I was a skinny kid growing up, not super lanky or anything, but I never had any extra weight on me and my muscles were more long and thin. I was the young teen girl whose backbone stuck out when I bent over. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t starving myself or even particularly active. I ate a lot. I just didn’t gain weight at all. So what happened? Let me explain a little of what has been going on the last year and ten months…
Almost two years ago my family (save one sister and brother) moved 7 hours away from where we had been living for 7 1/2 years. I remember shortly after we moved a lady we had just met at a church commented that at least we hadn't lived there for a very long time. How wrong she was. I am currently 19 years old. So if you think about it, that means that my preteens, early teens, mid-teens, so pretty much my entire teen years were spent there. I had lived in that place during some pretty crucial years. I was ripped away from it all just when I was really starting to make real friends and get super connected in my church. It hurt. And you know, it still does.
I suffer from depression and anxiety at the best of times. This time in my life was the worst of times and I sunk very, very low. I struggled to get up in the morning, I had no motivation, and I generally was just done with living. I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live. I slugged along through those months not really doing anything.
We were looking for a church, and were finding it very difficult being unconnected to a church community. We tried church after church, but sadly most of them didn’t care when we came or when we left, and we weren’t learning as much as we should from the Sunday sermon. This time was very difficult for me. To make matters worse, I was missing not only my friends from our old community, but also my two siblings who stayed behind. It was the first time that we were not all living together, and they were so much farther away than I had imagined they would be when they moved out. So, what did this lead to? I suddenly had no social life and was also living in town, whereas we had been living on an acreage before. My activity level went from moderate to pretty much zero. Add the fact I was depressed and didn’t want to do anything, and you have a pretty good recipe for weight gain. And gain weight I did, a whole 30 pounds and a bit in about 7 months. That’s a substantial amount, especially in a short time period, and I have the stretch marks to prove it. Becoming two dress sizes bigger fairly quickly didn’t help with the depression. I felt so disgusting and ugly that I didn’t want to go out and have people see me. My clothes didn’t really fit anymore, but I didn’t want to get new ones since I hoped to lose the weight and be back to my normal weight. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I plateaued shortly after then and in the last year and a bit have stayed approximately that same size.
It’s hard when I look in the mirror and still remember clearly the girl that I was. I wish that I was still that girl, not this one, with all my extra weight. I know, it’s incredibly shallow. There are so many more important things to worry about, but this is the one I get stuck on. I look in my closet and see the clothes that I can’t bring myself to get rid of, in the hopes that I’ll fit them again. I struggle when I go to get dressed and see the things that don’t fit, but I wish I could wear them. I hate to see people from where we used to live, because I’m embarrassed to have them see me now. I feel awkward meeting people in our new community because I feel ashamed that they don’t realize I haven’t always been this big. And I feel bad because I know that I am so shallow and lame.
This sounds like I have made an effort to lose weight and have been unsuccessful. Nope. I haven’t changed a lot in my life, and weight loss hasn’t occurred. That’s probably my biggest source of embarrassment: not only have I gained weight and am embarrassed by it, but I also haven’t made a conscious effort to change anything. I’m struggling to not be jealous of my sister because she is smaller than me and takes the steps to eat well and exercise. I’m just fat and living with it, crying over my soup. Bemoaning the fact that I can’t fit into my clothes, but not making an effort to lose the extra weight. And that’s a sin. Yep, I’ll admit it. I’m not honouring my body by not taking care of it, and allowing myself to gain a substantial and unhealthy amount of weight. It’s not helping me love others more, but is making me focus more on myself and what I look like. (I’ll also admit that this is really hard to write, and it’s taken me a few months to write) This is not a place I want to stay. I don’t want to stay this size, or in this place with my feelings and heart. I need to start taking the steps to take better care of my body. God has blessed me with this body and has commanded me to honour it (1 Cor. 6: 20b). I’m still falling flat on my face in this area more than I’d like to admit. Maybe you are too. My prayer is that we can first make a plan for success and follow through on it. I’m going to start this next week to do my best to get on a path to better health, not only for my physical wellbeing, but also my spiritual wellbeing. Not taking care of my body has not only affected my health, it has also affected my walk with Christ. Instead of spending time with Him, I spend way too much time feeling bad about myself. Now is the time to change that, I don’t want to stay here anymore. I might fail at times, but I can always get back up and try again. Maybe weight isn’t a problem for you. Whatever it is you are struggling with, today is the time to begin that change. Stop procrastinating (I get it, I’ve been there for the last almost two years) and start on that path to success. Don’t let failures and mistakes hold you down. Together we can get better!
So here’s to bright new beginnings, and a slimmer waistline! (Not actually, but actually)