Thursday, January 31, 2013
This morning, Dave said something to me that made me feel like I might have to take off flying myself. Before I left for work, he wrapped his arms around me and we shared a lingering hug. While he was holding me Dave said, "You're getting smaller!" It was music to my ears. He could actually feel that there was less of me to hug. While I am keenly aware of how much further I have to go to achieve my ultimate goal, this was definitely a reward for what I've accomplished so far.
In far too many ways, my weight (or how I felt about my weight) has impacted our marriage in negative ways. The truth is, I've allowed it to impact all my relationships. The bigger I grew, the more inhibited I became. The heavier I got, the more I wished to be invisible. I didn't want to be seen, because people would know I was weak, I was a failure, I was a substandard person. People would know how far I had fallen into a pit from which I desperately wanted out, but believed I couldn't escape. I felt ashamed. Embarrassed. With strangers and acquaintances I used self-deprecating humor with abandon. If I made fun of myself first, others wouldn't have a chance to. How can you hurt me when I've already hurt myself? What I didn't realize was that I was reinforcing a self-fulfilling prophecy, rather than extending the compassion and kindness I would have given to anyone else. I believed I didn't deserve it because I had done this to myself. Being fat was no one's fault but my own.
Though Dave sheepishly broached the subject of my weight a handful of times over the years, I knew he wasn't bringing it up to shame or reproach me. He was concerned for my health and he knew I would feel and look better if I would lose the weight. And bless his heart, I didn't always respond well. It was like poking a fresh bruise; what hurt already, now hurt even more. To his credit, he never told me I wasn't attractive to him. He has told me often over the years that he thinks I'm beautiful and sexy. More often than not, I couldn't believe him. How can he think I'm beautiful when I can't stand to look at myself in the mirror? I never thought he was lying, but I did wonder when the blinders would come off of his eyes and he would see me as I saw myself. Thank God in Heaven, that has never happened!
Once upon a time, more than 30 years ago, I lost a little over 30 pounds to reach what would have been an ideal weight for my body. I felt incredible. It was surreal. I bought clothes off the rack at stores where thin people shopped. When I laid on my back, I could feel my hip bones! I remember how it felt to live in that size body, and it was nothing short of miraculous. But I never learned how to see myself as a normal weight person. The fat me was hiding under the surface of my new, attractive self. I received countless compliments about my appearance. I even received some uninvited (innocent) flirtation from a coworker at the time. This was a guy I enjoyed working with. He was handsome and funny and genuinely nice. But because I never (NEVER) thought a man would find me attractive, I was unprepared for his attention. I literally panicked. I didn't know what to do, so I just kind of shut down for a day or two and avoided him like the plague.
My weight began to climb. Slowly at first, then more and more, until I was back to my original weight. And from there, the pounds continued to accumulate over the years. I was burying myself in protective layers of flab. Little by little I grew heavier, until I became hopeless. I wondered if I'd ever be able to lose again. I'd try this and that, lose a few pounds only to gain them back and more besides.
So, you might ask (as do the voices in my head), what makes you think this time will be different? Honestly, I have no guarantee this time will be any different. But I do have hope, the very thing that's been lacking for so long. And I'm employing some tools I haven't used in the past. This blog for one. I'm forcing myself to be accountable to the millions (perhaps one day) of you who read my posts. I'm also not trying to do this on my own. I am relying on the grace of God every day to do what I need to do. I'm tracking what I eat. I exceed the caloric limit loseit.com sets for me most days, but I'm still consuming far fewer calories than I was before.
There are 2 new tactics that I believe will be critical to my ultimate success. Number 1: I'm speaking faith over myself. Many might think that Oprah and her contemporaries came up with the idea of speaking and believing things into existence in your life, but the Bible beat them to it. One key verse is found in Proverbs 18:21. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. I can speak death over myself, which is what I've done for most of my life. Or I can speak life. I choose life. So I'm saying that my metabolism is increasing; that extra weight and extra fat melt off my body like butter melts off a hot knife; that I look good, I feel good, and I weigh no more than 135 pounds.
The second thing is this: I'm using my imagination to see myself the way I want to look. I'm looking at the kinds of clothes I want to wear. I'm picturing myself sitting cross-legged on the floor. I'm seeing myself climbing into a kayak and paddling peacefully along with my husband. I imagine running and playing with my grandsons. I see myself as a confident, healthy, fit woman. For too many years I could only see myself heavy, sedentary, sad, and hopeless. And the truth is, we become what we behold. I became the version of me I saw on the inside. In order for me to be successful, it is essential for me to change the image of myself I see when I close my eyes.
I have no guarantee that I'll reach my goal. I have no guarantee I'll wake up in the morning, either. But that doesn't stop me from going to sleep at night in anticipation of a new day. I'm endeavoring to do the best I can for my body, my life, for me, and for those I love, today. I'll go to sleep tonight with my eye on the prize, and plan to wake up tomorrow and continue the process. I'll forgo the guarantee in favor of hope. It's a precious, priceless commodity, and it's getting stronger in me.
Until Rudolph understood that Clarice saw him, red nose and all, and accepted him, he saw himself as flawed. Her acceptance and love helped him to see past his imperfection and gave him the confidence to become who he was meant to be. If I have the love and admiration of a wonderful man, and the love and acceptance of God, I can surely learn to see beyond my faults and become the woman I was destined to be.
Until next time . . .