Saturday, October 29, 2011

Honesty is the Best Policy


This is me, being brutally honest (with the compulsory aloof face and messy hair required of all "before" pics.) The clothes are ill-fitting, but there was a time that they fit me, rather loosely I might add. So, I decided to wear them in hopes to progressively watch them loosen up bit by bit.

A friend from college is doing a really interesting experiment. He is super fit and over the last six months has gone about putting on 70 pounds to gain greater empathy with those he works with as a personal trainer. And now, he will take the next six months to carve it off. It is an interesting idea.

I wish I could say that the last year of my life has been a similar process. But, mostly it has just been a cycle grounded basically in fear and pride. Last summer I was looking pretty good--of course I didn't think so at the time, but I look back at those pictures and realize how amazing I looked, better than ever before. But, at the time all I wanted was more weight off. How silly. But, to be honest, I got scared. Being overweight was a part of who I was, and not being that started to scare me a bit. What on earth would I do with myself if I wasn't trying to lose weight?

Plus, I started to get a bit more attention. I noticed guys checking me out at the gym and that made me really nervous. The self-sabotage began. It was slow and gradual, and I kept running so the weight wasn't coming on quickly, but I had definitely shifted gears.

And then I moved in with my mom. And I was surrounded by food, stress, and strain. My husband was 300 miles away and our financial future was completely uncertain. I ate and ate and ate. And still I exercised, so it kept total health abandonment at bay.

And then I got a job. And gym time went out the window. And I had access to a vending machine. And I resented everything about our situation.

Now I weigh 200 pounds, a number I haven't seen since I was pregnant with Isaac. For the first time since we've been married, my wedding dress would probably not fit right now.

And still I think it will somehow just change. I think that I can eat what I want and if I just start going to the gym it will just work. I mean, I am someone who lost sixty pounds for heavens sakes. . I've never progressively gained more and more weight before. Surely, this isn't really me? Surely I can still fit into my jeans.. . . right? So wrong.

If I don't make some key changes, I am afraid I'll head down a dangerous road taking me to a place physically that I have worked very hard to never go. I've run a marathon, lost baby weight plus some between each pregnancy, and learned to make homemade granola and love beans and rice. I KNOW how to be healthy! I've just forgotten how to want it.

A real obstacle here is old fashioned honesty. I just haven't been honest with myself. I've bought two packs of twix bars and somehow convinced myself that they won't really add up or make me gain weight. Do I think they go out the back of my neck after I swallow? They don't.

So, I've decided to take on my own "fat to fit" challenge. Come along if you want. I plan to be very honest in this space.

I want to lose 45 pounds. It sounds like sooooo much, but one pound at a time and change will come. This will require large amounts of patience and itty bitty amounts of chocolate. But, it isn't just about the weight. I've weighed 160 before. I hope to reach 155, but it isnt' really the number. Like I said, I've weighed close to that before and I wasn't too happy about it. I still saw flabby arms and lumpy thighs. I saw the girls in Runner's World and they were everything I wasn't. I have got to get over that, and this is a place I plan to document my journey towards losing that weight too. That weight that drags my head down to look at my legs with a grimace instead of gratitude. The weight that worries my husband deserves better, that my children will grow to be like me, or that I am not worth anything unless I am thin and pretty. More than the pounds--that weight has got to come off.

I know I will be a better servant in the Lord's kingdom if I am stronger, leaner, and more confident. I know I will love others more if I love myself first. Not in a selfish self-serving way, but in a way that strips me of fear and lets me love without pride, expectation, or concern that my love isn't good enough because I'm not good enough.

As long as I'm being honest, I'll pass this on as well. I've felt often in many ways that my life will be happier and purer if I abandon white sugar and flour and stop eating after 8pm. That might sound completely crazy, but I've felt it too often to rationalize it away. This isn't a universal truth, but I do believe it is my truth. And it is a truth that I have been running from for quite a while. And I believe that the guilt of not accepting this prompting has driven me to food in terrible ways. This will not be easy. I love so many things sugary. But, I feel myself change when I eat it. I feel guilt and shame and suddenly all I can think about is the next time I can eat. . .anything.

I worry that anyone reading this (if you haven't fallen asleep yet) might lose a lot of respect for me with these confessions. I am sorry. I think I've been awfully good at portraying someone with vast amounts of willpower. And at times I have been that person. But, I'm not sure that it ever came from love or light, but just an overwhelming desire for approval.

But, I will try. I will try tonight to ignore the Halloween candy. I will pray for help. I will walk away, take a drink of water, and ask the Lord to give me strength to make these changes that will bless me in so many ways. And along the way I will lose weight. But more importantly, I hope I will lose fear. I will gain muscle, but I really hope I gain light.

A Body of Light.


  1. Oh, Morgen...I'm right there with you (remember those nights on our mission where we would rush home, order, and devour an entire (XL) Papa John's pizza. Right before bed. I've been trying since January to lose 40 pounds. I've only lost 15. So, we can be on this journey together.
    PS-I love your honesty. I keep my number a secret. :)

  2. You ARE beautiful and strong. Much stronger than you know! I appreciate your honesty and reading this (as I struggle with weight issues and with the body image that lives inside my head and tries to squash other good things in my life ... ie. I could enjoy _ a lot more if I was just thinner, etc.) I struggle with accepting myself and with others accepting me the way I am ... I want to be different and to change and be healthier but I know it's a gradual process (I tend to throw myself into things and then burn out very quickly because I overdo it at the start). I am trying to eat well as I know I can't personally go a 'diet' route because I tend to go binge if I feel I'm depriving myself of too much. (Portion control is a mantra). You're not alone in this journey and I appreciate you putting yourself out there (in words and deeds) because it lets me know that I am not alone either.

  3. I am the very epitome of a self-sabotageur and this post is inspiring to me. I wish you the best in your new journey!

  4. You are inspiring. I've started my own little journey. I'm not as brave as you to actually post my before picture (as it turns out I have a couple of 'before' pictures from previous false-starts), but really, you are inspiring. Keep up the good posts.