Do you find yourself asking “why is it so hard for me to lose weight”? You aren’t alone. There are more than 18 reasons women struggle to lose weight.
If you’re reading this you’re likely hoping I’ll give some kind of weight loss secret or tip. I’ll put this right up front – I won’t, exactly.
Instead we’ll journey into God’s Word and weave our weighty story into Naomi’s. For the next two weeks, Wednesday will be spent reflecting on God’s Word and our life and Friday we’ll explore weight loss options based on the science behind the struggle.
The fact that Americans struggle with body weight is no secret. 40% of American women are obese and 67% are either overweight or obese. Despite diets, exercise, weight loss surgeries, and countless “weight loss” products and protocols, America continues to gain weight.
But life is about so much more than size. Remember that ladies.
The only size that matters is the size of your heart. Let’s dig into this by looking at a couple of stories.
The Enemies Lie
I want to tell you my story first.
If you know me you know I don’t have an ounce to lose and quite honestly never have. But being thin doesn’t mean you’re free from diets, weight loss gimmicks, and the fear of weight.
Here’s a story I’ve never told anyone.
It’s a hard story to tell because it involves my mom and to be honest, I don’t want her to know this, but it’s something that’s picked at me (in a bad way) for most of my life.
See, my mom and I have the same bone structure. The difference is my mom had three children, spent her life working to care for sick and dying loved ones, and caring for abused and neglected children.
My mom spent her entire life loving others the way Christ calls us all to love. She put others before self every second of every day. She always has.
For the longest time – I didn’t see this.
I just saw my mom gain weight.
Her stress levels were high, her sleep quality and amount low, and her diet was based on whatever was quick. See – her time was given to others and none was spent on self.
Me – I saw the weight. It started when I was a teenager. I remember the vow I made to myself “I’m never going to look like my mom”.
Decades later I read that and write this with a broken heart and tears rolling down my cheeks. The enemy put a lie into my head 30 or so years ago about weight and it’s a lie I’ve kept to myself because I didn’t want to hurt my mom.
I’ve known it was a lie but lie’s don’t lose their power until we put them out in the open.
Truth be told, I’d trade everything in the world to have my mom’s heart, to love and serve, and give the way she does.
And I’d happily trade my heart that’s afraid of gaining weight for a heart that lived to love as Christ loved and serve as Jesus instructed.
Skinny isn’t struggle free.
While I don’t count calories or try to stay a certain size, that doesn’t erase the lie that’s been nibbling at my brain for 30+ years.
Truth is – if I gave my all, as my mom has her entire life, stopped sleeping, started eating whatever was quick, and added a big dose of stress…I’d start adding pounds. Cuz in most cases, that’s just the way it works.
Before we dive into God’s Word I want you to know I’m sorry.
Forgive me mom. Forgive me Abba Father.
If you’ve not read our post “What Makes a Woman Beautiful (in God’s eyes)” go listen to or read it before you finish this post. At least promise me you’ll go back to it after you finish this post.
Just like I celebrated my mom’s heart, I want you to celebrate the heart God’s given you and understand why doing so matters. That’s what the “What Makes a Woman Beautiful” post is all about and it’s foundational to what we’re diving into today.
A Bitter Journey
The book of Ruth opens with Naomi but it’s often Ruth, alone, who’s studied. Today I want to look at Naomi.
First, a little background before we begin.
Naomi was an Ephrathite from Bethlehem who was living, at the time we enter the story, in Moab. Her and her husband had moved to Moab because of a famine in their country, Judah.
Shortly after moving to Moab, we learn Naomi’s husband has died and that her two sons married Moabite women, Ruth and Orpah. Ten years later, tragedy strikes again and death takes both Naomi’s son’s.
The three ladies are on their way to Bethlehem where we jump in.
In Ruth 1:11 Naomi says “Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons…” and verse 13 ends “…It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has gone out against me!”
Naomi’s bitterness was rooted in the pain of death.
Her and her daughters-in-law were now widows. This was not a good thing to be. It was a guarantee for poverty, being ignored and taken advantage of.
A woman’s worth was based on having a husband and children. Naomi had lost both.
Notice though – she was willing to go it alone. She knew Ruth and Orpah still had a chance to remarry and have kids.
Let’s pause Naomi’s story and answer a couple of questions. Grab the PDF here: A Bitter Journey
- How do you respond when you’re in a difficult situation- Selflessly or selfishly?
- What was the last difficult situation you faced?
- Is it current and in progress, just past, or ongoing?
- What’s difficult about it?
- What do you wish was different?
- How did/do you respond to others during this difficulty?
It’s you and God so be 100% honest with the questions. They’re tough and I want you to dig deep and look into the bottom of your heart.
Lay it all on the table.
Use the devotion sheet and write out your raw honest answers.
When Naomi reached Bethlehem and was greeted by the local women, she didn’t respond with a hug or expression that indicated missing them.
Nope, her response was “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty…the Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:20-21
Naomi left Bethlehem a full woman. She had a husband and two sons – this was a double win. In her time, women lived to get married and have children.
But this happened during a difficult dark season in Israel’s history and her journey was to a country known to oppress and respond hostilely to Israel.
Naomi left Israel a blessed woman and traveled, unknowingly, into the most difficult season of her life.
Before we continue Naomi’s story..let’s pause. I’ve got more questions for you.
- Do you consider yourself blessed right now or is there another season of your life where things were better?
Write down what immediately comes to mind. Really scour your hearts discontent, longings, dreams, wishes, and wants.
- Is there a time in your life you wish you could go back to? If so, when and why?
- If someone were to ask “How’re you doing?” Yes, the generic question we all ask and don’t ever expect an honest answer to. How would you honestly respond?
Look again at how Naomi responded when she got back to Bethlehem. Don’t keep anything back.
This is between you and God.
Like Naomi, you might be in a season riddled with loss and bitterness. Maybe your bitterness is caused by a longing to lose weight or failed weight loss attempts.
Naomi had no control over her life circumstances, she only had control over how she responded to them. Your season may also be out of your control.
Cling to your Savior.
Your season will change.
Wednesday we’ll finish Naomi’s story and see the amazing things God did. In the meantime, spend this next week praying over the questions from today and asking the Holy Spirit to show you how He wants you to respond to your bitter season.
Ask Him to show you how God can be glorified in this season of your life.
It's a Weighty Matter
This post started talking about weight cuz it’s a painful, often bitter, subject most women wish was different. I also promised to tell you some of the reasons weight loss is so difficult.
Now is that time.
Over the next two Friday’s we’ll dive into these and talk about some of the things you can do about them. Before I get to those reasons –
I want you to know you’re perfect the way you are. Doesn’t matter if you’re 600# or 96#.
You are perfect.
There are so many things that can affect body weight and many are out of your control. There are even some reasons to celebrate extra weight (yes, I really just said celebrate & weight in the same sentence).
Here are some of the reasons women gain, and struggle to lose weight.
- Stress, depression and/or anxiety
- Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality
- Some diseases
- Childbirth (This one is worth celebrating. Any extra weight is a reminder that your body carried and supported life as God formed it into a little human. That’s a big deal)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Loss of muscle mass
- Excess calories (This is what’s often thought of as the only contributor to weight. It isn’t.)
- Not eating enough food
- Food allergies and/or intolerances
- Digestive issues
- Not getting enough nutrients (malnourished)
- Food quality
- Hormonal changes
- Xenobiotics (substances foreign to your body such as drugs, food additives, and environmental pollutants)
- Metabolism changes
Holy moly – that’s a lot of reasons for weight gain and most of them aren’t things you can control. The good news is there are things that can be done if you’ve gained and been unable to lose weight.
I’m not going to lie though – weight loss isn’t a fast or perfect process.
You have to begin by being content with who you are right now, being happy with who God created you to be and all He’s allowed you to do.
From there, weight loss is a slow steady journey of identifying the cause(s) and working to remove or replace anything that might be contributing. Not everything in that above list can be removed or replaced; you need to be okay with that.
You celebrate the journey and rejoice with each small victory.
I pray you’ve spent some quality time with Father God as you answered the devotion questions.
If you’re struggling with weight, I pray you place that in God’s hands and accept whatever it is He wants for you. Whether it’s 10, 0 or 100 pounds lost – it’s the joy in the journey that matters.
Trust God along the way and rejoice with every victory, big or small.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
As always, go to your pastor if you have questions about what you’ve read today. If you don’t have a pastor, send us an email here.
We’d love to hear about your journey – leave us a comment below or send us an email.