If you can't tell, my blogging has slowed WAY down over the last year. Part of that can be attributed to married life but in general, God has just brought so many things my way that require a lot of time and energy so that means blogging has become significantly lower on the list of priorities.
So, this may or may not be my last blog post- I'm not sure but I do know that some of you have been following my journey since the very beginning & others may stumble upon this blog today for the first time and recently I've been asking myself a question that has driven me to share this post with you...
Today, after having been on a weight loss journey for 3.5 years, having lost over 200lbs & been maintaining my goal weight for the last 5 months or so, if I could share a few of the most important things I've learned with those who are hoping to lose a significant or small amount of weight, what would I say?
Well, for what it's worth, from a girl who went from this:
Here's what I've come away with after crossing the "weight loss finish line" & finally "making it":
- No # on a scale will every be able to truly make you happy or feel good enough. Don't believe me? You should. Sure, for a moment when you stand on the scale and see that loss you've been looking for you feel accomplished & happy, but sooner or later, that temporary happiness & sense of self-worth will fade when either you decide you'd like to lose another 5lbs or for some reason you gain a few lbs back & are suddenly thrown into a worldwhind of not being "okay" until you're exactly where you want to be. Let me be your big sister here for a second who has been on every side of that coin, stop it. It's dumb, pointless & and a never-ending exhausting game to tie your happiness & self-worth to a # on a scale or on your jean size. Your worth & identity was never meant to be tied to something temporal & superficial but to who God made you to be & who His Word says you are.
- Food can control an "skinny/healthy" person just as much (if not more) than it controls an obese person, it just happens to be more socially acceptable & easy to hide. Food was never meant to be something that controls us but shows us God's provision and care for us. Sure, when I weighed 350+lbs food absolutely had control over my life & left me feeling ashamed much of the time but let me tell you, I've had more moments at 140ish lbs of being controlled by the fear of food/calories/weight gain & living in a cycle of defeat and shame than I ever did at 352lbs. Truly being "in control" means living free from the compulsion to eat or not eat, free from feeling like your food choices either make you a good or bad person, free from a cycle of defeat & shame. For the rest of my life, my goal has shifted off of maintaining a certain weight to maintaining freedom from the control & obsession with food & my weight.
- While I absolutely believe I have a better quality of life now than I did 3.5 years ago & that I am a better example of the freedom & power of Christ in my life, I am convinced that when I stand before God one day in eternity, He won't be judging me based on whether I was able to maintain my goal weight, completely removed artificial sweeteners from my diet or was able to shift to drinking my coffee black, He will be concerned with what captivated my heart. Was I captivated by the love He demonstrated for me on the cross and continues to demonstrate every day? Was I captivated by sharing His love with others as much as possible, being a good steward of the time He gave me here on Earth? Or did I spend my days preoccupied with trying to become what I considered the "best version of myself?" The truth is, the best thing about me is that I am united with Christ (Ephesians 1:3) & I'm pretty sure that there's nothing I can add to that to make myself any more significant or worthy than that.
- I am convinced that God absolutely cares about how we view ourselves & treat our bodies and that the deep/underlying issues that have to be confronted and healed in order to experience true healing and transformation in regards to weight loss can only be accomplished by bringing our whole selves before the One who created us & asking Him to examine our hearts, hurts & hang-ups and asking for His divine power to bring the transformation that needs to take place as we work with Him in obedience & self-discipline.
- In the end, don't get me wrong, I am so thrilled and thankful to have crossed the "finish line" & lost all of the excess weight, but in the end I've realized that losing the weight wasn't really the end or the goal because truthfully, there are just more important things in life than being thin or the epitome of health or having a "perfect body." I still struggle almost every day with the temptation to make unhealthy decisions that seek to control & enslave me, when I feel my jeans starting to get tighter, I'm still tempted to freak out and not feel "okay" but it's in those moments that I have to fight the temptation to go back to living in slavery to my body image or food & choose instead to believe that there is more to live than what I weigh, my salvation or "gold star status" isn't retained by making pristine food choices & that if the thing that makes me supremely happy in life is weighing 140lbs as opposed to 145lbs then I'm pathetic and need to get a grip on what life is really all about.
I hope that the message you hear from this post isn't one that is saying, "Don't care about your health, it's not that big of a deal, just enjoy life, etc." because I absolutely believe that living in freedom & fullness will result in being healthy but my heart's cry for you is to truly discover what matters most in life, what truly gives you significant, what will truly bring you the peace & contentment you are looking for and I'll tell you what, if it's in a # on your jean tag or on the scale, you're missing the true joy that the freedom God desires for you brings and let me tell you, it is sweet.
If you are interested in learning more about who God created you to be and the unshakable identity He desires to give you, I suggest reading Ephesians Chapter 1 & Romans Chapter 5.
With true joy & freedom,