The ‘F’ word might not be so bad after all

It’s a 2-for-1 on the blog today. It’s been a few weeks since I updated on my weight-loss progress for the My Loss Their Gain challenge, and I’m reading books like crazy to finish out the Tyndale Summer Reading Program, so I’m doubling up on posts today.

We were home in Illinois for two weeks, and I was sure my weight loss efforts took another beating. Good food. Lots of it. Little exercise. Frankly, I came home a little depressed. Then we had a hurricane when we got back to Pennsylvania, and we found a bat in the house, and the kids and I all got sick with a stomach bug. I remembered to weigh in today and discovered that I’d actually lost about 1.5 pounds since I last weighed in two weeks ago. Most of that is probably from the stomach bug. Not the most enjoyable way to lose weight.

So, with that little bit of encouragement, I’m resolved to restart my campaign to lose weight and donate money to widows and orphans in Liberia.

Speaking of Liberia, I learned another little encouraging tidbit this week while reading In This Place by Kim L. Abernethy, who spent time in Liberia as a missionary. When she and her husband first arrived in the West African country, the people were so excited and greeted them with these words “Thank you teacher for your fat wife!” Abernethy, understandably, was a little taken aback by this but came to learn that Liberians associated fatness, if you will, with blessing. To them, a person who is overweight must be blessed because they have more than enough food to eat.

Funny. I haven’t thought of it that way. I’m not fat; I’m blessed!

“Fat” is such a dirty word in our country. No one wants to be called “fat” which is why Abernethy reacted negatively when the Liberians used the word to describe her. I still bear the scars of a friend calling me “fat” in third- or fourth-grade. I can’t think of any positive ways we use the word “fat.” (Unless of course, we’re talking about “phat.” That’s supposed to be a good thing.)

While I have my own struggles with weight, having kids increases them. Both of our kids are “above average” when it comes to weight. Their doctor doesn’t make a big deal out of it, but the WIC nutritionists have labeled them as obese already. They’re 3 and 1 1/2. That seems a little premature to me, so we try not to stress about it. We try to make healthy choices as a family and encourage activity.

I don’t want my kids to have to bear the consequences of being overweight. Seeing their weight as a blessing because we don’t have to worry about food is an attitude shift I hadn’t considered.

So, I’m still aiming to lose weight by the end of the year, but I’m not going to beat myself up for failing to do so.

“Fat” doesn’t have to be such a bad word, although I’m not sure I’m ready yet to use it as a compliment.

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