Some people have asked me how I started my weight loss. My first few months in the blog archive explain it all.

Friday, August 3, 2007

"Now when our hearts were depressed". . .

Being fat is depressing. I found a journal entry dated 11-11-02, it says:

Too fat, too tired, nothing fits.
My pants, like a tourniquet
Feel binding

Binding life, pregnancy,
Nine months, doctors scales
So tired, so fat.

Yet joy, in the end like a
Light in the

Can a fat girl find happiness
In the clutch of a tiny hand?

If nothing fits can a mother
Be successful when raising
Her children?
or am I a failure
Because of lack of will power?

Can joy be found as a size 16?
I think not
So sad.

I am not here to talk about fat peoples rights; I am not going to discuss self esteem at any size. I believe both are important but I want to discuss despair.

Do you remember in the Book Of Mormon where Ammon summarizes his mission? He is so joyful about what they had been part of that his brother Aaron is worried that he is becoming boastful. Ammon answers saying:

“Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land. . .”(Alma 26:12)

I have used a gospel based approach to losing weight. I believe that God cares about everything that matters to me. I also believe that I am weak, and that God can make me strong. King Benjamin tells us that “Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth;” (Mosiah 2:25) As a young missionary I felt horrible that anyone would want me to believe that. What about positive affirmations? As my mission continued though, and I was continually humbled I learned that being the dust of the earth is a good position, and if we let the Lord use us, teach us and mold us He can help us be better than we had even planned. Even the great hills and mountains started as the dust of the earth. If we can realize that we are weak then we are in a position to be strengthened. I tried losing weight over and over again in my own strength and failed.

Even the most faithful instruments in the Lords hands become depressed, My mind is always brought to Joseph Smiths plea from Liberty jail “Oh God, where art thou?” (D&C 121:1) He goes on questioning the unfair situation he is in. If Joseph Smith despaired, why should we wonder at our own despair in our every day life? The reasons each of us gain weight are different, but each of us have our own.

In the river of life, I was definitely navigating the rapids. After the birth of my fifth baby, my wonderful husband who was so much to so many, became ill. We found that he was experiencing a serious medical depression. Depression, like diabetes must be acknowledged and treated. It can be a result of genetics or circumstances which can affect the chemistry in the brain. The effect is devastating on not only the sufferer but the family as well. I started a journal titled “A diary of pain: the life of depression and the toll it takes on his wife.” I felt alone in handling the large family we had amassed. I wanted to grab my husband by the shoulders and shout “Engage! Engage!” It was a very tough year.
One journal entry I wrote said:

“Its Sunday morning, 9:00 a.m. I am physically and emotionally exhausted. My foot hurts as a result of a broken bone. My kids are playing; my husband has gone to meetings. Somehow I need to convince five children to get into church clothes. The majority of who would rather do dishes than get dressed - they hate dishes.
Hardest of all I have to find something to fit on this odd-sized post-baby body. I have to style a mop of hair and try to hide impossibly dark circles under my eyes.
Somehow I have to convince myself that the payoff will be worth it. How? Sacrament will be a wrestling match full of dirty threatening looks at misbehaving kids. Sunday school full of guilt at what I haven’t read. Relief Society full of guilt over what I have not accomplished.
Oh what a hard day. I am trying to find solace the only way I know, chocolate and journaling.”

My eating had gotten out of control. I had become someone I didn’t want to be and felt powerless. Another journal entry:

“HELP! I am now finishing the candy bar from last night. I sent my family out and was hoping that I could get dinner made and my house clean. Instead I eat and write, write and eat. I feel a need for another parent, someone to help. Mel is still so sad. “

I have discovered that there is a spiritual component tied to weight loss. My weight gain was a result of despair and trials,

Ammon said: “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: . . .bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”

He did. And that is why I say constantly: “Include the Lord on this journey” I truly have watched as the Lord has carried me. He heard my pleas. He taught me and instructed me, and led me to others that helped me. I am less than the dust of the earth, but my joy is great. God is amazing. My Husband is well, my home is happy, and I feel healthy. I have been able to find my mmmmmm and it is in the Lord. He lives, loves us and is a perfect father. Discouragement is normal and can make us strong as we turn it into humility and then to prayer.

“Yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all power, all wisdom, and all understanding;” (Alma 26:35)


Kimberly said...

You are amazing.

You're probably going to get tired of me telling you so.

You're also inspiring. I hit a new low today. Thank you.

Suzanne said...

Don't stop writing.

Amy said...

You will never know how many women you will touch by sharing your story. So many of us share in this story.

I have been talking to friends and family members about my desire to exercise and become fit and healthy. I am building my support circle. Actually, I have found a gal who wants to join me!

The Lord DOES know what we want and need. If we will just open our eyes and look up, we will see all He has for us.

On a side note, I spent all of my Jr.High and High School years in Mukilteo, Washington. It's about 25 miles north of Seattle. I know all about the call of Starbucks...

Calamity Jane said...

Hey Muckilteo! I'm Auburn. 30 min south of Seattle.

Amy, Kimberly, Suzanne, I hope my experiences can help. It is such a good feeling when something so hard ends up good. I love happy endings!

Thanks for all the positive comments. It means alot! I am glad that some people are reading this!

alaskamom said...

Wow, I can relate to your experiences on so many levels!

I had success with over-all weight loss through exercise and healthier eating, during and after pregnancy with my third child. I looked almost better then than I did when we were married! Sadly, I fell out of training while I was very pregnant with our fifth child; when we moved to a new home, and I was beginning a new year of home-schooling with the two older kids. Also,our third child was being extra challenging, very destructive, sneaky, lying, contentious with siblings...and it was weighing on me heavily. I have since jumped back up to a size 16.

My earlier concerns have stabilized, and I have been anxious to get back into the right groove. I'm thisclose to starting up with my exercising again. My biggest concern now is the toll it will take on my husband, who is on the edge depression himself. He has sleeping problems, partly due to health issues and partly to the stresses of being stretched thin by home, church, and work responsibilities. I have only been able to make night-time exercising work for me, when the older kids were in bed, and dh could take care of the younger ones when they needed extra care through one transition or another. He was willing to give up some of our evening "together time", but he also lost some of his precious sleep time. He bore the sacrifice well, as he admired his slim, energetic wife, but it wore on him physically. Now, with five kids, I fear returning to my routine might send him into a bout of depression (which happens when he is seriously sleep-deprived over a long period of time.)

The other biggie - I have to face starting all over again, BLAH!

It was a neat "tender mercies" moment to read your recent posts, see all the similarities, and then get to the part where you mentioned the scripture - "bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success." Of all the scriptures you could have chosen! That particular scripture has stood out in my mind very strongly over the past several weeks.

I'm also being reminded of the account where the Lord strengthened the people of Alma as Amulon and his gang were bullying them. They were able to "bear up their burdens with ease, and ... submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord."

It has been so helpful to come here and see in the life of another that, YES, the Lord can and will strengthen us when we turn to him for help. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us!!!

(Sorry to invade your blog...I need to make one of my own, LOL!)

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

If you, with everything going on in your life, could do it, I possibly could too.

Marc and Megan said...

Another insightful post! :)

Lisa said...

Thank you for sharing your story.

Calamity Jane said...

Alaska mom, thankyou for your post. I am amazed at how many people can relate. Hang in there with the excercise. Maybe he can get some meds for sleep? I know that a good sleep is half the battle in depression.

it sounds like you have lost weight successfully in the past, you can do it again!
Fight to get your excercise routine back. I think you will find you can be a much better support to your husband if you can make yourself strong to begin with.

Thanks for the scripture. I have alot of learning to get to the submitting cheerfully stage. But it must be possible.

It was a great post. Maybe you should start a blog. You have alot of good stuff to say. I like your insight.