11- Shared My Story With a Guy

Today's fear was an entirely different kind of scary.

Remember the dating site I joined? I've been talking with a few different guys I've met on there, just introducing myself and asking basic get-to-know-you type questions. And of course, that requires me to answer their questions.

Until I began setting up my profile, I hadn't realized how reluctant I am to talk about my weight loss journey with cute guys I don't know. I was careful to upload only my most flattering, skinny-looking pictures. I listed that I run and do yoga and swim and try to eat healthy. I posted pictures from my most recent 5K. I made it look like I'm just the fun, active girl.

Not the girl who tries to be active because she is fighting an ongoing battle against obesity.

See, I'm starting fresh with these men. They haven't seen my before pics. They don't remember a 240 pound version of Jennifer. And I like that. I don't want them to know about the old me. Because if they find out I used to be morbidly obese, they might judge me.

They might think to themselves:
"She used to be fat. She could easily slip back into her old ways and be fat again." 
"She used to be fat. She probably has lots of gross, saggy, excess skin." 
"She used to be fat. She obviously has some emotional baggage that made her that way in the first place."
That's what my mind goes to. Not:
"She used to be fat. Look at how far she has come."
"She used to be fat. She must be such a determined, strong, persevering individual."
"She used to be fat. You'd never know it by looking at how beautiful she is now."
No, I don't ever think those last three things, because I clearly have some residual self-esteem issues. So even though I share all the intimate details of my journey on this blog for the whole world to see, I tried to keep it a secret on my dating profile.

But tonight, I was responding to an e-mail from one guy, Ryan, whom I've connected with a good bit more than some of the others. He asked me this question:

Looking back on your life, what are you most proud of?

I sat there and stared at the screen, at the blinking cursor, trying to think of my answer. None came to me immediately, but I felt it had something to do with my music. Maybe the time I made the Alabama All-State Youth Choir? Or when I won that Buccaneer Icon talent competition in Florida? Or the talent portion of the Miss Gadsden State Pageant?

I am proud of those things, but they aren't what I'm most proud of.

Then it hit me.

I am proud that I stopped making excuses. That I got up off the couch. That I started moving. That I started eating the clean, healthy foods that my body was created to eat. That I found, through God, the will and strength and determination to get up and change my entire life. That I went from being bogged down in such a miserable, hopeless, unhealthy existence, to a life filled with hope and peace and joy.

And I wrote that guy back, with tears in my eyes, just like they're in my eyes as I'm typing this now. I opened up and I told him how I used to be severely overweight. I told him about the dark world I used to exist in, and how the Lord found me in that darkness. How He renewed my spirit, gave me energy, and began bringing me back into His light.

And I ended my answer with this:
"I began to immerse myself in the Word. I started eating healthy. I started running. I did my first 5K, which thrilled me and led to more races. I'm not quite finished yet, but so far, I've lost almost 60 pounds. And in doing so, the way I live my life has completely changed. I give God the credit. He gave me the strength to do it all. But I am proud of myself for getting up and working hard to change things instead of giving up."
I don't know how he'll respond. Really, it doesn't matter. Because doing this, telling him the things that I feared sharing, was for no one but me. I needed to stop and think about how far I've come. About why I'm doing this. Why I have to keep fighting.

I needed to remember.


Lacey said...

Your story is seriously so inspiring. The passion you have for God and for living is so beautiful, and YOU truly are beautiful! I can guarantee God is smiling down on you and you are making Him proud.

Keep up the good work. You are such a lovely lady!

Regine Karpel said...

I agree Lacey!

Niken said...

you are so inspiring! i can say you should be proud of yourself by sharing this story, by revealing your self to strangers over the internet at your vulnerable time. and that you determine to take care better of your self.

Jennifer said...

Thank you both so much! I appreciate your encouragement and support more than you know!

Jennifer said...

Thank you very much, Niken!

Anna Marie Schaefer said...

One of your best posts to date. I'm so proud of you, as you know.

Jessica said...

You have come so far, not only physically but emotionally and spiritually! I am soo proud of you.

Jennifer said...

Thanks, Anna! LYLASMTE!!!

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much! So have you, and I'm very proud of you! :)