I held my breath as the doctor's scale quivered back and forth, then stopped to balance. One hundred pounds. And I was in fourth grade.
From that point on, my self-worth was at least partially wrapped up in that one number: my weight. On at least three specific occasions, other children openly and publicly ridiculed me for my size.
Even after I reached a normal weight in high school, I never considered it normal. After all, there is always that one girl that's thinner. And thin is good, right? Healthy even!
I am not a weight loss expert (although I am experienced at gaining and losing the same 5 pounds!). However, here are a few things that have come to mind while trying to reach a healthy weight:
1. God made you just the way you are. Although healthy diet and exercise can do a lot, there are still physical attributes that you possess simply because God gave them to you. Lysa Terkeurst shares in her book, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food, that God gave her thick ankles. She chose to be thankful for them rather than to worry about something she couldn't change.
2. Worry less about the number of your weight and more about what the weight is made of. I'll leave the science of weight loss and fitness to those much more knowledgeable than me, however a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat but looks much better! Two people can weigh the same, but one can be much more healthy and energetic simply because of what the weight is made of.
3. If you try to lose weight, lose it for the right reasons. So much of modern weight loss is about looking better (in different terms I'd rather not use on this blog). Although something can be said for looking our best for the glory of God, most of this seems to be pure vanity. Even health itself can be an idol rather than a means to glorify God.
4. Eating God's food, God's way will often (if not always) eliminate the need for diets. This is the premise of Perfect Weight America: Change Your Diet. Change Your Life. Change Your World. Author Jordan Rubin conducted an experiment in one of America's unhealthiest towns and saw amazing results when participants switched to real, God-given food. He maintains that there is a perfect weight for everyone, and that no two people are alike.
Perhaps Michael Pollan said it best in his unique book, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual: Eat Food. Mostly Plants. Not Too Much. If we do that, maybe we can forget about numbers and start enjoying our lives.