This journey into weight loss and health has been hard - so worth it, but hard. When I was younger, I thought I could will the extra weight off. I could desire it enough to make it happen. Not so. No matter how badly I wanted it, I just couldn’t make it happen. By the time I was 27 - I was 303.3 pounds. That’s the first time, after seeing a picture of myself that my 4-year-old took of me, that I started fighting this and asked God to help me. I had no idea what I was asking for at the time or where my journey would take me but I’m so thankful for that day when I saw that picture. I’m so thankful our sweet baby girl loved to grab the camera. I cried when I saw the picture. I had sent the photos in to our 1 hour developer from a little trip the 3 of us had gone on and I was overjoyed to get the pictures back. Being a photographer now, I always loved photos and couldn’t have enough of them. BUT when I got to that shot of me at a pay phone that our Emma had taken while sitting in the front seat of the truck and watching me talk to my Momma on the phone, well… I was in shock. I literally burst into tears. I was so ashamed. I had no idea I’d gotten that big. I had quit looking at myself even in mirrors by then except to brush my hair. It made me go find a scale. I was devastated and truly destroyed when I saw those numbers. But being destroyed means you can start over. You can build “up” from the ground. And that day I reached out to God and I’ve been reaching ever since. He picked me up from the devastation and said, “Child, I have a plan to build you up and not destroy you. You are worth being loved even though you don’t think so. I will change this for you. Just love Me back. I’ll help you. I’ll show you how. Just trust me.” And so I did. Mess up after mess up.. I did though. I couldn’t get it all right no matter what. I still can’t. But I’ve loved Him ever since. And He’s loved me way more and shown that over and over. And I try like no bodies business.
I’m a stubborn girl. I don’t feel like I am in my everyday life. I would argue that I’m not lol. But God shows us, when we are willing to be shown, what our hearts really are and what our faults really are and I am totally a creature of habit. Habit makes me feel comfortable. I don’t have to fear. I use to stay in the same rhythm and not shake things up too much. It’s comfortable to not have too many surprises. That’s why so much of this was so hard. Retraining my mind and heart to long for God’s ways was a gift but a real challenge. I had to want Him more than I wanted my own self. He had to grow that desire in me just like a mustard seed. It started small as I reached for Him. I can only see that now in retrospect and I can only imagine where He’s taking me because my desire for Him feels huge now - but we always grow. He’s not done with me yet. And… God didn’t hand any of this to me though He empowered me as He saw fit. He wanted me to reach and stretch for it. He teaches me things constantly and changes me in the groaning and pains as well as the joys I believe and He’s changed me in hundreds of ways since then by making me go through the hard stuff too. The hardest thing was changing that I put comfort in food above God and my health over and over. I didn’t know how to lean on Him. I would stay with it long enough to lose a little but always gained again when I returned to eating what my body wanted. Twice I lost 100 pounds by low carbing. 100 pounds to the ounce in fact. But both times I gained it all back to the ounce. Crazy and profound.
Dieting wasn’t what was going to work for me. I leaned on food like I should have been leaning on God. But as I prayed and read His Word and grew over the years He gave me what I was willing to reach for and I finally - in the last year -got to a place I was willing to sacrifice. This last time I started realizing I was closing in on 300 again. I was right at 297 or so and I knew in a week. I would hit that 303.3 again for the third time. I was so fed up with ME. I realized I wasn’t fighting the world. I was trying to fight me. I put the brakes on. I slammed myself across our bed and cried like I had never cried over my weight. I was looking through my closet for an outfit and just lost it. I threw a serious fit y’all. Temper tantrum like no one’s business and the whole time I was telling God how fed up I was … how destroyed I was… how crushed and heartbroken I was. And He listened to it all. Comforted me but allowed me to get all that pain out and then seriously - I heard Him speak. My heart heard Him. My spirit. I heard… “Eat what I’ve given you.”
And that changed everything.
I realized I had to change what I was eating; not how much I was eating. It was the actual food that I was taking in that was hurting me - not how much of it I was consuming. I could eat a bowl of veggies or fruit and take in 200 calories or I could eat the same size and amount in a burger from McDonald's and take in 1,200 calories. No joke. It wasn’t the volume, it was the amount…it was the food choice… what it was made of. The processed food was killing me and it showed by the size of my body and the pain that had started in my legs and knees at the age of 27. Once I hit about 290lbs my legs had started aching like a truck hit them if I stood for very long and I was always extremely active so many times I was on my legs all day long. I cried several times at the end of the day because my legs ached so bad in bed at night. I knew with that answer from God during my fit throwing - that it was the food and I had to cut the bad stuff out. The light bulb finally came on. I was ready for it. God had stirred the truth inside me and I was ready to reach for more.
The Bad stuff had to go. Bad stuff - meaning processed foods instead of God made foods... the foods of the earth that He created for us to eat were what my body needed to physically heal. And my body needed to heal. Being overweight is a symptom of not being as healthy as we can be. I needed healing from that. I prayed He’d help me and that He’d heal me. I didn’t crave good food back then. I didn’t crave His food back then. I craved bread and pasta and cereal and spaghetti and pizza and burgers and granola bars all the time. ALL. THE. TIME. My body didn’t know what vegetables even were really. I wouldn’t have touched a pea or green bean if you’d paid me. They made me gag. For real.
I had no idea that veggies where needed to keep all the things in our body on track or that they tasted good for that matter because they didn’t way back then. I had to be taught. That’s one of the many reasons why I say all the time, “I’m not who I use to be!” He’s truly changed me. I love veggies today. LOVE THEM. Now that’s a gift. Those foods taste good to me today. I’m still in shock when I look back and so thankful! But before - well… I just had no desire because I had no discipline. I hadn’t taught myself to love them. I didn’t begin to know how. I hadn’t trained. I was out of control. I hadn’t sacrificed.
An Olympic athlete doesn’t happen overnight does he or she? No. And this wasn’t going to happen overnight for me either. I had to accept that. And I did. I realized this was a journey and God was leading the way. And I was all in. I wanted the change and He’d provide it but I had to do the muscle work and He strengthened me to do so. I started really listening to what God was saying instead of just begging Him to help me like I had in the past. I reminded myself about the words that I heard Him say that day and even wrote it down. As I read my bible, and read articles in the world - I started connecting the dots. I started learning what food does in our body and how our bodies run. Even when I messed up and ate from the King’s Table (a term I found in the Bible, which means all the wonderful sugar and meat and fat and cakes and great foods that a King would offer out of His abundance at banquets for his guests) I would remind myself what God had spoken to my heart. Sometimes through tears and sometimes through determination I turned to Him. I was reminded over and over that He was our God and He supplied our food from day one. I remembered what I’d written down from my temper tantrum moment in prayer on our bed face down sobbing and screaming to God about being sick of myself and this weight and the battle. I pulled that paper out over and over and read every bit of it again and again. Sometimes while still chewing the pie or eating the Zero candy bar. Not kidding friends. Over time, I killed those demons though. I killed that voice, or rather God killed that voice, by helping me obey and the more I obeyed, the more He strengthened me to reach for His path instead of my own. Over time, I felt a commitment to making this happen like I never had felt before. Today I feel convicted where once I only wished.
And I love Him. I can’t imagine the pain and heartache if I gave all I had for good and love to my child and they threw it to the side to love a lie and things that would hurt them over time instead. I came to realize that was what I’d been doing my whole adult life and my spirit was moved. My body wasn’t on board but my heart was and I begged God in those beginnings over and over to help me pick the fruit or veggie over the fast food or poor food choices. Sometimes, more than not, I did. He strengthened me. More and more of my choices were choices I could take before Him in this last year and know that He was proud and that He was giving me victory over myself. He’s already won this battle. It’s true. He’s a God that is in this moment but He’s already in the Future as well. He knows the ending to my story. He knows He’s using it all to His glory, even my struggles and the muddy moments when I failed. Once I believed that and knew it and once I understood that I was His and that He loved me… well… I knew that I was going to lose weight and win this fight finally. It was going to happen. I knew that one day I would stand before you all having defeated this and all the extra weight would be gone and I would finally see who God created me to be on this world before I ran to other Gods, before I hid behind the good feeling of being so stuffed I couldn’t feel the pain. And for the first time in my life I could see the victory. For real. I was never good at seeing my future. They would tell you that you could attain it if you could dream it and envision it all but but my dreamer was broken. I could not picture what was to come at all. I hoped great things but I couldn’t see any of them. I was floating just waiting for it all to happen I guess. At least until this moment when I understood no matter what I’d done wrong Jesus loved me. Grace entered in and I could see my victory. I knew God was going to make this happen and He was going to use it to let others know they weren’t alone and to not give up the fight. I didn’t know how but I knew it was going to happen. I trusted Him finally with more than my salvation.
God helped me conquer one by one the temptations that come up. I don’t crave brownies. I don’t crave pasta or bread. This is one of the most amazing statements I’ve ever said in my life. Truly. I was the biggest bread junkie ever maybe. I could eat a French loaf in one sitting, a whole box of cereal in one sitting as well. Not even kidding. God broke every single one of those strong holds. Praise His Holy Name! Over time God changed my diet and my taste buds. He made me crave His goodness instead of junk. I love these foods now. I’m still a volume eater but I eat good stuff and good stuff is changing my body. Period. I still have moments of weakness, but rarer and rarer. Now It’s not the food that I’m addicted too. He’s healed me of my food addiction. He truly has. Now we are at the root of the problem in this battle. Now He’s healing why I would lean on food instead of Him but look how long it took me to get there. Look how long it took me to be real about it to myself and really want it. Years and years before I was ready to face it and own up to it. And God waited with me and held my hand and wiped my tears and never gave up on me. He still just keeps leading me along still waters…
For the first time - I can say this. And it’s really hard to write it. I didn’t know this while I was living it though. I can only recognize it now that God’s healed some things and has grown me past where I was. BUT I think I just wanted to be invisible. I liked that the food numbed me and I didn’t have to face my failings or my heartaches. I didn’t think I was worth anything back then at all. I took all the negative things I’d heard about myself over the years, I took all the horrible things that people – so called friends, boyfriends, so called family, etc… that they had said or done to me or I’d done to myself and believed I was those horrible things. I acted like I didn’t when I was going through the motions trying to hold on to some form of myself but inside myself deep down where we don’t share everything … well… I believed I was a failure. I truly did. I couldn’t stick with even losing weight I’d tell myself. That was my proof.
How many times was I called a fat ass or a whale? So many I could never in a million years guess the number. I didn’t know my worth was in Jesus and I chose to believe the lies. I’d heard I was a bitch, a whore, a fat disgusting slob and that I was pathetic so many times that it finally just sunk in that if no one thought much of me and that I wasn’t worth much and that no body (except my Momma) loved me or liked me much. I finally just believed it. I didn’t want to be seen. I just wanted to do my own thing. My heart craved to be loved but my mind wanted to hide and not feel the pain of all the rejections in my life, whether physical or implied by hateful fights and heartaches.
Oh, I always longed to do greatness, to do things that mattered and that would help the world be better but I didn’t have a groove or direction and I didn’t even know how to help myself. I worked hard on whatever project I got behind and always stayed busy but never ever any self-worth until I trusted that Jesus loved me. Being very heavy, maybe folks saw me, but I felt invisible and wanted to be. I believed I didn’t count and so in my mind, I didn’t count. I felt hidden. I only know that in looking back. I didn’t realize in my life how much I hid from putting myself out there. I didn’t want to fail one more time. Ever. Over and over I would hide from people’s opinions because I didn’t want to face that they didn’t like me. I stayed in my own trusted bubble of people and changed nothing as 1 by 1 they mostly left me over the years. I didn’t reach out to other people because I didn’t want the heartache of losing them as well. I stayed in the same place just never wanting to be seen. I didn’t give other folks a chance to get close to me because I was afraid and I hid behind self-medicating with food instead of just dealing with it all. It was easier to sit on the couch and eat the bag of McDonalds than doing anything to change the events going on in my life. And that is where God reached out to me that day on the bed when I sobbed like I was dyeing and begged Him to change me and to heal me. I stepped over fear with His help.
I’m not going back.
I’m not afraid to be seen any more.
Most of the time. lol
God keeps healing me on that as well.
This time I was willing to change. This time I was willing to sacrifice. This time I was willing to mess up and climb back on the horse and keep going when I fell off – not use it as an excuse to wallow in the mud for a while. This time I was willing to fight for it with God leading the way and believe He had the best in mind and that my choices mattered.
And the weight is coming off again.
From 303.3 lbs originally to 249.2 this morning on my scale.
I’ve lost a small person lol. 53lbs.
This is only the beginning. God’s got so much more for us, for me.
I thought I’d start at the beginning for histories sake.
I fancy myself as quite the historian in our little bubble = )
I love you guys. He loves you more. – Shannon Edwards
Just a little Salt and Light in the World = )