Diary of a Fat Lady: The Battle of the Bulge Journals Begin

So I am a little chubby.  Okay, in reality I am a plus-sized nugget of chubby.  Have been that way my entire life.   I spend hours obsessing over my appearance and how large I have become and planning in my mind just how exactly I am going to fix that.

And just as soon as I resolve that I am going to eat nothing but salads, a coworker comes around with a box of donuts and all of my resolve flies out the windows that don’t even open…

This has truly been a life-long struggle for me.  Year after year I vow to slim down, but instead watch a few pounds come off then watch more pounds creep up and on.  I have been losing and regaining the same 20 pounds for the last five years at least.

Many helpful people over the years have tried to encourage me to slim down.  I have seen the looks of pity from friends when they are telling me that I am a beautiful person at any size, and the looks of revulsion from people when I am out and about.  I have been the girl walking in the mall that the kids walk past and make rude comments to.  I have also been the girl who uses self-deprecating humor trying to move attention away from the weight.

If I could only stop feeling so incredibly self-conscious trying to squeeze into seats and behind chairs in dining rooms and conference rooms!  Even just walking down our hallway at home can be a tight squeeze if a dog or a gnat is trying to go up the hallway at the same time.  Going out in public can be difficult and humiliating at the best of times as facilities continue to shrink the sizes of seats to try pack in more people at one time.

Any sane, healthy person reading this is probably already shaking their head and thinking to themselves that if I put as much energy into trying to loss the weight as I did into writing this, then I would be slim in no time.  That is exactly why I am writing this incredibly vulnerable piece about myself and my struggles.  I wish it were that easy to lose the weight.

In no way am I going to attempt to make excuses for myself, but I don’t think that my love of pizza and ice cream is greater than that of any other sane human being.  I truly do try to watch very closely what I eat.  At home we don’t fry anything EVER.  I have swapped out baked french fries for baked potatoes, and we have a vegetable and lean-ish or lean meat just about every night of the week.  I drink sugar-free drinks or water.  Yet the number on the scale continues to climb.  It feels like more often than not I am watching what I eat just to maintain my current weight.

If I could only retrain my thought process from a diet mentality to a healthy choices life choices mentality!  You name it, and I have tried it.  The Diabetic Exchange diet, Weight Watchers points (both online and at meetings), the Mayo Clinic diet, Spark People, Richard Simmons.com, the Dash diet, and then of course the good old-fashioned, count all of the calories you are putting in your mouth diet.  My next attempt, will be the South Beach Diet based on the to advice of my OB-GYN doctor.  That is if I can find the time to read the book to learn all of the ins and outs of this eating plan.

Another recurring thought that crosses my mind is I need to find better motivations to move more.  Over the years I have joined, and then eventually quit, Curves, The Salem Community Center, and Planet Fitness.  At different times I have been a regular walker, a sporadic walker, and an every now and again walker.  Once upon a time I actually dragged myself out of bed an hour earlier on a regular basis to do a Richard Simmon’s exercise video.

The very real reality is that even if I could muster up the motivation, I don’t know where I can find the time to incorporate a routine exercise schedule.  The number one reason why all of the above things fell to the wayside is the lack of time to actually go and utilize those wonderful facilities.

I have been told many times that if it were a priority to me, then I would find the time.  Valid point.  However, contrary to the thoughts of a very rude doctor I visited once, I don’t spend a lot of time on the couch eating Twinkies.  There is very little down time in my days.

Like a lot of the women in my generation, I am a full-time mom with a full-time job outside of my home.  Not because I value a career over family, but because it takes both my husband and me working full-time to make ends just barely meet.  What that looks like is I spend 45+ hours actually on the job, and another 10 hours commuting each week.

That doesn’t leave a whole lot of free time.  By the time I get home, cook dinner for the family, clean up from dinner, and help Max with his homework the evening is pretty well gone.  Weekends are spent doing the rest of the household cleaning, running errands, and church activities.

With all of that being written, my climbing weight really is a very big problem for me.  I am not alone in this struggle I know.  With renewed determination and prayer, this year will be THE year.

Not the year that I lose weight by dieting and exercise, but the year that I learn to love myself as I am, and then learn how to take better care of me.  My self-hatred and self loathing are probably the two biggest reasons that I have remained trapped in this bitter battle with yo-yo dieting and weight loss.  It is a never-ending, frustrating cycle of negativity.

God loves me exactly as I am.  I am enough.  I am GOOD enough.  And I deserve to cut myself some slack and show my body the same grace that God has shown me in my failings.  Focusing on the person I am meant to be on the inside and the outside.  I have finally realized that if I am going to be able to love all of great creation, I must first be able to love myself in all of my own successes and failures.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26, NRSV)

And I am inviting you all to come along with me.  Your prayers and encouragement are welcome!  Every so often I will give a progress report on some more of the struggles and successes that I encounter on this path.

Are you ready to abandon your own self loathing and embrace the you that God has created?  The person that he sees and loves?

For it was you who formed my inward parts: you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. (Psalm 139: 13-15, NRSV)

Wonderfully Made

A Mind In Disarray

It has been awhile since this has happened, but tonight I find that I am unable to sleep.  I should be passed out in dreamland, but I find myself sitting on the couch at 1:30 am in the morning with a rerun episode of NCIS playing in the background.

The past two days I have been suffering through the usual bout of spring allergy related sinus drainage issues.  My doctor has told me that I am chronically allergic to Ohio.  So you would think that I would have no trouble achieving a sleeping state.

But I can’t turn my thoughts off and they are going 100 miles per hour.

As I laid in the darkness trying to recover my sleeping state, the frustrations I have been experiencing at work kept playing through my head.

The frustrations are nothing new.  A feeling that I am stuck where I am are now is amplified as we are in the process of buying a home.  My lack of an actual degree makes me feel that my options are limited for moving on from where I am because we definitely can’t afford for my salary to go backwards at this point.  Coupled with the need to replace staff members that have found better opportunities and are moving on, and there is a lot on the work front to weigh down my thoughts.

So in an attempt to quiet my mind I turned to the Lord in prayer.

I asked him to walk with me and lead me as I navigate the stormy waters.  And to bring us the right candidates in the interviews that are scheduled over the next few days.  And to take me by the hand and guide me to whatever he has in store for me in the future because I just don’t feel that I have arrived at the place he has intended for me yet.

You see, when I went down this career road, I never asked God what his opinion on my choice was.  So while I do a good job at what I do, is this really the purpose He intended for me?

However, while I didn’t ask for his guidance then, He won’t abandon me now.  After shaking his almighty head at my human folly, he rolled up his sleeves to see how he can use my errant choices to prepare me for what is in store down the road.

These feelings have been intensified in me for the last couple of years.  He has been giving me nudges that I have been trying to pursue, so I know that he has exciting plans for me.

So back to my current insomniac condition.

After praying fervently to God, and asking him to give me some guidance or signs that I couldn’t possibly miss, I finally gave up on trying to sleep and made my way out to the couch, the repeat episode, and Facebook.

I have read about people who have prayed for clear answers from God and that in his mercy God has given them undeniably clear signs or answers.  While I can see many answered prayers in my life, I can’t say that I have ever felt as if I was receiving clear messages from above.

Until tonight.

After turning on the tv, I immediately fired up the laptop to check in on Facebook, because I was certain that in the time between fitfully going to sleep at 10:00 p.m. and ending up back out on the couch at 1:00 a.m. I had missed something of vital importance on the cosmic social scene.  Turns out God uses social media too.

In relatively short order I saw three things that could only have been encouragement from heaven.  The first was a post from the Zig Ziglar page:

start over

This post was quickly followed by a Stephen King quote posted by The Writers Circle:

you can

And to finish up these thoughts, a friend shared this picture from The Old Schoolhouse Magazine:

a plan

Perhaps it is a little far-fetched that God is using social media to encourage me.  It is entirely possible that I am reading too much into simple pictures randomly posted on Facebook.  However I am choosing to believe that random posts can be messages from above in direct response to my fitful prayers brought on during moments of sleeplessness.

I serve a loving God who cares about me.  He cares about each and every one of his children.  Nothing is too vast or great for him.  He is the Almighty God that created the universe and you and me.  And he cares.

He  may not have given me specific directions for how to fix my work situation, but He is with me. I don’t know what God has planned for me down the road, but I do know that He will lead me to the doors that He will be holding open specifically for me.

God has an ultimate plan for my life, and he is holding me in the palm of his hand.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24, NRSV)