I’m so proud to have my dear friend Ashley guest blogging today. Ashley and I met when we started going to church together, but we really became friends on a girl-date to Red Lobster (I can’t remember what on earth possessed us to go to Red Lobster!). We ended up being roommates for a time before she and her now-hubby Benji got married, and we were in each other’s weddings.
Ashley has a really great story to tell about the process she has gone through in learning to live healthier, and I think it’s one that can be encouraging to anyone who has ever struggled with self-esteem.
I’m Ashley. Wife to Benji , mommy to Harper and servant to Jesus. Those three guys pretty much sum up my life. If that interests you, then feel free to take a peek at my blog, iMother.
Be warned though. I’m not your typical crafty, photo-taking, themed blogger mom. I’m a stay-at-home slacker mom. My blog layout is boring. I’m messy, borderline lazy. I prefer laughing and hugging my baby boy over cleaning the house. I vacuum about once a month. Windex about once a year. Never fold or iron clothes. I do, however, do the dishes daily – I hate a sink full of dirty dishes!
Sometimes I make crap, and if it excites me enough, I’ll post about it. That’s about all the crafting you’ll see in my neck of the blogosphere. I take pictures … mostly with my iPhone. You can hardly consider it photography. I’m crude at times, and I like rap music. I mostly write about my family. Sometimes about Harper’s poop issues, and sometimes about his teeth.
Occasionally, I’ll have a funny story … like the one where we ran into a bear while hiking in the woods. I blog for me, myself and I, and I write like I’m talking to my friends. If that’s your thing, hit me up sometime!
When Misty wrote and asked me to guest post on her blog, I felt like I had been asked to speak at a public event. I was terrified! She asked that I write about my recent success with some health goals of mine. I felt honored … and yet very unqualified. I thought about what all I could write about. I eventually decided to focus on what’s different about this time.
I remember the very first time I saw myself as fat. I was in kindergarten, and we had just gotten done running laps in the gym. I was slower than all of the other kids, and even though I was stick thin, I equated my slowness with being fat.
I didn’t actually get fat until the sixth grade, though. That was the year I decided to stop taking Ritalin. Sixth grade was also the first time I remember anyone making a fat joke about me (a fellow classmate told me he could hear me walking on the upper level of the school because I shook the entire building). I had similar occurrences all throughout high school. Not only did I feel fat at school, but I felt it at home too. On more than one occasion, some well-meaning family members encouraged me to diet. To me, this just confirmed that everyone saw me as nothing but a big fat girl.
My self-esteem continued to plummet until I was in my early twenties. I continued to try diet after diet, and yet continued to gain weight. On average, I gained about 10 pounds a year. I would diet and exercise for about two to three weeks, mess up, give up completely and then I would eat like I was a starving child at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. Then about three to four months later, I would repeat the cycle. Each time I would start a new diet, I would think about how impossible it was for me to lose weight. I would look in the mirror and see failure, knowing that I was never going to be able to stick to a diet.
I prayed so many times that God would just give me the metabolism of a skinny girl … one who could eat an entire pizza and fit into size two jeans. I’ve since learned that it doesn’t work that way.
Somewhere in the middle of all this, God began to change me. Not from the outside, like I had hoped, but from within. It started with a simple, but powerful revelation from Donald Miller regarding Mathew 19:19: “…love your neighbor as yourself.” –> I can’t really love my neighbor until I truly love myself. Wow. Like I said … simple, but powerful. My life changed after that. Not all at once, of course, but the process began.
I’m still in progress today. I suppose I will be until the day I die. I still struggle from time to time with my self-image, but for the most part, I choose to believe God when he says that I’m beautiful, valuable and worthy. Finally believing Him in this area has brought peace to my life. I believe that’s why I’ve actually had success this time around. It has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him.
I started Weight Watchers on July 12th of this year. At the time, I weighed 265 pounds. I’m currently down to 237. I chose Weight Watchers because I needed structure, and I also needed something I could stick to long term – quick fixes weren’t cutting it for me! I view Weight Watchers as a lifestyle change, not as a diet.
I pray every day. Not for God to give me a higher metabolism so that I can lose weight without working at it, but for the strength to make the right choices when it comes to what I put into my body. I also pray for the strength to keep walking when I’m on that last mile and ready to fall into the floor. It has been hard but worth it. I’ve learned that I’m the only one who has ever been in my way. I see now that I can do ALL things through Christ…including getting healthy – something I thought impossible not too long ago!
I’m so glad Ashley shared about this, because it’s great motivation for me. And I’m proud of how far she has come! Hope you all enjoyed reading her story, and if you’d like to see a little more about her Weight Watchers journey so far, you can read about it here and here.
Other posts in the series: