I’m certainly no expert on weight loss, but I have had 45 years of struggling with my weight and I’ve learned a couple of things along the way. I recently saw a picture of me when I was about eight years old. I had a big ole spare tire around my middle at eight years old! And how could I ever forget Jeff (name changed) in seventh grade calling me “jelly roll.” And then there’s the cheerleading outfit in Junior High that didn’t come in my size, so my mom had to make one to match.
In high school, I made a promise to myself that I would just work out so I could eat. I became obsessed with working out so that I could eat without feeling guilty. I started running (which, if you’ve seen me…I do not have a runner’s body). It hurt my body, but who cares right…no pain, no gain (and no food). In college, I took it to a new extreme. I would do an hour (or two) of high intensity aerobics (I’m aging myself here) and then go for a four mile run, just so I could indulge on a bowl of rice covered in mashed potatoes and a salad with no dressing. I didn’t eat any sugar and I refused to eat anything with fat.
After college, I had had enough of that, so I started to eat whatever I wanted, but made sure I worked out for 90 minutes every day. My weight stayed steady, but everything about me was being controlled by food. Then came kids. I gained over 60 pounds with each kid (I did manage to lose the baby weight), but it was after my third (and last) child that everything fell apart.
After my last baby, I thought it would be a good idea to do a half marathon to get back into shape. Training was my first priority and everything else followed (my poor husband). After the half marathon, it was like my body just waved the white flag and I had to stop. One day after working out (way too hard), I went to the kid room to pick up my son. I had knelt down and I felt as if all my muscles went on strike. All strength and energy had left my body and I had a hard time standing and walking out of the gym.
That was my last day of going to the gym for a long time. My energy did not come back and I was getting weaker and weaker. I started getting migraines and was dizzy most of the time. Doctors had no idea what was wrong with me and after much testing and many blood tests, they said they could not help me.
After about 3 months, I was laying in my bed (I was doing that a lot) and I told God that I had tried everything and there was nothing else I could do to get myself better. I told Him that He was all that I had and asked if He could get me out of this dark place. You see, it got so bad and so dark, that there were days that I didn’t even see the point of living anymore. I was confined to my bed. I felt like such a failure as a mother and a wife.
That night I went to a bible study at our church and a dear friend of mine introduced me to a woman that God had gifted with healing. Through lots of prayer and a homeopathic path to healing, I experienced God’s whole healing of my body. My husband and children had gotten their wife and mom back!!
But, God wasn’t done. I still had some very unhealthy body image stuff going on and food issues. One day I was on a prayer walk. I was just praying away and talking to Jesus, when all of a sudden I hear the Holy Spirit say, “Angela, I want to talk to you about this spirit of Vanity that you’ve been carrying around.” VANITY, I thought!?!? I had never even really heard that word or thought about that word before. The Lord showed me that my WHOLE life, I’d always wanted to be thin for all the wrong reasons. I’m not proud to say what my reasons were, but I feel like I need share them. I wanted to impress others. I wanted to get attention from others. I wanted to be noticed. It felt so wrong at that moment and the crazy thing was that I had NEVER seen those reasons before. They were there, but I never recognized them.
I immediately asked God to forgive me for each reason He brought to my mind. I also forgave myself for ever thinking that way AND for all the people I had hurt along the way. And do you know…God healed me right in that moment. It was like He took away my warped vision and gave me a new pair of glasses to see myself through. He took away the embarrassment of my weight in my childhood and all of the mean things that people said about me (I forgave all of them as well).
God reminded me that our bodies “are the temple of the Holy Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 6:19. He reminded me that the Holy Spirit lives inside of us and that our bodies are a gift from God. Prior to this experience I would look in the mirror and loathe at what I saw. After this encounter with God, I started to love my body. It’s not perfect, but it’s the only one I have and it is a gift from God! No more over-exercising so I could eat. No more trying to impress. No more trying to be noticed. My body has one BIG purpose…to carry around the Holy Spirit so that I can share the love of Jesus with others.