I have alluded on my instagram to my participation in Weight Watchers over the last few weeks. I haven’t shared about it here on the blog because the story of a physical journey is so different than my usual content that centers around a spiritual one. But something that I’ve learned in these last two months is that they are actually pretty similar. So I gave myself the milestone of 20 pounds down before I would share more. And as of this morning, I’m down 20.2 pounds. (Yasss.) So here goes.
I started WW at my heaviest ever. Honestly, the number isn’t important. We let numbers define a lot of our lives–too much, I think. Weight and pant size and salary and followers. Numbers can be so helpful; I mean, this program wouldn’t work if not for the numeric value assigned to foods. But overall, we are more than the sum of our parts, so to whittle us down as humans to one thing–be that our weight or our level of education or our sexual orientation–is to do a disservice to the entire person.
It wasn’t a number that motivated me. I had a good talk with my friend and longtime confidant Ashley and she was telling me about their family garden. She said, “It’s amazing. We wait and wait for these plants to bloom and then they do–and then they’re done. If they’re not growing, they’re decaying.” I realized this applied to life and to me. I asked myself, Is this the life I want to be living?
And the answer was no. I wanted something different. I just wasn’t sure what that something was. When I went to my first meeting, the leader asked why I was there, and I said:
I can either keep gaining or start losing. I’ve already tried the keep gaining. I want to see what the other side feels like.
It’s not profound or powerful. There are people alongside me fighting for their lives or their health or the ability to play with their children. I admire them so much. My “why” is just that I wanted to see what it was like to not be so big.
Spoiler alert: I really like it.
I imagine that when you’re not big, you don’t really pay much attention to how much of the world is designed for you. But when you are, you’re incredibly aware that you more often than not don’t fit in–metaphorically or literally. Here are a few of the amazing victories I’ve had in just my first 20 pounds:
- I was able to fit comfortably through a turnstile at a ball game. I didn’t have to squeeze or finagle or move one body part at a time.
- When people need to go by me, I can just stand a little straighter–no more worrying about people brushing up against me and making it awkward for everyone.
- Restaurant booths are more friend than foe now.
- I can keep up with my friends or coworkers when they walk without getting embarrassingly winded. That’s huge for me.
How does this relate to a spiritual journey?
Because before I realized what I was capable of, I wasn’t un-confident. There’s a notion, I think, that if people don’t hate themselves then they love themselves. If they aren’t unhealthy, then they’re healthy. But there’s a powerful in-between called complacency that traps us from moving forward. We perceive this as “contentment” but in reality, if we aren’t blooming, we’re decaying. If we aren’t moving forward, we’re moving backwards. And that is true of our physical health, our mental energy, and our spiritual stamina.
The point is I didn’t feel bad. About myself, or about my life. But I didn’t feel good, either. I didn’t feel anything, really. I was in a robotic place of eating whatever and whenever with very little thought, and that lack of goal setting seeped its way into other places in my life. I have long lacked a true spiritual routine; an exercise routine; or even a plan for how often to post on my own blog. As a result, I didn’t spend too much time really delving deep into anything. Life was happening to me, instead of me being an active participant in the story God has written for me.
And WW became a powerful first step for me. Once I introduced discipline into my daily diet, obedience in other places followed. It became an instant domino effect of empowerment. More energy meant more focus. More focus meant better prayer. Better prayer starts my days off in a more centered way, and that carries me through whatever trials the workday brings. I walk every day now, and I’m so aware of the heart that God formed that beats in my chest to make everything else in my body work, and I feel like I am finally honoring that gift.
The biggest lesson so far
The biggest lesson–no pun intended–is that we are not designed for perfection. I set a goal weight, sure. But my success in life won’t hinge on when or if I hit that. So long as I’m trying. I also have a goal to stop sinning. That will literally never happen. It can’t. Not in this life. Because we aren’t made for perfection on this earth. We’re made for discipline.
Now I am more clearly able to see the right choices in my diet, and correct the wrong ones. In the same way, I’m cultivating spiritual obedience through awareness. So that doesn’t mean I’ll never eat an entire carton of ice cream while watching He’s Just Not that Into You again. The same way I’m not just going to suddenly stop sinning. But knowing what the right choice is makes it easier to correct myself after a stumble and get back to the path God created for me more quickly, and with much more accuracy.
For me, the first step towards the person God is asking me to be was a physical first step into the door of my first WW meeting. Ask God this week what your first step is. What is the first thing you can surrender to start changing your entire life to be lived more in the image of the one who created you? Because I can promise you this: you may not have been made for perfection–but you were absolutely made for a purpose.
A note about WW:
I’m not getting any kickback from this blog; it was written solely based on my personal experiences. And if you want to try Weight Watchers, I’d love to help you out. You can use my special member link here to get a free month–and full disclosure, I would get a free month, too! Or if you just want to talk more about it, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can chat.