“I don’t want to be the fat friend!”
I had never actually said the words out loud before. But as I finally admitted this truth to my husband, I was flooded with unexpected emotions.
Growing up, I was (almost) always the skinniest girl wherever I went. I was proud of that. Sadly, I have spent the majority of my life not only judging others, but comparing myself to others. I have a critical spirit. It is exhausting, and I wish it wasn’t so. When I see someone, I go through a mental checklist deciphering if they are fatter than I am, more fashionable than I am, or more “put together” than I am.
I’m embarrassed to tell you the truth. I looked down on heavy people. I viewed heavy people as lazy and gross. I felt like a better person than they because I was thin. I was skinny and that was my happiness.
Then I turned 30. And I began to reap what I had spent decades sowing.
Just a few weeks ago, on the day before my 37th birthday, I had a breakdown like never before. I spent the majority of the day in bed, sobbing. No. I wasn’t upset about my age. Rather, I felt like a failure. I had just completed the Whole 30 challenge (30 days of no sugar, no grains, no dairy) and only lost 4 pounds. I went into the Whole30 challenge thinking that if I stuck to the guidelines, I’d come out of the 30 days at least 10 pounds lighter.
I put in all of the hard work the Whole 30 challenge required and I didn’t even lose 5 stinking pounds!
I was devastated. In my devastation, I cried out to God, “WHY?!?! Why is it so difficult for me to lose weight, Lord?” And then I even surprised myself when I heard myself ask, “God, is it Your plan for me to be heavy? Am I reaping what I’ve sown? Is being heavy how you are rebuking my critical spirit?”
I am blessed with an amazing husband who, as I lay in bed sobbing and proclaiming, “I’m tired of being the ‘fat friend,” showered me with encouragement and filled me with truths about who I am. The Godly women in my life also overwhelm me, and remind me that real beauty is something internal and can’t be destroyed. “Beauty expresses itself in a gentle and quiet attitude which God considers precious.” (1 Peter 3:4)
I’ve spent the weeks since my breakdown examining my very core. It’s been tough and amazingly wonderful! God is helping me realize that I have put multiple gods before Him…the god of dieting; the god of control; the god of criticism; the god of outward beauty.
Ouch! Thank goodness we serve a forgiving God!
Each day is a struggle. I’ll be honest. I would still like to lose 30 pounds. But when I find myself consumed with losing weight, I turn back to God for guidance and grounding. God continues to remind me that my inner beauty is what matters to Him. The size of my jeans doesn’t mean a lick when it comes to my salvation.
I plan to continue trying to make healthy food choices and exercise frequently. I want to be healthy. But more than anything else, I want to make my Heavenly Father proud of me. And if He needs me to carry around some extra weight, then so be it. After all, my husband is pretty thin….someone’s gotta keep him warm at night!
Sarah Yates lives in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri with her husband and 3 teenage sons.
She enjoys leading women’s bible studies at her church, online shopping, and playing Bingo at bingo halls!
She’s a little bit quirky, a little bit sassy, and whole lot of serious about Jesus!