Body Image, Grief, Marriage Changing Together


Melinda's Story

Four years ago, my husband and I lost a son - one of our 5 children. As we struggled with our grief, many nights we were unable to sleep. I found myself eating in the wee hours of the morning, which I knew wasn’t good for my body, but in my grief I simply did not care. After a year, I started a regimen of walking a mile or more a day, and the following year worked with a personal trainer in hopes of dealing with the excess weight I'd packed on; but my eating habits changed very little.

Then in April of 2016 (as I was walking a prayer circle), I suddenly sensed the Holy Spirit telling me, “You have made food more important than your relationship with God.” I immediately felt convicted - I knew it was true - and I asked God to please show me how to change that.

That day was a crazy busy day, full of work, laundry, watching my grandson and packing to go visit my oldest sister. So when my younger sister called to chat, my prayer was far from my thoughts. My sister excitedly told me about a friend of ours who had been heavy all her life, but who had recently lost a considerable amount of weight. My sister wanted to change her own diet in hopes of slimming down but said it would be easier if we both did it together, so I agreed to do it with her.

With someone to hold us each accountable, my sister and I began the diet change the next day. Strange as it sounds, I did not recall my prayer until 4 days into this lifestyle change - I was standing in my older sister’s kitchen preparing my healthy meal when the Holy Spirit whispered “Remember that prayer you prayed? This is your answer!!”

I was filled with such joy and gratefulness! I was overwhelmed with the way in which God had brought about this major change in my life...especially in the midst of the years of dealing with deep pain and loss. It felt practically effortless in comparison. I lost 6 pounds that first week. 6 months later I had reached my goal of 31 pounds gone, putting me at a weight I hadn't seen since beginning high school. And my relationship with food was no longer more important than my relationship with God.

When Jim joined me (see his story below) on this journey just 2 weeks after I started, it became even easier and frankly more enjoyable. We worked together to make good food choices and began walking (a 5k every morning and 2 miles at night). What a blessing it has been beginning and ended each day knowing we are getting healthier. as we continue our journey of healing.


Jim's Story

My motivation behind starting a new journey towards increased physical health was the perfect storm. Several factors combined at the right time to motivate me to begin. First of all, I was not pleased with my condition; I was uncomfortable (physically and emotionally), had pain in the feet, had trouble walking and kept…getting…bigger.

During my last several annual physical exams, my doctor kept telling me to drink less soda to help get the weight down. I had another one of these appointments and knew it was time to try to lose weight. Additionally, my wife had also been concerned about her own weight condition, and had asked the Lord to help her. She confessed to Him that she had made food too much of a priority and wanted to change that. Then in mid-April of last year my wife’s sister called to say she was joining a weight loss program a friend had been successful with and asked my wife to consider doing it with her (long distance). It wasn’t until later that my wife saw this as an answer to that prayer. After seeing her achieve some modest success in just a few weeks – and struggling to manage separate food menus – I got up on May 6 (our wedding anniversary) and announced I would do this with her. If nothing else, we could once again eat the same foods! I also joined her on her morning walks. Over time, I saw this as a spiritual journey and am realizing many spiritual benefits and opportunities to better serve people.
Educating ourselves was also a critical component. We used a commercial weight loss program, which was simple to follow and educated us on how to make better choices about the foods we ate. We did not have to purchase a certain brand of food, we could still shop at Kroger. In fact, we can eat whatever we want! But we have an understanding and knowledge of good foods and portions that are still satisfying and tasty! I look at it like a detailed college course in how to eat better.
When I first started, I hoped to lose 10 pounds in a few months. During our walks, we would sometimes discuss goals. I remember looking up BMI charts and jokingly saying I’d need to lose 88 pounds to get to the top of the BMI range for my height. That seemed very unobtainable. It wasn’t until I had lost 50 pounds in 5 months that I started to believe that goal was possible!
BUT...I did not do this alone. My wife and I jointly pursued weight loss through eating better and walkingj. And, we were able to encourage each other and support each other when we struggled. We did hold each other accountable, but that came naturally through eating the same meals together. I also knew a few people whom I looked to as examples; they have success stories. And they encouraged me once they found out what we were doing!
Our journey has resulted in a lifestyle change. We did not set out to change our lifestyle with regards to eating and walking, although that is what needed to happen to achieve permanent results. We eat better foods, smaller portions (except watermelon – we love watermelon!), and we really enjoy and look forward to our morning walks. What started out as 20 minute walks became daily one-hour morning walks where we could really have time to discuss life and grow closer together!
As of today, my wife has been at her goal weight for the past 4 months! And I have lost 90 pounds in less than a year (and haven't had any soda)!

I also have experience many physical benefits: my feet haven’t hurt for over 6 months, I am able to pick up dropped keys by myself (ha), and I sleep much better! Plus, at my annual eye exam last November, my optometrist was amazed that my eyes were now identical in shape and prescription, whereas before they were two different shapes and prescriptions. When I asked her if weight loss could have anything to do with that, she said “absolutely!”
My takeaway is that this journey has been faster and easier than I expected. Of course there are struggles (plateaus etc.), but there were also consistent results.

Your Story

Now it's time for you to tell your story. But, you need to begin the journey. Whether it's through a commercial diet program, more exercise, or something else, you need to take the first step. We promise, it will change your life! You can join us and the Grace Sole Patrol (walking group) or one of the other workout groups.

Have a story you want to share. Let us know! Others need to be motivated by your stories and struggles.


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