This morning, I stepped on the scale and was shocked by what I saw. I’m at my lowest weight in adulthood barring short-term, focused efforts to control my eating. This time, I haven’t made any effort at all to “control” my weight, and yet my weight is down – effortlessly.
The ironic part is that I no longer care about my weight. Don’t get me wrong – I want my body to be a healthy weight because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I want to fuel my body with healthy foods, exercise it, and rest it to honor God’s temple. I no longer care what number appears on the scale as long as my body is healthy. So, imagine my surprise to see the “magic number” that I worked decades to reach with little success!
How did this happen? Let me share one of my testimonies with you…
I have mentioned before that I was severely abused as a child. I had all of these painful emotions but no safe place to express them, so I “stuffed them down” with food. When I reached puberty, the emotions became too much to manage, so food became my primary coping mechanism. I learned that if I “stuffed my face” with a bag of chips or chocolates, the emotional pain would subside for a while. Of course, it always came back, but then I would simply “stuff it all back down” again with more food.
By the time I was in high school, my weight fluctuated by 20-30 lbs. I owned pants of several different sizes to accommodate my yo-yoing weight. I would binge eat & gain weight and then diet & lose weight, only to start all over again. I could not diet for long because then I couldn’t control the emotional pain. However, the shame of being overweight would drive me to diet, and I would use shame and self-loathing to force myself to restrict my food so I could lose weight again.
Years later, I learned I had an eating disorder called binge eating disorder, which is similar to bulimia nervosa without the purging. I tried to purge to avoid weight gain, but I was unable to make myself do it. So, I stayed on a rollercoaster of bingeing and dieting for decades.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace lying down on top of a huge pile of food. Courtesy Bitmoji.]