I have been on a weight management journey for a while now. In the beginning it was about food and portion control, then it was about exercise and weight loss. For a season it all worked, and I reached my target weight in twelve months; then it stopped working.
I lost weight at the start and that was exciting but then it all came back and then some. You know the thing about weight loss, it is the a lot at the start of the process but there is the whole concept of weight management for the long term has to kick in. That is for another day anyway.
I remember coach asking me why I wanted to lose weight.
I did not understand his question because I knew I was too big. I wanted to look pretty, more beautiful; I wanted to feel healthier, to be more active; I wanted to change how I looked so I would be accepted by the community. I had been told that a certain weight was good and because I had maintained the look for so long I was so used to being that yet I couldn’t see the true depth of me.
Now, some of you will say that is petty but if you are honest you are grappling with similar thoughts in one area or another of life; weight, skin tone, career, finances, health etc. Breathe; let’s read on.
After thirty three months, I realise that the weight loss and management wasn’t the reward of this journey and it could never be. If I continue to judge myself based on what I think looks nice or what society says looks good and I have imbibed silently through the years, I achieve nothing but pressure to conform to a pattern that may just be impossible to attain.
The last thirty days, have been very revelational.
It is so easy to be so caught up in social expectations that we forget who we are. We are trained from a young age what is good and acceptable from behaviour to academics to faith to love, marriage, family and children. We are encouraged to conform to habits and patterns so many of us don’t realise we are raised conformist to standards that are unrealistic in many ways. This conformity is so deep that we don’t even question the standards set for us even when they cause us untold distress.
In retrospect, my life tells a story of dealing with things that have shaken and broken me over time. I am now working on rebuilding according to a new plan and pattern. The most recent change is my view of myself. For a long time, I have pursued a certain weight range because when I am within that range, I felt totally beautiful. I never really thought about whether there was value in my build and look. I never thought I would be acceptable without that perfect model figure that is totally unrealistic and impossible for a girl with my genetic make up.
I worked out to get to a certain weight and everyone cheered when I did. However, the one thing I really wanted to change, my shape, did not shift permanently. There were still things I wanted to change that wouldn’t shift and I had to deal with them. I begun asking God to show me the truth of me, the reason I am alive, the call on my life and how my looks factor into that. Yes, He created me in a way that compliments my assignment on this earth.
Everything shifted as I watched a documentary of a young lady in India who was assaulted with acid and was badly scarred. What fascinated me is that though she is badly scared, she purposed to help raise awareness and educate others of the dangers or acid and irrational people. I realised that my life and all that comes with it has a story to tell and I must embrace it with gratitude then live it out with confidence.
There are clues to who we are meant to be in how we are created.
It sometimes takes a major shift to realise who we are and how blessed we are. It has taken many conversations with different people to really understand aspects of the truth of who I am. Some conversations dating back to encounters ten years ago, came to the fore and spoke to the reality of how God has given me a gift that should draw people to Him. It was interesting that each of those conversations came back to the matter of my looks and how through the years I had been complimented about them but every time I brushed the compliments off as untrue or said someone wanted something from me.
How many times have you brushed off a compliment as unimportant? How often have you doubted the truth of compliment? How often do your get a commendation and brush it aside? Which do you hold onto or believe more; criticism or a compliment? research says we hold tighter to criticism than praise and it re-writes our psyche. Why do we do that? It part of our wiring after the fall of man and we need to rewire and renew our minds.
It is much easier to hold onto the negative or perceived negative things.
Somehow we are wired to absorb the harsher things and leech the good ones. Science says that it takes five to seven affirmations that we believe to overwrite one negative comment that we have accepted.
This stopped me in my tracks when I understood why I had struggled to see the goodness and beauty within me. My mind had focused on and settled into the things I didn’t like about my life and appearance then amplified to a place that they were all I thought about and remembered. This erased even the words of my Papa when he called me out as blessed and beautiful. It drowned out a lot of the good spoken over and to me and I didn’t even realise that my life was made up of so much more than that.
We must change our perspective conclusively if we are to be the true representation of how God sees us. The day we really see ourselves through the eyes of God, we begin to attain His fullness in our lives. This helps us grasp the realities of entering a level of hearing, understanding and walking in the realities of what God sees, how He created us and how we can be. As we rise into the place of absolute belief and trust in His word, we gain confidence and hope to rise above our current situation. This transformation becomes a roadmap and challenge for anyone walking behind us.
It took me a while to figure out that every sector of growth is in layers.
I have said before that I begun to see how beautiful I am after a long journey. Last week as I looked at the changes in my physique, my stamina and drive I was stumped at how good I looked and felt the another layer fell into place. The penny dropped and I understood that loving myself as I am is a continuous process as I find out more about myself. Every day there will be something new to love and deal with and every night there will be something to be grateful about. I must embrace the growth and self-love if I hope to BECOME everything God has said I am; the the praise of His glorious name.
This means that there will always be room to grow and become better and I must embrace it. I’m off to become more.