I can’t remember a time in my life when I have not been overweight.
I’m a foodie and an emotional eater, which basically means two of my BFFs are chips and queso (and I always wanna taco ‘bout it). And if I’m being honest, I hate everything about exercise—getting sweaty, feeling out of shape, feeling like my lungs are on fire. It is just not my favorite thing. So for most of my life, I have avoided it, joking to my friends who asked me to be on their rec league teams, “Does this look like a kickball body? No, it does not. This is a Netflix body.”
Then last year, I hit my heaviest weight ever: 310 pounds. As those three little numbers stared back at me from my bathroom scale, tears threatened to fall. I realized I needed to do something differently if I ever wanted my body to change. And I did, desperately. I felt imprisoned in my own skin and longed for freedom. If only I were thin, I would fantasize. Then I would be beautiful and free.
For some reason, this has been the year of finally being ready. Jesus has always been so gentle with me about my weight. His voice has not been one of harsh criticism or judgement, but more like an encouraging nudge. Even when my own voice in my head chanted a never-ending chorus of fat, ugly, terrible, lazy, Jesus’ voice cut right through that and whispered, “When you’re ready, we’ll do this together.”
A friend from college has been chatting with me about how she lost 140 pounds through sticking to a calorie limit. This interested me—all my friends were doing keto this and gluten-free that; but my friend didn’t believe in cutting out entire foods forever. Moderation was her song, and it was working. She ate what she wanted, just smaller amounts. If she wanted to eat something high-calorie, like dessert or junky food, she ate a few bites of it and balanced out her plate with lots of veggies and other healthy choices. I calculated the calories I would need per day to lose weight at a healthy pace, downloaded an app to track what I ate, and set off on my own journey.
Around the same time, I discovered I love to hike! Remember how I hate being sweaty? Well, to my surprise, I figured out that I could hike or walk and burn the same amount of calories I could, doing intense cardio. I just needed to do it for longer. That’s a trade off I could get behind! I can walk comfortably for an hour or more and feel great at the end, and because I don’t hate it, I am much better at doing it regularly. I’ve lost 28 pounds so far, and this is only the beginning.
The thing I’ve realized is this: my Jesus loves me right where I am, and He loves me when I decide I want to grow into who I was made to be. No amount of failing at my diet or putting off exercising can take me out of His hand, and He cheers with me when I go for a walk even when I don’t feel like it. He will never love me any more or any less than He does right now, and that is so freeing I could cry. Whatever number is looking back at me on the scale, I’m still one of His favorite people.
You are one of His favorite people too, my friend. No matter where you are on your journey of fitness and faith, you can relax into the truth that your worth and your identity lie in Christ. Not the scale or the measuring tape. And right there, rather than in a thin and perfect body, is where we find our freedom.
Oh and guess what? I still love tacos, and Jesus still loves me. I call that a pretty incredible win-win!