Why I want to be a loser

As a mom of many and a homeschooler, I have learned that people will automatically feel judged by our decisions, and it’s perfectly logical.  When we decide to do things one way, we are demonstrating by our actions that we feel this way is better than that way – at least for ourselves, in our situation.

What our actions and decisions may not make clear is our reasoning and motivation.  Consequently, onlookers often feel the need to fill in the blanks.

Last week, a reader suggested that my own resolution to lose weight was unkind or even hateful toward overweight women.  I found it a little hurtful and I feel she is guilty of judging me just as harshly as she assumes I am judging her, but I also realize that it’s very important to clarify my reasoning and motivation so that others don’t misunderstand as she has.

Why lose weight when I have so little to lose?

I am exercising and eating less because I want to be a good steward of the body and resources God has given me.  When my level of physical fitness declines because I am eating more than I need to, or because I am being lazy, that is poor stewardship.  My weight or body-fat percentage does not measure my holiness or true beauty, but they can be outward indicators of some character flaws in my own life.  I was guilty of gluttony, and I know this because I was consistently eating even when I wasn’t hungry.  I was wasting food by consuming what I didn’t need and couldn’t even properly appreciate.

The weight that crept on over the years was not sinful; it was just confirmation of sin within me.

Do I believe that everyone who is overweight is in sin?

No.  That doesn’t mean that everyone who is overweight or heavier than I am is guilty of gluttony or laziness.  I know plenty of people who eat less than I do, exercise more, constantly fight hunger, and weigh more than I do.  A trim body does not equal holiness or righteousness.  But God has given me a body that can maintain a trim shape with only a reasonable amount of activity and self-control, and so I think it may be sin for me to be overweight.

I am not judging the personal habits or hearts of the people around me; I am judging my own.

Does fat disgust me?

On myself, excess fat does bother me, because it is a visible, tangible sign of my own laziness and lack of self-control.  I don’t look at somebody else’s squishy tummy and think, “Ew!”  because her squishy tummy doesn’t hold the same meaning that mine does for me.  On others, it’s not my business or my concern.  I don’t know their circumstances, their diet, or their health unless they choose to discuss it with me.  If they choose to join me in setting and sharing goals, I think we can all benefit from the accountability and encouragement.

I have friends who are heavier or slimmer than I am, and I value each of them.  I don’t judge them based on their weight and body type or what I saw them eat last time we were together, and I hope they don’t judge me based on anything so shallow.

Am I teaching my daughters to hate their bodies?

I don’t think so.  We laugh about the stretch marks on my belly and I call them battle scars.  My girls understand what I explain above – that I’m trying to hold myself to a high standard not because it’s the only way to be beautiful, but because God gave me strong muscles and it’s lazy to let them go to waste.  We know curves are beautiful, and they know that their dad likes my jiggly parts.  They know that some men like more jiggle than others, and that a good man loves his own wife’s shape and size.  They understand that a healthy woman has some fat on her body, and none of them aspires to look like a runway model.

Can fat people be fit and healthy?

A slim person can certainly be healthier than a fat person, and we all know it’s possible to be too thin.  However, there are undeniable connections between excessive weight and certain conditions like heart disease and diabetes, and not many are worried about an epidemic of skinniness in America.  In a nation fraught with health problems it’s not a bad idea to exercise more and eat better – and for most of us, eating better also means eating less. The undeniable pattern is that for most of us, an active lifestyle and a healthy diet will lead to a trimmer and leaner shape than we currently sport.

Do I think you should lose weight?

Wrong question.  Do you think you should lose weight?  Why?

Comments

  1. Good thoughts, Kim. Thanks for being so willing to share with us. As Zekesmom said, just as I was back to pre-marriage weight, I found out I was pregnant again. But being diabetic with my pregnancies (although it’s a stress) has helped me keep my weight gain down, for which I am very thankful.

  2. Kim, I initially joined your Wanna Be A Loser posts, then I dropped out and have recently been motivated to get started again. I am remiss in reading blogs this summer, but I haven’t ever seen you post anything offensive or insensitive.

    I want to lose weight because a) I use food as a comfort/drug/vice/bad habit rather than fuel for my body b) My parents are in very poor health, much of it related to years of poor eating habits (why change your diet or exercise when you can take a pill that ‘fixes’ everything) c) I just turned 45 years old and I feel and look older than I should d) I have noticed in the past few months that my bad eating habits make me feel poorly (eating high carbs with little to no nutritional value leaves me feeling shaky and fuzzy minded)

    I am not on a ‘magic’ diet plan or being obsessive. I don’t count anything. And I haven’t given up chocolate or red wine =D One thing I have learned from you and my friend that just had her 13th child a few months ago (and is already down to a size 6) – it’s not about perfection or deprivation, it’s about awareness, more good than bad choices and staying on top of it before it gets out of control.

  3. Rachael in Australia says:

    Thanks for writing this Kim. It’s actually helpful to me in a way you probably didn’t intend it to be. I’m one of those people who are a little overweight regardless of regular jogging and a low calorie intake overall. I eat less than most people I know and what I do eat is healthy – I love fruit and vegetables and really don’t like junk food except for ice-cream (and I’m sure you of all people could relate to that!) Even then, I’m very careful with how often I have ice-cream. It’s a treat. Your post was a very helpful reminder that my size is not the issue here. I AM being a good steward of my body and though that may not be immediately apparent to others, that doesn’t matter. I certainly feel down that my hard work doesn’t translate to a smaller size but this is a reminder for me to fix my eyes on what really matters in this area – the heart issue. Thanks.

  4. Oh Kim I had to have a similar conversation with someone recently too. I am not over weight, however I have become subject to the sin of laziness and gluttony as well (thank you for the names for where I am). I was by no means bragging or complaining, but the person I was talking to was shocked that I would bother with losing weight. When I explained that I thought it was better for ME to address the issue before things got out any more of hand; I felt a bristle.

    Recognition of the issue is the first step that there is a problem. That’s exactly where I was then. Hey, I’m not happy with things, I outta make a change. I’ve been working at stepping up the exercise and reducing the food intake. I’ve had mixed results in both fronts, but will keep on working on it.

    I say keep up your hard work at being a loser and I’ll keep working at being a loser too. :)

  5. Mamaof4prayingformore says:

    Just wanted you to know I am over 100 pounds overweight and I have not taken any offense to anything you have written about. God created all of us different and special…and it is important to honor God by honoring our bodies….and that is what you are doing and you are doing a great job!! Keep up the good work.

  6. As a new skirt only wearer I am curious…. do you exercise in skirts too?

    • I don’t have much sympathy for people who say that skirts are impractical for daily wear, but I exercise in shorts. I’ve also taken to wearing them around the house on triple digit days when I’m not exercising.

  7. I am so glad you addressed the negative comments in your last Loser post…yes, sad that you felt it would help, but at the same time, I think it IS important to clarify your motivation. If anything, those of us who are encouraged by your recent Loser “adventures” can now be even more motivated because of your reasoning. Thank you!

  8. Thanks for your kind yet honest example of how to handle unjust criticism. As a soon to be homeschooling mom I already have experience with people feeling judged by our family’s decisions even though there is no judging involved, and despite that fact that we try to be open about our support of the choices other families make. Yep, we aren’t even technically schooling yet and it has already started(I think because we have 4 very young children, are waiting on starting our almost 5yr old in Kindergarten next year, and have mentioned that we feel homeschooling is the best fit for us… ). I really struggle with the unjust accusations and assumptions that are being made of us, so your gracious honest response was a needed reminder for me today -thanks :)

  9. Hi Kim, Although well written, I’m sorry that you felt you needed to write this post. Shame on someone for judging your motives! Here’s one for you…..I work really hard and watch what I eat in order to stay slim and trim because it’s what my husband likes. I don’t think it’s vain or selfish to spend time and mental energy on fitness and diet and it’s not just about health for me. I want to look good for my man! What do you all think about that?? I want to please him, submit to him and satisfy him. My guy likes me thin, other men don’t have the same preference but I’m not married to them. Just another topic to stir the pot! Keep up the good work Kim!

  10. You’re right on! And now….I’m going to eat some cake. But only because I’m four months pregnant and have convinced myself it’s justifiable when pregnant. Um…..it IS justifiable….isn’t it? ;)

  11. Sheila in MO says:

    Wow. THAT was a good read.

    I appreciate you pointing out that taking care of our bodies is good stewardship. I have always felt that way but guilt would also creep in for “thinking of myself.” As if making our health important was selfish. If we (moms) strive to keep up with optimal fitness for the various body types (and health issues) God has given us then we are more physically and emotionally able to be the best we can in our vocations as mothers and wives. Healthier moms= healthier kids= healthier families.

    Ofcourse there are probably a few who go overboard in the quest for fitness and health. I’m just cheering on and echoing your perspective and we should all consider a good balance of moderation in our lives as well.

  12. Very well written. Great answers to great questions. I’ve thought a lot recently about sin/gluttony vs. plain ole’ bad habits. How one looks are often a sign of good or bad habits, but not always, just as you pointed out. Kudos to you for clarifying all this. Sounds like your daughters have a great mama/role model to look up to in this area.

  13. I have enjoyed following your weight loss journey. We don’t have a scale but just the feeling of jeans becoming snug can indicate a need for change for me. In the past month or so my husband has had the desire to make a lifestyle change . He has limited his beer intake to one night a week. We take a family walk at least 4 nights a week. It’s only about a mile but can take this family of 9 about 45 minutes . Which 45 minutes in 95 should equal to 45 minutes in a saunashare a meal on our dates also. Not sure if any weigh has been lost but my husband has seen a dramatic change in his blood pressure . And getting out and walking as a family is a cheap vice .

  14. Due to events in our lives the past few years I am constantly told that I should blog, write or speak about my experiences. Your post is another reminder why I can’t. I am so sorry that people are judging you. Rather than say “my goal is to lose weight” I suggest that we should ALL make the goal to be healthier. Everyone can do that.

  15. Do I need to lose weight? Yes, I do. After losing seven pounds, I found out I’m percolating another babe. I don’t want to gain that seven pounds back. I know it’s going to bring friends with it. I also know now is not the time to diet. But there is never a bad time to eat healthier, stop when full, and exercise if you are able.

    I’ve never felt that anything you wrote was judgemental. If someone felt that way, perhaps it was their own conscience tickling their ears.

  16. You really shouldn’t have had to write this – nothing in any of your prior “I want to be a loser” posts has been in any way negative towards those who are overweight – but I appreciate and agree with what you said. People can be overweight for a variety of different reasons – some of which are sinful, some are genetic, some are medical, etc. There’s also a big difference between losing weight to meet some idealistic cultural standard of beauty and losing weight to feel and be healthier and more energetic. Encouraging your readers to make healthier food and exercise choices by being a good example is always a good thing. Anyone who is offended by that needs to take a good look at their own life and think about WHY they find that offensive.

  17. I think you have done a great job of explaining yourself—I’m only sorry that you had to. Personally, I have a HUGE amount of weight to lose. No, that’s not an exaggeration. But instead of being offended by your choice to be a loser, I’ve been reading with interest and been encouraged myself.
    I think it’s fantastic that you are disciplining yourself to keep your weight from becoming a HUGE problem. My issues are my own and while I have struggled with my weight for most of my life, I did manage to get to a smaller size for a brief period of time. Looking back now, I can see that if I had been more diligent then, I could have kept myself from having to deal with the problem before me now. If I had become a loser back when I only had 15-20 pounds to lose, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
    BTW–I may live in a bubble, but unless someone specifically says something rude to me about my weight, I never concern myself with what they may be thinking about me. My weight is likely to be a thorn in my side for my entire life since I’m one that has to work twice as hard to lose half as much as the next woman, but what good will it do me to be offended by every thin person I know just because they are able to maintain a normal weight?
    I think we all need to worry more about the plank in our own eye before we go trying to remove the splinter from another’s eye.
    I say “good for you” for recognizing the problem and facing it head-on before it got out of control!

  18. Kat Menard says:

    I was never offended by anything you wrote, Kim. It encouraged me. I started on my slim-down plan on August 1st, and i have lost 13 lbs already. I am hoping to lose 20 by my birthday in October. I have a lot more than that to lose to be where i would like, but one day at a time.

  19. Well put! And possibly the motivation I need to get back on track! It’s not the easy thing, but great things don’t come to those who do nothing!

  20. Kim, I am so glad you decided to address this. I was shocked when I went and read the post the disgruntled lady wrote.
    You have never, not once, even insinuated that this “Be A Loser” was about anything other than your own journey towards better health. I, too, am on the same journey. I am going to a gym for personal training 3 times a week, along with cardio at home the other days. As a fellow mom of 10, I am certainly not trying to look like the latest Hollywood starlets!! LOL!! I will be a grandmother in about 7 months, and I decided that I wanted to be a healthy, fit, active Grandma…not a tired, unhealthy, sluggish Grandma. They are MY reasons, not for anybody else.
    I, too, struggle with gluttony. Having 2 days a week of eating only fruits and veggies has helped with those cravings.
    Honestly, I am more excited about the muscles I have developed than about the few pounds I have lost!
    Thanks Kim, for always being so REAL. I appreciate your blog, and often laugh right out loud.
    Dawn

  21. Congratulations on your weight loss,Kim! I personally think your reasoning for losing weight is God honoring…I wish I had been on top of my weight gain when I was only 10-15 lbs. over weight, before it got so far out of hand. I’m currently 30lbs. down and have approx. 30 to go. Praise the Lord, I’m feeling alive in Christ again, gluttony in any shape or form is sin!

  22. People who say things like that are looking for an excuse to blame others for their feelings. Each person is responsible for their own life style and body. I am proud that you are taking care of the one God gave you responsibly. You are showing a good example for your girls-that there are more important things in life than snacks or finding comfort in food. Praying you will find continued success as you change your lifestyle. Congratulations on what you have achieved so far!!!

  23. I can’t believe that anyone would pass judgement on you wanting to lose weight! Everyone wants to have the body shape they want to have and that is everyone’s choice. I think the person that voiced their opinion is actually jealous that they are not doing something similar. I would love to lose a bit more than what I have done but hey, I am a bit to lazy to do it, although cutting back on my eating and exercising a bit more has gone some way to helping! Good on you for attempting and also for introducing your girls to HEALTHY ways of keeping their figures. Good luck with any future weight loss and also for keeping it off as I know from previous experience that is the hardest part for me anyway!

    Aileen x

  24. Great post and very inspiration, I thought! Thank you! I will join you!

  25. I have lived on both ends of the spectrum. I know that 1 year and 100 lbs ago I was hypersensitive to any of the “skinnies” who were pushing to lose those 10 “vanity pounds”. However, now that all of my health related issues related to obesity have completely resolved and I am still pushing for those last 20lbs just to make it into “that size” (you know, the one you have not seen since highschool), I find that I am more motivated for those last 20lbs for me. Each person’s weight journey and concept of self-image is different. Keep up the posts as you drop off the pounds!

  26. Gosh I must say I am very overweight and didn’t think you were critising me. As you said we each have our own story to tell and reasons for our decisins and actions. It’s when they become excuses and when I feel guilty that I tend to think the whole world is watching me and judging me.
    As for the answer to your question…. yes I do need to loose weight. I also need to have an operation on my wrists and to battle chronic pain. Life’s a balance but I did like your thoughts on being a good steward of both body and resources because since eliminating the junk and snacks from our diet, our budget is doing a lot better…..

  27. Thanks for writing this! It is very important to be a great influence and mentor to the younger women and moms. Good for you! I never at all felt like you were judgmental towards anyone in any of your writings. Thank you for writing about the importance of staying fit and healthy and being careful of gluttony. As Christians we should take care of our bodies and present it well. I think you are doing an awesome job representing Christ in your writings and taking care of your self. I could go on and on about the importance of staying healthy. And I could go on and on about the importance of healthy influence we need to have on others. Please don’t be discouraged one bit! Keep writing and being a great role model! I’m sorry someone has made you feel judge. I felt that recently having ALL boys(6) who are ALL boy. The positive side to this~ your explanation shows others that gluttony is a sin and healthy lifestyle is important to represent Christ! Thank you for also mentioning that being overweight doesn’t necessarily mean your gluttonous. Thank you so much for this blog! I believe you represent Christ very well! ~ Blessing~

  28. Bravo! Well written and well reasoned. I do believe our true worth is found in the fact that we are daughters of the King, but I totally agree that the way we care for our bodies is an indicator of how much we value what God has given us. Just like our finances and familial relationships, our bodies have been given to us by the Lord, and He desires us to care for them to the best of our ability–whatever size that may be. Thanks for the accountability! May God bless your efforts.

  29. Well said. Sad that you have to justify yourself but that is the land of the Internet. I’ve just set myself a fitness challenge for September and I’ve realised I need to add you as an inspiration and virtual cheerleader to getting me off my backside.

    Here’s my post about my goal of 1000 mins of exercise in September
    http://welearn4fun.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/september-fitness-challenge/

  30. Some great insight. After my most recent pregnancy, I’ve been having a harder time losing the weight. I almost feel like I am not ALLOWED to want to lose weight because I know I’m not overweight, but I weigh more than I’m used to and it doesn’t feel right for ME.

  31. Good post! I don’t understand why some people took offense to you trying to loose weight. You were never judgmental in anything you wrote and I say this as someone who is about 100 pounds overweight.

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