So I've been doing Noom for two and a half weeks. I've lost 6 or 7 pounds, which is great but that's not why I'm doing it. (I'm going someplace with this, hang in there.) The reason I chose Noom is that it is psychology based. When you want to learn something, you find someone who knows how to teach it.
If I'm carrying around the weight of shame in my head, then I'll be forever unhealthy - no matter what the scale says. I knew this. I'd done it in other areas so I also knew it would be work. I also knew that my food issues were thought issues.
My dad died almost a year ago, and I'm still saying goodbye. As the completely exhausting final three years eclipsed all the wonderful ones, we were left with mostly the tougher parts of my dad. But that will be maybe another set of blog posts.
(These two things are connected. I'm seriously trying to get to the point here.)
I'm so sorry, but I'm going to have to back up for just one paragraph to give you a picture of the shame bucket I carried. I have always - as long as I remember - had a body image disorder. These things are caught or taught. In my case, it was by total immersion. I would say it was a food disorder, but I wasn't ever clinically obese or anorexic at either extreme of my ying yang weight journey. My inner stereo was this - Left speaker: My father had all sorts of childhood illnesses that fast forwarded to weighing 235 when he was 5'9" at age 15. At age 16, he lost the weight and joined the navy to achieve his goal. Leaving home. When my father decided anything, it was done. And he had no mercy on people who had not made the same decision. No understanding of trauma effects or medical set backs. Just critical cutting comments. Right speaker: My mother grew up with a thyroid problem. She couldn't gain weight. She was raised with fresh produce grown by her dad. She majored in foods and nutrition and was one semester short of becoming a licensed nutritionist when she married my dad. Food was pretty much the reason or cure for almost everything. She too, commented on anyone who gained weight and worried for them.
So if I lost weight, my dad was pleased and my mom worried. If I gained weight, my mother was pleased and my dad worried. I couldn't win. Ever. But I was a daddy's girl, so his voice was the loudest. (I look back at photos and I was quite skinny, but always, always, always felt fat.) And he was a perfectionist, so this "be thin to be acceptable" message was not only loud, but black and white. (Can you say Enneagram 1?)
As a defense, I had hovered just under the obese number for my age, weight and height for several years. I had a medical number to wear as armor.
Then I had an emergency hysterectomy followed by a miraculous healing. While I am completely healed, the lack of hormone members in my body makes weight gain as easy as breathing.
Intermingle my poor dad getting angrier by the day. At 93 he was angry he was dying and angry he was still alive. When he passed in October, we were more numb than anything. Then Covid hit and we all got it. My completely exhausted husband spent Christmas day in the hospital. Our first Christmas without dad was eclipsed by not having Rich at home. But Jesus was still there and we were breathing and thankful.
Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago.
The week before I decided to join Noom, I was struggling with some things I was trying to do at The Loft which is the gallery/gift space I run and have my studio in. I was home standing right in front of the love seat I'm sitting on now and I realized my art/food journey is intertwined more than I knew. Even though he was gone, his voice was loud in my head the same way it was in college, the same way it was when we had kids, the same way it was when I went to counseling and learned how faulty my thinking really was. I received so much healthy healing and was really doing great - until we moved my parents in with us. While I had learned so much truth, the physical presence day after day invaded all my boundaries.
Now, here I was almost a year later. Even though he is gone, I could almost feel my dad looking down from heaven critically at my art decisions and my body which was now over the line of obesity.
I cried, "Lord! Will this ever stop!?"
And His answer was so calm, so truth settling and so intriguing.
Jesus said, "He's not here anymore."
I knew that. That I had the freedom to process and grieve...and live. I knew his critical input days were gone. But I felt guilty about the fighting days at the end. Felt like I should continue to carry the shame just to honor him in a warped sort of way.
The enemy of our souls lies like that.
But those words from Jesus were so simple. Still, I felt like Jesus meant more than the fact that my dad is not here on earth in our house anymore. I felt like He meant something about who Dad is in heaven. But I had to shelve it, because it was a bit foggy. I've known Jesus long enough to trust that He would make it clear. And he did.
A couple of days later, my son called while I was painting at the studio. He's in an amazing study group. They are studying theology and reading The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. (I haven't read it, so I'm about to butcher the story a bit in the retelling but go get the book for yourself and I will too. But I'll just do my best. The freedom is just as real.) In the book, the "thin people" (those of us left on earth) went to heaven where the "real people" were. Unlike what we imagine as a spirit place that is more vapor and less solid than our reality here, it was just the opposite. A blade of grass was more solid than the thin person.
I once heard Loren Cunningham say that we assume Jesus was thinner than the walls when He appeared to the disciples who were hiding in a locked room after His resurrection. But what if Jesus was more solid after His resurrection? Otherwise, how could he have said to Thomas, "Touch my scars, my hands, my side..."