Judge Not: Everyone Has a Story
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Judge Not: Everyone Has a Story

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 this post.

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 comparison. 
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!

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