A Very Weighty Story

A Very Weighty Story

I remember the day and the humiliation like it was yesterday. Standing in line with my 6th grade classmates in a warm , muggy gym in Arkansas USA. It was a day I dreaded every year once the powers-that-be declared it was important to know the height and weight and general fitness level of all little kids in elementary school. I dreaded it for many reasons. My fitness level was down around zero. I never liked exercising or playing any sort of sport. I guess that came from a lack of coordination, which I’m certain came from my very fast growth spurts. This particular school year it was all extra bad though. The summer I turned 11 was a painful one for me…literally! I had grown to the height of a giant, leaving all my friends looking like I could be their teenage babysitter. I can still feel those growing pains!!

So after going through a drill of excruciating tests that once again proved my total lack of fitness, I was made to stand on a scale, a line of class mates behind me waiting their turns. The girl who went before me was a perfect 4 ft something or other and weighed in at about 70 lbs. She was the norm in my class of kids who still looked like kids. The anxiety I felt as I waited for the teacher to say my height and weight out loud was ridiculous. I wish I could’ve stopped her. I wish I could’ve knocked her to the ground before she said my facts out loud. But I couldn’t. So my whole class heard the truth that I was 5ft 10 and weighed an enormous 125 lbs. Heavens to Betsy!!!! I was a freak!!

All I could think about was the 70 lb girl who went before me. She was normal. I was fat! Nobody else in my class weighed even close to 125 lbs. Of course, nobody else was even close to 5ft 10 either. But that didn’t relate in my barely 11 year old mind. It didn’t click that my weight was actually pretty darn low for my height. All that seared into my young mind was how much more I weighed than everyone else.

Having breakfast before school with my sisters during my “I’m a fat giant” days. It was clearly all in my head.

As I think about this moment of sincere humiliation, I just want to go back in time and give little me a huge hug and tell her it’s all going to be OK. I’d just want to reassure her that she’s perfectly proportioned and beautiful and that , yes, the boys WILL bypass her gigantic height one day soon. I’d want to let her know that weight is just a number and not an indication of her worth as a person. I’d want to let her know how amazing it would one day be to be so tall…how it would be so nice to be able to help people reach things on high shelves. How it would be easier to see over other people’s heads in crowds and that would be especially important at the Shaun Cassidy concert!! How one day she would applaud her height because she could weigh more than her shorter friends and look amazing while doing so!

I thought about all these things last night as I divulged my current weight to my husband. I had been fighting a stomach bug for about 24 hours and was trying hard to down some egg drop soup and rice. We talked a minute about the blessing of a stomach bug…quick weight loss. I had managed to lose 2 lbs in 24 hours! I wasn’t sad about that! But as my husband cheered for my still over 200 lb weight, it just struck me as funny. I’ve now lost just shy of 45 lbs and I look and feel so much better than I did 5 short months ago. But I’m still over 200 lbs. I’m still just a smidge heavier than my biggest cheerleader. And the truth is, I AM SO GOOD WITH THIS!!!! SO. GOOD!

So if I’m good with how I look and feel right now, why not stop the insanity of trying to keep losing? Hmm….couple things. I know how much more amazing I feel at my goal weight. I’ve been there within the last 15 years and it’s even better than the good of where I’m at now. And then there was that ONE doctor in my life. ONE doctor who had the good sense to actually comment on my weight as she saw me heading over 200 lbs while pregnant with my first child. She looked me in the eye and said , “Becky, you may be tall. But you do not need to weigh over 200 lbs. It’s not healthy.” Harsh? Maybe. Truth? Absolutely. But I look back on that now and I appreciate that truth being spoken to me. Because for a good portion of my adult years, I’ve hovered at 200 lbs or been well over. And that doctor from long ago was just right. I don’t feel my best when I’m over that number or even hovering right below it.

I still have about 30 lbs to my ultimate goal but I no longer look in the mirror and make grimacing faces at myself. That little girl who once thought her world ended because her whole class knew she weighed 125 lbs can rejoice in 218 and mean it….and even admit that on a public blog with only a mild amount of embarrassment! According to “all the charts”, I’m still obese. Shoot, when I reach MY goal weight, that all mighty BMI chart will still tell me I’m overweight. But to heck with those charts. I think I’ll throw them away!! How did they come up with those numbers anyway? I’m in my mid 50’s!! I DO NOT need to weigh 4 pounds more than I did as a scrawny 11 year old to be at a healthy weight!!!

I left out one thing I’d say to my 6th grade self. And it’s probably the most important thing I wish I had known then. Which may be why I left it for last.

Dear 6th Grade Me…

STOP!

COMPARING!

And I’ll offer this same advice to you if you’re struggling with your weight right now and find yourself comparing yourself with anyone else. Even if that “anyone” is a younger you who lost weight easier and faster!! There are going to be people who lose weight faster than you. That’s OK. There are also people who will lose slower than you. Also OK. There will be people who can lose weight and eat dessert every night or pizza every Friday while you feel like you have to eat salad every day to even lose a pound. There will be people who can lose and never do a lick of exercise! While others work out every day and love it!

It’s ALL good . What YOU are doing is good as long as you believe in yourself and don’t give up. Just keep doing YOUR thing and you will amaze YOURSELF !!

Until next time…

Keep Joyfully Clamoring!!

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Cheers to Another Year

Cheers to Another Year

I just celebrated another birthday. Cheers to that! It was not a biggie…you know, one with a zero at the end. But still one where I sat and realized I’m not that much younger than my early memories of my own grandparents. It’s a weird feeling. It’s almost like I hold my breath every time I look in a mirror. Will this finally be the day I look in the mirror and see my Mamaw staring back at me….silver, short grandma hair perfectly coifed. Nice, tailored dress with an apron over it. Sensible shoes. Perfectly polished fingernails. My grandparents were of the generation with that stereotypical “grandma look”. This “look” was beautiful and precious to me as a kid….but I don’t particularly want to stare at it every time I pass by a mirror! So please pass the hair color and the fancy skin care my way!!

This birthday, though. This year that sees me 4 years short of the next “zero at the end” birthday. It’s all caused me to stop and do some reflecting. I’m not really surprised that one of my very first real memories is of a birthday. My 4th birthday was a year my parents threw a little party for me. This shin dig was at our house, which was a sweet single wide mobile home in Fort Walton Beach. I can remember being super excited about my friends coming over…I can’t tell you a single one of their names today. And I can remember NOT being excited about the nap my mom insisted I take before the shenanigans began. But she let me fall asleep on her lap as she sat in her chair…that I DO remember. My head on her shoulder. Her arms wrapped tightly around me. Being warmly embraced by the love of my mother. That memory is much stronger than the names or faces of the kids who came to my house or the presents they brought for me.

Why? What would make me remember anything about a day fifty something years ago? I’m sure it’s because of the love I felt that day. Because love is a powerful thing!

And now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”…1Cor 13:13

Little me looking adorable enough in our “nap chair” that this could’ve actually been the day of that 4th birthday party.

With love powering my sentimentality and with birthdays on my mind, I’m not surprised that memories of birthday’s past have been filling my head this week.

  • Year 15 was celebrated at a local and newish water park. This was 1978 and water parks just weren’t all they are today. But by late 70’s standards, this one was…well…standard. I only remember it having a few different big water slides. I remember the brown bikini I had that summer, certain it showed off my tan all the better. I remember the friends who joined me on this day. And the plethora of cute lifeguards hanging around for me and my teenage friends to gawk at…I mean to save us if our lives were ever in peril from the swishing, raging water! I also remember feeling incredibly loved because my parents knew this outing would make my heart happy . And they were right!
  • The following year we were in a new town. It’s H A R D to move to a completely different state when you’re 16. The summer of this milestone birthday found me knowing pretty much zero people. We had only been in small town Texas for a few weeks, school had yet to begin, and our neighborhood was devoid of anyone even remotely near the ages of myself or my sisters. But this birthday made my heart smile because even in the simplicity of our family of five sitting in a Pizza Hut eating strangely amazing pizza, I felt all warm and cozy inside. It was my birthday and my family, who I knew loved me, surrounded me as we munched on my favorite food together. I think your favorite food and love will always go hand in hand!
  • How can I ever forget my next momentous birthday? I turned 18 in 1981. My friends and I celebrated with an overnight party and our first legal drinks. We made strawberry daiquiris and planned to wake up in time to watch the wedding of Charles and Diana. Because why not? What could be more special than royal love! I really needed this time of friendship and love on that very day. When I left my friends later that morning , after basking in the richness of this royal wedding and all the birthday fun, I learned of the death of my beloved Papaw. How sweet of God to surround with me so much fun and love right before what was one of the worst days of my young life.
  • By far my most memorable adult birthday was the big 4 – 0 ! This day saw my one and only surprise party. Somehow my husband was able to pull off a full fledged unexpected gathering of new friends, old friends and family from near and far. How I managed to not notice the line up of my Texas family’s cars as I strolled through the parking lot to the fellowship hall could only have an act of God. The love I felt that day bowled me over. As I walked through the different “layers” of friends and family who had come to celebrate this day with me, the affection we shared was sweet. It was almost like a glimpse of heaven.

Looking back on these birthdays from the past, I’m struck by one thing. The REASON I remember them. There was a very evident strand of love weaving through each of those days. The love of my mother’s arms…the love of a group of friends….the love of family. The feeling of being seen and known and loved is a powerful, grounding feeling. It’s a necessary one, I think.

We all want to be seen.

We all want to be known.

We all want to be loved.

God made us to need these things. Maybe that’s because HE sees us and knows us. And He IS love. Perhaps when we’re craving love, we’re really craving God. Hmmm….because as good as human love is, His love is a million times better. It just is.

So cheers to another year. A year to be loved and seen and known. A year to love and see and know.

Until next time…