For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a weight loss goal. It was as natural to me as breathing—I was trying to lose weight. It felt almost like a righteous thing in the beginning—I was focused on changing my relationship with food (e.g., not overeating, relying on food emotionally, using food as my god). Those goals appeared to also be in alignment with a weight loss attempt. At least in my mind. For those who don’t know my story, I’ve been working on or thinking about working on my weight for most of my entire adult life. For so long (literally—I have YEARS of blog entries to prove it). It has literally taken up significant space in my mind and life.
For my most recent weight loss attempt (2019, after I had my second baby), I started seeing less progress on the scale. I had gained 50 lbs. with my pregnancy. I began working on losing the baby weight about 2 months after my son was born. Though most of it was gone, I still had about 20 lbs. to lose. I started working. I found an accountability partner and worked on doing all the things I had learned to do. By January 2021, about 15 months after I had given birth, I had lost 13 lbs. I was 7 lbs over where I started, and more than 40 lbs. heavier than I had been when I was the “skinniest” I had ever been. It was hard to not think there was more work to do.
For some reason, though, I just could not get back to my previous weight(s). It was not because I wasn’t trying. I had started seeing a nutritionist, and she had given me guidance. However, her path involved more restrictive-eating behavior (e.g., lowering carb intake). Eating that way eventually felt too restrictive (that had never been how I lost weight before). I had learned to eat intuitively, and I liked that better. Eventually, I just accepted that I was unwilling to make those cuts.
Though I was seeing less progress via the scale, I was growing. For the first time, I was exercising daily. I also was seeing great improvement in my nutrition; I finally understood the purpose of the macronutrients and was not working to incorporate them with more variety into my meals. In 2021, I realized my true goals have always been about the way I care for my body, and how I nourish it. I vowed that no matter what happened with my weight, I would still do the things that I know help my body best at its best.
For the next several years, although I made that “vow,” weight loss was always in my mind. I really tried. But 2-3 years later, no matter what I would do, I found myself in the same general range. I started to wonder if my body was content at where I was. Indeed, what I called a plateau, was really the achievement of what my body would deem as “enough.” I started to wonder whether I needed to rest.
I continued to exercise, eat well, and nourish my mind and body. I was feeling great. A marker of my health is often my menstrual cycle; For example, in the past with my PCOS, if my periods became irregular, I knew I was carrying too much weight. Well, my cycle was back, and was coming regularly. I also had checked my A1c values—another marker of whether I was carrying too much weight. However, my A1c values were now normal, and I was no longer pre-diabetic. I even started lifting weights and working on my core—something I had never been able to do when I was younger and thinner but needed to do because of my back. I had achieved my goal.
Indeed, I always said it was about my “health.” But now that my health was good, I still could not shake my desire to well…be skinnier. I had to confront my truth: The smaller version of me is the better version. Oddly enough, the smaller version of me was also the laziest. She was skinnier for sure, but she was not exercising regularly when she was in that body, and her nutrition was far from exemplary. She was just smaller. Which version, then, was the healthier one?
It was at this moment that I began to confront some lies and poke holes in my narrative. Was this ever a health journey? Or was it a pursuit to be skinny, with some health goals achieved along the way?
I had to reflect on that one.
I remember when I started this journey. All I wanted to be was thin. Thin, thin, thin. But God always wanted more for his daughter. He never promised me that he was taking me to that destination, but that I would be whole and free at the end.
I want to think I’m at the end of this journey, but I know there is more.
You see that now I’m in a larger than I would like version, I have to now confront the body image issues that are there. I guess I’m going on another journey.
I just know now that my focus on weight loss will not be at the center. It really was never the point. I still will pursue my health behaviors, however. I now have a routine: I wake, spend time with God, workout for 20-30 minutes, and go and eat as healthy as I can, making sure to give my body what it needs before I give it what I want. I have boundaries around certain foods (I’ve learned it is better that way) and let that be it. No obsession, no stress, and a release to focus on the pursuit of some things that matter more in this season (e.g., loving and serving my family and others, achieving my purpose).
Thanks be unto God.
God has definitely used my desire to lose weight to push me toward better health.
What a beautiful journey this is and continues to be. Thank you, Lord.