Insult to injury–that’s what it feels like. I have gained about 25 pounds since starting cancer treatment. This is more difficult for me than my impending hair loss.
Since becoming a wife and mom, I’ve struggled with my weight. My role at home changed my activity levels; though I’m usually on my feet and busy, the actual intensity of exercise has decreased. I’m a decent cook and I enjoy cooking–that surely hasn’t helped, and we all know what pregnancy can do to a girl’s figure. Add age and, well, it’s been a losing battle for me.
Since the lovely addition of cancer to my daily life, things have become even harder. I started with 6 weeks of sitting in a chair after surgery, where eating was quite literally my only activity. With chemo, I’ve been up and about more, but still pretty inactive, and now I am getting weekly doses of a strong steroid. It’s top side effects? Increased appetite, weight gain, fluid retention. This does not bode well for me with 10 weeks of chemo remaining.
If I’m honest, this has me feeling pretty low this morning. When I have told people I’m struggling, they have said things like “Eh, let it go” “It’ll be fine” “That’s not a big deal, you can lose it later.” I appreciate their hearts. People are giving me space to not add more to my current burdens, and I’m grateful. But if I have to buy new jeans in a bigger size, it may just be the last straw.
Along with my physical weight, I carry loads of guilt. My frustration and near-obsession with my weight has done damage to some of my daughters. I can see in them an unhealthy concern for their own size and shape. I feel guilty for modeling that for them. I feel guilty for not exercising more. . . for eating the wrong foods. . . and on it goes. Why don’t I just eat less and lose the weight?
I know my habits have much to do with where my body falls on the health spectrum. I know I bear responsibility for those habits. I also know that The Accuser is hard at work, rubbing my nose in all my faults. My enemy, Satan, is alive and active and knows all too well that this is maybe my softest spot–my most vulnerable place. And so, it is here that he digs.
It brings me back to a position of surrender. Not to the enemy. Never. But to the One who loves me no matter what I weigh. No matter my faults or shortcomings, He sees me as absolutely and completely perfect. All of my sin is nailed to the cross and covered in His precious blood. And so, my prayer for today is that I would see myself as He does–beautiful and just right, trusting Him to gently lead me onto a healthier path.
He will show me how to make better choices, take smaller portions, be wiser in my food and exercise. I pray that I will see room for improvement and move toward it hand in hand with the One who created me, seeing a goal and running a race without condemnation and accusation.
He leads me gently, but I must keep my eyes on Him, and I cannot do that while looking at myself. I will play praise music in my house and make gratitude my focus. I will press forward into my day, trusting that He will turn my eyes to what is right and good and beneficial to my body and soul. And when my feet slip and I fall back into well-worn patterns, I will trust Him to redirect me. In so many ways, I have a long road ahead–but my traveling companion is steady and sure. And so, I walk on.