This is something I wrote just over two years ago, and I’m posting it now to lay a good foundation for some more things I want to say about this in the future.
I shared this news on Facebook today:
I lost 50 pounds. Its been an amazing journey. Its been relatively quick. It has been incredibly challenging.
It has been supported by an encouraging husband who has loved me as the pendulum of the scale has swung back and forth, and through a broad range of imperfections as I have bumped and curved and shrunk again under the influence of two pregnancies.
But here’s the thing: a scale… measurements… they don’t address the heart issues: How do I see myself?
50 pounds heavier, I could look in the mirror and like many things about myself, and the way I looked. I was simultaneously strategic in avoiding glass doors, mirrors at the end of hallways, and even in public bathrooms. Even though I “knew” I was beautiful, and told I was I beautiful, I felt guilty for not meeting a particular standard.
A standard that I thought I’d achieve after losing 50 pounds.
But today, before I took the (relatively embarrassing) pictures that I’m still hoping will win me a very fun competition, before hundreds of people started complimenting me on Facebook and telling me I was an inspiration, I looked in the mirror and I didn’t fully see who I am.
I still saw things that I don’t like. I still felt bigger than I look.
And that is scary. Because in as much as I see that, I also know that is totally untrue. And that makes me MAD. Because for the first time in my life, I see firsthand what a lie body image can be. How it can be so distorted to tell us we’re not good enough, for some girls, starving themselves or bingeing themselves to their death.
I lost 50 pounds because I absolutely needed to. I was overweight and starting to get achy. I could not move with ease. I grew physically tired in my body caring for my children. And they’re still young! I did not want to continue down that path, with the potential of avoidable health complications and not being a mum with the energy to raise my kids to the standard I hope and believe to.
I am THRILLED to fit in different clothes, to FEEL more comfortable and lighter, and more energetic, that my body is functioning better than it has in YEARS.
I’m so glad that the fear of succumbing to the lies of body image, losing weight for the wrong reasons, and the inability to exercise self-control for longer than 30 days has not held me back from actually taking the step to lose the weight. I’d encourage anyone with a belief to lose weight to do it. (And I would help you and cheer for you and encourage you the same way I was helped and cheered for and encouraged to meet this milestone!)
But please be careful. Because you are beautiful TODAY. And because tomorrow… or four months and fifty pounds from now… you will still see things you don’t love about the outside of you. The mirror will lie to you. And as much as you need to have the willpower to put nutritious food in your body, you also need to have the willpower to look yourself in the eyes and say, “I am beautifully crafted in the image of the Almighty God.”
Because you are. And so am I.