Growing up, I guess I was always a little chubby. My mother was a great cook and genetically, I was never programmed to be super thin. Walking to and from school, riding my bicycle around the neighborhood, and playing softball were enough to keep me from entering “obese” territory and even up to my wedding day, I maintained a reasonable weight. My wedding dress was a size 10 — that was July 27, 1996. (more…)
By the time I was 30 years old, I had developed and nurtured some terrible habits related to food. The relationship I had with food and eating was a result of a lot of habits that began when I was very young. The consequences of those terrible habits were physical, mental, and spiritual. (more…)
A lot of people know some of my story. If you didn’t know me when I weighed nearly 300 pounds, you might find it hard to believe. Those who only knew me when I weighed nearly 300 pounds might find it hard to recognize me now. Perhaps those who have been there through it all know most of the story, but only a very small number of people — my husband and my closest friends — probably fewer than 10 people know all of my story.
Why Haven’t I Shared Everything?
My reasons for keeping some parts to myself are myriad and personal. They include:
- It’s a long story. The journey of my weight gain and loss can’t be wrapped up in a paragraph. It took many years to let myself get to the point of morbid obesity and many years to become disciplined and healthy. I have shared abridged versions on occasion, but the whole story will take a lot of time to share. That’s why I’m doing it in this format. Over the course of many months, I wrote this series of posts, breaking the story into parts, or chapters, which I will share.
- It’s complicated. My long and complicated story contains details which are tangled and intertwined. Every detail opens a new can of worms — some I haven’t wanted to open.
- It’s personal. I’m extremely introverted, so to share my personal story is not easy for me. I do not like feeling exposed or vulnerable. Very few people have any right to every detail of my life. The fact is that many people who are very close to me (family, even) will read my story and learn something I had not shared with them before. They might even be hurt that I kept it from them. I’m sorry if they are hurt, but my story is mine to share as I choose — or to keep to myself.
- I didn’t want to create hopelessness in others. Everyone has different genes, circumstances, habits, support, and cravings. What worked for me (and what God did for me) will not be the same experience made possible for every person who reads this. But I didn’t want anyone to say, “well, I can’t do it that way, so I can’t do it at all.” While there was a part of me that really did have other people in mind, I also readily admit that for the most part, I was motivated by selfish motives, shame, and guilt.
- It’s embarrassing. Before I could even think of sharing my story, I had to reach a point where the pride and satisfaction of losing the weight came even close to the level of humiliation I felt from gaining it and carrying it around for as long as I did. I still look at the pictures of myself over a decade ago and can’t believe I let it get to that point. But now I can also say, “I can’t believe what I have been able to do since then — losing the weight, embracing wellness, and maintaining a healthy body.”
- It’s terrifying. Sharing my story is going to open me up to judgment, criticism, and attention that honestly, I’d rather not have. And what if I, God forbid, backslide, put the weight back on, and lose the discipline? Then what? I could turn what I had hoped would be an encouragement to others into an ad campaign for hopelessness. Part of me feared that by putting my story out there, I was jinxing myself or setting myself up to fail.
Why Now, Then?
For many years now, I have felt God calling me to help others by sharing my story, and I have. I have helped individuals personally, one on one or in small groups, by telling them just the part of the story I felt could help them most. I’ve met people — mostly women — who struggled as I did and were desperate for a change. For a couple of years, I even led a group of women at our church who were seeking a more disciplined and healthier lifestyle. But my reach and my influence was limited by my time, which is scarce, and to my immediate sphere of people, which is not very big. God is calling me to do more, to help more, to share more. And the only way I can really put myself out there is to do it with total honesty. So, for the first time, in a series of blog posts, I’m going to share it all.
Over the series of posts and beyond, I’m going to share the events in my life that led me to the point of morbid obesity. I will share how I was forced to admit how bad it had gotten and how that made me feel about myself. I will share the ways I tried on my own to get it under control — and failed. I will share the amazing and incredible story of how God ultimately answered my desperate pleas — when I finally asked and surrendered the struggle to Him. I will share details of my weight loss, improved health, and the awakening in my life that launched a passion for better nutrition, exercise, and overall wellness. I will share the epiphany to which God led me that gave my wellness journey new significance and ultimately helped me achieve success.
And I will share how, now, after having maintained a healthy weight for nearly 10 years, I daily make the choice to treat my body as the temple that it is.
If you choose to read my story, you may learn things about me that make you angry or hurt your feelings that you didn’t know. I ask you to be kind and look inside yourself. Think of that of which you are most ashamed. Think of that which very few people — if any — know about you. Think of that which you wish you could hide and imagine it being made known to everyone. Maybe then, you can forgive me and understand. What if God asked you to expose your most embarrassing weaknesses, your most intimate secrets, and everything you would like to forget? That’s what He asked me to do and I pray that He will give me the courage to do it. I pray that He will use it to reach people who, like me, struggle with discipline and use food as a drug instead of a way to nourish their bodies.
So, read on if you’re just nosy — that’s fine.
Or… read on if you’re seeking a way to manage what in your own life has spun out of control. Read on if you’re starving to take better care of your body and to stop turning to food as a drug, a crutch, or anything but nourishment for your body. Read on if you’re ready to surrender the fight to Him and realize success.
Read the Next Post in My Wellness Journey
Oh, how I hated you.
I was ashamed of how little care you took of me. I was ashamed of your lack of discipline. I was ashamed of how you self-medicated with crappy carbs and sugar fixes. I was ashamed of your lack of motivation. I rarely let you have your picture taken and because of my insecurity, I held you back from some great opportunities because I believed you would just embarrass yourself. I convinced myself I was just protecting you. (more…)
I wouldn’t name her — I respect her privacy and admire her humility too much — but heavy on my heart tonight is an incredible member of our jail ministry team. We’ll just call her J. (more…)