Friday, May 31, 2013

How I Decided I Was "Fat" - part 2

So, the last time I blogged about battling weight and my self-image, I told you about my childhood and my detrimental first trip to the evil gynecologist before I got married at age 25.

Enter: The Child-bearing Years
I gained 42 pounds with baby #1 and promptly lost it all.
I even remember bragging about it a little. (Feel free to hate that Becky and know that it all came back to humble her me when she I quit nursing.)
The battle of the bulge became real, so I joined my very first diet program. Within a few months, I got pregnant with baby #2 (because that's how it works) and I was "released" from the nuisance of dieting.
*sidenote: I did eat a lot more fruits and veggies with my second to avoid excessive weight gain...and he is the child that willingly eats salads...and broccoli...and cauliflower. Coincidence? I don't think so.

When this new addition had his first birthday, Clay videotaped the party.
We sat down that night to watch the recap and my mouth fell open, "Do I actually look like THAT?"
Crushing blow. Tears. Motivation.
I jumped right back on the weight-loss wagon.

I actually LED a "diet" program for a while.
It changed my life.
Not only did I get thin, but it was a Christian-based program where I "had" to read my Bible everyday. (Since I was the leader and had to set a good example, I actually followed through.)
I'd like to say that it changed my whole mentality toward weight...but it didn't.
It did, however, show me the path of ACTUALLY getting to know God and His Word (which, I am convinced, is the only way I will ever achieve a healthy mindset about my temporary, physical body).

Then, a few years ago, I got skinny.
(Think: College years, I just lost my freshman twenty, skinny.)
My grandma even mentioned that I should stop by her church and flaunt my new size to church-lady Ms. D who once told her she was "surprised that Becky let herself go."
Even though I was thin when I heard about Mrs. D's remark, the comment stuck.
I realized that others expected me to look like I did in high school...even after having babies....EVEN IN MY THIRTIES.
Oh, you'd better believe I wanted to flaunt my new body to her! Of course the next time I actually saw her, I had gained my weight back (because that's how it works) and I ducked behind the corner when I saw her coming.

Funny thing, I wasn't even happy when I was really skinny and "flauntable". I would look in the mirror at my thin frame and be transported back to junior high with all the flat-chested jokes that were thrown in my direction.
As a 38 year old, I yearned for an extra 10 pounds so I could wear a grown-up size bra again.
It was the wake-up call God used to start dealing with my vanity.
No longer did I have ANY idea what weight was my "ideal"...and I finally started to realize that it didn't matter.

My husband loves me most when I am confident and flirty. He has never cared where I landed on the roulette wheel that my scale had become. *bless him for not comparing me to other women even though I sometimes WANTED him to compare me to other women and tell me I was prettier...because I'm vain and shallow like that. Thankfully, he is not.*
The qualities Clay desires in his wife can't be physically weighed.
And gee, that is how God is too.
God started overhauling my attitude and reminding me that my worth is SO MUCH MORE than a number on the scale.

Then a year ago, I ended up in the office of a back surgeon because I couldn't get off the couch on my own and my legs gave out on me multiple times throughout each day. I had been struggling with back issues for a long time, but they finally started crippling me.
What a learning opportunity.
Looong story short, I have avoided back surgery through physical therapy and regular exercise. (And if I would do the prescribed back exercises I should be doing rather than the less boring exercises I choose to do, I might even get to the point where I could FLY...or at least jog....but that is a whole other blog.)

Now, I am forty...and no one expects me to look like a supermodel. Not even me.
My exercise and healthy diet are finally not about "needing" the approval of others by being thin.
God ALLOWED my back issues (He did, my vertebra problems are congenital) and He had a plan for them - so I have leaned into Him and am trusting Him.

I may not avoid back surgery indefinitely; but I thank God for my issues.
You see, I had prayed, "Lord, help me exercise and eat right because it is THE RIGHT THING TO DO and not just because I am vain."
God answered those prayers without snapping His fingers and changing my wants.
He matured me instead.
He uses all things for His glory and our good.

Thanks to my bad back, my eyes were opened to the love that my husband and children are capable of having - as they helped me out of chairs and beds and stabilized me throughout each day.
I am thankful for every pain-free moment.
I would have taken those for granted had I not experienced the past few years.
I sing praises when I bounce down the stairs to walk with my neighbors.

Thank you, Lord, for providing perspective among worldly expectations.
Thank you for being bigger than any struggle I might face.
Thank you for one more proof in my life (and the lives of my family) that you are here, and that you are able.
Jehovah Shammah.