But, this series has helped a lot with the fears and angst I was living with. This series, and the book of course. Writing less than Three was really where I had to develop a pretty tough skin. It's a TOUGH BOOK TO READ. It's a tough book on SO MANY LEVELS, and I really put my life out there in a real and transparent way. I knew I would get haters, but what I knew much more than that was that I had a calling from God to expose my life in an attempt to bring sin to light.
I did that, and have been truly blessed since. And blogging has been much easier since then.
This summer I wrote a little on the negative feedback that I received regarding my weight loss, and that I ended up deleting a post after an estranged family member wrote a comment that really dug deep.
I was so wrong for allowing that comment to deter me, but I really should have thought more about my post as well. I want to be an encouragement, never a stumbling block. It's okay that people take my weight loss negatively. It really is. When someone loses as much weight as I did in such a short amount of time, it can cause many people to wonder, "what did she do?" And with those kinds of questions come many assumptions. When I first started receiving the negative comments, I was hurt. Not because I wanted people to embrace me, but because I had worked so hard to lose the weight that I wanted that to be the focus, not that I was looking, "unhealthy".
I had a conversation with my mom about two weeks ago and laid out a few health questions for her. I was experiencing some health things that I was concerned about, and my mom voiced concern that maybe I had taken my weight loss too far.
When I had written my previous blog, that question and her concerns would have sent me into a tail spin of anger and resentment. But, during this conversation, I was able to focus on Christ, what He had laid on my heart, and answer her respectfully and honestly.
That conversation led to this post.
I suffered from a debilitating disorder called binge-eating, but I didn't recognize that for a long time into my losing weight process.
Why did I try and lose weight in the first place?
What is the point of being healthy? And what exactly IS healthy?
For me, I wanted to get closer to God. I wanted to free myself of the negative thoughts in my head, and stop the things I was doing to my body.
There were days when I couldn't walk up the steps without being winded. I never got down on the floor and played with my kids, because I had no motivation to be active with them. I didn't run around the yard with them or chase them around. I just couldn't do that because my body wasn't healthy or moving the way it needed to.
I was turning 30 years old and the thought that I was truly an "adult" screamed in my head. I needed to learn to take care of my body, so that I would be around to take care of my children for many years.
The first thing I did was give up diet soda. I thought I would just give it up for 30 days, that was my goal. But, the more the days went by, the more I saw my body improving. I lost about 14lbs within mere weeks from water weight. The aspartame in the soda wasn't being broken down properly because our bodies don't know how to break down that fake sugar. I drank nothing but water for 30 days, and the way my body changed simply blew my mind. I couldn't believe how much my bloating went down and how much my stomach shrunk.
I started to pray, heavily. I wanted God to help me understand what it meant to be healthy. I wanted to understand what He wanted my body to be like.
He answered in a mighty way. I had to be mentally fit first. I had to put Him first, and after that everything else would fall into place.
Well, He was right. He always is. By praying and relying on Him, He continued showing me where my problem areas were.
What exactly is binge-eating? Binge-eating is a disorder in which someone frequently consumes large amounts of food in a sitting. Now, we all overeat a little on OCCASSION, such as holidays by having multiple plates of food at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But, for those that suffer as I did, over-eating crosses the line to binge-eating when it is a regular occurence and done in secret.
That was me.
Often times the binge-eater will be ashamed of what they have done, and vow to never do it again, but the urge always wins and binging occurs again, causing more shameful feelings.
This was me to a T. I have been binge-eating since college as a coping mechanism. I wondered at first whether drugs had started my binge-eating, but it was through prayer that I realized that my binging began in the confines of my apartment very shortly after my rape and sodomy, long before drugs were a part of my life.
I couldn't control anything in my life, but I could take in food and control the thoughts I was having. I could replace the shame and guilt I was feeling about what had happened to me and the sexual endeavors I was engaging in by binging--I replaced my rape shame with binge shame.
And I continued that for almost 10 years, until finally God pulled the scales off of my eyes and opened me up to what I was living with.
As I have walked closer to God in the past 6 years the shame ate me up at times. I would make promise after promise after promise to stop and then something always made me binge again. I would pray and pray and it didn't seem to ever feel like He was helping me.
Why? Why was I doing that to myself? Why wasn't He helping me?
The answer for me was deeply rooted sin that I was holding onto instead of surrendering. There were sins in my life that I had never admitted. There were things in my life that I needed to talk about and express, and I wasn't wililng to do that anymore because I had been so very ostracized when I tried in the past--especially as a Christian. So, I hid my feelings and I binge-ate in secret and let the shame of continue eating me up.
This past summer everything in my life changed. As I was obedient in writing less than Three and was willing to admit EVERYTHING in my life, God showed me so many things about myself. Binge-eating was one of them.
But, once I knew what the problem was, things didn't all of a sudden get better. No, it took much prayer and a lot of His power to stop doing it. I had to change everything about my eating habits. I had to put really small portions on my plate so that I wasn't tempted to gobble everything down in one sitting. Instead, I put small portions on my plate and let it digest, and then if I am still hungry, which I usually am, I get a second plate. Not a second plate of massive amounts, but a second plate of reasonble portions for someone who is struggling to control themself.
I also added in working out. I had always told myself that I wasn't the "workout type", but that was just an excuse to be lazy truthfully. I really didn't want to give up binging. I knew if I started to workout, I would probably want to stop binging, and I really didn't want to do that deep down, because it helped me focus my shame somewhere else other than on my past.
But, something kept screaming at me that it would really help with my mood. (ahem, I know that voice was the Spirit, ahem) So, I started working out WITH my kids. We made it part of homeschool. Our workouts took about 15 mins, and the kids loved it. The more they loved it, the more we increased what we did, and then the more I loved it. The more I loved it, the more I wanted to continue it.
At the beginning of the summer I decided to start running. I really didn't like running, I still don't, but I do enjoy the feeling afterwards. I decided I wanted to try a 4-miler that was in my hometown that raised money for breast cancer awareness. Now, remember, I said I don't enjoy running, so when I decided to do it I really didn't want to focus on trying to be fast, I just wanted to accomplish it. I still don't have a fast mile by any means, but I can get it done without feeling like I am going to die and that is a huge feat for me, personally. I've realized it's all about personal goals and not comparing yourself to others!
When I decided that I was going to do the 4-miler a friend of mine posted that her husband was going to start a personal training session on Saturday mornings in preparation for anyone who may be gearing up for walks/runs and I decided to jump in and join them. I had no idea what I was getting into, and I'm glad I didn't because had someone "warned" me, my laziness would have stopped me.
I am so thankful I started that workout with them this summer because it really showed me what I am capable of and what my body can do. Wow. God made some magnificent beings in us! Our bodies can do remarkable things. I've pushed myself beyond limits that I knew for sure I couldn't accomplish, and guess what, I accompilshed them. I not only accomplished them, but I felt good. I not only felt good, but I was losing weight, a lot of weight. And then, not only was I losing weight, but I was toning and gaining muscle.
It was all so amazing.
He is so amazing!!
Today, my favorite workouts are pushups, pullups and rowing; like seriously I LOVE THESE WORKOUTS! I wish I could do them everyday, and guess what, I'm considering buying my own straps so that I CAN. I never imagined that I would get to this point.
I've been introduced to beachbody workouts and let me tell you what, they are incredible. I am gearing up to start a new workout called piyo and starting a protein shake called shakeology and I'm stoked to see what these two things do to my body. Like, stoked!
I've met some incredible women that have encouraged me throughout these months. Many I workout with on Saturdays, but many simply through social media. Social media has been such an encouragement to me through these months and I wouldn't trade one picture I've posted or one moment of being transparent because each time I have gained beautiful rewards.
Today, I am down 85 lbs from where I was one year ago, and about 60lbs from where I was when I started this journey in March. Yes, that's a lot of weight--but more than that it's a lot of FREEDOM. Freedom from something that was really ruining my life--binge-eating.
God has truly freed me from this disorder, and I can truly and honestly admit that I have not binged since the very moment that He showed me I was suffering. The moment I surrendered that He has walked closely with me and I have felt a supernatural strength to keep from going back. I have overeaten a few times at dinners, yes. There were times when I was learning how to eat properly, what to eat, what was healthy to eat. But, I have not indulged in binging since probably June of this year...wow, I'm just realizing how long it's been.
He truly is amazing.
Are you struggling today, friend? Maybe you're not struggling with binging the way I did, but maybe you're struggling with unhealthy eating, not eating enough, skipping meals to try and "lose weight"? Maybe you've just accepted that you are a little heavy and "it's okay because God made us all different" and that's totally and completely true, but He wants us to be healthy and in Him, not just accept a sin we may not want to give over to Him. Whatever your personal situation is, I encourage you to write it down. Write down your weaknesses and give them over to God in prayer. Food should not be a weakness for us; it should fuel our bodies and minds, not control our bodies and minds!
This is me over one year ago, before I decided to lose weight, when I just accepted my life and my binging:
I am currently trying to gain about 10-15lbs of muscle, yes muscle! I am also having to drink an insane amount of water because I was not drinking nearly enough to keep up with my working out. The conversation with my mom led to the reality that I was suffering a bit from dehydration and it was causing problems with my health. As long as I drink enough water, the problems I had been experiencing are non-existent.
I encourage you today, friend, to get healthy, mentally and physically. Maybe you think I lost too much weight and you're not about to go the route I did, and that's okay! But, I do encourage you to see if there is anything you feel you are not giving over to God regarding your food intake and LET IT GO!
And remember, mentally fit and then physically fit. It's not about getting skinny, it's about getting healthy.
I am here to help you in anyway I can, and I promise you, I WANT TO HELP!
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You are less than only Three.