Tag: Body Image

Keep Moving Forward

Guest Post by Jayne Richards – How many of us have made a New Year’s Resolution or goal to lose weight this year? And how many of us have already given up? I am encouraged by this amazing woman who calls herself an old broad 

How to Love Your Body Through the Holidays

How to Love Your Body Through the Holidays

[Guest Post by Rebekah Snyder – We tend to judge our bodies most during the holidays. It’s supposed to be a time to celebrate with family and friends, so why are we so quick to judge ourselves and weigh ourselves? Maybe it’s because we eat too much. 

The Daily Struggle With Anxiety

The Daily Struggle With Anxiety

Daily Struggle With Anxiety

[Guest Post by Angela McNeil – My friend has been through so much and I always appreciate when she shares parts of her story because I just know it will encourage at least one person.]

Most of my childhood memories are of my sick mother working 2-3 jobs, and my dad sitting in his Lazy boy recliner.

Starting at the age of 8, I picked up most of the chores around the house like cleaning and cooking, while my father sat in his recliner drinking a beer or a Jack n Coke.

I remember one day my mom was in tears. My father was arrested for stealing drugs from the hospital he worked at. He had to do a work furlough program and the jail at night.

From then on my sister and I were in and out of therapy.

I am a HUGE supporter of therapy.

She also had us involved with Ala non/Alateen meeting. These meeting are for the family members of Alcoholics and Drug addicts, of which my father is both. I was in one meeting and I took a vow, a vow that I will never be an addict like my father.

Years passed and Christmas of 1999, I lost my mother to heart disease.

It was shortly after then I started to have an attitude–fueled by my husband–of do whatever I want–that included food.

If you want a cupcake–eat it.

If you want a Big Mac and French fries–have it.

I started to not care about what I ate, what I drank, it was all about what I wanted no matter what the cost. In my childhood, I had a grandmother and also my mother who restricted my eating.

No candy.

No soda.

No chips.

NO. NO. NO. 

Now married, I have a husband saying YES, YES, YES. That’s when it started. I would watch my shows, and movies, and TV non stop. Every weekend. That was the most of my life for 10 years–a sloth. I just sat there watching TV to escape, and ate whatever I wanted to fill a hole in my heart.

In 10 years, I went from 168lbs to 298lbs, which is when I began to have anxiety about my weight.

I always had to have my makeup done.

My hair done.

My clothes as cute as they could be at my size 24.

I would freak out if I would have to go to any function. Thoughts like,

“I am going to be the fattest person there.”

“I have to meet your boss, he is going to hate me because I am fat.”

“What you want to go out dancing? Great I am going to be the biggest girl…again.”

Those were some of the thoughts  I would freak out about in my years at my heaviest (as I ate another pint of ice cream).

It was June 2012, I asked God to help me lose weight. I didn’t care what the cost was–I just knew I needed help. I prayed for 2 months “Please Lord, help me lose weight.”

Then, I will never forget this conversation with my friend Brigitte, in September 2012–she said that you should eat to live, but not live to eat. I honestly thought that was the most ridiculous statement.

I didn’t get it.

I thought it made no sense.

I argued about it with her, and she said to stop making excuses. That was my “A-HA” moment when I knew my relationship with food was mental.

So back to the therapist I go.

After about 4 sessions, I came to the realization I was rebelling against my childhood and my restrictions. I was trying to feed the loss of my mother. During the fifth session, I realized that I had become the thing I hated the most–the thing I vowed I would NEVER become.

I.

Was.

Addicted.

To.

Food.

Specifically sugar. No more pints of ice cream or a dozen cupcakes. It’s not going to bring my mother back, and it’s certainly not going to fix anything.

A year later, God is still putting the appropriate people in my life on my weight loss path. I have lost 69lbs, 8% body fat, and 4 inches off my waist.

I am stronger.

Leaner.

Healthier.

The best part is I no longer allow food to control me–it’s no longer an idol in my life.

I daily struggle with anxiety, my confidence, and self esteem about my weight, but that is getting better every day.

angelamcneilAccountant, Photographer, Dachshund lover, health-nut, and woman of faith. Lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and her two wiener dogs. Here to share my life successes, struggles, and experiences with weight loss and the Lord at http://www.weightedfaith.com.

[Photo: ♫muxu, Flickr]

On Suicide Prevention: You Matter

[Guest Post by Jami Witherell – I “met” Jami when I watched her episode on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. She inspired me to try running for the first time. Her story was so real, so honest (my kind of friend). She shared on the 

Why Married Sex is the Best

[Guest Post by Aurora Vilchis – I love my friend’s heart. Not only has she has experienced both kinds of sex, but she knows which one is best and shares why. *This post was originally featured on Girls Using Their Strengths blog here).] I like 

When God Intervenes

When God Intervenes

[Guest Post by Dabney Hedegard – Her story inspired me and I couldn’t wait to share. Through her story, God showed me how proud I had become towards my future children. If God could allow Dabney to have her first child while battling cancer, what’s my excuse? I hope you enjoy. You can purchase a copy of her new book, When God Intervenes here.]

We brought Madison home after a week in the NICU.

I finally learned how to cradle and dress her ­five-​­pound preemie body without feeling as if I’d break something. I couldn’t kiss and snuggle with her enough.

A week and a half after Madison’s birth, she and Jason kept me company during my oncology appointment. I had prayed so long for this moment that I fully expected my doctor to slide my ­first-​­trip-​­to-​­the-​­ER films and my most recent scans into the light box and ­proclaim—​­hands ­extended—“Dabney, it’s a miracle. Your cancer’s gone!”

I’d clap joyously and jump about, praising God. I saw the vision; I just needed to hear the words.

When Dr. McGarry smiled and said something along the lines of, “Dabney, it’s a miracle,” my heart quickened. “Your cancer is about the same size today as it was the day you walked through the ER doors six months ago.” He pointed with the end of his pen, examining the oddity.

My shoulders slumped, and I stared at my misshapen lungs, compensating for the cancerous growth that still entangled them. He compared the films and continued on about the size of my tumor and his amazement at how I had carried Madison so low and how my breathing wasn’t affected until the end. He confessed that he hadn’t thought I’d be able to carry her past thirty weeks. And he certainly had not expected that I’d be able to wait to start treatment until the middle of my second trimester. He paused. “You don’t look as amazed as I do.”

“As silly as it sounds, I prayed that God would heal me. I really thought the cancer would be gone.” I looked at the floor.

“Did you not hear what I said? Your tiny chest and abdomen carried a 14.5 x 17 cm bulky mass and a baby nearly ­full-​­term with limited complications. And now your tumor is measuring 9 x 16 cm.”

But that wasn’t the miracle I had prayed for.

I didn’t hear much more of what my favorite doctor had to say, although he kept talking about the new treatment and when I’d start and how the odds seemed to be in my favor.

What had happened? I had believed. I mean, really believed this time. Everyone had prayed. I had kept the baby. I trusted God. Jason massaged my bony shoulders until they hurt, trying to be the compassionate husband. He whispered, “Don’t worry. God has everything under control.”

When Dr. McGarry left, Jason turned me toward him. “God told me your illness would get worse before it improved. Then he’d restore your health.” His eyes locked onto mine because he knew from my crossed arms and deflated body that I was playing the pouting game. “Remember that? Don’t get discouraged.”

My ­hope—​­the one I could almost touch if I stood on the tips of my toes and stretched my fingers with the determination of a ­five-​­year-​­old reaching for a forbidden ­cookie—​­had been pushed out of reach.

Dr. McGarry had expected my tumor to increase in size each month I waited to begin treatment. I, on the other hand, had presumed my cancer would vanish and God would be credited. But the greater miracle, I knew, lived and breathed and had survived ­thirty-​­four weeks until she could be born.

On Sunday morning our pastor brought us forward for the congregation to pray over us. After the service I stood in the walkway with a renewed sense of peace, until a friend pulled me aside. “We’ve prayed hard for you,” he said, patting my shoulder with his weathered hand. “But I’m trying to figure out why God isn’t healing you. Do you think there’s any unresolved sin in your life and maybe that’s the reason?”

I blinked. “Uh.” My mind went blank. “No, none that I can think of.”

“We love you guys, and we’ll continue to pray. But I feel God wants you to have more faith than this. He can heal you if you truly believe.” He smiled, and the creases around his mouth deepened.

I twisted the strap of my purse, trying hard not to let tears fall.

When I arrived home, I thumbed through the Scriptures for some sign that resorting to modern medicine to save my life wasn’t a sin.

First I stumbled on John 9:1-7, the story about a man born blind and how the disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents, that he was born this way: “‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered. ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him’” (John 9:3, nlt). I wanted so badly to encounter that same man at church so I could tell him, confidently, from the Scriptures, that sometimes people go through sickness so that God’s work may be shown to others. Only I had no idea what my cancer had to do with bringing God any glory.

Who was I kidding? The disciples, of all people, had just asked Jesus who sinned. What made my friend at church any different for asking the same question?

But what I found in Isaiah 38 blessed me more than anything else I’d read in a long time. The prophet Isaiah told King Hezekiah that he would die. Hezekiah begged the Lord to save him, and God mercifully granted him fifteen more years to live. Isaiah instructed the king to prepare an ointment from figs and apply it over his boil. The king recovered as promised through the use of a common medicinal practice of the day: a poultice.

That clicked with me. God uses miracles, medicine, or any combination of whatever he likes to bring about his will.

God used different healing methods throughout the Bible. Had he chosen one specific formula for each miracle, my type A personality would have duplicated the procedure. Spit in mud to form paste. Smear globby mess across the diseased area . . . In other words, I wanted the easy way out. God, show me a formula to cure my ailment so I can get on with a normal life, which doesn’t necessarily include furthering your Kingdom but will bring about temporary happiness.

No. God’s plans were bigger than my simple mind could conceive.

Relying on him required weakness.

(Taken from When God Intervenes by Dabney Hedegard. Copyright © 2013 by Dabney Hedegard. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Buy her book on Amazon.)

Dabney HedegardDabney is a wife, speaker, and professional patient. However, her most important role is managing The Hedegard Academy (est. 2003) where she instructs four gifted children. Writing, speaking, jogging (more like a fast walk with a hop), and chasing kids are her passions.

[Photo: annakwilliams, Flickr]

Do You Want to Get Well?

I believe God is serious when he asks you and I the question, “Do you want to get well?” In John 5, we read the story of an invalid who had been seriously crippled for many, many, many, many years. In other words–a long time! 

Forgiving My Rapist

Forgiving My Rapist

[Guest Post by Amanda Espinoza – I can’t say thanks enough to those who are willing to share about something so deeply personal and painful. I want to personally thank Laura, the first person to share her story of rape on my blog. You can read 

Couples Therapy

couples therapy

[Guest Post by Angela McNeil – I have had the privilege of getting together with her a few times. She’s taken our family portraits, headshots of mine, and of course her daily dose of sarcasm on her Facebook status’. What I appreciate most about my friend Angela, is she’s never afraid to be honest about her past. If you have ever been in an abusive relationship, I hope you will be encouraged by her story.]

You mean not all relationships are like this?

When I was in High School 1993-1994 my father worked for a software company that was on the Online community craze, like AOL chat rooms and IMing. This was when you used a phone line for internet connection. I met a ton of people through this software, being a teenage girl, which meant tons of boys.

It wasn’t long that I met a boy (for protection purposes I will refer to him as “Johnny”).

He was a guy that was so quick to promise me the world. I didn’t have that great of a home life and was ready to have someone to rescue me from my life. Through the chatroom, email, and phone conversations our love started to develop. Johnny lived in Washington while I lived in California. His mom came to California for a convention, and met me and my parents.

It was shortly after my parents agreed for me to go to Washington to meet Johnny. We were instantly “in love”.

It was about a year of a long distant relationship that we convinced my mom to let Johnny to move in to my parent’s house. We set up a room for him in the living room. He worked at a local pizza place and I went to college and worked a full time job. About six months later, we talked of getting married and decided to move into our own apartment.

Once we made our apartment our own, is when it all started.

I would come home later than expected either because of OT at work or a late study group for school and Johnny would be really angry. He would yell at me for not telling him that dinner wouldn’t be ready. Then the accusations started.

“You are cheating on me.”

“Were you out with your other boyfriend?”

I spent most of my time trying to convince Johnny how much I loved him and that I would never cheat on him.

Then the comments started, “You need to lose weight you are embarrassing to be with” this was when I was at my thinnest 5’5” and 150lbs I looked like a skeleton. Or if I ate something sweet Johnny would say “Are you sure you want to eat that? Its going to make you fat.”

He would make fun of me in front of our friends about my weight, intelligence, and very demeaning. He would take out the wedding rings that we purchased together and he would say,

“You will get this engagement ring when you earn it.”

Johnny worked in the same mall as me and one day I went upstairs to visit him on my lunch break and I saw him sitting with another girl. That night I confronted him about the girl and that is when he blew up. He twisted my words to make me think I was crazy.

I was never one to keep my thoughts to myself, so I would fight back.

Once I started to fight back is when things got even worst. He grabbed a candle holder and threw it at me. It became a nightly thing where Johnny would punch, kick, throw me against the walls of our apartment. I even went to a self-defense class to protect myself.

Most of the time I would try to convince myself that I was at fault, that I brought it upon myself. Most of all–Johnny manipulated me so much that I felt as though I deserved to be treated this way.

I thought this was a normal relationship.

That it was my fault that I wasn’t giving enough, saying the right things, or I didn’t love him enough.

By the end of our relationship, I had no friends and was distant from my family.

My mom offered to send me to therapy. I remember sitting in the therapists office asking for couples therapy. I still remember it so clearly–she looked me in the eye and asked me,

“Why do you feel like you deserve a jerk like Johnny? Don’t you think you deserve better?”

It was then I decided I deserved better. I knew Johnny and I knew that I would have to move out and break it off. I had to make him think it was HIS idea. He decided to move back to Idaho to live with his dad. In the last weeks of him moving and I back in with my parents, I found out that he was cheating on me multiple times. Thank God that he protected me from STDs and other things I could have gotten in that situation.

Through therapy I learned that I was deserving of a man that would treat me well.

A man who would be respectful of my independence.

A man to be strong by stepping back and allowing me to be strong as well.

God blessed me with a man like that–my husband Ray of almost 14 years. I would have never believed I deserved someone to treat me well otherwise. I don’t regret my relationship with Johnny, because I learned SO much.

God makes miracles out of messes, and he sure did that with me and this life experience.

angelamcneilAccountant, Photographer, Dachshund lover, health-nut, and woman of faith. Lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and her two wiener dogs. Here to share my life successes, struggles, and experiences with weight loss and the Lord at http://www.weightedfaith.com.

[Photo: GummyPiglet, Flickr]

Dreams Change

Dreams Change

[Guest Post by Shannon Roy – I met her through StartMarriageRight.com an amazing site for building godly relationships. She and I have stayed in close contact ever since, and I can’t wait to meet her in person when I travel to Chicago later on this