And so I took a lot of the stories, the people that I knew personally, that from here in town and around who had lost weight and those who were in my group, And we, and we did, I did that particular books week change is 17 stories of people who have actually been successful in doing this.

And I also put some information at the beginning of each of them. So that was meant to show. Okay, here are different ways that God reaches you to tell you this time to lose weight. Like one was like a grandkid stuck his hand in his grandpa's belly all the way in, and it's like three years old and he said, Papa, you got to lose this fat belly.

That was like, that was his turning point, uses a lot of different things. So that was my second book. And then third book was free. Now sweet freedom is really about all of these issues that we have that are, that, uh, relate to our childhood and also relate to God. Um, and there's a lot of correlations there.

Like we get to thinking that, you know, um, God. Is maybe, maybe you had a distant dad, you know, one that was, was, uh, not around all the time. And then we'd begin to think that God is distant and far away. We don't even realize we've made the correlation, but it's how we think. And it affects then how we relate to God, because we really can't do this journey without God.

It's just, it's just impossible. I think, I think when we lose weight without him, we're going to really always be struggling. And he, we struggle. Even when we lose weight with him, we struggled with staying with, you know, staying in tune with him. So I wrote sweet freedom about that, about the different kinds of ways that God showed me.

What was going on in my life and the kind of inner healing that I got from that. And then I wrote a study guide that goes with that, that helps people do that on their own and understand that. Then I wrote a sweet hunger, developing an appetite for God. And that's just a book I've always wanted to write.

Because it is the Bible study that kind of goes along with this is that, um, talks about various, uh, stories in the Bible that are relate to food and how those relate to our journey. So that's sweet hugger. And then I wrote sweet journey to transformation. And that came because I was, uh, dissecting my own journey.

How did I do this? What, what were the stages of my journey so that I could tell others how to do this as well. And so I dissected it into five stages and, uh, those are wishful thinker, um, willing owner, uh, hold, uh, C uh huh. Watch full learner, wholehearted traveler, and why silver comer. So first we accepted, then we own it and surrender it.

Then we learn that the watchful learner is we learned what to do. We have all the tools, we get all the tools in our tool belt, and then the whole hearted traveler is really the experience. Which lasts for a long time, because we're always going to be experiencing various trials and tribulations in this life.

And how do we get through those staying true to what God has shown us to do? The Weiss overcomer is really the point at which not necessarily that you have arrived because we never arrived. Uh, no matter how well we do on this journey, we never arrived. So the wise overcomer is the one who knows enough now and has enough experience that they can go back and help someone.

Yeah. Unbelievable and so accurate on every level of, of addiction. Um, also every level of surrender. Um, so I love that, that you pair load those words together and they can really be applied to so many different parts of our life and everyone's journey. Um, and I love the stages one because I love alliteration and oh, the letters and things together, they make the same.

But also I love why as overcomer and I love that you said you're never, uh, fully at that stage of completion until of course we're, we're up in heaven with him, but it's that knowing that it parallels so much to the lingo that I always say is always becoming. Because I feel like oftentimes we think that we've achieved something when we've achieved something, but then there's something else that we need to come into, um, be more like Jesus and, and we're called to be Christ, like, and not to be come Christ because that's not our role.

Um, but becoming Christ-like because of how perfect he is, uh, is, is a. A willful pursuit. Right. And also a beautiful one. Um, and not one to attain perfection, but to aspire to know him more in his perfection. Um, I S I've forgotten my last one. My last book is sweet surrender breaking strongholds. Okay. Okay.

Yes, yes. Yes. So sweet surrender. Is that the one with the wishful thinking willing owner? No. Okay. A week, a sweet journey to transform you. Ah, okay. And then sweet surrender. Okay. Gotcha. Breaking strongholds is really about all the strongholds that I have seen in my life. And I'm sure there are more of them, but those are the ones that God really showed me.

And how basically they're just, they're just lies we believe. And then God has to drop his truth into us for us to understand. How to change that, you know, so the strong hold is really broken by the truth of God, but it's not this truth that we know here. It's truth that drops from our head to our heart.

And when it does that, then that breaks the strong home, because the strong hold is really in our heart. It's in our mind mind, but it's also in our heart because it's what, it's the intent of our heart that moves us to do the things that we do. So, um, the stronghold, like I said, it's not, it's not sugar.

It's why we eat sugar in the first place. And that's really why I think God's really interested in this issue. This issue. Really serious in the United States, the obesity issue is overwhelmingly serious. It's not only, it's not just people are gaining weight. It's like people are having multiple diseases because of the way.

Okay. And, um, God really wants to show us a better way of living. And a better way of being healthy so that we can fulfill the destiny he has for us. So surrender really relates to purpose because we really can't fulfill the purpose he has for us, unless we're healthy. I must, you know, and let's start, brain is clear and it's functioning and, and we're, we're operating on all cylinders, you know, um, we have to have that in sugar precludes, right?

It, it it's like a barrier to helping us. It doesn't help us. It harnesses so much wisdom Theresa, as, as you shared all the way back from like 1977 to where we are today, I feel like, um, you, you actually are the trailblazer. And in God allowed you to do that, because what I'm seeing now is all of these 20 something year old, personal trainers.

And I was one of those 20 something year old, personal trainers and nutrition coaches. Um, and I didn't have any understanding of strongholds and I didn't have any understanding of limiting beliefs. I was just a 20 year old something right. Doing the thing. And, and I would impact. What I knew to be wisdom, which was really just education, um, to women, uh, in their fifties and sixties.

And I had never even had a kid at that point. I wasn't even thinking about getting pregnant at that point. I had never dealt with so many things that people of all different generations. What way actually feels like what, um, bearing a children, children actually feels like what a struggle of obesity is.

Um, and there are so many different pieces to that puzzle. But when I think, um, I keep hearing you bear witness to is the fact that these revelations were God given revelations before. Now access to everything that people have and now it becomes a bandwagon. And in a good way, I don't think bandwagons are bad when therefore propelling goodness in people and health and wholeness and wellness.

Um, but you see this struggle starting so early and being passed generally generationally to childhood obesity. And I concur to the fact that it is a massive passion for God himself to. This stronghold, um, so that we, as a society, we as a nation, we as countries, but mainly a nation can really rise up to our purpose, our greater purpose to, to lead, um, in the forefront of Christianity and being all that we're called to be.

Um, and so I'm just so grateful for your. For your sharing. I'm so grateful for the way that you have just, um, obeyed the holy spirit and how, um, you he's revealed and then you share he's revealed and then you share. Um, and so often I think people hinder themselves out of so many different strongholds to never actually do the things so kudos to you.

And thank you for bearing witness to other people, to, for them to be able to do it. Yeah, thank you. I just, there's just so much, you know, so much I could say, but God really, really, really loves his people. And that's really what I want people to know. He doesn't, he's not mad at you. He's madly in love with you, and that's why he wants like a good daddy to show you.

What is the right way to do things. And even, even the gurus who are telling you what to stop everything at once that, but for a lot of people that doesn't work, it, it really doesn't. We have to, we have to modify our habits and we have to understand them, make a dedicated desire that this is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life.

I haven't done it right. And I'm going to change God with your help, but only with your help, you know, like second Corinthians, 12, 10 in the amplified says when I am weak in human strength, then I am strong, truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God's strength. So yeah, we're all weak. We have a weakness, we all have a weakness, but God is the strength that will get us.

Well, your guys, I am going to treasure that one. He is not mad at you. He is madly in love with you. And aside from him, none of these things are possible. And we know that to be true. And so Teresa, what a beautiful story, what a beautiful testimony, what a beautiful time. I'm so grateful for you. Well nature.

It brought me back to center. So I know whoever's listening is going to feel the same, and I want everyone to be able to access you whether they need you as a resource themselves, or they have family members or friends that they could put in touch with you. What are the best ways for them to get in touch with you to do so?

Sure. My website. Is to recess shields, S H I E L D S And, um, you can find my coaching group there under the weight loss tab. There's some free resources under the free tab. My books are listed there and a lot of resources there. I'm on Facebook at Theresa shield spark. Um, I'm on Instagram and Pinterest and Twitter at Terry Parker, T R E Parker.

And, um, I have a YouTube channel, Theresa Shields Parker, one. Where the videos of my podcast are. So her podcast name for those is sweet grace for your journey. Uh, so definitely, definitely tune into those you guys. She mentioned all six of her books. You can get all of them on her site, um, and I'm sure on Amazon and all the places, so be sure to touch base with her.

I have a new, um, shining example to tell all of my coaching clients about when they tell me that they don't know how to do it. I'm gonna say, go talk to Teresa shelter because now you have no excuse. If she can do it, you can do it. And I I'm grateful too, to you for leading that front. And so we honor you and we're so excited to see how you continue to change lives.

Thanks for being here today. Thanks for having me.

Hey, y'all it's me again. I hope in today's episode, you sent an ignite to an Ember within you, something mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually moving that creates and sustains a fire within your journey. Before you go, let solidify the flame. I'd love for you to take a step right now and declaring your takeaway by snapping a pick of the episode.

You tuned it to share your spark moment and tag me at bitten bay underscore podcast, or me personally at T. And dress on instant. I hope that I can keep you accountable and also share you with the greater community of the fit and fade podcast listeners. We're totally in this together community over competition is the motto, right?

I'd also be incredibly grateful if you took an extra second to leave a review on iTunes or your podcast listening app, I'd love to feature your thought in the next episode and give you and your passion project, a big shout out. You know, I'm a writer. So I love words and I can't wait to read what you have.

I'm ready to fuel the plane with you together. And until next time, blessings over your joy, how well and wholeness tune in next time.

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