Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!
~Allison Gappa Bottke
People can be quite funny sometimes. When someone discovers you’ve lost a significant amount of weight, they suddenly want to rub up against you hoping weight loss is something you contract like a skin-to-skin infection or an airborne virus. Oh, if only. If it were in fact possible to infect yourself with a fat-eating superbug by mere touch, I’d likely have been arrested decades ago for inappropriate fondling and/or serial stalking.
People don’t like to hear that losing weight, is now — and always has been, about eating less and moving more. Oprah at one time commented, “If there were some sort of pill you could take to make weight loss easy, don’t you think I WOULD have bought it by now!” Or, something to that affect anyway — because let’s face it, Oprah has more money than she can spend in one lifetime. If such a pill existed, she would have bought an entire factory of fat-flushing pills by now. What she did do instead, was buy stock in the Weight Watchers® organization, so that should tell us something.
Weight loss usually comes down to what I call, “the last straw moment.”
Years ago, when I was at a “normal, healthy weight,” I worked for Weight Watchers. I worked mainly as a receptionist, but did a short stint as a leader, as well.
At one of my classes, I gave each member a plastic straw as a sort of reminder. I wanted them to think back to the proverbial “straw that broke the camel’s back.” You know what I mean … that one humiliating incident that resulted in their joining the program.
The last straw … everybody who’s ever started a diet or weight loss program seems to have their own last straw moment. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you could probably identify your own last straw. Seat belt extender required on an airplane? Lap bar won’t close over your belly on that thrill ride? Some unfiltered stranger laughs at you jiggling your way through the mall? Your pants split bending over to tee up your golf ball or throw a bowling ball? High blood pressure … diabetes? Pick your poison.
I’ve had MANY last straw moments. Over the course of my dieting career, I’ve gained and loss somewhere in the neighborhood of 400-plus pounds. (That’s a rough neighborhood by anybody’s standards!) Unbelievable as that may sound, I’ve gained and loss the same 20-40 pounds over and over during the course of the last 36 years. Like so many others, I’m a classic yo-yo dieter. Sadly, those gains and losses all transpired AFTER I received my Lifetime Achievement at Weight Watchers. That didn’t happen because the program didn’t work. MY downfall has ALWAYS been in thinking I could maintain my weight on my own without the benefit of outside help. Clearly, that’s not worked out so much.
My most recent last straw moment (and Lord willing, my LAST last straw moment), started the day my youngest daughter married in November 2016 and ended four months later when my son, married in March of 2017.
My latest 60-pound weight overage began shortly after my mother passed away years ago, which was followed up by a lengthy courtship with Mr. Menopause. It’s no secret that weight loss becomes increasingly more difficult with age. Being in my 50s and battling a Thyroid disorder stacked the deck against me making weight loss a bazillion times more difficult.
Knowing that it was impossible for me to skip out on wedding pictures (times two weddings) motivated me to push myself to unrealistic expectations to “get serious” about losing weight. (As if that never occurred to me before!) Try as I might, I only managed to lose 5-7 pounds prior to the upcoming weddings. My lifelong battle with depression intensified as the first wedding drew nearer.
To make life more difficult, six weeks before my daughter’s wedding, I suffered a nasty fall while walking my dogs. I messed up my “good knee,” which aggravated an ongoing problem with my “bad knee.” Already suffering from hip and foot pain due to excess weight, the added injury destroyed any hope of walking normally. That fall resulted in months of chronic pain.
I somehow managed to survive my daughter’s wedding but enjoyed very little of it because I could barely walk from the knee pain. I had to wear ugly flat shoes under my gown because high heels and knee/foot pain are a horrible combination. There was no dancing, very little mingling – just a whole lot of sitting around feeling sorry for myself because I felt like the fattest mother of the bride ever. I watched the festivities from the sidelines, sulking for the most part, certain everyone was judging me and comparing me to a party-pooping, giant slothful toad who was unable to participate.
November 12, 2016
*SIDE BAR here: When will we ever learn that people don’t focus on us and talk about us as much as we seem to think they do! The enemy likes nothing more than to convince us that we are the object of much ridicule … when in fact … people are all the same. We tend to focus more on ourselves, rather than spend all of our efforts picking apart someone’s character or physical flaws. Learn this phrase … THE DEVIL IS A LIAR! Ephesians 6:11 confirms this: “Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil’s evil tricks.” (GNT)
My “straw” blew up into a million pieces at my son’s wedding the precise moment I had to step onto the dance floor for the requisite mother and son dance. As my son led me to the middle of the room, I was secretly praying a giant sinkhole would open up and swallow me whole before I stepped out in front of 200 people. As the beautiful song we’d selected played, I buried my head in my son’s shoulder and sobbed. While most people thought my tears were for the ritual of passing off my parental duties to a man now fully grown who was embarking on his full-fledged foray into adulthood – I was crying alligator tears because I’d never hated myself and the way I looked more than I did at that moment. I’d never felt fatter or uglier in my entire life. And trust me when I say, my life has been peppered with much self-loathing. But this … this was self-hatred on a brand-new level, as 200 people – family and friends alike, were witness to my self-disgust. I was certain everyone was judging me, laughing at me and likely feeling sorry for me because I’d “let myself go” to such an extreme.
My undoing and LAST STRAW MOMENT, March 18, 2017
My depression was as bad as it had ever been and I wanted to die. Literally.
All I can say is, praise God that we serve a gracious, merciful Lord who doesn’t give us what we ask for or what we deserve. He gives us what we need, when we need it most … His love.
I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. Psalm 40:1-2 (NLT)