Wellness Wednesday: My Journey with Weight Control

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“It’s not okay that women live bound by the chains of what society expects from our bodies.”

 42,720. The approximate number of times I have weighed myself in my life.

68,352. The approximate number of minutes I have spent counting calories.

That’s 1140 hours—47.5 days— of non-stop calorie counting and more than two weeks of standing on the scale day and night.

Those are some big numbers. It’s hard for me to share them with you. I am embarrassed to have wasted so much of my time on such a fruitless pursuit.

But I need to talk about this subject, because as women we so often refer to this unnatural relationship with our bodies as though it’s normal. To me, it’s a form of an eating disorder. Not in the same way that anorexia or bulimia are eating disorders, but in the sense that so many women like myself grapple with this “disordered” way of eating on a daily basis. I’m talking about it because it’s not okay that women live bound by the chains of what society expects from our bodies.

I can’t count the number of times I have sat around a table with girlfriends, a delicious selection of mouthwatering finger foods under our noses, and listened as most of us have justified our decision to eat or not eat the food.

“I went for a run today.”

“I didn’t eat dinner, so I can indulge.”

“I’ve been good all week, so I deserve a night off.”

“I shouldn’t … I really need to lose a few pounds.”

Whatever the response, so many of us are sitting around that table justifying our decision to eat or not eat. I have never heard the same conversation around a table of men.

The journey

I have been dieting since the age of 12. I remember the day I went to my mother and told her I thought I was fat. She thought she was helping me when she put me on a calorie-controlled diet.

I can’t remember if I actually lost any weight on that first diet, but I do remember learning a lot about the energy values of basic food items, and experiencing the joy of watching the scale move in a downward direction. It was addictive. If I lost any weight then, it didn’t matter—I had begun the agonizing journey of feast or famine.

I am now 38. I would estimate that I have begun a diet at least six times a year since that first time. This means I’ve been on a diet over 156 times. I’ve probably lost three times my current body weight in my lifetime, yet I’ve never been more than 20 pounds overweight. I’ve been losing and gaining the same weight over and over again all this time.

What a waste of time and energy.

Out of balance

And somehow I seem unable to break the cycle—after all, I have lived with it for 26 years. When it began, it was about the extra pounds; I used food to get through my parents’ destructive divorce. Food became something I relied on for comfort. Then it became an obsession, a way of controlling my life. Now it’s a state of mind that is so deeply ingrained, I struggle with it every day.

It’s also about control. Letting go means losing control. When I have control over my food intake, I somehow have control over my life. Perhaps that’s why this battle with my body has gone on for so long.

Where do I go from here?

This is not what I want for my future.

This is not what I want for my daughter’s future.

The thought that I may pass on such a negative cycle to my daughter scares me. I try to teach her about making healthy choices, to focus on how beautiful she is from the inside out. I want to protect her from a world that objectifies women and expects us to look a certain way. I know the best I can do is to let her know she is worth so much more.

And I have to let go, both for her sake and for mine. I want to walk the path that God purposed for my life without being held back by the chains of a negative body image. One day I will stand before my Father and he will ask me to account for my life. I don’t want to tell Him I spent every day obsessing about my calorie intake.

I want to tell Him that I loved well and that I made a difference in the lives of others.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25

By faith and through prayer, I am standing for a future where my relationship with food and with my body is the one that God intended for me.

_______________________________

Dear SheLoves friends, I’d love to hear your thoughts:

  • Do you struggle with the same issue?
  • Do you think it’s becoming easier or harder for us as women to be happy with their bodies?
  • What holds you back from stepping into your true light?
  • What has helped you in finding your balance?
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Claire De Boer
Hi, I’m Claire and though you may only see my words here once a month I’m part of the wonderful sisterhood of women who edit, upload and brainstorm behind the scenes of SheLoves. I was born and raised in England but pretty much see myself as a fully fledged Canadian. I spend just about all of my spare time blogging, editing and creating stories. I’ve also ventured into the world of teaching and mentor students in using writing as a tool for personal growth. My passion is to help others find the value and beauty in their stories and to find healing or self-awareness via journaling, memoir, or just "soul writing", as I like to call it. To learn more about my journey and the work I'm doing visit The Gift of Writing
Claire De Boer
Claire De Boer

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