Dress For Today: Don't Wait to Lose Weight

Weight Watchers. Bariatric. Adkins. Counting calories. Whole 30. Advocare. I’ve tried them all. I’m the girl that’s perpetually dieting when I’m not eating anything in sight. My whole adult life I’ve swung between the extremes of weighing 126 all the way to 186 - and I’m only five feet two inches tall - so that’s a big variation.

My relationship to food has been one of extremes, and my tendency to comfort myself by eating has become a real stronghold at different seasons of life. The Lord has pointed out time and again how much I look to food as an idol - and it has been a hard road toward true healthiness.

Along with perpetual weight loss, gain, or fluctuation often comes a love/hate relationship with my body and the way in which clothes fit, or don’t, depending on my size. I’ve found myself fully believing that cute clothes are reserved for slender women with no cellulite, and that even if I found an outfit that fit me, I don’t “deserve” to look good in my clothes because of how much weight I’ve held onto.

Friends, it’s a broken cycle, and it’s left me standing in front of my closet with tears streaming down my face, hanging my head in shame and longing to crawl back into bed and start the day over. Or go back in time and make wiser choices so that I’m not shimmying my way into jeans that are too tight or hiding behind the largest size I can find on the rack at Target.

I am a firm believer that these issues which weigh heavily on our hearts and bog us down physically need to be brought to the Lord, laid at his feet, and addressed with intentional surrender.

Far too often we ascribe our worth and value based on the number we see on the scale. We believe that we will only be beautiful when we fit into the size clothing we used to, when we lose that extra twenty pounds, or when we can look at the reflection in the mirror without being embarrassed.

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But friends, let me tell you the truth that I have to remind myself of every. single. day.

You are utterly beautiful and perfectly valuable TODAY, because when God looks at you, He sees YOU: the daughter of Christ that He made you to be. He sees you covered in the grace of Jesus. He loves you as you are, not as you want to be, because His grace is big enough to cover us at our largest and deep enough to pull us out of the pit of shame we may have fallen into along the way.

Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6 that our body is a temple of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. We are not our own. We were bought with a price. So we are called to glorify God with our bodies. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that He came that we may have life and life abundant. Galatians 5:1 tells us that it is for freedom Christ has set us free. We are called to stand firm in Christ and not submit ourselves to the yoke, or burden, of slavery.

These promises of freedom go beyond clothing or weight, but I believe that how we dress and how we view our bodies absolutely fall under these promises. Because carrying the pressure of maintaining or reaching our “goal weight” can be burdensome and exhausting. We become slave to the food choices we make, the number we see on the scale, or the size we fit into. 

When we live every day counting calories and believing that we will never be enough if we eat too much, we aren’t living abundantly - we’re living small. When we obsess over our bodies and the way we look in the mirror, we’ve forgotten that these temporary bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit. We’re focusing less on Jesus and more on the approval of others.

By all means, yes, let’s eat healthier, let’s exercise, and let’s take good care of ourselves. But friends, let’s do that to honor Jesus with our bodies. Let’s do that so we can live abundantly. Let’s pursue health and strength so we can play with our children, run outside in the sunshine, enjoy the ocean or pool with our families on vacation, and walk in grace and confidence.

And along the way, let’s dress with joy and not reserve clothes we like for the day we lose the weight. Part of walking in confidence for me has been dressing in clothes that actually fit and that I actually like. 

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So here’s my advice to you if you find yourself on the perpetual diet train: 

  • Set aside a little money each month to get yourself one or two items that actually fit you. Don’t wait to lose weight before you purchase an item of clothing you like. If you spend the next six months trying to lose weight while shoving yourself into clothes that don’t fit or hiding behind clothes that swallow you, you’ll find yourself starting the day defeated.
    • If you don’t want to spend a lot of money in the hopes that you really will be losing weight, you could shop at secondhand stores, look online for sales, or head to a place like T J Maxx that carries good brands for much less.
       
  • Do NOT worry about the size of the item. Find the size that fits you without cutting tightly across you, without pinching or clinging or squeezing, and if it helps - cut the tag out. Numbers on clothes are just that, a number, not anything more. 
    • Find the size that fits you at your widest part, and if you need to, find a seamstress that could take in the bigger parts. 
    • For instance, my hips are the widest part of my body - which often means that jeans that fit my hips are much too large in the waist. I often sew darts in the waist to make my pants fit me all over instead of buying a smaller size for my waist that makes me feel uncomfortable in my hips.
       
  • Don’t cover up in clothing that’s so big it consumes you. Often, these blanket pieces may seem more comforting, but they can actually make us look bigger than we are. Look for a piece that is big enough to fit but not so big it consumes.
     
  • Don’t worry about which part of the store the clothes come from.
    • I have a maternity shirt I bought a few years ago that I love and I’ve never been pregnant! If it fits and if it makes you smile when you wear it, then who cares where it comes from?
    • Target has a plus size line that has some adorably cute pieces.
    • I’ve found that when I’m wearing something that fits, I don’t even think about where it came from - the clothes just sort of fade into the background and I get to actually live my life not obsessing over or constantly tugging at my clothes.
       
  • Remember that clothes are not meant to consume our thoughts. It’s important to find a balance of wearing clothes that equip us to comfortably get out and about, but not obsess to the point that we idolize the clothes themselves. Clothes are simply a tool for living out the calling that God has given us, which is to glorify Him and make Him known. If we spend all our time worried about what we’re wearing, we aren’t pointing others back to the Lord!
     
  • Learn to take a compliment. Last year I was at my heaviest, and each day I was more insecure than the day before. My husband would look at me and tell me I was beautiful. I would almost always reply, “No I’m not. I’m fat.” Thinking back on it now, I was not only not believing that he found me beautiful, I was reminding him of all the reasons I was less beautiful than I used to be (or so I thought) and discounting his view altogether.
    • Learn to simply say “thank you” and actually mean it. Someone else may be able to see the beauty you possess, even if you're struggling to believe it. Ask the Lord instead to use those words of affirmation to help you believe that God has made you beautiful, today!

Beauty is found in the identity that God has given you. Confidence comes from a steady relationship with Christ and believing your worth comes from who He says you are, not what the scale says you weigh.

Daily dress yourself with the armor of God and pray to the Spirit for wisdom in the choices you make when it comes to eating healthy and pursuing a strong and healthy lifestyle. Let’s not wait to lose weight before we walk in the grace of God and claim our Gospel-driven identity in Jesus!

walking in grace today,

rachael