It is incomprehensible to me how much food has been delivered to my office this week. I haven't had to buy or bring lunch because there is just too much food to be had. Of course, the food consists of cake(s), cookies, chocolates, sweet breads, scones, and pretzels and nuts covered in various sweet sauces. Oh, and fruit. Have to put something healthy in there, right?
In an attempt to combat the never-ending flow of sweets, today I switched my gym membership. With the job change, my previous location was no longer very convenient, and I don't need any more excuses to skip out on exercise. I'm tired, I'm busy, I forgot my water bottle or my iPod, I really just hate being on the elliptical machine for extended periods of time. So much easier to just get on the bus and head home. Oh, and don't even talk to me about getting up early to work out. It is dark and cold, and I am lucky if I make it to work on time.
So I forced myself to make the switch and go work out today. I was gifted with a free workout with a trainer (aka marketing opportunity) so I let her put me through my paces. Boy are my hamstrings going to hate me tomorrow.
I've never been much of an athlete. I was always clumsy as a kid, tripping over my pigeon-toed feet and getting tired out easily. I wasn't flexible or graceful, and I still have never been able to do a real cartwheel. The best I ever did in athletics was in high school when I had a paper route. I would ride my bike up and down hills for an hour every day, which was enough to get me out of PE class, and that made me very happy. I never did recover from PE in 6th grade, when the entire class had to do pushups whenever someone failed to get the ball over the net in volleyball. Guess who caused many, many pushups to be doled out upon an unhappy class?
Combine my lack of athleticism with a generally poor self-image that led to emotional eating, and I was a chubby kid. I wore big T-shirts and jeans, looked super frumpy all the time, and basically accepted my lot as the ugly girl. In college my weight fluctuated as did my self-image, as I worked nights, lived off of 4 hours of sleep a day, and went through two destructive relationships. Upon entering the real world, I got a job at a desk, promptly got a high-stress promotion, and a year later I reached two hundred pounds, which put me in the obese category.
Somehow between hitting that 200 mark and going through a really tough emotional period, I realized that I had to do something to take care of myself. I was unhealthy, unhappy, and not valuing myself as a child of God. It took a time of spiritual crisis to make me realize that not taking care of myself physically was a symptom of how I viewed my worth. I didn't think I was lovable or attractive as a person, so what would it matter if I was physically attractive? No one was going to want me either way.
This was a lie I had told myself for a long time, and it took a lot to recognize it as a lie and then start living differently, living in the truth. Going to the gym became just one part of the changed life that I started to live. But it was an important part. It meant that I accepted that it was worth it for me to care what I looked like and how I felt physically. And the changes I made led to not only a fifty pound reduction in my weight, but an unmeasurable increase in my self-image.
It took a few years, but God has finally started to get it through my head that He wants me, no matter what anyone else says. And there are people who want me, who value me, who think I am lovable the way that God made me. So I should take care of my entire person-body, mind, and soul, because God values my entire person. And that means I'm back on the gym-wagon, refusing that extra piece of chocolate cake, and making sure I get some good sleep in the middle of my crazy holiday schedule.