My Big Fat Not-So-Fabulous Life

Written by Debbie Dittrich  |  6 comments  |  Following Him

She looked like she wanted to cry as she gazed at me, which gave the impression of compassion towards me, but those same eyes reflected her disgust too, as the corners of her eyes squinted slightly and her lips pursed together as if she was trying to disguise a bad taste in her mouth. She shook her head slightly, almost imperceptibly, as if to say,  there is no hope for you.

That is how I felt about myself every single day as I saw my reflection in the mirror. Self-loathing makes for a miserable existence, like living a half life, more like a living death to be more exact.

Debbie Fat Picture sitting in bed November 2014

Obesity has robbed me of fully living life for the last thirty years. At 5 foot 6 inches tall my top weight was 248 pounds and for the last 10 years I generally stayed around 225 to 230 pounds.

Thirty long years; painful years; shameful years, uncomfortable years. My 30’s, 40’s and 50’s should have been some of my best years, but regretfully they were my worst years physically and emotionally.

Debbie Fat Picture Summer 2014

This was me in the summer of 2014 at about 235 pounds.

While obese describes my weight medically, hopeless describes me emotionally.

Shame and embarrassment would overwhelm me whenever I walked into a room. I was almost always the largest woman in any group. Scanning every chair in a room was normal for me wondering: Would it be too narrow for my huge hips? Would it hold my weight? Did it have arms so I could get out of it easily, or would I need help propelling myself up and out of it?

Shopping for clothes was more like torture than pleasure. It was the only time I fully looked at myself in a mirror and surveyed the damage I was doing to myself. I avoided it like the plaque and I hate admitting that I usually wore the same clothes day after day. My children called my outfits “uniforms”. When I would get a new outfit they’d say, “I like your new uniform, mom!”

Three knee surgeries, two of which were in 2014 to repair torn meniscus, left me almost debilitated, making every step painful. I barely left the house in the summer of 2014 and when I did I made sure I had someone to hold on to for stability because I lumbered from side to side as I walked. Every pound of weight puts six to eight pounds of pressure on your knees. Being anywhere from 75 to 90 pounds overweight at any given time meant that I was putting approximately 450 to 720 pounds of pressure on my knees at all times! Walking and standing were difficult at best and impossible at worst.

My daily routine was to sleep late and go to bed late. After my husband went to bed I would eat in secret. Waking up from my food coma was always difficult each morning. It took hours to finally be alert and able to think and process thoughts clearly.

With each passing year I isolated myself more and more. I carefully screened my calls, avoiding people whom I had not seen in a long time. I would make plans and cancel them more often than not. I either felt too badly physically to do things, but equally as often I felt too badly emotionally to do things.

The only good thing to come out of this nightmare is that I invested hours and hours each day studying God’s Word. His Word fed my soul and promised me unfailing love, hope, and new mercies. His love for me replaced my self loathing. His acceptance of me replaced my own rejection. His compassion flooded my heart and mind and gave me confidence to face my day as a woman greatly loved by my Father. But make no mistake, every single day the cycle of hopelessness would begin the moment I opened my eyes and would only be bearable by spending time in his Word.

I begged God to deliver me from this constant struggle; more to the point, from my stronghold of sin. Did he fail to answer or did I fail to accept his solutions or help? I do not know. I only know that one day he did for me that which I could not do for myself.

I was at the end of my rope in November 2014. Three surgeries in 6 months left me barely able to move or walk. To say I had hit bottom was an understatement. I believed I would die unless I changed my ways.

On Monday, November 17, 2014 I cried out to God, If you don’t save me I will die. Please leave the 99 to rescue this one lost  woman who continually strays off the path. 

The next morning I awoke with renewed hope! I expected God to answer me. Is today the day you will deliver me, Lord? Is today the day that you will save me from myself?

Suddenly I remembered an email that my granddaughter had sent to me the previous year. She had found a group called Food Addicts and she had sent me the link. At the time I was recovering from shoulder surgery and knew I could not drive to the meetings, but thankfully I had saved her email and I read their website with hope:

I attended my first meeting that very night and started their food plan the next day. I was surrounded by people who had the same struggles with food that I did. God opened my eyes to see how I used food to medicate myself. I now see that I had a fear issue, not a food issue. Food was just the way I coped with my fear.

I dropped out of that program in May of 2015. I realized that, for me, I needed to lose the remainder of my weight depending on my Lord, not a program. I’m not suggesting that for everyone, it is simply the direction the Lord led me to take.

Since November 19, 2014 I have lost 64 pounds. I have gone from a size 20 or 2 or 3x, to a size 12. Here are pictures of me in the summer of 2014 with my husband and in the summer of 2015 with my husband.

Debbie Fat Picture Before and After Picture Summer 2015

At 63 years old I feel like a new person! I think differently. I live differently. I do things that I have not been able to do for decades! I praise God everyday that food is no longer my obsession. I am free to love the Lord and others more than food; free from shame and guilt; free from self-focus; free from self-hatred.

Why? Because I am suddenly thinner? No because I am now controlled by the Spirit of God, instead of my fleshly nature.

My friend, do you struggle with shame, guilt and self-loathing? Have you tried and failed to lose weight more times than you can count? Do you obsess about food most of your waking hours? Is food your best friend and your worst enemy? Or perhaps you have another obsession…alcohol, drugs, eating too little, exercising too much, spending too much, men and immorality? What controls you? What do you  struggle with every day wishing you were free from?

The solution is not found in a diet, or in a program and it is certainly not found in settling for “loving yourself the way you are.” You know and I know that your efforts to be ok about your weight, or any addiction, by demanding that others accept you “for who you are” is your vain  attempt to feel better about yourself. You know your life is not fabulous, or fun, but fictitious. If there was a pill that could suddenly cause you to lose all of your weight or end your addiction, you would swallow that pill at any cost. You know that. I know that. No one wants to be fat. No one. We all hate it. We can pretend all we want, but we hate it. We love food and we hate the way we look and feel but we feel powerless to let go of what we love to obtain what we want.

But there is hope. Jesus died to set us free. Not free to be an ideal weight, but free to make changes to the way we eat and live; free to controlled by the Holy Spirit, rather than our fleshly nature; free to thrive instead of just survive.

Do I battle? Of course! There are days when it is more difficult to eat right. There have been a few days I made poor choices and ate too much. But the next day I woke up filled with resolve to trust my Lord to deliver me and to help me, whereas previously I would wallow in my failure believing that I should probably just give up and overeat another day. What a lie!

My life is still not perfect. Life is hard for every human being. Deep down I think I thought my life would begin when I lost weight. I was wrong. I have all the same issues in my life now that I have always had. The only difference is that now I turn to the Lord for answers and help, not food. My happiness is not measured by a number on the scale or what size clothes I wear. It is measured by who I am in Christ and who he is.

I probably have 10 to 20 more pounds to lose. At this point I am going slow, learning to live a balanced life in all ways. For the first time in my life I have confidence in my Lord, trusting that he is able to keep me from temptation and sin each day.

This is my plan for life. I want radical change that will last for the rest of my life. I want an entirely new life, not just a new wardrobe. I want to be able to serve the Lord and others for the remainder of my life. Most of all, I want to live free!

I will be glad to share my eating plan with you in my next blog, along with some tips. But the most significant thing I have to share is not my diet plan. The Lord taught me so much in 2015 and I want to share it with you in future blogs. He is showing me that my eating was so much more about my heart issues than my food issues. I want lasting changes and that will only come through changes to my heart and mind through God’s Word.

I hope you will join me on this new journey and I hope you will consider sharing this blog with others. More than anything I hope that if you are struggling with any obsession you will experience first hand the freedom that Jesus Christ offers.

This is a battle, my friend, but he has equipped us to have victory. Be strong and courageous! Together we can do this.

Comments (6)
  1. Written by Kay
    January 1, 2016

    Thank you for sharing your story. Can’t wait to read your next blog.

  2. Written by I'm done being a slave to anything other than the Love of Christ! I'm in sweet angel friend. I'm on this journey now.
    January 1, 2016

    I’m ready!

  3. Written by Helen Curry
    January 1, 2016

    Loved every word! You look fabulous! Happy New Year!!

  4. Written by Terri
    January 2, 2016

    Thank you Debbie for sharing..we all struggle I think with food even if we are not overweight.I am a CPA and sit at a desk for 9 hrs a day. Healthy snacks I have found are what works for me..but it is still not easy. Daily early morning walks help too and asking Him for guidance is our blessed solution. Thankful for your post Debbie….Terri

  5. Written by Sue Rigers Smith
    January 2, 2016

    You look amazing and I am going on to be reminded what you are doing. I know you told me before but I need a refresher. I too have some more pounds to loose as I have lost 55 pounds. I am turning 70 in March and at my age there is a drawback…the more you lose the more wrinkles I see.

  6. Written by Debbie Dittrich
    January 3, 2016

    Sue, I am 63 and I agree with you on losing too much at our age. If I was younger I might try to go down to the 130’s, but at my age everything is going south…quickly! 🙂 I may even stay in the 160’s. I’ve seen women my age who are very tiny but they look 80! What I want is honestly what God wants for me. There is no such thing as a perfect body this side of heaven. I am so proud of you for your 55 pounds! Wow. You have looked amazing for the last few years and who would guess you will be 70! You are right behind Gary, who turns 70 on Valentine’s Day!

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