My Pants Won’t Button…

Recently I’ve been unable to button most of my pants. I’ve literally been going to work and church with my pants unbuttoned. I just throw a long, flowing top over it and it totally works. I’ve refused to buy pants that do fit because I’m determined to lose the weight.

This weight gain has been accompanied by fatigue and feelings of sadness and discouragement. Granted, I haven’t been exercising as much as I should, but I’ve been doing some at least. And I did think I was eating pretty well.

I’ve been health conscious for many years now. I’ve read books, listened to tapes, and scoured the Internet. Yes, some of the information is contradictory, but there is still a lot of useful knowledge out there. The transformation in my eating started about 13 or 14 year ago when I cut out processed foods- anything in cans, boxes, or bags. I was eating a lot of Steak-Ums, Hamburger Helper, Stouffer’s French Bread Pizza, and Pop-Tarts at the time. I slowly transitioned into eating more fresh, whole, natural, and organic foods, and I also traded the pop and juice for filtered water, at least for the most part. These changes made me feel a million times better and I’ve stuck to them. So why was I gaining weight? What had happened (other than marriage and getting older, which have always made people fatter)?

Well, I threw myself back into research. Should I go meat-free or Paleo or gluten-free again? Over the years I’d tried them all: you take away something you want desperately to eat and in exchange you lose weight and hopefully feel better, although there are many, many moments when you feel very sad and very hungry. Should I try certain programs or supplements? The more webpages I clicked the more stressed and overwhelmed I felt. Finally I grew tired of trying to figure it all out on my own and I just prayed for God to help me understand what was going on. A few things have happened recently that have given me some understanding, and I sensed that God was indeed at work.

First, I had made an appointment with my internist months ago and totally forgot about it. Just as I was getting concerned about my weight gain I went in for my physical and stepped on that dreaded scale. I was absolutely flabbergasted to discover that in the two years since my last checkup I had gained TWENTY POUNDS. Impossible, I thought. But the number was right there, and the unbuttoned pants bore witness.

After that fateful moment at the doctor’s office, I decided to finally start a food diary. For months I’d had a persistent idea to do it but I brushed it off, telling myself I was doing fine. A week of doing the online diary showed me that most days my calories and/or saturated fat and/or sugar totals were way over the recommended levels. Organic butter and uncured pork are still butter and pork, and all-natural ice cream is, after all, still ice cream. And maybe I had been taking more trips to McDonald’s and Coldstone Creamery than I thought. Ignorance had been bliss, but ignorance was over. Dang it!

Then I got my lab results which showed that my thyroid levels were off. Thyroid function can really affect weight, so that was another important piece of the puzzle.

Finally, my husband and I got appointments with a holistic doctor who is usually booked months in advance. My mother-in-law had been trying to get us in, and they actually had a cancellation two weeks after my physical and one week after I got my tests back. This doctor explained in a clear and fresh way how the entire endocrine system works, how food powers the body, and how our thoughts, words, and emotions can positively or negatively affect our bodies.

This was the most powerful thing I learned. Stress and negativity will hurt my well-being; positive thoughts and words will boost my health. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue can bring death or life, so in addition to adjusting my eating, exercising more, and supplementing my endocrine system, I am focusing more on thinking and saying words that are full of hope and life. This experience has also brought 1st Corinthians 12:7-11 to mind; Paul talks about spiritual gifts, three of which are wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. I believe God gave me these gifts through the timely events of these past few weeks. I now have new hope about my weight and my health. I’m still on the journey but it feels like I’m moving into a new phase.

This process is intensely personal. What works for me may not work for you. Besides food and exercise, there are many other factors to consider as well- genetics, hormone levels, food sensitivities, the list goes on. I wrote this post to encourage you to find out all you can about your own body, and to keep learning and trying. We must listen to our bodies and to God’s Word- they will tell us how to stay on the path to health. It is worth it.

Check these out:
Never be Sick Again, a book by Raymond Francis
Fed Up, a documentary (on Netflix right now) by filmmaker Stephanie Soechtig and journalist Katie Couric
Proverbs 17:22
Proverbs 3:7-8