My Struggle With Weight
I want to share something with you all. And for me, it’s going to be really, really hard! I want to share because I want you to know that God is merciful. He forgives, and He loves.
So many women struggle with weight. You read about it, you hear about it, you see it and I don’t know about you, but we seem to grow up surrounded by it.
I am no exception!
From the beginning of my teen years, weight started to be an issue for me. Comments from others etc. made me really start to scrutinize my body. It was in those years of ages 13-14 – when a girls body starts to add padding here and there – that I really did start to struggle with weight.
Food was a big thing. I loved the stuff. But it went out of control. It was like my body couldn’t figure out the ‘turn-off’ switch – I’d be full, but I couldn’t control it, I ‘needed’ more. So I wouldn’t just stop at one or two muffins, I’d eat as many as I could. I didn’t enjoy it. It was this inner ‘need’ I was trying to satisfy.
There are some people who don’t understand this about an eating disorder. They think that instead of eating so much, you just need some more ‘self-control’. But food can be like a drug. It’s addictive: “…people with addictive eating behaviors “appear to have greater neural activity in regions of the brain that are associated with substance dependence, including elevated activation of reward circuitry in response to food cues, and reduced activation of inhibitory regions in response to food intake.” and “”Food and drug use both result in dopamine release in mesolimbic regions [of the brain] and the degree of release correlates with subjective reward from both food and drug use”" Food Addictions Scientifically Similar to Drug Addictions
If you eat excessively, your body can’t think properly. You enjoy eating the food – it’s a pleasurable experience (serotonin is released when we eat). But the after effects are a detriment to our health, mind, body, relationships with people, and relationship with God. I know for me, this was the case. And I would over-eat uncontrollably (I literally lost the ability for my body to register that I was full), be ‘mind-numbed’, and then feel so down about my body image and insecurities that I would eat again to block the feelings out. It’s a stupid cycle when you look at it – no logic at all – but that’s addiction.
So, in my teen years, I got to researching. I tried every diet that I could find. I read up as much as I could. I exercised until I was exhausted. And when I would lose weight, people noticed. And complimented. I was hooked – again. But this time to losing weight. It didn’t fix my problem, only swapped over to another. I lost so much weight. I stopped getting my period, I exercised up to 2-hours + a day and ate very little. I was on a high. But I still wasn’t satisfied.
When I went to college in my late teens, I really struggled. I was still so very insecure. My family lived in a different state. I didn’t have any close friends at the time, and my body image hadn’t changed. I ‘needed’ acceptance. And I wasn’t finding it in college. So, once again, my addiction switched. I turned to food for comfort. I would still exercise – just not as much – and I ate.
During all of this time, God was calling me. I know. I ignored it then, but I can see it now. He would put lovely people in my path. He would encourage in so many ways. Some weeks would be fine – but if my insecurities were battered, and I felt worthless, my self would rule. I have so much regret for it now, but my addiction would get out of control.
Being a poor uni student I didn’t always have the food to satisfy my addiction. So I would try my best to hide it and would eat food that wasn’t mine (yes, I would steal). Be it from friends, or communal kitchens. I would eat food until it physically hurt. It was hard, I hated myself. I hated what I did. It hurts me so much to be honest about it right now, and I am so sorry to all those people I may have hurt during those years. And yet, God loved me then. As worthless and wretched a person I was. He loved me. It’s hard for me to comprehend why. But He did.
When I was at my lowest points, I would cry out to God. I wanted Him to change me, I wanted to be a better person. I wanted to be His. I prayed so hard. But it felt like I was in a vicious cycle. It wouldn’t take much for me to lose my hold on God and do the wrong thing again. I love the verse that says “For a just man falls seven times, and rises up again” (Proverbs 24:16). Because that was me. I would fall…over and over and over again, but keep crying out to God to save me. And I thank Him SO much now that He did.
In the midst of my food addiction, God brought so much encouragement to me in the form of nature, gifts, and little blessings. And He also brought beautiful people into my life. Friends that I still hold close to my heart today. They loved me, and they accepted me. Not for what I looked like, but because I was a person – and a child of God.
And while I was floundering in one of the hardest times of my life so far, God brought along the man I was to marry. And the man that I married loved me when I was at what I consider to be my ‘physical’ worst. He thought I was beautiful. And through him, I was able to see God’s love. If the man I married could love me at one of my lowest points, I had no doubt he could love me for what I truly wanted to be. And I truly wanted to be a healthy, vibrant woman who loved life and who wanted to live virtuously.
God knows the desires of our heart. I’ve always kind of thought that if He knows my heart’s desires, then all I need to do is claim that promise, and He’ll give them to me. And I’ve found that He does. But not always when we want. Because when we think is best, isn’t necessarily best.
Today, I no longer struggle with an over-eating addiction. Not even a bit. I still love food, but I love health more. I still have insecurities. Lots of them. But God is bigger then that. I have to make a point of not watching, reading, or allowing anything into my mind to encourage my insecurities. Because they are lies. God made all of us in His image – what’s insecure about that!? Make a point to only fill your mind with good, holy and pure things – like the Bible says: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8). Whenever anything ‘unlovely’ comes into my thoughts – I have to reject it. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
As hard and shameful that it is for me to share this part of my life, I really felt a burden on my heart to share it with you. And it brings tears to my eyes as I write, but I want to encourage you. I don’t know what you struggle with, but do not lose heart: “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. ” (Philippians 3:14). If you set the prize of the high calling of God as your very first work each day – you can “[Be] confident of this very thing, that he who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” (Philippians 1:6).
No matter what happens in your life, ALWAYS come back to God. He will be faithful to you, and complete the good work that has been started in you until He comes back to take us home. Oh, what a day that will be!