I joined Weight Watcher's last week and the gym two weeks ago. I had reached and surpassed a number on the scale I said I never would. My joints, all of them, hurt. It winded me to go up a flight of steps. I was starting to see a third chin. I couldn't rise gracefully from a sofa or chair, I didn't want to be in any pictures, felt huge and yet invisible in public, as if only the thin and beautiful were being sought out for conversation. I was saying no to a lot of social activities and yes to a lot of sitting on my derriere, hiding. I began to feel, as I felt toward overweight women when I was young, that I had no right to speak about spiritual disciplines when I obviously had no physical ones.
In short, my identity had become my size, and my appetite for food had long since spiraled out of control. I even got to believing the lie that my weight problem was out of God's control.
Then came Lauren. She is a single girl in our care group who battled in the same areas. In fact, so do all but one woman in our little huddle. The difference with Lauren is that I could see her literally walking in repentance. Mile after mile, day after day, she was at the gym. Every time we gathered as a care group, there were sweets. Like the Babdists say, Where two or three are gathered in My name, there is food in the midst of them. The rest of us cowered to chocolate cake, banana nut bread, and assorted cookies. Lauren always said no. ("No thanks," I mean, ever so politely and simply. Not a finger wagging, self-seeking, "Oh, no, not me. I can't imagine all the fat grams and calories and how hard I had to work to get this far this week." Simply (to my ears it was simply) a "no thanks."
Then came Karen. She joined Weight Watchers and encouraged me to join her. I needed the accountability , to plunk down money, to see a scale, to get encouragement and education, to find out how other people are doing little things to make big changes.
Joining the gym was a harder decision. Paul and the kids went, but not me. I thought it would be a pick-up place, and I wasn't there to pick or be picked. I am a married woman with a big fat butt. I didn't want to be surrounded by "collegers" shaking their bitty booties. My kids wouldn't let me off the hook. "We'll go, Mom. You'll see it's not like that. " But I said no. Time and again. Finally one night my two olders went to the gym and scoped it out. When they got home, Sarah said, "Mom, you don't have a thing to worry about. There's a lot of fat butts over there." To which Ben added, "Old fat butts."
Believe it or not, that was the turningpoint. God used my kids' so-called encouragement to get me off my old, fat butt and into the gym.
Over the past week I have said no to Dunkin Donuts, extra mashed potatoes, fruit juice, cream in my coffee, and other staples from my soon-to-be-former diet. I can have them, but so far they still prove my chief weaknesses. All things are lawful, but not all are expedient, writes Paul the Apostle. I have also said yes to the treadmill and bike at the gym, yes to sticking with it each time for at least 30 minutes or 100 calories.
But the key has been saying yes and no from a position on my knees. This is too hard on my own. I am not a "runner's high" seeker. I have no ambitions to be a model or even an aerobics instructor like my sister. Every "yes" to good choices and every "no" to bad (or not so good) choices has been after putting on the whole armor of God. Battling my thoughts. Asking God to be my comfort when I'm sad or lonely, my refuge when I'm afraid, my Hope in despondence, my Victor in the battle against food and laziness. He has proven Himself able--more than able--to help me drive past (not through) fast food places, to move for ten minutes and 20 when I'd rather nap, to satisfy my longings for conversation with His Word which is speaking to me daily!
And He gave me a visible result on the scale: 5.8 pounds my first week, looser skirts, thinner ankles, an ability to walk up stairs without heavy breathing, and people in my path to show me what "walking in repentance" looks like physically. To Him be the glory! He is--He IS-- in control of my weight loss, one thought at a time.