hello monday: vol. 16

Hello Monday. I hid my scale this weekend.

I mean, if you want to get really technical, I didn't exactly hide it. I just moved it from my bathroom floor to my bathroom cabinet. Point being, it's no longer easily accessible, in front of my face, each and every morning.

 
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You see, I've been thinking a lot about health, physical fitness, diets, weight loss, etc. as of late for a variety of different reasons.

You might not be able to guess it from looking at me, because I supposedly "carry my weight well," but I've been overweight for over a decade. However, it's only in recent months that I've started to pick apart and dig into why that's the case and why, despite a long-standing desire to get back into a healthy weight range and into better physical shape, I've only ever dropped the weight to gain (at least some of) it again.

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Physical appearance can be a rather touchy subject for a lot of women, myself included.

Particularly in the American culture, so much of our identity is often tied to our physical appearance, whether we want it to be that way or not. When you're told your entire life that you aren't what you're "supposed" to be — that you're too skinny or too fat or too tall or too short or too pale or too dark — it's difficult to drown out those voices completely, to be comfortable in your own skin no matter what number you see on your waist band or the scale each morning.

My counselor and I have recently begun digging into my own history of weight gain, weight loss, self-esteem, and body insecurities, and let me tell you... it's not exactly a walk in the park.

There's still a lot more to unearth there but what I've learned is this — I have an extremely unhealthy relationship with food.

It's my drug of choice, quite literally, as it's what I turn to when I'm stressed, angry, excited, or bored. And because it's my drug of choice, and my particular favorites when it comes to eating my feelings — positive or negative — are things that aren't exactly healthy, deep down, I've always viewed eating in a healthy, balanced way as deprivation.

I've never been one of those people who could eat whatever they wanted and not gain weight, so I was always secretly jealous of those who could and silently bemoaned how unfair it was that I had to eat fruits and vegetables in order to be a size 2, but so-and-so could eat like a Gilmore Girl and look like she lost weight.

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At the same time that I've ultimately viewed health eating as deprivation, I've had a growing sense of something else — that taking care of your body, both through physical activity and healthy, balanced eating is a form of stewardship.

Though most often discussed in relationship to money, stewardship is defined as "the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care."

Scripture is pretty clear that everything — and I mean everything — we have in this earthly life is a gift from God. Which means, in the same way that our money or our jobs or our houses are gifts from  God, so too are our bodies gifts from God and we are to steward them as such. Which means (now stick with me here, guys) to not take good care of your physical body is a violation of the Lord's command to properly steward what we've been given and is, in fact, sin.

You may disagree with me on this, but Scripture also calls our bodies temples of the living God... and why would you not want to give that the greatest care?

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All of these things, among others, are what led to me hiding my scale this weekend.

I took photos and measurements, weighed myself, then hid the scale and wrote down 20 physical fitness goals that have absolutely nothing to do with the number on a scale, the number on a waist band, or the number on a measuring tape.

We're a society that views health in relation to numbers — weight, waist size, BMI and more. The message is always "the smaller the better," when health isn't really about numbers at all. And I've decided it's time to flip the script, for myself at least.

Ultimately, I hope to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see — not because of how toned my muscles are or how small my waist is, but because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am stewarding the body I've been given well. That I am truly caring for it as I would if it was a literal physical temple of the living God.

If that ultimately makes me a size 2, well, that's fine, I guess, but it wouldn't be any better than if it made me a size 12.