You see, I've lost so much more than 60 pounds. I've lost fear of being seen. I've lost insecurity, the alarm, panic, dread, tiredness, apathy. I've also gained a few things in this journey so far....a sense of confidence, belief in myself, self-awareness, deeper joy. And this has much less to do with appearance than I ever expected. Yes, I admit that I like what I see in the mirror much better this way. But I love what I feel inside so much more than I could ever explain in words on a page.
Most of you reading this know my story. You know I was sexually assaulted as a teenager. When that happened, I was thin... very thin. And after that event, I carried a fear of being victimized again for years. It led me to some really unhealthy lifestyle choices like over-eating and bingeing on food. If I'm blatantly honest, I wanted to be fat because in my messed-up brain, I was telling myself that "no one will want to rape a fat girl". ( I know, I know... ridiculous. I didn't claim to be a genius; I told you it was a messed-up brain!)
Every time, over the years, that I would lose some weight, I'd start to feel a little better about myself, and then WHAM! Someone would compliment me on how they noticed I was losing weight. Suddenly, I was that fearful girl again, sure that I was the next victim of some crazed rapist roaming the streets just waiting for the next not-so-fat girl to come along. I'd go home and eat myself into oblivion and jump off the wagon of healthy choices once more. It was a vicious cycle: hate myself for being fat, talk myself into doing something about it, be successful, get a compliment, hate myself for starting to look better, sabotage myself, etc etc.
Let me tell you that this is no way to live a life. God tells us that He desires for us an Abundant life! Does that sound like abundance to you?? Not even close! I was miserable. And I was good at hiding it. I laughed and told myself (and others), "I may be fat, but I'm happy!". Liar, liar, plus-sized pants on fire! I was anything BUT happy.
Last year, I published a book , and something remarkable started to happen within me. I was already healed, redeemed and set free from the assault I had endured. But as people read my book, ladies started coming to me and sharing their own story, and I began to realize more than ever before that I was created for a purpose, and that purpose had NOTHING TO DO WITH MY WEIGHT. And slowly, I started to stop obsessing about it so much. And before long, I began to realize that I was no longer a victim at all, but truly a survivor. And so I didn't have to worry about being victimized in the future because I'm not that weak 17 year old girl anymore. I'm a strong, courageous and active 42 year old woman with a purpose and gifts and joy. I wanted more, and I wanted it to start with health. You see, I fully believe that I cannot live up to my full potential if my body is not up to its full potential. And so, I began to desire change, from the inside out.
The weight came off very quickly in the beginning, and people began to notice right away that I was changing. Most did not know I'd had surgery, and some are just finding out right now! I was elated to realize that when people commented on the change in my body that I wasn't scared. I was empowered and encouraged, and y'all, let me tell you that encouragement is a HUGE motivator!
There have been days that this is very hard, very emotional for me. Weight has been my safety net for years. It has been the reason I've felt I wouldn't be hurt again, as strange as that may be, and so it was hard to let that go. But God is sovereign, and He spoke (and still speaks) love and encouragement to me daily, moment by moment even! I poured into His word to learn who I really was- way more than the sum of what has happened to me in life, but a creation of His perfect design, made to make Him known. There is power in knowing who you are and WHOSE you are, my friends. So, on those days that I
cried whined a lot, and said stupid things like "I'd rather be fat than feel like crap!", my wonderful husband would hug me close and remind me that this too shall pass, and I was not walking alone, and I really could do this thing.
And I am. I AM doing this thing.
I'm running, sort of (I'm still fat, y'all! I'm trying to run!) I'm doing push-ups and sit-ups and crunches and leg lifts and weights. I'm eating mostly proteins and veggies. I'm drinking water like crazy. I'm taking enough vitamins to strengthen an army. I'm walking daily with The Lord as I live on this earth (Ps. 116:9) and I'm thrilled. I'm holding my head high, even when the scale has a number I don't like or it doesn't move at all for a few days. I'm walking with confidence because I was made in the image of my Savior, and he really doesn't make junk. I'm
no longer hardly ever calling myself derogatory things (Old habits die hard!), and I'm smiling when I look in a mirror even on days that I don't feel like it because we all deserve to be smiled at by ourselves.
The fact is that there is more in this life for me. I'm 42 years old, and I believe with all my heart that my best days are ahead of me, not behind me. There are adventures to fulfill, tears to shed, laughs to bellow out, jokes to tell, necks to hug, races to run, mountains to hike, songs to sing, books to write, and on and on. I intend to do those things and so much more in the best health I possibly can. And I intend to do them all for the One who gave me this blessed life I live.
I hope you're living your life too. I mean REALLY living it! If you're not, and you want to hear of this Jesus who gives me the Hope I have to be able to walk through this life I live, I'd love to share him with you. I promise, He's the best.
Go live your life.... and live it well, my friends! The best is yet to come!