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

TITLE: One Pound Forward, Two Pounds Back
By Lori Othouse


Blinking down at the scale in disbelief, I shifted my weight slightly back and forth. This cannot be right. CANNOT! Stepping off, I crouched down and adjusted the knob a fraction of a millimeter to point the needle perfectly at zero. Taking off my watch and earrings, I stepped back on, left foot first this time. No change. With the biggest sigh I could muster, I plopped down on the edge of the bathtub and contemplated what a failure I was…again.

Hadn’t it been only two weeks ago when I was full of hope, enthusiasm and determination? I was glancing through a fitness magazine and came across a two page spread advertising the latest in weight-loss technology. A simple supplement, taken twice a day, would kick my metabolism into overdrive so that every minute of the day I would be a veritable fat-burning machine. The words seemed to ooze off the page like chocolate syrup and I lapped up every one.

“No willpower? No motivation? No problem!”

“It’s so easy! The fat simply melts away!”

“Live the life you’ve always wanted!”

I drooled over the before and after pictures of “real people” who used this product and had amazing results, overlooking the fact that every single one of them was noted as being “not typical”. How I longed to be one of them, dwarfed by my old fat pants, confidently declaring, “I’ll never look like that again!”

Completely convinced by this manipulative, uh, I mean, persuasive advertiser, I rushed out and bought a 60 day supply. More than enough, I reasoned. After all, I could lose up to ten pounds the first week!

I vowed I would only weigh myself once a week and not be obsessive about it. After the first week, I had lost a little less than ten pounds…nine pounds less to be exact. True, it was less than I hoped for, but still a step in the right direction. But today, after another week and I now weighed a pound more than when I started…I didn’t know if I wanted to scream or cry or eat half a cheesecake.

Fighting back the tears, I slouched into the bedroom and dropped onto the bed, hoping it wouldn’t collapse under my enormous, ballooning mass. I noticed my devotional Bible on the nightstand and picked it up, hoping for some soothing words to comfort my whimpering soul.

Psalms are always good.

“I am worn out from groaning; all night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” *

Okay…not what I was looking for. I flipped furiously through the pages, wanting a quick scripture band-aid before I wallowed some more.

Suddenly, a question formed in my mind as if someone had asked it aloud.

What about your spiritual ‘before and after’?


Strange question, but then I began to meditate more on the thought. I didn’t become a Christian until I was 26, so I had plenty of time to experience all the world had to offer. My outside looked much better, but if you could’ve taken a picture of my spirit back then, it would not have been a pretty sight. Instead of packing on pounds, I packed on selfishness, lust, jealousy, bitterness and anger. The weight of those things was not only ugly, but self-destructive. But now, although I’m far from perfect, I’ve been able to shed most of that old self to take on more godly characteristics.

Now that I think about it, I am living the life I always wanted. I’m not a slave to my old nature anymore, I know the God of all creation is living and working inside me, and I have an eternal hope of salvation. What’s a few (or even 50) pounds compared to that? And, furthermore, having God’s resurrection power within me, do I really need to run to every device of man to achieve my goal?

Bowing my head, I thanked God for His humbling chastisement and for loving me enough to do so. I’ll still keep working toward that ‘after’ picture of my sleek, new self, but it’s great to know that, in God’s photo album, I’m already there.

*Psalm 6:6

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This article has been read 743 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 05/22/09
:) I like this. I'm sure many can relate.
Joanne Sher 05/23/09
Creative take on the topic, and a great job with voice. Enjoyed this.
Verna Cole Mitchell 05/23/09
I surely did identify with this--all the way through. You eased into the wonderful message quite comfortably.
Charla Diehl 05/23/09
My favorite descriptive line: The words seemed to ooze off the page like chocolate syrup and I lapped up every one.
I really enjoyed this story from start to finish. Your MC's voice was believeable in every way. So glad she knows that in God's photo album, she's beautiful.
Patricia Herchenroether05/23/09
Very nicely done and just the right touch of humor.
Debbie Roome 05/23/09
I love the thought of being in God's photo album.
Troy Manning04/11/10
Nicely done--As w/ Lisa, I found "ballooning mass" intriguingly descriptive. The phrase "my old fat pants" has an interesting ring too. :)