***Warning, this blog is very long***
I’ve been going back and forth on what I should include in this blog and as I’ve prayed through this, the Lord has reminded me of how many people struggle with body image issues. The risk of embarrassment and judgement by others is lurking in the back of my mind but I am reminding myself of Galatians 1:10 and Romans 12:2. You are about to get a private look at a very vulnerable place, I hope by opening up and being 100% honest, lives will be impacted and it will inspire change. I know this is a sensitive area and please hear me when I say that some of the things I am going to talk about are not going to be fun for you to hear if you are struggling with body image but you need to hear them. I pray that God will use my words to touch your hearts so that you may also feel the conviction of recognizing we are to honor the Lord with ALL that we are and that includes how we take care of our bodies.
“Unfair as it is, our society still discriminates the overweight… Your weight plays a role in how other people see you and treat you.” As much as I would love to tell you that quote is a lie, it is absolutely the truth. We may adore the people in our lives in spite of their appearance but our first impression of them has a lot to do with what they look like. We judge the clothes they are wearing, we are envious of how beautiful they are or we criticize what they could be doing differently that would make them more attractive. I confess to you that even having struggled with being overweight myself I am guilty of judging others based on their weight.
Prior to my most recent attempt at losing the weight I had gained, I tried numerous weight loss programs. You name it, I signed up. Jenny Craig 3 times, L.A. weight loss, Adkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, countless gym memberships, a profile on Spark Pages and none of it worked! For me, the motivation for losing weight was all about the number on the scale. Do you know that 96% of attempts to lose weight by Americans end in failure? Yep, that was news to me too. No wonder so many people struggle with this. As I worked those programs, I lost a little bit of weight here and there but I always gained it back. There was no investment from my heart, and more importantly I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. For me, I thought the reason I was single was because of my appearance After all, the world tells us that if we aren’t a size 2, we are ugly and unattractive. I believed those lies. It wasn’t until I heard the following words that the light bulb in my head made a new connection, “Do it because you are loved not so that you can be loved.” Those words awoke my soul and helped me realize I was approaching this entirely the wrong way. My thought process was backwards. I was holding myself to the standards of the world and not the standards the Lord expects of me.
|My size 16 pants
November 27th will forever be marked as the day I was able to fit into a size 10 jean. To most women the thought of a size 10 makes them tense up but for me it was a huge accomplishment. When I started this journey, I was popping out of a size 16. If I’m honest with myself, I should have been wearing a size 18. Growing up I couldn’t gain a pound if I tried, I was so skinny you could see my hip bones! My years of pour eating habits and lazy lifestyle finally got the best of me and the number on the scale started going up. I knew I was getting bigger but I never weighed myself and it wasn’t until a new job required a physical that I stepped on the scale for the first time in years to read the numbers 229!!!! Admitting that to you is not easy but it’s important for you to know my number, not for me to brag about how much I’ve lost but for you to know that whatever your number is, you are not defeated by it. I know you feel it may be a lost cause and you’re never going to lose the weight but that is a lie! I am proof that God changes the hearts of those who seek Him and He listens when we surrender to Him and ask for His help!
|The night I put on the size 10 jeans 🙂
Many of the people in my life have been asking “How are you losing the weight,” “What are you doing.” It is important for you to know that first and foremost, “I” am not responsible for the physical changes that you are seeing. Yes, I have put time and energy into honoring God with my body but I absolutely would not be at the place I am if it weren’t for the Lord’s continuous voice speaking to me and the push He gives when I cannot find the strength. The first step for me was getting to a place of absolute surrender. When I realized I could no longer do this on my own, I asked the Lord to help me and He did.
“God freed me from keeping it secret. What Satan planned for mass evil, God used for His great good!” Those are the words of Lysa Terkeurst, the author of Made To Crave. If you struggle with weight loss or any form of eating disorder please, please purchase her book. It is wonderful! The first step toward a healthy track of weight loss for me was shining light onto things I was keeping in the dark (Ephesians 5:8-11). By keeping things hidden I was never going to get any better. My community group knew I struggled with body image but they had no idea the extent of what I was going through because I didn’t share. I never told them I was eating fast food almost every day and spending hundreds of dollars a month just to eat out. I never told them I would choose where I wanted to eat solely based on who which place had the better dessert option. I never told them I was physically addicted to food and used it to treat every emotion I was feeling instead of turning to my savior who promises to be more than enough. First step – confession, second step – create a support group. When I confessed to God and asked for forgiveness an enormous weight was lifted and I instantly felt His presence with me offering to help carry me along through this journey. God reminded me that leaning on Him for strength was only the first step and I needed support from those who were in my life daily. So, I reached out to those I knew I could trust and asked them for help. I was raw with them, completely exposed, I admitted my weight for the first time in my life, I confessed when I messed up and they encouraged me and helped pick me up when I fell down. Their support helped give me the strength to keep going, and knowing I had to answer to God and my friends and family kept me from eating an entire pizza or indulging in a half a bag of cookies. I stopped binging and started praying and digging into the word.
Pray/Dig into the word:
I have a dear friend who has also struggled with over eating and body image. Her name is Kristin Kons, you may know her from the Television show Know The Cause. Kristin is such a beautiful soul and God wrote her into my story to speak truth and help me along this journey. Kristin you are beautiful and I am so blessed that you offer yourself daily to be used by God. You are such an inspiration, thank you for all you have done so far! You can click HERE to visit Kristin’s website Eating With Purpose where you can read her story and get some great healthy recipes. The first time I met with Kristin to discuss her weight loss journey, I had so many “Ah ha” moments. Kristin talked about surrendering to the Lord, she shared with me about moments when she stood in front of the cabinet wanting to make an unhealthy choice and just started praying and telling Satan to go away. She talked about quoting scripture and how Satan doesn’t like it when we use the word of God to combat his temptations. So, I began to equip myself and add tools to my toolbox to help fight the temptation when it came. I dug into the word and wrote down bible verses that spoke to me and just started memorizing them. Every time I was tempted to drive through Chic Fil A (waffle fries and chocolate chunk cookies are my weakness) I quoted 1 Corinthians 10:13 or 1 Corinthians 10:23. Every time my body lied and told me I was tired and couldn’t finish my 3 mile run I quoted 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 or Romans 12:1. When I wanted to indulge and have a second serving of the delicious food I was eating, knowing that my body didn’t need it I would quote Psalms 73:26 or Exodus 16:4. My prayer life began to be strengthened and my relationship with God was growing because I relied on Him and wasn’t trying to fight the battle on my own. The Lord reminded me that He is more than enough to satisfy my needs and He proved that to be true over and over again. When I broke down and gave into my flesh I surrendered again and He continuously gave me strength.
Don’t give up if you make a mistake:
This one is huge! So many times in the past I would be on track, doing good and losing weight and I would make an unhealthy choice. That one bad decision lead to fits of binging, feelings of guilt and shame and an easy target for Satan to attack and tell me things like “You’re such a loser, you can’t even go 3 days without fast food you will always be fat.” Over and over again I could hear the devil persecuting me and I believed the lies he was telling me so I gave up. I would find the courage to try again and again I would fail and give up. Kristin helped me realize it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you make a mistake acknowledge the mistake, confess it and get back on track. To this day, I still make unhealthy choices, there are days when I know I can fight the temptation and I choose not to and I have to repent from that and keep moving forward. This is not an easy journey, you will make mistakes, you will fail but you have to reprogram your thought process and believe that you can do it. Mark 11:24 tells us “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
Recognize and replace the negative self talk:
When I realized there is no way I was going to be able to do this on my own I googled “Christian weight loss” and up popped information about Dr. Frank Smoot. I downloaded his e-book and was completely encouraged by the way he used the scripture to help encourage others through the weight loss journey. Dr. Smoot talks about identifying our “self sabotaging believes.” These are the thoughts that trigger our emotional eating habits. You know what I’m talking about. If you have a bad day at work, you need the greasy hamburger from McDonalds. If your boyfriend breaks up with you, you find the nearest grocery store and indulge in the Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie Ice Cream. If you get good news, you want to celebrate by having a “treat.” Please hear me when I say it is okay to eat the foods I just mentioned if you control your portions and your motives are in the right place. I would really encourage you to purchase Dr. Smoot’s book. It is very long but that is because it is jam packed with truth that will help you along this process.
Additional tid bits:
– Portion control, portion control, portion control! I can’t stress this enough! If you are an emotional eater this is the number one thing you need to get into check. One of the best pieces of advice Kristin gave me was to get a small plate and put just enough food to fit the small plate, eat that and then come back to eat again after I had given it time to settle. We consume far more than our body needs and we need to slow down and enjoy our food. Cut back on your portions and eat more frequently.
– Get moving! We live in a beautiful world full of God’s magnificent creations. Get outside and soak it in. Admire what surrounds you, you don’t need to go for a run, just walk, even if it is just 20 or 30 minutes a day, set aside some time to stay active.
– Educate yourself!!! Please, stop consuming food if you have no clue what is in it. There are so many added chemicals that are completely unnecessary and cause our body stress. Our body is not intended to consume the process foods so it doesn’t break it down and it is getting stored causing excess weight. Check out the youtube video “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” and go from there. YOU are responsible for what you are consuming, not the people producing the food.
– Eat clean! With the resources available to us, there are countless recipes and options for healthy eating. It is delicious food. Don’t believe the lies that you are missing out by eating healthy you will be gaining so much more.
And finally, I want to say that if you are reading this blog with a “goal weight” or size in mind, the things I have written will not help you. If there is one thing I have learned through this entire process, it is that my journey will never end. I have an addictive personality that will always make me want more. I am a sinner who is drawn to all things evil and I lack self control and will power to achieve anything 100% on my own. I will forever have to seek the Lords support and help no matter what size I am or what the scale says. I say that because I want you to know that you are not alone. I am still taking this journey with you and if you need support, encouragement, advice or have questions you want answered, please, please contact me. I will pray for you and help you in whatever way possible.