This is based on a response I wrote in response to a post on Gentle Christian Mothers.
“Well….. I know what it is like to be big…. overweight…. fat…. I’ve lost about 40 pounds and could stand to lose another 15. (This is an estimate, it’s a long story but I don’t use scales)
I have a picture of myself at the beach and I look like a manatee. My husband and I decided it would be a “before” picture. it sort of helped… Okay, it really didn’t help. There was another picture as well, taken with my big, buff husband where I am larger than he is. That was in the pantry on the door. It didn’t help either but I did start losing some weight because I participated in a sprint distance triathlon. When the tri was over I gained some weight back because I was not training as viciously. During that time I entered psychiatric treatment and started gaining again thanks to the drugs (oh, and the hot fudge sundaes I ate every day after group.)
I showed the pictures of my husband and I it to my psychiatrist and he said, “Oh no, we don’t want that.” Of course he was right. Who wants to be that big? But when I was depressed I couldn’t adhere to a strict diet, or even resist snacks of any kind. Exercise would have been a joke. But I had those fat pictures of me to spur me on.
During my treatment I read that those kind of things are “mean” to ourselves. What we *should* try is taking a picture of ourselves all foxy and dressed up and paste that in a prominent place so you can look at how gorgeous you are now and think about how gorgeous you can be as you drop the weight. I liked that idea. If you know how to dress yourself well you are on your way towards truly caring for yourself. I have found the most beautiful clothes at thrift stores, for example, a floaty silk dress. Go ahead and buy it even if it’s a size you hope to never wear again, it’s worth it to look beautiful if it’s only for a minute.
A lot of us have deadlines to which they will be thin, or fit, or whatever. This creates yo-yo dieting. I’ve been guilty of it. I deliberately and carefully lost weight for my brother’s wedding. After I hit that milestone I ate freely whatever anyone put in front of me or that I bought for myself – milk shakes anybody? Going from a strict protein (no diary) veggies, fats and water diet to a junk food diet didn’t allow me to feel very good but it didn’t stop me. What I have yet to apply to my life is that all of these things are always a work in progress. If I need to exercise to take care of myself now, that means I will need to exercise when I’m eighty. If I get stomach cramps when I eat diary, I’m not going to be having a grilled cheese sandwich when I’m fifty.
Anyway, to me it does feel like Mount Everest, but that I’m prepped for getting to the top. I know what I need to eat, drink, how to exercise, etc etc etc. Now I have to do it.
The Bible says, “….put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” I didn’t do that. However, I think the point of that verse is to take gluttony seriously. Titus calls Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons. We aren’t Cretans but I hear the cricism seriously. Gluttony is online with lying. My gluttony turns me into a liar. I eat more than I should, I buy food that’s out of our budget and hide while I eat it. None of these things are part of an upstanding Christian life; they are of a glutton. I want to change, but not enough.
Or maybe I do. Maybe this is the time and day that I will change. I will pull myself out of this depression by eating the way I know I should; by exercising the way I should and reading the Bible the way I should.
But my phrasing is wrong. There are two ways to go about this. There is the “it would be nice” culprit (It would be nice if I wasn’t eating like a bridge troll.” “It would be nice if I would go for a walk every day.” In my mind that means you don’t really have to accomplish anythings but can sit on your front steps stoned on Xanax – (I know a lot of people are helped on Xanax. If it works for you, then do it. In my case, it turned me in to a zombie.) and think about how nice things would be….
and then there is “must”. “I must work out until I’m dripping sweat.” “I must drink nine glasses of water a day.” “I must not drink alcohol of any kind.” The concept of “must” is more helpful for me. If I just “should” I’m not going to and I’ll pour on the guilt as easily as they pour on the hot fudge.