Some folks might look at the “before” and “after” pictures here at the blog and think it only took a year for God to work this change of releasing 100 pounds from my body. I wish that were the entire story.
Technically…physically, that may be so…but this is a journey that began long long before the year that I really lived what I knew and believed.
I actually have an intense dieting history that included a lot of weight lost and a lot of weight gained, compulsive exercise, studying to become a certified personal trainer and aerobics instructor, training and running my first marathon and training for a couple of others. In 1995, just before Thanksgiving, I was a young mom of a 1 and 3 year old and had over 100 extra pounds on my body. I did what I never dreamed of doing…Joined Weight Watchers. I diligently counted my fat and fiber grams and became a star pupil, dieting my way to 100 pounds lighter. I won an award at my tennis and fitness club and they joked about having my mail forwarded to the StairMaster where I spent hours of time. Sometimes, I even exercised twice a day…and I lived in constant fear I would regain the weight. Deep inside I knew the truth…that I was exercising to keep weight off…my husband calls that the “bulimic period” as he noticed I would eat quite a bit and then exercise more, thus “purging” my body of the extra “calories.”
An overuse injury put a screeching halt to my exercising and weight seemed to pour back on my body. What I had lived in fear of was happening!
By 1998, heavier again than I was comfortable, I realized that my heart was ensnared and obsessed with food, dieting, fitness and…well…ME. I was so self-absorbed. All the things I had done previously to break *free* of bondage had actually served to intensify the hold of the shackles that held me. In 1998, I realized that in an effort to be fitter physically, I had sacrificed my emotional and spiritual “fitness.” I was firmly in the grip of a stronghold or two or three.
Though I do not now endorse Weigh Down Workshop whatsoever, at that time I got involved in WDW and began to lead groups as well. I applied myself to eating between the parameters of hunger and satisfaction.
I honestly sought to love the Lord with my heart, soul, mind, and strength, but somehow, my progress with actually losing extra weight I carried was minimal…I felt like I must not love the Lord as much as I thought. I felt guilty when I exercised (even though I LOVED to exercise!). In summer of the year 2000, doctrinal errors began to surface and become quite evident to me. I left Weigh Down.
Pam Sneed told me about the book, Thin Again, by Arthur and Judy Halliday. Through the pages of that book, I began to see that the reasons I struggled with these battles with food, eating, self-image, etc…were myriad. Truly…it wasn’t just about “I am a rebellious sinner who refuses to give up my lover, food.” No. There were many more factors at work here and slapping a band-aid of false guilt on it would only serve to cover it for a season.
God wanted to root it out at the heart of its existence. I believe he wants to do that for all of us. I can’t pretend that it is easy. In fact, it was the most difficult thing that ever happened to me personally. But he walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.
I will write more about that tomorrow.
Part 2 of Heidi’s TW Testimony is here.