For the past year, I’ve been working on losing the 25lbs I put on after my wedding. Yes, you read that right: 25lbs on my already chubby frame. On January 1, 2017, I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I liked to fake affection and refer to it as my “happy weight”: I married the guy I’ve had a crush on since I was 5, we both have good, stable jobs, and we’re saving for a house. It’s easy to joke and talk about how happy we are, but when I’m truly honest, I know it wasn’t happiness that started my downward spiral.
A month after our wedding in 2015, my husband and I were visiting London for an international congress that our church organization was hosting. There were members from all over the world, and it was truly an amazing time of sight-seeing, meeting fellow believers from around the world, and experiencing the meetings.
After my husband left London to go back to our home in Brooklyn and his job, I was headed to a friend’s wedding in Northern Ireland. I was sitting in a hotel room the day before my flight when my husband texted me.
Before we’d left, my husband had interviewed for and gotten a new job as a music coordinator at a college with our church organization. In my mind, it was perfect: no more opposite schedules, a better salary (gotta pay off the student loans!), and we were offered a house on the campus. We were so excited about this new opportunity and transition. He had told his then-boss and was just waiting for a start date to put in his official notice at his job.
The text he sent me was one of the worst of my life: the offer was rescinded. Someone hadn’t followed proper protocol somewhere and they were taking back the job offer. No more salary, no more house, no more job. I spent the rest of the day in tears. We didn’t even know if he would still have his position since he’d already told people he was leaving. We went from happiness and elation to devastation.
I’m sorry to say that at that point in my life, God and I weren’t where we are now. I knew there was a plan and that He was going to take care of us, but I didn’t know what that plan could possibly be, and I didn’t trust. My husband and I were newlyweds, separated by thousands of miles: I couldn’t comfort him or be with him. I could barely even talk to him with the spotty or no internet I had in my few days traveling. And frankly, I was mad: mad at my church, at God, and especially at the people who could seemingly care so little as to let someone’s life be thrown into chaos.
A few, seemingly forever, months later–after a lot of prayer and uncertainty–my husband got the job again, but under different circumstances. We had to find an apartment (a normal thing, just unexpected and stressful) and he would have to go straight from a busy time in his previous job to a busy time in his new job. And that first day in his new job started the first three months of a time where I rarely saw my husband.
From September to December, and then picking back up in January through June, I rarely have dinner with my husband. His job schedule is too busy for him to come home and then go back to the school to do the rest of his scheduled duties. That first September to December was the hardest: I was constantly alone, and when my husband was around, he was too tired to spend time with me or talk about his day. It was hard on our marriage, and it was especially hard on me. And so I turned to food–ice cream and quesadillas to be exact. Anything that was creamy or cheesy was my best friend, and two years later, I was 25lbs heavier for it.
So what changed in January that got me on a downward spiral weight-wise? I had a few resolutions that I’ve kept this year: I’ve been working on reading through my Bible, and I’ve been prayer journaling consistently and with purpose. My relationship with the Lord has grown in deep and meaningful ways, and I’ve learned what a true reliance on Him means. I can’t say I don’t turn to food for comfort anymore, but I know the day is coming when I’ll be able to fully rely on God and not drive to Moe’s Southwest Grill for a burrito, queso, and chips.
In the 10 months since I started losing weight, I’ve lost 15lbs–not a fantastic number and not 25, but a very solid and healthy start. When I get down on myself for not working harder or being dedicated enough, I remind myself that it was slow putting it on, and it will be slow getting it back off, especially if I want to keep it off.
The past couple of months I have been in a rut. My husband has lost 30lbs, but I’ve been stuck squarely where I am. A good friend was recently expressing her own concerns with her diet, and after a bit of research, we are on day 2 of an eating plan that we plan to follow until Thanksgiving in two weeks. It’s called Hungry Root, and it’s a subscription service that is gluten-free and vegan. When I first read about it, I was instantly excited about the prospect. Cutting out dairy from my diet is hard (even with my lactose-intolerance). It’s been my crutch and my comfort. But that is exactly why I need to learn to live without it and to put my dependence in things that are real and last.
I’ve included a link if you want to check it out, and in two weeks I’ll let you know how it went and how I’m feeling. I want to emphasize that life isn’t about dieting and food fads (not that vegan is a fad), but it’s important to recognize unhealthy tendencies, and I need to do anything I can to change that. If it means cutting out foods for days and weeks so I won’t be so dependent, then I will.
I’m still on my journey, and I probably won’t make it to my first goal in 2017, but I know that the more open and honest I am with myself and others, the more I’ll be encouraged to change, move forward, and keep working toward my goals.