Most you know my journey of losing weight. I once weighed close to 300 pounds. Over an 18 month time span I was able to lose 130 pounds and I have kept it off for the last 3 years. I’ve talked more about that here.
Even after losing all that weight I still have “fat days.”
Everyone does, right? I assume so.
What do you do in those moments? Regardless of your weight and size you have moments and days that you feel fat. You may not actually be fat, but you feel it.
Feelings of guilt, shame hit you. You think back to what you ate over the last day or two and maybe beat yourself up for that extra serving at dinner, that late night snack or dessert, ordering the venti 3,000 calorie drink at Starbucks instead of the tall skinny water. And on and on it goes.
You maybe even vent to a friend in hopes that they’ll tell you that you don’t look fat but that doesn’t help because you feel fat. And let’s be honest, what we feel is what drives us.
Yet, as a mentor told me, what we know trumps what we feel.
Here are some ways to handle “fat days”:
- Uncover why you feel the way you do. It is okay to think over the last few days, but go further back than that. Not to document what you’ve eaten but what has happened in your life to make you feel the way you do. For many people, food is an addiction like drugs, porn or smoking. Have you experienced abuse in your life that drives you to eat? Are you prone to worry when things get out of control and that drives you to eating? Is there something underneath the comfort that comes from eating? Until you understand why you eat what you do, it is unlikely you will find freedom from eating as a god you go to for comfort.
- What does Jesus actually say about you. The next thing is understanding what Jesus says about you. If you are made in the image of God as the Bible teaches, your body is not an accident. Sure it is frustrating that some people can eat at taco bell 4 times a day and lose weight and you gain a pound simply by walking by a McDonald’s, but God made you that way. I get it because I’m that way. If I don’t watch what I eat I gain weight fast, that is my DNA. If you need some ideas on eating, here are some things I eat.
- Do you need to make changes to your diet. Practically speaking, you might need to make changes to your diet. While eating is a spiritual thing and can be an addiction and a sin, it is also a practical thing. Keep a food diary, write down everything you eat. You will often be surprised at what you put into your body and how that adds up. We often eat mindlessly and very quickly, which leads to weight gain. Most Christians can quote 1 Corinthians 6:19 about our bodies being the temple of God as a way to say drinking and smoking is bad and then go to the next potluck and gorge themselves on dessert.
- What image do you have in your head that you aren’t living up to, how accurate is that image? When you think about your perfect body or the body that makes you feel “fat”, how healthy is that image? Is that the way God made you? Again, if you and I are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), then we need to see ourselves as made the way God intended. This becomes a trust issue with God. We also need to identify the sin of coveting that comes as we page through magazines or put workouts together in an effort to be skinnier or more muscular.
- Stop weighing yourself. On the days you feel fat, you weigh yourself constantly. Every 5 minutes to see if something changed. Did I lose weight in the last hour because of all the water I drank and all the food I didn’t eat? The amount of times we weigh ourselves show where our god is and what we find our identity in. Weight gain, weight loss and exercising can be a tricky thing and not always accurate to what is happening in your body. Recently, I’ve gotten into crossfit and have gained some weight. At first, I was frustrated by this. Then I started to wonder, my jeans still fit. I measured myself and found that my waist was still the same size it was just my chest and shoulders that have grown. Translation, that isn’t fat that led to weight gain. It is important to understand where weight gain comes from.
- Go easy on yourself. You can very easily beat yourself up, starve yourself or heap guilt and shame onto yourself. If you are a follower of Jesus, there is no guilt and shame to be had. That was nailed to the cross with Jesus and when he walked out of the tomb, he conquered the power of sin, guilt and shame. Now, followers of Jesus do feel conviction and sometimes this comes in the area of food, how we think about our bodies and how we look at ourselves. This is the Holy Spirit helping us become who we are created to become. If it isn’t from the Holy Spirit, go easy on yourself.
“Fat days” come no matter what size you are. But the gospel transforms those days.