I live in a place we lovingly (and less-than-lovingly) call “The Bubble”. It’s a great place to grow up, because the education is spectacular and it’s safe as houses. It’s a terrible place to grow up because it is full of snobs and the hyper-rich. See, in The Bubble, we don’t have get-rich-quick schemes (if you’re not already rich, you’re not worth the time), we have get-thin-quick schemes. Use this wrap, I SWEAR IT WORKS. Try this new routine, YOU’LL BE SO PRETTY. Get this surgery, EVERYONE WILL HATE YOU FOR YOUR LOOKS. It’s all about losing weight so fast that if you blink you’ll miss it. Don’t work for it! You can just PAY for it!
I scorn that. Probably more than I should, because I can’t afford any of it. But I’ve known a lot of people who’ve tried scheme after scheme and not a single one has worked. Therefore, I disdain them. I would never be so stupid as to think one of those schemes would really work.
However, I am not happy with my body. It isn’t just my weight (though I’m not thrilled with that), it’s the fact that I get winded walking laundry up and down the stairs five or six times. It’s the fact that I can’t play sports with my kids (teaching, youth ministry, nobody panic, I don’t have kids of my own). It’s the fact that I don’t WANT to work, because it’ll be so very hard.
Of course, this isn’t my fault. It’s the Marketing People. They have this really clever way of making you think you deserve that really unhealthy fast food. I have had such a terrible day! I do deserve that bowl of ice cream! I’m so tired for working all day! I do deserve that mac and cheese! I’ve been walking ALL DAY! I do deserve those pizza rolls! Of course I do! I work SO HARD! Which, of course, leads to pizza rolls and mac and cheese and ice cream all the time. Livin’ the life, right? The only problem is that then, I’m stuck with the body that has eaten pizza rolls and mac and cheese and ice cream all the time. Which makes me feel bad about my body. Which makes me have bad days in which I deserve some more pizza rolls or mac and cheese or ice cream. You see the cycle?
Now, sometimes, I do go on kicks where I’m going to get healthy. I will do this thing for myself and my body and how good I will look and feel and be! I will do it! I push myself for myself. And that’s good! I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not doing it for anyone else or their perception of me, I’m doing it for me! I do it by myself! That’s good too, because I’m not relying on anyone or anything and I’m Miss Independent! Right?
I’m not a me-myself girl. (We’ve talked about this, right? How much I depend on my family?) I can’t do it myself. But, on this one, my family is not my best help. I love my family and my parents have gotten themselves in some serious shape in the past almost-a-year. It’s REALLY impressive and inspirational and stuff. But I can’t do it their way or on their schedule. We just don’t think the same way about this. So, who can help me?
I saw a friend’s post today on facebook about the fact that she has, in the past year, gone from a size 12 to a size four. Most people, I would just blindly hate for their ability to actually lose weight (let’s be honest, we all do that). But this girl is possibly the most genuinely GOOD person I’ve ever met. And there, right after the picture of her two pair of pants on top of one another, was the very question I wanted to ask. “How did you do it?!” She directed we desperate masses to her blog where her story of tears and depression very much matched my own. Her solution was simple: “Eat less, move around more, do what you love, and serve God.” “Pray about it,” she said, “You’re carrying extra weight. Give it to God and ask him to move you forward.” She didn’t mean to lop off some of that body weight and burn it in church (although, now that I mention it…), she meant that we are carrying emotional weight, physical weight, and spiritual weight and that we can’t do all that by ourselves. That we need to make prayer a big part of our workout and that God will take care of the rest. And that’s what I needed. My family can’t help me. I can’t do it myself. But God? He can do it. All I have to do is ask.