Monday, April 23, 2007

A Different Kind of Spiritual Journey

Today I am wearing a t-shirt that was too small the last time I tried it on. It is pretty baggy right now. I am having a hard time with seeing changes. My weight has stayed the same for the last two weeks, but I feel lighter and stronger. The book I'm reading "YOU On A Diet" says that at first when we work out, we are gaining muscle mass, so the weight won't drop dramatically for awhile.

Psychologically, I'm having difficulty admitting that I was as large as I had been. I'm having difficulty seeing that I am smaller. Emotionally, there is some fear. Irrational, perhaps. A part of me is afraid that I'll lose too much weight! Why, I don't know!

I walked a mile to the grocery store yesterday, wearing the same t-shirt I'm wearing now. I decided not to carry anything, not even a water bottle. It was freeing--everywhere I go these days I'm carrying a packed purse and a tote bag or a gym bag or a lunch carrier. I decided to purchase a few items to carry home for dinner, some lettuce , Veggie slices (cheese flavored tofu) and green beans. Men's heads were turning to look at me. The first few times, I brushed it off, but it kept happening throughout the store, so I was starting to freak out. I wanted to run out of the building. I was wearing loose comfortable clothing and my walking shoes, and my grey hair was in a pony tail, no make up. I wasn't dressed for attention nor was I seeking any, so it was disconcerting. Obese people are usually invisible, people don't want to look at them.

In a way, I felt safe with a barrier of fat keeping people away from me.

A few months before Mom passed away, we were going through some old photographs. I found some of Mom and me on the beach when I was in high school, and Mom quickly averted her face away from them. She quietly turned back to the photos that I was holding in my hand and told me that she was at 350 pounds at that point and that she was at 150 now. I couldn't believe it, I had no idea that Mom's weight was so out of control, because I never saw her as that big. Mom was taller than me, roughly close to 5'10". So, 150 was pretty skinny for her. She lost it mostly by strict diet, and had no muscle tone at all.

I'm trying to key in on a goal weight. I'm afraid to, because I might be discouraged at the amount I have to lose. Lately, I have been focusing on lifestyle changes and better food choices. It is a really narrow focus, I'm reading and thinking about it all the time, strategizing my next change. I'm also dealing with a lot of guilt because my self-care seems to be dominating my life right now. I haven't started my food journal, because my past failures with it still haunt me.

I need to talk about this to someone who understands and who has been there. I don't know of anyone except the checkout girl at the grocery store and my late mom. I'm thinking of joining Weight Watchers, not because I need the eating plan, but because I need a support system.

PBS had a fairly good program "Fat--What No One Is Telling You". They are saying that there is something causing Americans to be obese and it might be more than just lifestyle and eating choices. I agree, there is something emotional and psychological, maybe even spiritual about it.

Spiritually, I am afraid to turn my weight problem into a legalistic works issue. It is more than making my food into an idol and repenting from it to the Living God. Shame does more damage in my situation than help. However, I believe that God gives me the strength to make good choices with my food, and He is pleased with my efforts to exercise. He has been gracious and gentle with this problem of mine, and I have appreciated all encouragement that comes from Him. He has something more satisfying for me.

"Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, And delight yourself in abundence." Isaiah 55:2

This week's reward was spending an incentive gift card I won at work for selling some espresso machines last Christmas. I spent it on two seafood cookbooks and a salad spinner. I like the bagged greens at the grocery store, but it gets expensive. And I'm never sure about the food safety involved. The salad spinner has a nice push button on it--it isn't the crank type I usually have seen in the past. And I want to experiment cooking with different kinds of greens. Today, I'm making a white bean and collard greens soup to take to work.

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