Back in 2014, I decided that I needed a better relationship with God. I was coming off of the worst times I’ve ever experienced in my life and I knew something major needed to change. So yes, I had invited Christ into my life. But that didn’t automatically mean my life was right.
To put it bluntly, my life was a mess. I was a mess.
- I was overweight, the heaviest I had ever been.
- I had lost my son through miscarriage and still carried what felt like 10,000 pounds of grief on my shoulders.
- I was still dealing with marital issues, symptoms of the affair I had the year before. With no idea how to fix things, I was considering divorce.
And in the middle of all that, I hated myself. I was disgusted with where I ended up. I knew it was all my fault, a direct result of decisions I made. But I was also tired of feeling stuck. I needed to do something, so I started in what seemed to be the obvious place. I didn’t know how to move on from my grief. I didn’t know how to fix my marriage. But I could lose weight. I could get healthy. So of course, I threw myself into it with a level of determination that I had never put toward anything ever before.
Weight loss was all I had. If I could do this, that meant I might be able to fix the other parts of my life too. But if I couldn’t… That meant I could never let go of my grief. That meant I could never fix my marriage. That meant I could never grow in God. (No pressure at all!)
It may have seemed like something so small but for me it was everything. And with the stakes that high, I could not fail. I pushed myself HARD.
I had the idea that I had to be in the gym every single day. I couldn’t eat anything except salad.
Before this, I was not very physically active but still, I chose to do the Insanity workout (with Shaun T by Beach Body). I did it for about a month and a half straight.
I didn’t care how sore I was. I didn’t care how tired I was. None of that mattered. I did it full on.
Now, I realize my “commitment” was really a form of self hate. But at the time, I told myself “I’m doing this to lose weight” and “I’m doing this to better myself.”
Every morning I would be extremely sore and in pain but I would do the workout anyway. If I dared to skip even one single day, I would beat myself up emotionally. The little voice in my head constantly reminded me that I was the reason that I was so overweight. My decisions caused this. It was all my fault so I needed to suck it up and deal with it.
I was literally torturing myself.
I was doing the insanity workouts and I was pushing myself so hard that I could not walk up the stairs in my home or do basic chores like bend down to take clothes out of my washing machine because my knees hurt so bad.
When I finally went to the doctor, he said I had injured myself because my body frame was not built to carry this much weight and the relentless workouts only compounded the problem. Because of the month and a half I spent killing myself with Insanity, I needed three months of physical therapy due to bilateral knee injuries.
1 step forward, 3 steps back
For the next three months, I was forced to rest. That meant no working out.
In my head, I failed again. I tried and failed… It made me feel even worse. I’m still fat and a failure. I tried to lose weight and it didn’t work. I wanted to throw the towel in and give up but my story doesn’t end here. God had a plan for my life. He never gave up on me. He showed me how to take Baby Steps (first in weight loss then in everything else in my life) to achieve all my goals and I’d like to share them with you.
After physical therapy I was discouraged. I was a “fat failure” so why try again? But I tried anyway.
This time I thought. “I’m going to take it easy, go to the gym and walk on the treadmill to work my way up.”
But all my gym clothes were too small for me. I didn’t want to go to the gym because I didn’t have anything decent to wear. Just when I thought about buying new clothes, that little voice in my head came back: “When your fat ass loses 20 pounds then you will be able to fit the gym clothes you have! You’re NOT spending money on new gym clothes! You need to wear the clothes you have!” … that’s how I spoke to myself.
I wouldn’t dare say mean things to anyone else but I was talking to myself like this everyday. I was not even giving myself permission to buy some gym clothes?! Really?!
Then God reminded me of a dear friend who was also trying to lose weight. She also wanted to go to the gym but had no clothes to wear. I encouraged her to buy a few new clothes so she could feel comfortable and confident when she went to the gym. I told her not to worry what others think. She was a beautiful woman inside and out. I wanted her to have the things she needed in order to support the good choices she was making in her life. I explained the importance of taking care of herself and getting healthy is not only for her but for others who benefit from her life as well.
I told my friend this after I talked to myself like trash! It was ok for her to feel good about herself because she was making a good change in her life but it wasn’t ok for me?
It was ok for me to encourage her to buy gym clothes to motivate her to lose weight but I couldn’t do that for myself?
In that moment I realized I had to stop treating myself like this or I wasn’t going to make it.
A second chance
Even after that realization, making the change took some work. I had to ask for help. I had to get with God to help me start to love myself again.
In the beginning, I literally had to pretend I was someone else (my friend) in order to allow myself to have new gym clothes. It was rough!
But I was determined to be happy and get healthy by any means necessary. So if I needed to temporarily pretend to be someone else so I could get gym clothes, so be it! As the Lord spoke His loving kindness over me it was hard to receive His words when I hated myself so much. I was literally in a puddle of tears when He told me, “You are My dear friend and I want you to have some new gym clothes. I will buy them for you. I love you.”
I need you to know it’s ok to give yourself a second, third or fourth chance. But first you have to give yourself permission to try again. Give yourself the opportunity to say yes to yourself. Give yourself permission to love yourself. Permission to invest in yourself. Don’t give up on yourself because your God will never give up on you. Allow yourself to have the things you need in that moment. Give yourself the space to go at your own pace.
That was a huge lesson to learn from some gym clothes!
But giving myself permission worked! I was able to encourage myself and love myself enough that I was able to consistently show up in the gym and start eating right. Once I was able to consistently show up, I hired a personal trainer.
I lost weight only by getting with God and allowing Him to love me and teach me His ways. He treated me like that dear friend who He wanted to see succeed. He said it was ok to buy the gym clothes. As a matter of fact, He bought them for me. He said, let me help you, I will come to the gym with you. And He did. Then He blessed me with a personal trainer who was able to work around my previous injuries and help me lose weight. It was wonderful. I lost over 25 pounds.
Not buying gym clothes could have stopped me from completing this goal. It could have kept me complacent, unhappy and overweight. And by extension, it could have kept me from allowing God to help me face all the other problems in my life — my endless grief, my broken marriage — and get to work fixing those too.
I had to give myself permission to do something small for myself and to invest in myself. I gave myself the opportunity to feel better about myself, to be loved by God and I was worth the investment. I started small- Baby Steps- buying new gym clothes, going to the gym, eating right, creating consistency, hiring a personal trainer. Each step was a progression. But as I progressed I got massive results.
I made the decision to take Baby Steps instead of leaping back into Insanity. But here’s the thing. I don’t just want you to feel encouraged by my story. That’s not why I’m opening up and telling you all this. I want you to do something. I want you to take action and get on the road to bettering yourself with your own Baby Steps. I made the workbook to give you some guidance on how to do just that.
If you are ready to find your God given purpose and learn how to give yourself permission to find happiness in God, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to talk about how we could work together in God’s Will.
Be Blessed, Be Encouraged
For The One