Do Overweight People Get Fewer Dates?

“Unfair as it is, our society still discriminates the overweight … Your weight plays a role in how other people see and treat you.” Those are the words of Dr. Frank Smoot, author of Weight Loss God’s Way, a book that greatly helped me at the start of my journey to honor the Lord with my body.

When it comes to finding a suitable mate, weight is something that tends to be used as an instant disqualifier. Online dating sites even give you the option to sort through your preferred “body type.” Statements like “I want someone who takes care of themselves” or “I want someone who is committed to exercise and health” help us explain why we won’t date someone who’s overweight.

As someone who has deeply struggled with food and exercise choices, hearing those words leaves me feeling perplexed. Yes, at some point in my life, my unhealthy food and exercise choices caused weight gain, but I would not classify myself today as someone who doesn’t take care of themselves, or who isn’t committed to exercise and health.

This is an article I wrote for Single Matter’s Magazine, to view the entire article, follow this link – Do Overweight People Get Fewer Dates?

Am I Not Pretty Enough

Friday night, I went to a coffee shop to watch my lovely friend Julie perform. She is a very talented singer, and every time she plays I jump at the chance to go listen to her sing. I’ve listened to her many times before, but this night she sang songs I have never heard before. In the middle of singing her heart out through songs she had written, both past and present, about heartache and love, she sang a Kasey Chambers song called “Not Pretty Enough.” Here are part of the lyrics:

Am I not pretty enough?

Is my heart too broken?

Do I cry too much?
Am I too outspoken?
Don’t I make you laugh?
Should I try it harder?
Why do you see right through me?
As Julie sang these words I fought back the tears created by an emotional tug on my heart. I thought about how many times I’ve felt that way, wondering “What’s wrong with me, why not me?”

This is an article I wrote for Single Matters Magazine, to read the rest of the article, follow this link http://www.singlematters.com/am-i-not-pretty-enough/

Satisfying Your Craving

Last week, I was teaching my kids how to learn to tell time. It’s a difficult task to teach time to children, and it’s even more difficult to teach it to children who don’t speak the same language as you and only understand a third of what you are saying. Yeah, not easy.

 

The best thing I could think of was to draw a time line on the board. We started with the simple phrase “wake up,” to discuss morning. To teach afternoon, we began speaking about lunch and my instincts decided it was a good idea to point to my stomach and yell “GET IN MY BELLLY!” At first the kids looked at me like I was crazy (a look I often get), but soon they all started mocking my behavior and began pointing to their stomachs and yelling as well. It was a sight to see for sure.  
 
This past Thursday, I met with some ladies for a bible study I’ve started to lead. The study is for women who are also struggling with weight and or body image issues. As I prepared for our first meeting, I laughed out loud thinking about my recent experience with my kids. In our study, we are going through a book I’ve mentioned in my blog before called Made To Crave. Lysa TerKeurst argues that God intended for us to crave. She explains how God designed us to crave but instead of craving more of Him, sometimes we crave other things like food, intimacy, drugs, alcohol, etc.  
 
As I’ve read through her book, the words “We crave what we consume,” have been circling around in my mind. I know many of you reading this don’t struggle with weight but stay with me, I promise this blog is applicable to you as well. 
 
I have had my fair share of cutting things out. No sugar, no fast food, no eating after 7pm, all in an attempt to lose weight. But one thing is true each time, whenever I am not eating something specific, like chocolate or fast food, my body, once rid of whatever I was previously consuming, no longer craves it. It’s interesting how that works.
BUT, the first time I eat a piece of cake or a tiny Hershey’s kiss after I’ve gone so long without sugar, suddenly, my body wants and desires more. 
 
Lysa talks about how the same thing applies to our spiritual life. She calls it spiritual malnutrition. For example, if you aren’t reading your bible daily, if it isn’t part of your daily routine, you may not even think twice about pulling it out to read it in the morning before you go to work. But when you do pull it out and dig in, the Holy Spirit will speak to you and you will begin to want more. 
 
My prayer is that anyone reading this who is suffering from spiritual malnutrition will pray asking the Lord to give you a desire to crave more of Him. I pray that you will always be hungry for what His word has to offer. It is good, so good and I hope you will dig in and take a taste. After all, it’s the one thing you can eat and eat and eat that won’t cause you to get fat! So, eat it up y’all!
 
Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. 

Just Hand Over The Medium And No One Gets Hurt!

Vocab test from one of my students 🙂

I have a confession… I absolutely hate working out. I hate sit ups, crunches, push ups, lifting weights and while sometimes I enjoy it, most days, I hate to run! It’s been super cold in Korea and I have used that as an excuse not to go running. I’ve tried to play tennis but the snow and rain has made it impossible and I’ve only played once since I’ve been here. Before I came to Korea, I was playing tennis 4 to 5 times a week. Partly because I do genuinely love it that much and partly because I had an amazing tennis partner, but mostly because it is the only thing I enjoy doing that doesn’t feel like an actual workout. This week I reconnected with the athlete in me as I went for a run and worked out with the machines in the park. I literally felt the burn and instantly wanted more. 

Outdoor work out equipment that
helped me feel the burn.
This machine is a workout for your
arms and a squat all in one. Greatness!
I was warned by several friends to bring lots of clothes with me to Korea because they wouldn’t have my size here. I even took the extra step and set aside a box with jeans the next size down and shorts for the summer that my mom would send me as I lost more weight. But as much as I planned everything I packed, I didn’t anticipate how difficult shopping would actually be in this country. The Koreans are known for their inability to say things tactfully and being here has been a constant reminder that according to the worlds standards I am overweight. I’m so incredibly grateful the Lord has been working on my heart the last year and I no longer view myself according to the standards of the world but according to God’s goodness. I can see the beauty the Lord see’s now instead of the number on the scale or the size of my pants. But despite the work the Lord has done on my heart, I am still incredibly annoyed by the things I continue to put up with here.

This weekend I went on the hunt for art supplies. As I was making my way to the art store I saw sales rack after sales rack of super cute clothes. I am pretty cheap and hate to spend money but the sign screaming “SALE” always makes me stop. So, I stopped and grabbed about 6 items I wanted to try on. I took the clothes into the store and pointed at the dressing room. As I stood there waiting for the Ajumma to motion that I could go in, she grabbed the clothes from my hand, took 3 of the shirts and handed the other three back.
I was confused, until she pointed to the 3 she was holding and said “You no try, you big size, stretchy, no try.” None of the shirts had sizes on them so I had taken the time to hold each one up and ensure it would fit. I knew the shirts she had in her hand would fit me but I still wanted to make sure they looked good. I tried to take them back from her and she refused. So, I told a stupid lie and said the shirts were for my “thin” sister, just so she would give me the shirts back. I tried the shirts on and not only did they fit, they looked great! I justified her actions by telling myself  the reason she did that was because I was bundled up with 4 layers of clothes on and she couldn’t tell what size I was. But the truth is, that’s just how things work here. 
 
Sporting my size medium pullover for my run
tonight… Thank you very much!!
Tuesday on my lunch break, I headed to go get groceries. Outside of the store were racks and racks of the long sleeve workout pull overs. They had all kinds of crazy colors and they were only $7 so of course I stopped to look. I picked through the colors looking for a medium and handed two pullovers to the Korean man only to hear the words “You no medium, you big size!” He proceeded to tell me in broken English he was a medium and I am much bigger than him so I needed to buy extra large. In that moment I couldn’t wrap my head around why this man would give me such a hard time as I was trying to hand him money. It shouldn’t matter what size I am buying, it shouldn’t matter what color I am buying, if I am trying to give you money, just take it!
 
The standard of beauty in Korea is so ridiculous and I feel so bad for the girls living here who think they need double eye lids, a small face, white skin and blonde hair to be beautiful. I really wish they could see how beautiful they are. I am surrounded by gorgeous women every day who do everything in their power live up to what their culture tells them is beautiful and I just want to help them understand there is more to life than being thin and pretty. 

My Journey Down The Scale From 229 Pounds

***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. 
Surrender/Get support:
“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.