240 pounds. No, that’s not the weight of my pet baby elephant- that was MY weight about two years ago at the very end of 2009. I knew I had been packing on a lot of excess pounds but I blamed the holiday season and a guy who had been spoiling me to meals out at restaurants on a regular basis.The moment I stepped on the scale and saw the digital numbers flashing in my face, there was NO MORE room for excuses….I couldn’t afford to put on another ounce!
I would love to say that my heaviness was a new issue due to some stress or trauma in my life at that particular time however, I have struggled with my weight and size my entire life. In 4th grade I used to sit with my sweater across my lap so that my thunder thighs weren’t so noticeable as they tumbled and rumbled out of my uniform shorts. In 5th grade, my nickname was “Big Cat” and my fellow classmate made it a point to let me know that it wasn’t because I was tall (which I was). In middle school I had the body of a grown woman; at 12 years old I was 5’6″ and completely developed. I was on the thicker side but not necessarily chunky. Boys noticed me for my “developments” and so I felt attractive and wasn’t unbearably insecure because I was constantly having my womanly body commented on; this caused a lot of hostility and problems between my female peers and myself. In High School I began to put the weight back on in 10th grade. I still got plenty of attention from my male peers and from grown men. I used to flaunt my larger breasts as a way of distraction from my larger stomach that was sitting underneath them. People always told me I was pretty- they would compliment my eyes, my teeth, my smile, my long hair, or my over-exposed top part, but I never felt like a total-package. Ever heard of the term, “Butter face”?: everything about her is fine “But(her) face”!…well, I felt like a “Butter face” too, except I would’ve described myself as “Nothing about her is fine “But(her) face“.
When I studied abroad in Costa Rica in 2004, my host family would ask me, “Why are you so fat?” In 2005 I began dating my ex-boyfriend and at one point he slipped up and made the comment that he had never been with a girl of my size before- he was used to dating athletes and models…we were together for almost four years and my weight fluctuated throughout that time and because of his comment in the beginning of the relationship, it was always an insecurity that I carried. Whenever I started to chunk up he would “encourage” me to go to the gym or start some kind of fitness routine and to watch what I ate. When our relationship ended at the beginning of 2009, I went on an all-alcohol, no food diet. I was in a dark place, depressed and distressed and lost a good bit of weight for all the wrong reasons and in all the wrong ways.
Once I got my act together (or at least started to try), the weight started to come back on…. several months after the split, I met someone else. I knew I was a little chubby at this point but he said he didn’t mind and he would affirm his attraction to me….more time went on and so did more weight. I used to ask the guy I was involved with if he would find me more attractive if I lost some weight (what an insecure, girly question, right?)…when we first met, he would tell me that I was fine the way that I was….several months and several pounds later, his answered turned from, “You look good the way you are” to “Well, I think YOU would feel better and be happier if you did.” (pretty safe answer, huh?) And even though his answer changed…my weight, did not go down. I grew…and grew….and grew. No matter what he said, I felt less “pretty” the rounder I got.
I would see pictures of myself and be absolutely disgusted with what I saw. I would do any and everything that I could to try to make myself appear smaller in pictures before I would post them on Facebook or send them to anyone. I would look at my face and see the “pretty girl” disappearing behind the fat pockets that were expanding in my cheeks and chin. How would you even know I had glowing hazel eyes when they were hidden and sinking into a face of fat? It certainly didn’t help my self-esteem when all my friends were measuring in under 5’4″ and 120 pounds…ALL of them! I had a few that would tug at their SKIN and talk about how “fat” they were- if they thought that they were fat, then they MUST have thought that I was morbidly obese! In pictures, I not only towered over them because of my height and high-heel obsession, but I looked like I beat them up for their snacks and lunch money.
No matter what social situation I was in, I always knew that I was just the “fat girl with the pretty face and long hair” so I accentuated these features with make up and hair dye as often as possible. I already knew that I would never be looked at as “the fine one” (which was defining and important to me at the time). There were times that I felt self-conscious to eat in front of or around other people because I felt that I looked like a barn animal stuffing my face. (I know this may sound overly-dramatic, but this is how I felt throughout these times.) I felt like my weight issue was a neon arrow pointing to all my insecurities, my lack of self-control and my over-indulgence in food and alcohol which was led by my inability to deal with my excessive emotions. What man would walk proudly with an over-weight giant dragging on his arm?? Who wants to go shopping with their “fat” friend that will only complain and get depressed that she can’t fit into “normal” sizes?
This was my life. I had defined myself as “The fat girl with the pretty face and long hair”. There were times that my weight would fluctuate and I would lose 15-25 pounds; I would feel great but then for one reason or another, the weight would come back. I wasn’t consistent in my healthy habits and when life’s unexpected hit, I would turn to food to comfort me. It wasn’t until I was miraculously healed from chronic knee pain in September 2010 (which is another story for another time or click the link to see my video testimony) that I was able to become consistent in the gym. I had a friend who was getting married in October of that year and I was a bridesmaid in the wedding. I intentionally bought my dress TWO sizes too small and told myself that no matter what, I would fit into that dress! I would work out twice a day, EVERY day and count calories like my life depended on it! My family even became concerned about my drastic change of habits and would often try to intervene ….but guess who fit into their dress?? :-)
The fat girl became the chubby girl.
When I was finaly able to see that I was more than capable of setting goals and accomplishing them, I became more consistent. I had no more excuses. My body was healed from asthma and chronic knee pain and it was my responsibility to take care of this temple that the Lord had given me stewardship over. Luke 16:10 states, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much…”. I needed to prove to God that I was thankful for my healing, that I FULLY RECEIVED IT and that He could trust me to be faithful in the small things. He took away every excuse I had and every limitation that I had put on myself. I was reminded that I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE (Psalm 139:14) and that I am NOT just “the fat girl with a pretty face and long hair”. I am perfect. I am made in God’s image and He has equipped me with all that I need to take care of, not only myself, but others.
I can honestly say, that even if NO ONE ever reads this, it has meant so much for me to take the time to look back and reflect on how far i’ve come. I AM AN OVERCOMER! Food. Alcohol. My Emotions…they no longer control me! I am led by Christ, MY LORD & SAVIOR! He has saved me from myself and my co-dependency on food while healing me of all physical ailments that limited me. I will only look back to remind myself of where I came from so that I can praise HIM more! I can say with confidence and assuredness that I will NEVER go back to the place of being a prisoner in my own body again. The Holy Spirit now has a comfortable place to reside in this temple and I will only updgrade His dwellings- no more clutter, no more mess, no more extra! I am dead to sin and sin will no longer rule or have control over my physical body. I AM PERFECT IN CHRIST.
(SIDE NOTE: I have recently been dealing with some health issues that have contributed to some of my more recent weight-loss however, clearly our God is still in the healing business and I am confident that whatever my body goes through or is made to endure, God will continue to get ALL THE GLORY!)