I ran tonight. Hard. Heavy breathing. Thick, sticky air. Sweat slithering down my face within the first minute. Legs aching. Heart pounding: thug-tap-tap. Half mile, nonstop. My shirt clung to my back. And as I rounded the corner to my halfway point, I allowed myself a break that my body craved. I shouldn’t have stopped, but my lungs were on fire.
As I walk out this stretch, I begin to think: why am I so obsessed with my weight? I wasn’t always this way…
My obsession started in middle school. As a girl from a low-income household, and living in the the country on top of it, I wasn’t the most popular around. I had a few friends. But more so than friends, I had many students my age that intimidated me, and a few girls who taunted and ridiculed me because of my clothing style: big hand-me-down clothes that were not exactly new looking. I’ve even had a few people call me “fat” or a few other mean names because honestly I wasn’t a size 1. I struggled. A lot. Struggled with eating food. I purposely skipped breakfast, and then forced myself to skip lunch claiming I was too full from breakfast.Then when I got home I’d eat a very, minuscule supper. No one knew. It was my personal well-hidden secret.
It took me an entire school year to finally overcome my obsession. Eighth grade went by fairly well, I managed to eat more. I thought I had overcome completely the obstruction that was blocking me to a happy teenage life. Then high school rolled around, and my obsession only grew. I spent one summer, avoiding soda and sweet things, running and walking at least 2 miles a day, sleeping in a sweatshirt every night (yes, it was hot!), and when I watched TV I did so while using an elliptical. I shed several pounds and inches, and was probably a size 10/11, but I was never satisfied with the number on the scale, it was always “too high.”
I slowly overcame my problem with the help of very good, intimate friends, and learning how to love myself the way I was because Jesus loves me no matter what. As I went through college, I completely was lost in a non-judgmental sea
And then, as I came home throughout my final college year, my mom would hint around at how being fat is unhealthy. And I’d have to correct her and say, “Being fat does not necessarily mean that one is unhealthy.” And I’d feel like I was like a potato all over again. Why are Americans so concerned about one’s weight? Why does a simple number on a scale matter? Why aren’t people more concerned about children who think they need to diet to feel adequately accepted because they watch models that are only accepted as size zero. Why aren’t people more concerned about those who aren’t “fluffy” that binge and purge because they’re told if they get “too fat” that they’re imperfect. Why is our society a weight-limit society. Why do we have to be 5’11” and 100 pounds, and why do guys have to be 6’0″ with a six pack and muscles to boot. Why can’t our society and culture circle a “come as you are” mentality, and be okay with all body types.
As I step on the scale that has shown I haven’t fluctuated much in the past month except maybe losing two pounds just to gain it back, I always cringe thinking “Ugh, why can’t I be like so-and-so?” But then God gently reminds me that if I weren’t me, I wouldn’t be an original. It’s good to be healthy, and to eat right
I might be overweight, I might even be class 1 obese on the BMI scale, but I’m me. I’m willing to be used by God, no matter what size I am.