When you are free it is not a big deal to pack up and go on a long hike through the mountains with a group of friends for a few hours or even a few days. When you are imprisoned in your own body, you are held back by fear of things as small as shin splints and as big as being so out of breath you keel over. When you are free, a trip to the beach or pool is not given a second thought. When you are held captive by your insecurities, the very idea of putting on a bathing suit can bring you to tears.
Trying on clothes, playing outside with children, climbing stairs or sometimes even the simple act of tying your shoe in public are all things that someone who is confident rarely even considers. For the man or woman who is self-conscious about the way that they appear, those things can bring a decent amount of anxiety.
When you are very large, in the back of your head you are always prepared to be confronted with someone else’s stigma of you. Sometimes this manifests itself through isolation (so you don’t even have to deal with it) and sometimes it causes you to overcompensate by being overly loud or funny (playing the jolly fat person role). Either way, there are invisible walls that are built that prevent others from getting in, and after doing that for long enough, you start adding rows of barbed wire on top of those walls - making it more and more difficult to break out of your self inflicted cell.
The recidivism rate of prisoners in the United States is nearly two thirds. That means that roughly 66 percent of all people released from prison end up right back in jail at some point. I would think that the rate for overweight people would be even higher. (How often have YOU lost weight only to gain it all back? Most of us have.) Both scenarios are due to a lack of true rehabilitation. Without fixing the root of the problem, the symptoms are just going to keep displaying themselves over and over again.
You have to have a change of heart. You can’t want to be unhealthy anymore. You have to see the dangers that lie ahead of you if you don’t change.
You have to change your habits. The best intentions, if you still do the same things you’ve always done, will be thwarted.
You have to have a plan. For people getting out of prison with an “I’ll just see what happens” attitude will, without fail, be back. Same with weight loss. If you aren’t working towards a goal and if you don’t have a clear cut path to get there, you won’t.
Can big be beautiful? Absolutely. But sometimes it doesn’t feel beautiful. I still struggle with this but have gotten MUCH better over the years. It requires daily reminders that the true, important type of beauty is not found in my appearance but in having a proper relationship with God. Does that make me look better in a pair of jeans or help me to get a faster speed in a 5K? No. But it does keep things in perspective and make me realize that my body doesn’t have the power to keep me in chains. Even if my body dies, the real me will continue to be free.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting: but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:3
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1