Living Large (Part 1)

IMG_0030I’ve had a rough year with weight loss. On the flip side, I’ve had a great year with weight gain. Between illnesses and unexplained back pain I’ll admit I’ve at times sought comfort in food that probably would not normally qualify as healthy. (gotta define that first!)

I’m back to the YMCA working out in spite of my struggles (since I’ve determined I’m not doing any damage in spite of the ongoing pain issue). The biggest workout has been in my own thinking and I’m not there yet. I wish there was an easy way to suck the bad messages that have been force-fed into my brain all my life. There’s really no lipo for that though, is there?

But the last few days I was thinking about some of my  friends that are not a size zero either. I’m not going to set a bar for weight or dress size that determines whether someone is “fat” or not.

Here’s what I realized. Some of the sweetest, most encouraging and beautiful people I know–are overweight.

What?

Yup. It’s true. I adore these people. I want to be around them because they smile and they know (I hope) that their BMI is not what God is interested in. They have won me over because of their positive attitude and the way they graciously treat and encourage others around them, including me.

A few years back I had mentioned the name of a gal who sang on a worship team. Someone else didn’t know who she was. I said “She’s on the short side and has the biggest, sweetest smile” and another person said “Oh, she’s the fat one.” Is it any wonder I didn’t really “like” the person who would make a comment like that?

I wish there was a correct way to say to my fellow ladies who tend to larger-than-normal sizes: “Hey, I don’t know if weight is an issue you struggle with, but the first thing I think of when I think of you is how much I enjoy being around you.”

I have to turn this around to look at my own self-condemnation over my weight. The number on a scale or the size on a pair of jeans is NOT the measure of my character or worth. It has little to do with the way I treat others. I am more gracious to those around me with similar issues, than I am to myself.

I’m not my own best friend but sometimes an even bigger enemy are  those around me that keep telling me I’m fat and need to lose weight.

News flash: I already know that.

I love the idea that if someone tells you you’re fat – you should eat them. Except those kind of people are not nice. The probably wouldn’t taste very good, even well seasoned. Even if they are skinny and dress well. Their character stinks. Their words pollute. I don’t want to be around them. They might even call themselves “truth-tellers” but there’s a big difference between encouraging someone and putting them down and it goes far beyond the words that come out of someone’s mouths.

I am NOT saying that all “skinny” people out there are evil. Some are delightful and I even call them friends!

So why am I writing about this here? Maybe so that if someone I know, who struggles with this issue and reads this post, they’ll know that what I see in them isn’t their size, but their attitude and smile and their love of God and other people. And maybe together we can encourage each other, not to lose weight, but to savor the value we truly have, that goes beyond the scale.

After all, the heart is what God looks at too, so why should we be any different?

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7 thoughts on “Living Large (Part 1)

  1. Loved this! I once worked at a waitressing job where there was another girl with my same name. I once overheard someone asking, “Which Tiffany?” regarding our assignments. And the other girl replied, “The heavy one.” That tore me up.

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    • Oh, Tiffany, I’m sorry that happened. I think some people are just insensitive or being a bit passive aggressive. Like weight gain is infectious? However, I’m sure that is nothing to what you probably think of yourself when alone. I know my own condemnation can be far harsher than that of others if I’m totally honest. Although, most of those condemnations are in the voices of people I had hoped would love me. You are beautiful because of who God created you to be and He sees, knows and loves every inch of you. Blessings!

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  2. Goodness. You’e one of the most beautiful people I know. We’re all different. I lose weight when I’m stressed, MSB gains it. In good times, when I’m well and happy, I have the biggest problem keeping my weight down, MSB can drop it over night. Weight isn’t a measurement of anything.

    To me, you’re beautiful. I’d love to do the lipo on ya to get the other voices out of your head.

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  3. Very thoughtful, thought provoking. I’ve been blessed with positive, loving people who don’t judge me by my size and I’m still my own biggest enemy. When I stop trying to compare myself to anyone (‘I wish I looked like her’ or ‘At least I don’t look that bad’) and start saying ‘I want to eat healthy and move freely so I can enjoy playing with my grandbabies’ is when I’ll be most successful.
    And Susan? You are really quite beautiful.

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  4. This was a subject I was struggling with this morning, Susan. My scale broke a couple of months ago and I was panicking…what if I gained weight instead of lost it? What if I was at my highest weight ever and didn’t even know it? Then I thought about the last year or two, the highs and the lows: losing my husband 18 months ago, losing my grandson six weeks ago, having a book published and another one being edited for April publication. I am a stress eater, and it doesn’t matter if the stress is good or bad. I can dress nice and get up in front of a room full of people; act silly and make them laugh, get serious and see them brush away tears. I am using the talents God gave me and struggling to remain balanced. God loves me. My husband loved me. My friends love me. I am “all that and a bag of chips.” (my daughter said that the other day, and I loved it.) I am not a number on a scale. We can pray for each other, Susan, and encourage each other. With God’s help we can become balanced in this area of our life too. When I met you I was overcome with your beauty, inside and out. You are not a number on the scale: You are Susan, a beautiful woman with a good and loving heart. God loves you. I love you.

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  5. You beautiful women all prove my point and your words bring me to tears. It’s that kind of thing that can help us overcome the negative thoughts and I am blessed because of you! Validation for who we are and not what we look like is the true liposuction for the words of others (and the culture!) that would tell us otherwise. ((hugs!))

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  6. Thank you for sharing. I sometimes get down on myself about my weight and size, esp. when nothing comes off with all my efforts. I think God wants us to be healthy, but he made us all in different sizes and shapes. We can be proud to be His creation. It is hard to ignore the media and judgmental people. It only makes those who struggle feel worse. We shouldn’t compare or compete that way. I wonder sometimes it is a cultural thing. I saw some Renaissance paintings and couldn’t help noticing that the women weren’t super thin. Were heavier women considered more beautiful then? Are we just getting too crazy over this? Have all women throughout time wrestled with this? I’m going to try to be the best me I can be and try not to dwell on it. I hope you will do the same and know that you are beautiful no matter what size you wear. Thanks for your encouragement.

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