Taking Back What’s Mine

“I’m worried about you: you’ve been putting on weight and overeating. I’m scared you’re going to wake up three years from now and realize you are 300 pounds. I don’t want you to struggle just to run around and play with our kids.”

My husband’s words circled round and round in my head, taunting my heart with every pass. His words were said four months ago, but I was still replaying them in my mind several times a day. When I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw, I would repeat his words over and over,  “You’ve been putting on weight and overeating.”

The truth was, I was putting on weight and overeating. I knew I was overeating. I knew I was using food as a crutch. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of my husband either. He isn’t a jerk, his timing might not be great, but he isn’t a jerk. He put words to something I already knew; something I was trying to hide from others. His words were the catalyst to this blog- the encouragement to start working through my fat thoughts. It didn’t feel good though. Actually, it sucked. It really sucks when you hear someone you love confront you about your greatest shame. Especially since I had been actively working on body image issues for 3.5 years, and God was just now bringing the food addiction to my attention. I got defensive, I wanted him to see and understand how hard I had been working on this. I wanted him to know how hard it was for me. He didn’t quite understand, and I’m coming to terms with the fact that he may never understand my struggle.

I want to put this out there as well: at no point did my husband say, “if you get fat I will no longer love you” or “I no longer find you attractive” or “you weight gain disgusts me.” I came to those conclusions myself and they are lies!  I don’t want you to read this blog and think this is a fight against my husband, society, and unrealistic expectations. Although that fight is very real, I believe it is a symptom of a greater battle. The real battle is not to get others to see that I’m beautiful and worth loving, the real battle is to see it for myself.

Since that conversation, I had dropped a couple pounds. Just like any other addict, I made a  vow to change so I wouldn’t lose those I loved. But there was a lot wrong with that way of thinking and I’m starting to see it now, four months later. Four months has given me the chance to actually take notice of my thoughts. I don’t have the answers yet, I’m just in the stage of recognition. I’m recognizing that I need help. I’m recognizing how flawed my thoughts are. I’m seeing how these thoughts affect every single area of my life!

If a pair of pants fresh out of the dryer felt tighter that usual as I maneuvered them over my shapely thighs and calves, I would rehash the scariest part of that conversation, “I’m scared you’re going to wake up three years from now and realize you are 300 pounds.”

Even writing those words this very moment has awakened a beast in me, desperate to work out, to stop eating, to try and become model thin, all out of the fear of losing the affection of my husband. I am at war as we speak. My mind and spirit are at war with my body. My mind says, “now is the time to write.” My spirit says, “At this moment, God has asked you to write.” But my body screams, “I can’t get fat! I can’t put on more weight! Already my husband thinks I’m disgusting (he doesn’t) and huge (he doesn’t) and I can’t do any of the things I could when I was working out (why I would need to perform intricate arm balances while raising my baby boy I don’t know…) and if I don’t stop writing right now and go for a run or something I’m going to just keep getting fatter and fatter.” So my mind tells my body, “no!” and guess what my body comes back with?

“Fine then…I’m hungry! I’m so hungry! Feed me something good. Not just this coffee and oatmeal, I want something really good: something sweet and sugary. If I can’t work out then at least let me eat!”

Four months has also given me the time to backslide and gain all that weight back. The fear didn’t wear off, but it just became too much pressure. I have failed too many times, and the guilt was just too much. I was constantly fighting two battles, one where I try not to self medicate with food, and one where I try not to self medicate my food medicated body with extreme exercise. I want to be able to work out because of love for myself, not disgust. The same goes for food. I want to be able to eat healthy because I’m worth it, not because I feel unworthy of eating sweets.

This is going to be quite a war.

I’m desperate to not just jump back into my old way of fighting. This fight can no longer be won with obsessive calorie counting and guilt driven workouts. I was never able to stick to it, and I never loved myself in it anyway. What’s the point of being loved by others if I can’t even receive their love because I don’t think I’m worth their love?

My fight is not to get others to see my worth or to get “society” to stop brainwashing us. My fight is no longer to “fit in”: fit in those pants, fit in that group. My fight is against the lies I have been believing. My fight is not against my brain and body, but in reality, it is a rescue mission! I am going into enemy territory and I am taking back what is mine.

 

WORSHIP WITH ME: “I Am Healed” by River Valley Worship 

“Sickness, you have no power here

Darkness, you have no power here

Chaos, you have no power here

In Jesus’ name!”

Does This Mean I’m Chubby?

You’re not chubby,” a very thin girl with beautifully curly hair said as she greeted me for the first time.

“I’m sorry?”

“No, it’s just that Dean tends to be a chubby chaser and I’m surprised that you’re not chubby.”

“Oh, uh…thanks, yea, but Dean and I are just friends. I have a boyfriend. He invited me to your youth group and it sounded fun so, yea, I’m here…as a friend.”

I wasn’t sure what to do with this conversation as a girl of seventeen; actually, I still don’t know what to do with it. This girl clearly was not trying to hurt me; she just didn’t seem to have a filter, something I also forget to use on a regular basis. No, it wasn’t her words that stung, but something stung. I was actually very flattered that her first thought of me was that I wasn’t chubby. Just months before I had put on, what my mom called, “womanhood weight”: the weight in which I left my girlish figure behind. I now had curves, curves I detested. I could no longer wear those super trendy cargo pants because they were supposed to be slightly baggie and my butt just would not quit. My t-shirts now clung to curves that I hadn’t had before and I missed the boxy shape I had sported the summer prior. So being called, “not chubby” was a huge compliment to me, especially since I didn’t think any of Dean’s past girlfriends were chubby. But somewhere in the back of my mind I wondered, “If Dean typically dates chubby girls then maybe that is why we are just friends, because I’m not chubby enough to be a girlfriend? Oh well, I have a boyfriend, it doesn’t matter.”

But it did matter. And now, 11 years later I can say that I was head over heels crushing on Dean, despite the fact that I had a very nice boyfriend. I wanted to secure Dean’s affections, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready to let go of my boyfriend’s. But I knew that IF Dean wanted a chubby girl, I would never let myself become chubby just to gain his affections, I was way too vain for that. So, I was able to push the thought of Dean as a boyfriend out of my head.

I’m going to spoil the Hollywood High School love story and skip to the end, which is really just the beginning, after months of flirting and fighting, Dean and I finally realized it was time for us to give this dating thing a try and we kissed under the stars… And although he made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the whole world, in the back of my mind I wondered, “Does this mean I’m chubby?”

It’s a silly thought really, but if I’m going to write this I’m going to write the full truth, because hey, otherwise what’s the point? This silly little thought was the question that I had been living my life by.

I asked myself that question almost daily, “Does This Mean I’m Chubby?” years before Curly Girl said that I was not. And her words actually gave me some solid ground for a week or two. I remember that week. I took a picture of myself in my bathroom mirror lifting my t shirt slightly and pointing to my belly button. I remember thinking, “I like my belly button.” For a solid week or two I liked who I was, because someone said I wasn’t chubby.