I’m finding the thing people struggle with most when deciding to hop off the diet wagon is the initial weight gain. Why would this bother people? Well, that’s easy. Just turn on your television, stand in the check-out aisle at the grocery store, turn on your radio… or hey, just go anywhere there are other people. We are bombarded with the message that “America is Fat and cannot be trusted to feed themselves properly… soooo, here’s an herbal supplement, an exercise machine, a ‘nutrition plan’, an energy drink, a prescription, a power food, a fitness log… oh wait, there’s an app for that.”
Now, I’m not saying America isn’t overweight, I’m saying she’s made that way by the quest for skinny. With more studies, information, and diet plans available, we’re getting larger because we’re fed two very distinct lines… “you aren’t thin enough” and “you must do something to fix it.” I bought into both of those mindsets beginning at age 12. Should a 12 year old be worried about her weight? No. Each generation seems to become more and more obsessed with size, and in case you haven’t noticed, our average 12 year olds are larger than they were 30 years ago. I’m not discounting that the food choices play a role in our health. Lord knows I’ve talked about that a great deal out here. I’m addressing something else though. I had fast food growing up, but I wasn’t overweight. Until someone made me painfully aware of “size”, I didn’t think about food except when I was eating it or when I was actually hungry.
Suddenly, food was the enemy and avoiding it was the solution. I got better and better at eating less. Thin got me attention, and I liked it. I feared being fat. You see, I associated certain sizes with happiness. It would stand to reason that if “being thin feels better than anything tastes”, wouldn’t everyone choose “thin”? We’re sold this line that if we’re a certain size (who knows what that size really is) then we’ll be happy, life will be more fun, we can “really live”. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s a lie. No, it’s not just a lie, it’s a trap.
See, I’ve been every size from 4 to 22, and those aren’t including pregnant sizes (Lord, have mercy). Yes, some of you are thinking, “I’d kill to be a size 4”, well, I was definitely killing myself to be a size 4. Maybe you’re thinking you wish you were a 22, that’s fair too. One thing I discovered though, I’ve never been content with my size since the age of 12. Never. Oh sure, after I’d lose weight, I’d “feel good” for a few days till the feeling wore off (or till the period showed up), and then I’d start thinking about how I could lose some more. The jiggly bits would get to me and I’d take up an exercise plan to “firm up”. Or I’d try to “eat clean” (whatever that is) to shed more fat.
After all the time, money, energy, I spent on this, to discover that you’re chasing a mirage is frustrating. It was a lie that kept me searching for the magic number that changes from day to day. If I could be so discontent with my body at any size, surely I can be content (if I choose to be) at any size. So, that’s part of my mission. It isn’t about giving up on being healthy. It’s about accepting this body right where it is. When a sinner comes to Christ, Jesus doesn’t tell him to clean up his life before he’s offered grace. No, grace is given, and if received, that person is redeemed. The “cleaning up” comes after he’s accepted. Christ opens His arms to us right where we are. Surely, I can extend my body a bit of grace. Afterall, it’s the only body I’ve got, so I’d better start choosing contentment before I spend my whole life chasing after an illusion.