Digital numbers flashed across the small screen of the scale. With breath held and stomach sucked in tight, I squeezed my eyes shut. I made one last wish upon the gods of fat calories and pounds, and prayed for that one workout I'd managed to get in to double its efforts. I popped my eyes open to read 153.6 pounds. Down exactly one ounce from when I began. Three weeks ago. One ounce. One. Ugh.
My mind traveled 33 years back in time. Standing barefoot on the concrete floor in the make-shift office that my mother had set up in the garage, an analog scale sat before me. I eyed the numbers that rose by tens and wondered why they went up so high. I breathed in. Out. Breathed in again, but huffed it out quickly as not to add any extra weight. I stepped one foot onto the scale and watched the needle begin to bob further and further away from 0. Clenching my eyes tight, I placed both feet firmly on the rubber pad.
Prying one eye open I spied 97 pounds beneath the wobbly needle. Whew! Too close to 100. I vowed in that moment to never cross the threshold of 100 pounds. Ever! With pen in hand, I logged my weight into my make-shift notebook - made of a few sheets of spare lined paper that I'd found on my mother's desk - that was stapled together on the long edge. On the front cover, I wrote in my neatest twelve year old handwriting, "Weight Maintenance Notebook."
"How To's" and "Do's and Don'ts" and hopes and dreams and determination leaked their way into The Notebook! Scheduled weigh-in dates and mock food diary charts filled several of the once blank pages. A generous work out plan, daily and monthly versions, followed and completed my weight loss goals and maintenance notebook. There happens to be a slim chance that I invented Weight Watchers.
Such became the back drop of the notebook of my so-called, weight-loss, life. Dozens of diets later, new workouts, magic diet pills, shakes, check lists, no carbs, low carbs and everything in between, and I was worse off than I had ever been. If the tell tale scale hadn't already blabbed my secret, the muffin top hanging over the top of my jeans would've done it anyway.
33 years gone by, as I stood there staring at the square numbers between my purple painted toenails, I realized several things:
First: I was dumb at the age of 12. I was lied to about what was beautiful and I believed it. Because my legs weren't shaped like "hers" and my hips had some curve and my arms were thicker than other girls my age, I thought I needed to change my physical body. If I only knew how blessed I was.
Second: I was caught in a vicious cycle. Gain a few pounds, crash diet, lose a couple of pounds. Beat myself up. Gain a few pounds, crash diet, lose a couple of pounds. Beat myself up. Hang on. Let go. Gain. Crash. Lose. Beat. Repeat.
Third: I'm still a little bit dumb at the age of 45 (46 if you're reading this after December 10)! But, not oblivious enough to believe that my weight is completely out of control or that it's that far gone. But, enough to still believe the lies from Satan that I'm a failure. That I have no willpower, no grit. That I am weak and my addiction to food controls me and always will.
Fourth: I cannot find the comfort I long for in a box of Fiddle Faddle. Well momentarily, I might suppress an empty place inside of me with it's salty, sweet, caramelly goodness. But, it fades and I'm left to battle the demons in my head again.
Fifth: My weight is not just a result of craving chocolate covered pretzels for breakfast. It's not just a result of loving the taste of food. It isn't because of my slow metabolism or inability to fight fat calories or a lazy thyroid. My weight is a direct reflection of my obedience to my Father. My weight, and then the resulting feeling of defeat, is a result of not allowing God to be in charge of that place. Food is my idol. Has been for as long as I can remember. Even that night when I was thirteen and overheard my mother and sister talking about hamburgers late at night while I was supposed to be asleep in bed.
I don't need another diet plan. Another meal replacement shake. An appetite suppressant or cabbage soup 30 day shred. What I need is to obey. What I need is to choose, one day at a time, to desire to glorify Him with my choices. To honor Him with my body.
Today is the day I stopped trying to lose weight. And started trying to exalt Him.
Oh, and Sixth: I do know how blessed I am.
Or didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 MSG
**note** I do not suggest that you should never diet. Only that God needs to be at the center of and the reason for it. Good golly girl, if you need to lose weight, stop going to the buffet.