She knew it was silly. Nonetheless, she turned down the invitation.
When her good friend asked her why, she replied, “Well, if we come, the kids will want to get in your pool. And I’m just not ready to be seen in a swimsuit this year.”
Her sage friend had some sharp words for her. “Are you kidding me? It’s me! And my family. And you know us. You won’t be seen in your swimsuit around US?? And what does that say to little bit? Girls aren’t allowed to be seen in public in a swimsuit unless they’re skinny? What would you say to her if she told you her friend couldn’t come over because she’d gained weight? You would light into her. But that’s exactly what you’re doing. You’d better get over here!”
Can I reiterate that I do not want to write this series? Ugh.
This week we are tackling the battlefields working moms face on a regular basis. The first battlefield I grudgingly led with was drinking. Yesterday we tackled the hard reality of reacting. And now we’re talking about weight.
That little saga I led with actually happened this summer and, as you may have guessed, I was the one refusing to appear in a swimsuit.
Heavens. I have talked about weight pretty consistently. Losing it and gaining it back and the guilt that surrounds the bigger number on my clothing labels. There are two battlefield issues: (1) we’re gaining weight and it’s unhealthy, and (2) we’re beating ourselves up about it.
I need to lose weight. But I also need to shed the shame and guilt that surrounds the weight gain. Why is it so much harder for us to forgive ourselves?
Why are we working moms gaining weight? We’re up before 6 am showering and getting ready and packing lunches and waking children and getting them ready and off to school and us off to work. We grab a granola bar, or if we have a gift card, a triple grande non-fat latte (anyone?) and fight traffic to get into the office. We put out fires, and in the five minutes of downtime, we order birthday cakes or Halloween costumes, and then we eat a mildly healthy lunch at our desk (healthy because the crusted chicken breast was served with a side of broccoli). We rush home and get whatever we can on the table for dinner and it might involve cheese as an ingredient or starch because all the good quick recipes involve cheese or pasta. We eat last, and rushed, and then find ourselves still mildly hungry when the kids are finally down around 9, so we might have some crackers with our glass of wine. We’d love to work out but quite frankly we’re exhausted by that time, so we set our alarm for 4:45 am because that’s the only time available, but when it comes around it’s pretty darn easy to hit snooze.
Let me say, I know a lot of fit working moms. I work with many and am friends with many. They find time to work out or make the time to eat better or maybe they just inherited better metabolism or all of the above. But I also know that I am capable of more. For a year after the kids turned one, I worked out three mornings a week at a 5 am boot camp and I ate just like Weight Watchers told me to eat and at the end of the year I weighed three pounds less than I did on my wedding day. Just over two years later and I’m 40 pounds heavier.
I got tired. Really tired of 4:45 am wake up calls. And I got lazy with my food choices because I love cupcakes and cheese and I didn’t say no like I needed to.
Just in case you didn’t catch this with #1 and #2, the core solution to #3 is the same: Self-Control.
I believe I am doing myself, my family, and God a disservice by carrying this extra weight. I don’t need to be 40 pounds lighter, but I do need to be 25 pounds lighter.
The Bible is pretty clear about taking care of ourselves:
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (I Corinthians 6)
We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6)
I have been lazy and I owe my Creator more than that.
In addition to all that though, 25 pounds doesn’t drop off. I’m not going to be 25 pounds lighter by Christmas. My hope is to be 20 pounds lighter by the end of next April. Then shed the last 10 pounds sometime in the summer (weight loss slows for me). That means, I have GOT to let up on myself. Why would I treat myself in a way that I would punish my daughter for if she treated a friend? This constant guilt and haranguing ourselves about the extra pounds in nonsense. It doesn’t actually change anything. It just lets the negative take over the story line in our heads.
Instead of me saying, “Hey, I wrote a book this year and got a new job and got elected President of a large organization, praise God for His miracles;” I start saying, “I’m the heavy girl that’s unlovable looking like this; how did I ever let this happen?” That guilt will get us nowhere fast.
So let’s not step on the landmine of self-loathing. But also let’s avoid the landmine of inaction. God calls us to follow Him – and we all know walking is good for the waistline.