Through out my life I’ve struggled to lose weight, but looking back I see weight loss wasn’t my problem. It was body image.
Look at me on my wedding day.
Sorry, I just had to throw this one in for fun!
But, seriously, should this beautiful bride be worried about how fat she is?
But I was. Although beautiful and meaningful, much of my wedding day was dominated by negative thoughts in my mind about my body and appearance.
Once I started having children, I really did need to lose weight but the negative thoughts in my mind, the “you can’t do it” or “start tomorrow” made it impossible to lose weight permanently. Through the years, I developed a food addiction where I needed to eat what I wanted, when I wanted or I wasn’t happy.
In 2010, after I had my fifth child.
I remember years early staring in the mirror, shocked by my appearance. I said to my loving husband, “The fat girl I see in the mirror is not the real me. The girl I see in my mind is stuck behind all the fat. Why can’t I get her to come out?’
Throughout my life, dieting had been a game for losers. I would pity myself, convinced going without certain foods was too hard; as if something awful was really happening to me.
Diets made me self-absorbed.
Dieting was an ungrateful delusion. “Poor me, I have to eat salad and sweet potatoes and asparagus when what I really want is cookie dough.”
What was that? There wasn’t a single thing about that situation that should have made me feel sorry for myself. My body was screaming for healthy food, but my emotional cravings were begging to be fed too. Wrapped up in pride and personal sabotage, my emotional cravings convinced me I was only in charge if I gave into every impulse at any time. “That’s freedom, that’s the dream,” my self-absorbed self said.
When did I learn I could only be happy with no restrictions ever? That certainly wasn’t God’s plan. He gave commandments to keep His children safe. What about food commandments? Food had become my false idol. The results were my body carrying 60 extra pounds. My poor meager inability to solve this problem made me a victim.
As a victim I had a “get out of jail free” card.
I had every justifiable excuse in the book. It was Christmas, it was my birthday, we were on vacation, other people ate what they wanted, my metabolism was off, I’d just had a baby and on and on and on.
Procrastination sped up time. I felt constantly rushed and irritable.
I was putting off the inevitable, forcing myself to live outside today and into tomorrow. As the victim I lost hope, but what if the victim and the perpetrator were the same person? We see this scenario manifest itself all the time in self-defeating behavior. That was me, victim and perpetrator; hence the inner dialogue I couldn’t seem to escape. If my perverted thinking wasn’t from God, where did it from? What was the root of fear, doubt and delusion? It certainly couldn’t grow from faith and love when I decided to study the 40-day fast of Jesus Christ.
After Jesus was baptized, he went into the wilderness to fast and prepare for His mission. Alone, he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.
I thought about the “alone-ness” of fasting as it could be a very lonely experience. At times I could feel the world spinning and moving around me, yet I wasn’t participating. Without the tastes of the world on my tongue, I felt on the sidelines watching the game. Without food, much of the goodness of the earth could not be experienced. On the other hand, fasting allowed the understanding of “being in the world but not of the world.” At times, I felt elevated. The normal cares of my life – being upset over meaningless things seemed silly to what others were experiencing. Those who went without food were present in my mind. No longer did I feel impulses to self-indulge and satisfy my every desire when those around me were suffering. Being lonely also allowed for self-revelation. Near the end of his fast, Satan came to tempt Jesus. The Savior’s body was weak but his spirit was mighty.
The first thing Satan tempted Jesus to do was turn stones into bread. Satan was a fool for thinking something so temporal could remotely tempt Christ. Jesus said “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by the word of God.” When the spirit carried Jesus to the top of the temple, Satan tempted Jesus to jump and call on the angels of heaven to catch him. Jesus told Satan not to tempt the Son of God. Jesus was a master of the fast, He knew who He was but Satan tried again to tempt him. When Jesus was a top a mountain overlooking all the lands and people of the earth Satan tried to convince Jesus to worship him by promising Him all the power of the world. Really, did Satan think Jesus would even care about what he had to offer? Satan was a liar. I considered the lies Satan had feed me. He had controlled me for too long. Just as Jesus had showed, Satan could have no power over me unless I believed him; unless I allowed it.
During my 30-day fast, I learned to break the chains of deception I’d convinced myself were true. I could do this. I could have food commandments and limit what I put in my body. I was in control. God had made my body perfect and I needed to be grateful for it.
After 30 days of fasting, I lost 12 pounds.
I have now been practicing intermittent fasting for 50 days and will not weigh myself again until my next 30-day milestone. I skip breakfast and lunch and eat dinner at 4:00pm. I drink plenty of fluids too and have no food restrictions after my fast. More important than my weight-loss, I marvel at the things I’ve learned about myself, food and my relationship with God. I pray for those in need and turn to God for help and instruction. I’ve never felt more like a daddy’s girl. Truly, we are children of God and I know it like I’ve never understood before.
How did I learn to stop shaming food?
How did I survive the hunger?
Did I incorporate exercise?
How is fasting not only physical, but spiritual?
How long do I plan to fast?
These, and more are topics I will answer in the upcoming blog posts. Writing about this experience has been amazing. I am currently seeking a publisher for my memoir: