When a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Feelings

On Tuesday night I received the link to the family pictures we had taken a couple of weeks ago. These were our first professional pictures since we became a family of four, and I couldn’t wait to see them. I scrolled through sweet pictures of my two girls, but then I got to pictures with all four of us, and my heart dropped. I could not believe how HUGE I looked in the pictures. It’s ridiculous that I was blindsided by this because I own a scale and have been on it recently, so it’s not as though I was unaware of how much I weigh or what size clothing I currently wear. I think in my mind I was still picturing myself at a lower weight, but pictures don’t lie. Seeing these pictures woke me up to the fact that I have allowed myself to reach a weight I never thought I would see again. I’m currently the heaviest I’ve been in nine years, and that is a tough truth to acknowledge. I love the pictures of my sweet family, but I can’t help but wish that I looked a lot thinner.

Mount 7 (Sans Tissue)

I know I had a baby two months ago, but even before I got pregnant I was heavier than I wanted to be and yet doing little about it. I used the pain in my hips and the depression that accompanied that pain as an excuse to eat poorly and not exercise. Instead, I fed my sadness and hopelessness with food. I knew what I was doing, I saw the number on the scale gradually go up, and yet it was hard to stop. After I got pregnant with Ava, I let pregnancy be my excuse for eating sweets more often and generally being a lazy bum. I told myself that after I had Ava I would get serious about losing weight. If I lost the weight before, there is no reason I can’t lose it again, and yet I look at pictures of me when I was at my lowest weight and feel like I don’t even know who that person is anymore.

So here I find myself, completely overwhelmed by how much weight I have to lose and disgusted with how I look, but have I done anything about it? Not yet. I keep telling myself that something has to change, and then I keep on doing the same things that got me where I am today and then feel sad that I’m this fat.

However, moping about my weight isn’t going to make me thinner. Moping about my weight isn’t going to make my clothes fit better. Moping about my weight isn’t going to make me pick healthier foods. Moping isn’t going to change anything, except maybe to make me feel even worse about myself. Dwelling on the past has rarely served me well. Instead, I want to dwell on this fact: God doesn’t want me to be skinny as much as He wants me to be holy. I have to stop being so self-absorbed and remember the truth of the gospel: I am approved before God because of the work of Jesus on my behalf. How I look has absolutely nothing to do with God’s love and acceptance of me. When I remember who I am in Christ, I can let go of the feelings of despair and hopelessness. When I remember who I am in Christ, I can fight the temptation to eat to excess. When I remember who I am in Christ, I can have confidence not in myself, but in the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me. Food does not love me back. Food will not satisfy the deepest longings of my heart, but God will.

The battle I am fighting is a spiritual battle as well as a physical one, and it’s time I put on my armor.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11

“With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
    with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26 with the purified you show yourself pure;
    and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27 For you save a humble people,
    but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28 For it is you who light my lamp;
    the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29 For by you I can run against a troop,
    and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30 This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
    he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalm 18:25-30


Weigh-In Wednesday: Stalled

Last week’s weight: 201.4
This week’s weight: 200.2
LOSS of 1.2 pounds

I can’t believe I am SO CLOSE to being in the 190s but can’t get there! Sure, I lost a little bit, but this is the same weight I was three weeks ago. I am not making progress.

I worked out 4 times between last Wednesday and yesterday. I tracked my food EVERY day, including the weekends. Here are my calorie totals for each day, with any workout I did that day in parentheses next to that:

Wednesday: 1,549
Thursday: 1,667
Friday: 1,522 (33 minutes running)
Saturday: 1,640* (I am pretty sure I ate more than this, but I did not know the calorie counts of everything I ate.)
Sunday: 1,779 (45 minutes running)
Monday: 1,957 (30 minutes running)
Tuesday: 1,489 (25 minutes walking)

So Saturday and Monday were not great days in terms of calories, but I think the others are reasonable. My calorie range, as determined by SparkPeople, is 1360-1710, so going by that I went over my range 3/7 days. Looking at it like that makes me realize that every little bit counts. Even though I tracked everything, I wasn’t as diligent as I could have been about making the right nutritional choices. I think in the back of my mind I was thinking, “I worked out today, so I can eat a little extra.” This line of thinking is silly since it’s not like I’m working out for an insane amount of time and burning tons and tons of calories, but nevertheless I found myself thinking it.

To sum it up: cardio can’t make up for poor eating habits. I have to have self-control, or I will never get anywhere with weight loss.

I WILL be in the 190s next week, or I’m shaving my eyebrows.

(Well, maybe not.)

Five Minute Friday: Again

Five Minute Friday

I’m joining in this week’s Five Minute Friday, and you can too! Just write for 5 minutes with no editing on the word of the week. This week’s word is “again.” 

Here goes…

I look down into the bag of Chex Mix, my fingers covered in fine orange powder, and I sigh in frustration. Surely I hadn’t eaten that much. Surely the bag was emptier than I remembered it being before I started mindlessly eating. Surely I had only had one handful. Or two.  Or three. 
How do I keep finding myself in this same place? Over and over, again and again. Maybe it’s a bad day that triggers it, or maybe I’m lonely or sad or just bored. Whatever the reason, more often than not I turn to food for comfort instead of turning to Jesus.
I think about how I am so heartbroken when Charlotte turns her head away from me when she is grumpy or upset, how I long for her to reach out to me in her frustration or sadness.  Doesn’t she know how much I love her, how much I want to sweep her up into my arms and hold her tightly, her sweet head nestled into the crook of my neck?
I think of the small way in which I love her compared to the vastness of the love of God, and I wonder how much God’s heart breaks when I choose something as ridiculous as Chex Mix to comfort me when I have the Healer of the Universe waiting, His arms open wide, ready to embrace me?
Again and again I fail, and again and again He forgives, removing my sin as far as the east is from the west.

In Which I Exhaust Myself

For lunch today I had a Lean Cuisine. Then for dinner I had a Whopper. With a Diet Coke. I finished up the day by burning 500 calories on the treadmill.

I am a walking contradiction.

I am weary of fighting with my body, with my mind. I am weary of second-guessing everything I want to eat and wondering if I should or not. I am weary of starting every day with good intentions only to end it wishing I could have a do-over. I’ve been at this weight loss thing for 4.5 YEARS. Shouldn’t it be easier by now? Shouldn’t I have it all figured out?

Instead, I feel more helpless than ever. I feel helpless to change who I am. I feel helpless to lose the rest of the weight I want to lose. I wish I could go back to those first few months of weight loss, where everything was exciting and new and I was dedicated to making weight loss happen. I counted my calories faithfully, got up early and exercised faithfully, lost weight faithfully. It wasn’t all rosy, but I lost 50 pounds that first year. I was doing things right.

Somewhere along the way, something happened. I lost sight of the goal, or maybe I lost sight of where I had been and how really miserable I was when I weighed 261 pounds. I haven’t been that heavy in a long time, and the more removed from it I become, the less I remember about what it was really like to be that heavy.

But it was HARD. I know that. I never could find clothes that I liked. I never liked the way I looked. I never even THOUGHT about running around the block, much less running a half marathon. I would stuff my face with junk and then feel disgusting and defeated afterward. Life as a fat girl was hard, but I sometimes feel like it was easier than the constant struggle I find myself in now.

Every day is a battle. Will I work out or not? Will I log all of my food or not? Will I weight myself or not? Some days I make the right choices. Other days I don’t. And still other days I wish I didn’t have to make a choice at all. I’ve never been very good at making decisions.

I’m tired of thinking about weight loss and food all the time, but I know that if I stop thinking about it, I’ll wake up one day and find myself at 261 pounds again. If I know one thing, I know that I don’t want to be that girl again.

For today, knowing that will have to be enough.