I’ve always battled with my weight. I was never a really fat kid, but I was easily swayed by the message that our bodies had to be absolutely rock hard. I remember being in 6th grade and my friend Caitlin pointed out our fat rolls when we sat. That was the first time I wished I didn’t have any, not realizing that everyone has some version of it. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I was playing softball, cheerleading, and I was a size 10. I was a hundred and forty pounds. Sophomore year I was on Metabolife that my grandmother would buy for me and not eating carbs. I was the largest cheerleader on the squad. I graduated high school a size 12.
In college I got down to a size 8 for one whole month due to the fact that I was just too busy to eat. I would spend all day living off of peanut butter crackers and one meal a day. Then I met Todd, and I’ve always gained weight when I was happy, so I went back to the size 12 I had always been. Fast forward another 12 years, two babies, and a lot of changes later and I’m 40 lbs heavier than I was when I was when I got married, and another 10-20 from my 15 year old weight.
I’ve spent many years only losing weight when I got fed up with myself and would mentally punish and shame myself into not eating certain foods. I would tell myself that if I wanted to be skinny I had to stop it and not eat that stuff. When I felt good about myself, I would eat whatever I wanted. I would indulge. I would also indulge when things were really hard.
In the last several years, I have been learning to be better to myself. I’m learning that I used this behavior cycle of mentally willing to be better and then shaming myself when I fell short of the high marks I set for myself. I thought I was doing it right, because it was no different than what I saw on TV, or even in my friends and families’ lives. Everywhere around me I saw women I loved telling me and themselves that they were fat and lazy and just needed to do something. I would look at them and I would see these beautiful women, most of them smaller than me, punishing themselves in their words and thoughts. Never content, never enough.
What I’m seeing today is that we are believing lies. The lie that there is a standard quantitative weight or size we must be at to be “normal.” The lie that our identity and worth as a woman lies in what we can produce, whether that is on a scale or in our homes or our jobs. We believe the lie that when we fall short, we are worthy of the punishment we give ourselves. Our identity was never meant to be found in anything we can manufacture on our own.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Corinthians 4:7
I always associated 1 Corinthians 6 with passages on sexual immorality and purity, but there is more to it than that. If you are a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ, you are a vessel for the Holy Spirit. We are the jars of clay, with our temporary bodies that are meant to hold the greatest treasure in the whole world. Some of us may look like a Waterford vase, and some of us may feel like something my 6 year old made out of Playdoh, but we are all designed for the same purpose. To live a life for Him and to share this treasure we hold for as long as we draw a breath.
I move my body every day. I exercise. I’m strong. I hold my children in my arms and I carried them far longer than 9 months. I eat well but I need to do better. The point is, I’ve been punishing myself because of a size and a number, when I’m healthy and I use my body to do good things. I’ve got to trust Him to do a good work in me, and to release my struggle to Him.
As for me, I’m going to do my best to be okay with where I am, just as I am. When my identity is in God and not a number on the scale, I am free. I am happy. I am loved not because of what I can do or produce, but for me.
If you struggle with this, know that you’re not alone and you are not a number on a scale. You are so much more than you know.