This is me, getting ready to delve into a place that’s one of the most vulnerable for me, but I think someone needs to go there and I’m picking myself for the job.
If someone doesn’t say to you, “Hey, I’m fat and need to get in shape and I could use your help…” DON’T TELL THEM THEY’RE FAT AND YOU CAN HELP THEM.
THEY ALREADY KNOW.
Controlling my weight is one of my greatest challenges and failures in life. It is a lifelong struggle and one I’ve rarely written about because I’m still going through it. Sometimes I think if I share about my journey with weight loss openly, any progress I make might be jinxed. Not that I believe you can really jinx things, but you know what I mean.
One of the few places I’ve written about my struggle with my weight is in this post on my adoptee blog about what I call “Adoptee Love Hunger.”
I’ve been on almost every diet plan.
I’ve gone to therapy.
I’ve learned in therapy why I have this issue.
And yet I still wrestle.
Recently, I have received a few texts that say, “Oh my gosh, you’ve lost weight! You look great!” Yes, I have lost a bit of weight. It’s not from any diet plan, it’s from the rigors of taking care of Gus the last four months, and from grief. I hope I can keep it off even though I’ve taken it off almost by accident. I’ve been re-reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits to get myself in the right headspace to do that.
I’ve had some encounters in the past three to four years that haven’t offended me, but they have made me sad.
Because they remind me of the main thing I’ve tried to do in life and failed…
the thing I already know I fail at.
The thing I look in the mirror and am reminded on the daily that I fail at.
I have received some messages, and strangely enough, almost all of them are identical. They are all from men, and ironically all of them come from pastors. The messages go something like this:
Hi Sis. Deanna, or Pastor Deanna, or Deanna: (However they refer to me)
I hope you are doing well. I love reading your posts, and just want to say what a blessing you are. You do a great job at all you do and my wife and I just love you! I hope you aren’t offended by this, but I can help you lose weight. I’m not sure if you know but in addition to being a pastor, I’m a health coach. I want you to know I can help you get on the other side of things with this, so if you would like my help I’m just a text or a phone call away. Hope to hear from you soon.
No, I’m not offended.
I’m just reminded once again of my greatest ongoing failure, by someone I’m really not close to and someone I haven’t invited to speak into my life about something so personal.
I already knew you were a health coach.
I can’t help but know because every other photo on your wall is of someone’s before and after, or the latest special you are running to take new clients.
I am happy for you!
I truly am!
I think it’s great that you advertise on all your social media. I do it all the time with my work/ministry… (i.e. “Come to the Thrive Conference!” or “Stronger Conference is gonna be killer! You need to get there!” or “Become a 1000 Sister! Be part of the movement!”) I am all about it, and I understand why you are too with your church and with your business.
But please, don’t land in my inbox to tell me in a roundabout way (pun intended) that I’m fat and you can help me.
I already know.
I’m not mad at you.
I was just momentarily sad when I got your message.
It says to me, “Yep, they noticed what I most don’t want people to take note of about me…”
I also know your program works for millions of people. I’ve investigated it seven ways to Sunday and I know it works! The reason I didn’t choose it is because I know myself better than you do, and I know I can’t do it for life.
Potatoes are my favorite food.
God made potatoes.
They are not the same as Fritos or Ben & Jerry’s.
I’m just not swearing off potatoes.
Not gonna do it.
Not for a week, not for a month and especially not for life.
Yes, I know I can have potatoes on maintenance. I’ve heard this before.
But the odds of me making it to maintenance without a potato are the same odds that Epstein killed himself.
Potatoes are the very air I breathe.
Every type of potato.
Mashed, baked, fried, au gratin, scalloped, smothered, covered, chunked, diced…
Any way you wanna serve them, potatoes are the GOAT!
I can take on the world but the lack of potato will bring me to my knees.
So I’m gonna pass on the program.
But I know it’s effective and I want you to succeed.
I just don’t want you to approach me privately and let me know that you’ve noticed that I’m overweight.
I’m working on doing something about it, but I take steps forward and back a lot.
I know you understand…you once did too before your program changed you.
I’m finding my way, too, just like you once did.
The way that works for me.
Literally hundreds of my friends in ministry are health coaches, and this is just a word to the wise, be careful on your approach. My two best friends, my spiritual mom and my primary care doctor talk to me about my weight, and have invitation to do so. I ask them to keep me accountable. But I didn’t invite you to be my accountability partner in this.
I don’t have my head in the sand about what I need to change.
There will be those who will surely say: “Don’t let anyone fat shame you!”
I understand the reality of fat shaming. It’s a real thing. But, here’s what I’ve come to believe about fat shaming with a broader perspective, no pun intended:
Most of the younger generation are the ones who post about fat shaming and the truth is, they don’t know what they don’t know. They’re too young to know what they’re going to face one day. It’s one thing to talk about fat shaming when you’re 20 years old. I get it. You might be overweight but everything is still working well. I was there once! But when you’re in your 50’s, it isn’t about whether you can fit into a pair or jeans or whether you look good naked. It’s about bringing your cholesterol or your A1C down before it kills you. I don’t care about what I can fit into anymore…I just want to live. I know I can’t stay this way…not because of some false sense of shame about my weight, but because God wants me to be healthy so I can do all he has called me to do.
But to have male pastors land in my inbox and remind me that I need to lose weight…it’s just a little jarring, even for somebody like me who talks about the most sensitive of topics without blinking an eye.
I love you all. (I really do!)
And I bless you to prosper.
This is Deanna over and out from the weight loss merry-go-round.