Health, weight and self-image are things we wrestle with all of our life, especially as women. We are impacted by what we see in the mirror, how we are raised, what others say to us, the “ideals” pictured in magazines and on TV. It seems to me that it is very few women who really feel confident or even comfortable with themselves.
I personally have been more accepting of my appearance and size than many others I have known. However, being tall and larger boned, I never felt small or thin. I started to gain weight from stress and emotional eating in my early 30s and was overweight for the second half of my life. Overall I still liked myself. I do believe our value is who we are as a person, our character, personality, value system, skills and gifting. So I focused on who I am on the inside, dressed as attractively as I could regardless of size and tried not to let being overweight hold me back or make me feel less valued.
One of the lies I believed in my 30s was that it was OK to be overweight and it really had no impact. I developed an attitude of “If you don’t like me, it’s you that has the problem, not me”. On one level, that is true. I was not going to let the prejudice of others, based on a superficial factor, impact my self-worth. I am basically a healthy person; the first time I was hospitalized was to birth my first baby and I have never had any organ removed through surgery. But . . . when I was 45 I had my first reality check that my extra weight was having a negative impact on my health and body. My knees were bothering me more and it hurt to kneel in church. I thought I must have the beginning of arthritis in my knees and went to see an orthopedic surgeon. To my utter shock, he told me that I had severe arthritis in both knees and would need knee replacements.
The truth that carrying extra weight will eventually take its toll was now evident in a vivid, personal way. It hurt to walk and other activities became harder such as gardening. My back bothered me more and my blood pressure was high enough to require medication. I have never been a constant dieter but I did want to lose some weight and improve my health. My search to change led to discovering Weigh Down Workshop, a bible based weight loss program, in 1998. I did well and had some wonderful results both physically and spiritually but after a few years I got off course and gained the weight back. I settled back to my bigger self for a few years and then found South Beach Diet, a low glycemic plan in 2005. Again I did well but several months later I went on a cruise and all the yummy (no extra cost) desserts called my name. When I indulged in them, my sugar cravings came back with a vengeance and over the next year I again gained back the weight. I had one more similar experience a few years later with a natural supplement to reduce sugar cravings.
Then in 2014 I had a heart and mind change. It is true that the battle is in the mind. It has now become more important to me to be healthy than to eat whatever I want. I realize that I want to live to be around for my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. But more than just be around, I want to live as active and vibrant and meaningful a life I can for as long as possible. I decided it was time to “take care” of myself and become as healthy as I can. A friend had mentioned an eating plan called Trim Healthy Mama and I decided to look into it. I lurked on the Facebook page for about a month and then purchased the book.
Trim Healthy Mama (THM) has been an amazing, life-changing journey. I have lost 49 pounds and feel very content with this eating plan. For me, it is very important to consider this a lifestyle, not a weight loss plan. I intend to continue making these healthy food choices the rest of my life. I have never really liked cooking but now I try new recipes and eat primarily foods made from scratch. I have turned my back on sugar, white flour, white potatoes, fast food and packaged food for the most part and I intend to never go back. I am educating myself on ingredients, additives, vitamins and supplements, essential oils and more.
I know that it is not just a saying but truth- we ARE what we eat! Also true, what we put on our skin, goes in our body. Unfortunately, with all the knowledge and advancement and industrializing of our world, much of what has been considered “progress” has really been a detrimental move away from the natural good in foods to many additives and preservatives which negatively impact our health and well-being.
I believe that my desire to be healthy is what keeps me motivated and focused. It is more powerful than simply wanting to lose weight. It is an adventure of sorts to try various new foods and recipes. I don’t feel deprived. Almost any recipe can be revised to fit the THM eating plan guidelines. There is an endless variety of desserts and snacks that I can enjoy. It is rewarding to share about THM and what is working for me with friends and family. I am very grateful to my friend for telling me about Trim Healthy Mama. I am also grateful to God for the grace I feel He has given me to change my thinking and keep my focus. I look forward to continually improving my health and living an active,vibrant life into my next decades.
I hope you will share your own experiences and insights about health, weight and self-image. Each of us is on our own journey and must find what is best for us. I am grateful for all the wonderful changes that THM has brought into my life. I will continue to work on improving myself physically but also on the “inside” me, my character and spirituality, and hopefully becoming my “best me”.