Sunday, August 21, 2011

Weight, Women & the Human Soul

Now that Moses is weaned, I'm thinking more carefully about getting my body to a healthy weight and shape again. I noticed more with him than I ever had before (with my other 4 babies) that any "trying" to lose weight significantly affected my milk supply. Thus, I put off any real efforts to lose weight (aside from just making good choices, like following the No S "diet") until I weaned my little man. Well, that happened last week.

So last Monday, my mom and I joined Weight Watchers and will work together and hold each other accountable. She's lost 54 pounds with WW before (a subsequent injury and the business of life caught up with her and she's gained it back), and I'm excited about it because it's just thinking carefully while eating real food and living real life. I don't have to buy special food; I don't have to change the kinds of meals I eat (i.e., suddenly supplement 2 meals a day with a shake or something). Choosing meals thoughtfully, with goals in mind, will likely lead to short-term weight loss and long-term weight maintenance while helping me to be more healthy and intentional in the process.

It's been interesting to me to live out this last year of not doing ANYTHING to lose weight, feeling not always thrilled with pictures of myself, having been asked multiple times if I'm pregnant (my baby weight just basically hung on for dear life), and knowing that I'm heavier than I've ever been not-pregnant. America is a very interesting place-- with a mixture of everything from quite obese people to those who are unhealthy in their relationship with food by not eating enough. And the pressures on young women to be sexy, toned, busty, thin, and ___insert description here___, all while going through the demanding season of raising young children are all around us-- magazines, comments from old ladies in the church, television, and internet ads, and they can overwhelm any sense of reason or balance on this issue of weight.

I guess I just want to encourage others out there who are in a difficult place with your weight. Do what you can do be healthy, but do not let the American cultural focus on size 6, 36-26-36, perfect bikini body, yada-yada-yada get you down. Be healthy; take care of your body-- it's the temple of God. But do not raise up this goal and let it become idolatry.

If you are pregnant, or nursing a baby, or taking care of little ones, your time is limited and your body has been affected by these things. And that is OK. Balance and PERSPECTIVE are needful at times like that. There are seasons in a woman's life, and some seasons afford more time and energy than others. And the great news is: even at times when you don't have time to care for your body, you always have time to pray and care for your soul and grow in godliness.

"While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds the promise for the present life and also for the life to come." ~1 Timothy 4:8

The Bible says that bodily exercise profits a little. Just last week, I went to a funeral, and was reminded once again- this body is only a part of me. My SOUL is the unique inner part that will not die. I don't need to ignore my physical health, but most of my focus and energy should be tasked toward making my soul healthy and beautiful, not focused on making my body healthy and beautiful.

"The LORD sees not as man sees:
man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart."

Do not let a number on a scale or a measurement on a measuring tape obscure the larger aims God has set for your life: Love God. Love others. Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God. Bodily exercises profits a little, but strive most to grow in godliness.


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