The sun was beating down. I was sunburned. And plump. My shirt clung to all the wrong places, my hair was frizzing and my makeup sweat-smudged. Not really the way I had wanted to meet the producers of The Biggest Loser TV show; not what you’d call putting your best-foot-forward. Then again, I guess I wasn’t really good enough to have a life-changing experience on a famous TV show anyway, right?
That train of thinking was one of the main lies Satan had told me and I had chosen to believe.
“You’re not good enough …”
It was the lie I had told myself in every lonely moment, when no one would hang out with me, and I turned to food. It was the lie I accepted every time I started another “get-fit-quick” diet and decided to give up two weeks later. It was the lie I told myself every time my husband or family tried to approach the painful subject with me. And to top it all off, I accepted an even greater lie … “Nothing I can do will change it.”
Rewind the tape of my life to 2009 and you’ll see a swimmer with eyes on Olympic gold. You’ll see a young woman with her eyes on Christ first, family second, work third and boyfriends an, “If that’s what you want Lord.” My priorities were in order, I had dreams and goals and passions, and I was willing to do whatever it took to achieve them. And over-all, it was always about putting Christ first.
Many women grow up overweight. Others grow up thin, but the weight comes on quickly later in life. Regardless of whether you have struggled with weight your entire life or only a few years, carrying around not just the physical baggage, but also the emotional and spiritual baggage, can be devastating to our sisters-in-Christ spirits.
We see thin women everywhere. We hear people’s concerns and complaints, we see (and probably try) multiple fad diets that may work for a while but then fail in the end and leave us heavier than when we started. It’s a vicious cycle. And it’s a spiritual disease.
That weight on the outside is usually only a physical symptom of the illness of our hearts on the inside. Let me encourage you, sisters, you are not doomed to be this way. No matter what our culture preaches about “accepting curves,” I know how it feels to honestly not be happy with yourself.
Why is that?
Search deep. Make yourself find that day, or series of days, where you finally decided that “I’m not good enough.” If you were raised over-weight, when was the day when you had the realization, “I can’t change this because of (insert excuse here)”?
It’s the moment where you let yourself give up, but didn’t turn to God to carry you. That moment is the moment you need to sacrifice to God the most. It’s the moment you need to allow your Savior to be who He is and rescue you. It’s time to let Him carry you.
Our God doesn’t see us as “works in progress,” mere scraps of broken pots with no potential to be great. He sees us as masterpieces. Scratched, cracked and stained by sins committed by and to us, but covered as Holy in Christ. He loves us and will, if allowed, fill cracks and holes with His image and love, paint over stains and blemishes with His blood and righteousness, and in the end present us to His Son as a bride more beautiful than any bride in history. And in that moment, He will show that what Satan intended to break and destroy, He has only strengthened and refined. We are beautiful to Him.
I did not make it onto the Biggest Loser. I came home and filmed a video for them, explaining why I needed their help to make this change, and one question shattered everything that had held me bound for so long.
“Why do you want to do this, and do not say ‘to lose weight, be healthy, or because I need the money.”
My answer astounded me. “I want to finally be good enough for myself.”
Like many women I worked hard for approval from family and friends, even from God. I ate when I was stressed, lonely, sad or had accomplished something that made me feel I needed an award. Thus, I went from a 95 lb., size zero swimmer in 2009 to a 249 l., size 22 swim Coach in 2012 – only three years.
You can find many reasons to inspire weight loss, but none of them hold fast in a trial as hard as losing weight if you do not do it for yourself through Christ.
I came home from the audition, decided I had the nutritional and fitness knowledge to pursue this on my own, and that I was ready to give my life back to God and be the me He sees, loves and created.
To solidify my commitment I launched a public challenge. For every 10 pounds I lose between May 4, 2014, (249 lbs) and the St. Jude marathon on December 6, 2014, I aim to raise $100 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I track my journey publicly, the ups and downs, the successes and failures, to inspire others.
You don’t need a fad diet, to kill yourself in the gym, or to meet somebody else’s standards for your weight loss. Some people will criticize you. Remember why you’re doing this. Seek a doctor’s assistance, discuss a plan that’s right for your body, and stick with it. You can do this!
Eat well, make small permanent changes that you can live with. Avoid non-realistic diets that can’t be permanent like low-carb, no-sugar, etc., unless you need to do so for medical reasons. Find a support group (even if it’s small) and be open and accountable. Stay in the Word daily, pray often and share your journey with others to help encourage and lift them up as well.
Make the journey about stewarding your body well. You were given it, so work and pray to make it a grateful sacrifice to God. He created you for a purpose. Don’t let emotion, temptation and lies become the rulers.
As of today writing this article I am down to 211.5 pounds, 37.5 lbs gone since May 4! I have reclaimed the purpose I lost, the passions I’d forgotten, and the life I had quit living.
You were made for so much more than existing, you were made to live, and live life abundantly! If I can do this, a 249-lb. swim coach who’d lost herself to depression and sin, YOU can do this through the power of our Father! Don’t give up!
May God richly bless you and give you His desires and passions for your life,
Coach Katherine Bowen is a 26-year-old swim coach from Memphis, TN. She is currently studying to take the ACE (American Council on Exercise) Personal Trainer Certification test with a weight-loss specialization. Her goal is to help other over-weight women become healthy and happy, both inside and out. She has been married to her high-school sweetheart and best friend since 2011, & has one fur-child, a calico cat.
You can follow Coach Kat’s personal weight-loss challenge supporting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by following her on Facebook (Coach Kat’s Challenge of Epic Proportions) or by going to her blog.