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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Before and After (05/14/09)

TITLE: Appetite for Life
By Tammy Bovee
05/18/09


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Shocking, the things we believe. Recently while talking to my dad I realized all his life he’s carried a guilt complex for his mother’s obesity. Even as an adult he actually still believed his mother when she blamed her obesity on his childhood mischief.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, as the proverb says; I’ll show you what I mean.

The Florida surf licked the sugar-white beaches as me and my college friends from singing tour lay sunbathing. When the sun got too hot we simply splashed into the ocean and let the refreshing surf crash over us. Then we’d amble back and lay down on the boardwalk. I still remember wearing that coral bikini as I stuffed my face with junk food. “How do you eat like that and stay so thin?” my friends asked. I shrugged as I chowed-down another bite.

Always active riding horses, water-skiing, jogging, skating, my emotional eating finally caught up with me when I married and my activity level fell sharply. I remember responding to normal in-law issues by second guessing my true feelings, saying nothing or laughing-off issues I should have worked through. Instead I stuffed my feelings down with food. It was therapy by donut, Twinkie, pizza, or whatever. All this seemed to work till the day someone handed me a picture of some corpulent lady sitting in a lawn chair. I stared in disbelief as I recognized myself.

After praying a lot, I finally joined a weight loss group. I remember coming home from my first meeting. Pulling down my calendar, pen in hand, I scrawled down my weight loss goal on each Monday, for nine months. “I’m pregnant with a diet”, I joked. Although a silly mind-trick, it worked.

As I started taking control of my life an interesting thing happened, self respect grew. I don’t mean self-love, but I started valuing myself more like God must. I started understanding my feelings and submitting them to God in prayer, and then affecting my own life.

I came to realize that loving my husband and his family didn’t mean melting like chocolate with every decision. In fact, as I began expressing my prayed-over feelings, I began to realize I counted. My opinion did matter, and my viewpoint could affect the outcome of family choices, even involving choices such as where my husband and I spent holidays.

Before, I remember stuffing my face with snacks from the vending machine while I watched my husband playing late-night hockey. As I became aware of my feelings, I began expressing things such as how my husband’s obsession with sports leached the life-blood from our relationship. I began humbly expressing my heart to him that I needed him emotionally, in healthy ways. He could still have sports but in a more moderate way that left room for meaningful relationship.

Instead of subconsciously blaming others for my weight problem and stuffing my face, I began to take self-control seriously (Galatians 5:23). Even forbidden feelings such as anger took on importance as I explored my personal boundaries. As I began to value my new sense of freedom, I got to know the original person God created in me. I began to experience the consequences and payoffs of voicing my likes and dislikes, instead of just going along with everyone and feeling victimized.

After ten years, I’m still size 8 and people can hardly believe me when I tell them I used to weigh 200 pounds. I tell them a little about my weight loss journey and how God helped me get my life back.

Every so often I catch myself at the refrigerator eating when I shouldn’t. It’s at those times I remember how far I’ve come and that I never want to go back. I take a moment and ask myself why I’m eating. Is it because I feel lonely, unloved, unchallenged? I realize food can’t do anything about that and that I need to communicate with God, with others, and that means reaching for life instead of food.

Through valuing myself as God’s unique creation I’ve developed many interests and challenge the “if only” blame game by stepping out and embracing new adventures, whether this means sharing a new song I’ve written, practicing my skills on my instruments, or starting a writer’s support group.

Someone once said that the world makes way for those who know where they are going. This rings especially true when God helps us.


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Member Comments
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Patty Wysong05/26/09
This is a great testimony and one that rings so true! What a great God we serve! Thanks for the encouragement!