Since I’ve been in health and
fitness for a long time, I learned to not judge anyone by their
appearance. A conversation came up with a woman who struggles with her
self-image and weight brought several people to mind, inspiring me to write
People with health conditions who
take medications causing weight gain fight a daily battle to avoid getting any
heavier. If there are physical limitations, it is a lot like "shoveling
snow in a blizzard" for them. I was privileged to meet several
people in an Arthritis Foundation water exercise class a few years ago as an
instructor. They shared their stories with me. Some had osteoarthritis,
others had rheumatoid arthritis, a few had MS, and a couple had
fibromyalgia. They were pretty faithful about coming to class unless
their health or the weather kept them home. What a wonderful bunch!
Some have bodies that don't
cooperate with them, causing tremendous weight gain or loss. It’s not
their fault. It is just the way it is. One woman with Hashimotos disease looked
like a formidable wall, but had once been very physically active. She was
judged every time she went to a restaurant as an “overeater”, when in fact she
chose healthy, smaller portions. The seats and benches weren't designed for
someone her size, so she quietly tolerated the discomfort. Could you
imagine being in her shoes? Others have the opposite problem. Due to an
overactive immune system from serious allergies and celiac disease that
compounded her fibromyalgia, she was constantly being judged at school for
being thin. Heavier classmates picked at her on a regular basis. She
suffered from her condition and the cruelty of others.
Some people have situations which
caused tremendous emotional pain and loss. Many people go through painful
divorce or the loss of a spouse and hide in foods that provide a
"comfort" for a short time. Others are caught in the momentum of
corporate America working long hours, while dealing with stressful deadlines
and situations. They don’t really have the time nor energy to make their
own meals, depending instead on restaurant fare. Short on sleep, they
trudge home. Cortisol levels keep their waistlines bigger despite their weight
loss efforts. Some seek relief from the stress with crunchy, salty foods. They feel trapped with retirement like a car racing at the Indianapolis 500
caught on the inside hoping to make it across the finish line of retirement.
The woman I mentioned earlier said
to me, "I wish I were built like you. God really blessed you!" We’ve
had similar discussions before, so I decided to get her to think her
I stood looking up at her and replied:" Do you really? Do you want food
allergies and celiac disease?"
"No!,” she responded in
surprise, continuing her workout on the elliptical.
"I would be 10 pounds heavier
if it weren't for those issues because there are foods I miss. They would be
back in my diet. As it is, I have a hard time sometimes with meals and
finding what I need. Appreciate how God made you, eat healthy, and keep working
out," I shared with her, then went back to cleaning cardio equipment.
Psalm 139 tells us that each one
of us is fearfully and wonderfully made, purposely created by our glorious
Creator. We are each uniquely designed. So when tempted to judge
someone for any reason, contemplate God's creation of that person. As for
ourselves, it is important to appreciate how God created us, eat healthy while
continuing our exercise to stay healthy and fit. Taking care of our own Temple
of the Holy Spirit is up to us.
May God bless you!