I struggle with my weight, I’ve lost the battle more than I have won, too. I’m 34 and I have been teetering between a size 16 and 18 pant size for the last 10 years. For a good portion of my life I have let that hold me back. I’ve preferred to wear capris because I have felt like my knees were too disgusting to expose to the world in shorts. When I absolutely had to swim I’ve purchased running skirts to swim in so it covers more of my hips and legs. I’ve worn black – a lot, it’s supposed to be slimming. I’ve tried not to wear something that would attract attention to my size even though it is so cute. I’ve avoided activities that draw attention to being overweight and out of shape.
However the worse part of being fat is how I have let my size negatively impact my mental health and now I live with depression. I have let myself believe that I am not worthy of respect, not worthy of love, not worthy of a full life. I hate being fat, I hate that I can’t run a whole mile, I hate how much work it is to lose even a pound. But more than that, I hate that I have let it define me and control me.
I will probably always struggle with my weight and I will continue to try to live healthier and lose weight. But as I struggle, I am learning to believe I am not defined by my weight. I am learning to not be controlled by it. I am learning I am beautiful, worthy of respect and most importantly, worthy of love.
This summer I have purchased a cute, stylish, flattering swim suit that I have worn many, many times. I have worn shorts almost daily (it’s hot this summer!). I have worn cute summer dresses. This summer I swam in the ocean and in lakes, laid out by the pool, went ziplining and have rappelled down waterfalls. I have lived this summer, but more importantly, I haven’t let my mind constantly think about how others might be viewing me because of my weight. I don’t constantly look around trying to make sure people aren’t staring (they never are). I haven’t been so consumed with thoughts about how I might look that I miss out on the fun.
It will always be a process, but one thing that has helped turn this around is realizing everyone is actually consumed with their own thing, their own stuff to give much thought to my weight. Maybe some might briefly say to themselves something along the lines of “Wow, she might want to lose some weight.” or “Wow, she is brave to wear that.” but two seconds later they are criticizing themselves or someone else, unfortunately. And fortunately most of the time they keep those thoughts to themselves. I have yet to encounter someone that voiced their negative opinions about me to me. So I can happily focus more of my mental energies on my children, my husband and my friends.
And even more impactful and more important than realizing that people are too consumed with their own stuff to care, is the realization that God does care. He cares that I know he loves me. He cares that I know I am made in his image and beautiful in his sight. Spending time in his word daily, and spending time with other strong believers that can encourage and affirm me has helped me tremendously along this path. Psalms 139:14 says “ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (emphasis mine). A lot of reference to this verse focuses on the first part but the second part “my soul knows it very well” is equally notable. We need to know we are wonderfully made. It is not enough to just be wonderfully made, know it and then live it whatever your current size is.