Starting about 4 years ago I became an emotional eater. I wasn’t where I thought I should be in life and it seemed like the more I tried to get back to the old me, the further and further away the old me got. I wasn’t in a relationship and found that I didn’t want to discuss my emotional situation with family or friends. Instead I turned to food for comfort. Late night eating, junk food binging, and so much sweets. My teeth feel like falling out of my head just thinking about it. When I was down I ate. When I was lonely I ate. It didn’t take long for me to go from a healthy size 0/2 to size 2/4 to a size 4/6 to whopping size 8 in 2 years. Some of you may think that a size 8 is not bad but I’m 5’0 tall and had gained almost 20lbs. I saw myself getting bigger but I just could not bring myself to stop eating. What I did bring myself to do was spend money!
I recall one time spending a little over $300 a month on fast food alone. Every seasonal change I would spend a minimum of $500 and upwards to $1000 on new clothes. Simply because most of my clothes did not fit anymore. I dug myself into a hole that was so hard to climb out of. Not only was I feeling sad and depressed, my small frame had now exploded in my eyes. When I looked into the mirror I didn’t see me anymore. I saw the failure I had become. I started to not like me so much. Everything about me sort of changed.
How did God get me out of this mess!
I worked closely with my Pastor who is very insightful especially when it comes to the 25-40year old age range. He pointed out that I needed to discover my joy. I sat silently but in my mind I was screaming “What? What? I come to you for help because you’re so insightful and you tell me to discover my joy! I have joy. I have a smart and handsome son. I have a family that loves me. I have joy! I’m fat and I keep getting fat. Can’t you see?” I sat there and listened to what he had to say (I’m sure I’ll share more of this conversation with you all, as it was a turning point spiritually for me, in the future.). This began a series of open dialogue which I so desperately needed and just didn’t know it. It also rekindled the journey I started years prior, to find my God-given purpose.
I sometimes didn’t feel like praying so I would have these open-ended conversations with the Lord all day. I would wake up and say “Good morning Jesus,” and tell Him what was on my mind. This was good because it meant all through the day I was tapping into my source of strength, comfort, love. Slowly God worked with me and rebuilt me and it all started to turn with “Good morning Jesus”. I quit the gym and began walking around my complex. That $300 monkey off my back was a stress reliever. I was still not eating healthy but I was eating healthier. What that means is I upgraded from a fried chicken sandwich meal from Chick-Fil-A to a grilled chicken with rice, plantains and salad combo from Pollo Tropical. I also began to cook more. On Sundays I would go grocery shopping and purchase enough food for the next two weeks. I would come home and cook for the next 3-5 days and freeze my meals. Before leaving for work I would leave a meal out to defrost. I no longer had the desire to eat fast food because I knew I didn’t have to come home to cook, simply warm up. I did all this for months and I continued to gain more weight. AAAAGGGGhhhhh! Yeah that’s what I said. I gained more weight.
While continuing to speak with the pastor he told taught me how to dig deep, I mean real deep. Deep to reach that secret that’s locked away in a vault, with a mega padlock, shoved deep in your subconscious, parked in the black hole of my mind. Yes honey, that deep, and bring back my joy. “What is this man talking about? Lord, have mercy on me.”
As I journeyed I found traces of joy, of happiness, peace, the old me, the stronger me and more. I picked up those pieces and held on tight. I began to celebrate my highs and find joy to sustain me through the lows. This past September I decided to simply walk every day. Walk, no matter if I’m by myself or with the family. Walk even if the weather isn’t bright cool and sunny- walk. And you know what happened, I’ve slimmed down to something sexy honey. LOL. I’m back to being a size 4, and although I weigh the heaviest I have every weighted in my life, I’m alright. I know now that it’s because muscle weighs more than fat. AMEN!
Here is what I want you to take away from my story. If there is an emotional force behind your weight gain and poor health, you cannot afford that emotion. Both the financial obligation and the health risk carry to rich of a price for you to pay. Dig deep. We all can’t afford a psychiatrist to speak to so go to a pastor, doesn’t necessarily have to be your own. If you don’t have a church or you’re not a religious person, so what, still go. You don’t need religion to find joy. Lastly, don’t give up on yourself, you’re all you got. When you are 80 years old the topic of discussion is not going to be your weight at 25, or you being laid off, or you being single at 27. My point is what seems like a mountain today won’t even be a figment of your imagination at 80. But the trick is you have to be healthy enough physically, emotionally and spiritually to get there.
Take my foolish advice; many of you have made New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight or to exercise more. Why not make it your resolution to find your joy, once you find it I’m sure it will last longer than a year!