You never know what you will see on social media.
If I’ve learned anything about Facebook, it’s that you will find the good, the bad, and the dramatic. Some people only portray the positive, making others envious of their perfect lives. Others air out more dirty laundry than a country clothes line. But every once in a while, something grabs your attention and really speaks to your heart. That happened today.
About 8 years ago, I “met” my friend Cheryl online on a weight loss support website. Like most women who struggle with the ups and downs of that battle with the bulge, I had tried everything on God’s green earth – but that’s for later. When I met Cheryl, she shared her continuous journey with losing weight, and over time, I watched her shrink. She was a workout powerhouse and one disciplined, determined woman! In fact, I recall feeling pretty jealous of her weight loss – she started out weighing more than me, and she wound up weighing much, much less. But she deserved it. She worked hard, she ate clean, and purged sugar and flour from her diet. Awesome.
When Facebook become all the craze, we stayed connected, and the topic of weight didn’t come up so much. She shared her life, her good times, her bad … and occasionally, she would share fitness goals and stories. Today, however, she posted that her “secret was out” and that she had gained back all the weight she lost all those years ago. My heart FELT her pain, because I walked in her shoes. I felt the tears sting my eyes as I contemplated my own past.
Starting in 2001 and into 2002, at 5″1′, I went from 165 pounds to 125 pounds. I looked lean and fit. The problem is that I did not follow a healthy program to get there. I took diet pills that have since been pulled from the market because they caused heart attacks and strokes in some users. I can’t say that I counted calories because there were barely any to count. I worked out like crazy – exercise at first was challenging, then addicting. The pills and exercise weren’t the only things that were addictive – the attention and praise went straight to my head. The more attention I got, the harder I worked to lose even more. Now seriously, 125 pounds is quite healthy for a short chick like me. Even more seriously, screw up your metabolism the way I did, and it will take a very long time to get things right again.
So yay me, I lost the weight. Then I left the company where I worked, left the fitness center that was free for its employees, and left the constant support to keep my weight off. I went to work in a small office full of women who liked to eat. No fitness center. No excuse – but I sure made those excuses my new best buds. Within months I gained about half of the weight back; within just a few years, I gained it all back. And then I gained even more. Depression set in. Rejection replaced attention. I withdrew from old friends; in fact, if I’d been given the chance to see old coworkers, I would have run the other way. I was embarrassed and ashamed.
That was 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve been through a divorce, learned to be independent all over again, struggled financially, and discovered two best friends and biggest supporters in my (grown) daughters. My spirit was broken, my heart was shattered, and I was brought to my knees. Jesus met me there. I had long strayed in my walk with God, but He never left me. He reached out to me in all my pain, and I thank Him every day for restoring me as His daughter.
Which brings me to now. 2014. I’ve remarried, watched both of my daughters grow as amazingly strong women, am going to college part time, and this year, I committed my health to Jesus. I began this year with a Daniel Fast and an online Bible study through the book “Made to Crave” by Lysa TerKeurst. I’m not perfect; not every day is victorious. But there are more strong days than not, and I am losing weight again. I’m not going to give up. My word for 2014 is “Victory” – 1 Corinthians 15:57: But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (NASB).
Evidently, I am not the only one who is back on track and doing something to become healthy once again. Remember that good Facebook moment I had today? Check it out:
Cheryl, if you see this, I am SO STINKING PROUD OF YOU! Don’t give up, don’t give in – you’ve got this, girl.
“Success is not measured by the position one has reached in life, rather by the obstacles one overcomes while trying to succeed.” Booker T. Washington