—Friend and guest writer, Simi Sara Thomas, shares her story, BUT, all our stories—
I have spent a major portion of my life on the heavier side of the weighing scale, and I hate to admit it, but I have loathed myself for it almost ALL the time.
My weight story started even before I was born. My mother had a healthy appetite and was an enthusiastic cook, and my father absolutely enjoyed all sorts of good food.
Food was always going to be a part of my heritage. I became an emotional eater.
When the going got tough, my kitchen always got raided, and with time, so did the various food apps on my phone.
My weight was hit the worst when I was put on some medicines in my last year of college, which fanned my raging appetite even further. Anxiety and uncertainty of the future added to the mix. Food became my sole comfort. I gained 20 kilos that year, but my physical weight was nothing compared to my emotional one. I detested myself more than ever.
It wasn’t long after that I reached the veritable sundar aur susheel, shaadi ke layak (beautiful and capable, able to be married) age, minus the sundar (beautiful) part, of course! Getting married was my hearts-desire, but my heavyweight appearance got me more rejections than I cared for. It was a vicious cycle of “I want to get married” to “nobody cares!” to “nobody should care! I’m ugly!”
And so on and on it went on for about seven years till I reached a point of true devastation. I hated myself more than ever, and to add insult to injury, there was no groom to be found! It was unbearable pain, and I had nowhere to turn.
So, I turned my eyes heavenwards, and gave up.
I gave up the relentless hate-relationship with myself, because I was inevitably becoming the root of my unhappiness.
I gave up trying to measure up to the body standards that people around me seemed to expect from me.
I gave up looking for love in others.
I gave up seeking constant approval to be alive.
It had finally dawned on me that I didn’t need permission to breathe. I didn’t need to be a specific size or shape to be loved. I didn’t need to be anything but me.
I could, however, want to have a healthier body weight and lifestyle, of course. And understanding this difference between needing and wanting made all the difference.
I was no longer motivated (or demotivated) by what people outside me wanted, or thought what was correct for me. Wanting to be better, and healthier, was up to me now, and I was pumped by this realisation.
I joined a gym eventually, started eating more home-made food, and even began cooking, which was hitherto a much-despised endeavour. I also took therapy sessions with a counsellor, and consciously replaced my negative self-talk, with my favourite bible verses.
It won’t be honest to say that I transformed overnight, like in the movies.
I am still on that journey of healing. I still have my weak moments when I give in to self-loathing, but they are fleeting and infrequent. I still go on binge-eating sprees, but they are far less intense than they used to be. I still fall short of people’s expectations, but I have stopped punishing myself for it.
Because that’s what it was, right? A self-imposed punishment for not being a perfect specimen.
I didn’t lose much weight (because habits don’t die easy!) but I gained a whole lot of confidence in being resilient and persevering. I learned a lot about the things that trigger my overeating, and eventually started recognising and avoiding them. It was slowly becoming real to me that I am, indeed, “fearfully and wonderfully made”, loved beyond all measure, beyond all reason, and I started showing myself the kind of sympathy and love that I was known to show to others around me.
I don’t know what brought you to this article, but if you are a victim of body-shaming, be it by others or self-imposed, please know that you are worthy of love just as you are, right now.
Please don’t let ANYONE convince you otherwise.
There are so many, many people surrounding us; witnessing what we’ve done,
Just like God watches over us, there are so many people keeping watch!
So, throw down every weight, every hindrance, every sin;
Lighten up and win the race that you’re meant to win.
Run your race with patience, endurance and resolve
To reach the finish before, before the sun sets down
While racing keep your eyes on Jesus (the anchor of your soul)
The author and finisher of life, where our faith is resting and alive.
For the joy he saw before him, he threw his life away,
He only saw the prize ahead, what was to gain instead
He saw joy and life with you and me; spent in eternity
He never saw the shame, kept his eyes on the gain
And that’s why he’s now seated at the…. Throne…. Of…. Grace.
That sin, which entangles us now let us run the race to win.
And be strapped to Jesus the leader of our faith,
seated at the right-hand throne of Grace.
Let’s run with the endurance the race in front of us,
Throw off extra baggage and get rid of the sin that trips you up
Fix your eyes on Jesus, keep your eyes fixed on him.
Your faith and life depend on it from beginning to end.
Fix your eyes on Jesus, let’s keep our eyes fixed on him,
Chuck off the baggage and the sin that trips you up
Fix your eyes on Jesus, keep your eyes fixed on him.
Your faith depends on it from beginning to end,
Your faith depends on it from beginning to end.