I got to do something fun this week: I bought a new belt. The top belt in this picture was new this time last year - I bought it to wear with my dress pants. I used the first hole when I bought it (as in "the biggest setting possible.")
I started whittling it down right away. I was walking that dreadful Rock Island hill and taking Lulu out for adventures along the banks of the Mississippi, and I went down a notch pretty quickly. Then I joined COWS (have you been reading long enough to remember that?) and I focused on a diet that was healthy to the max, and I went down another notch.
I didn't NEED the belt to hold my pants up. It was just a nice accessory to make me look more "put together" in the executive office - I'm kind of a fashion nightmare, but this was one attempt to play at least a little bit by the rules.
Sometime after arriving here in Chicago, with all that walking and the wonderful changes that eating in community has wrought on my previously extremely over-generous daily caloric allowance, I started needing my belt to hold my jeans up. I have NEVER needed anything to hold my jeans up...not in my whole life. But they kept tugging down to the awkward zone, so I started wearing it every day from necessity.
Then I got this God-inspired New Year's resolution to press into God until I learn to love my body. It hasn't looked anything like a planned diet or detailed exercise regimen. It has been much more moment-by-moment, much more intuitive, much more just about learning to obey and yield one choice at a time. Meanwhile, I kept going down notches. Maybe a month or so ago, I hit the smallest notch. That was definitely cause for celebration. I am NOT doing this as a weight loss plan...sometimes I have to remind myself of that, but mostly these days I remember the goal is loving my body (on the premise that if God does, then so should I!) and any weight loss or increase in fitness is just fruit - just evidence of daily grasping of the goal. So...the smallest notch on the belt was not the point of the story. But it sure did make me smile.
About two weeks ago, I discovered that even on the smallest notch, my belt was riding down. It wouldn't stay at my waist. It wasn't in danger of sliding down into the awkward zone, but...it wasn't really keeping my pants where I wanted them. I cheered - I would need a new belt soon!
This week I bought that new belt. I wore it today. The 2 belts in the picture (my old one and my new one) are matched exactly at the buckle end. CHECK OUT THE DIFFERENCE IN LENGTH!
Yes, I am smiling.
Know what, though? IT'S STILL not a weight loss or fitness program. I am learning to love my body, one choice at a time. I don't do it perfectly. I did a road trip last weekend and I treated my body barbarically. I ate a whole big bag AND a smaller 99 cent bag of Fritos in my 18 hours of driving. I drank several sugared sodas (I'm such a sucker for Ale8One every single time I go to Kentucky). I didn't exercise one bit while I was on that trip. I sucked down WAY too much caffeine, so that I wouldn't get sleepy while driving. I owe my body an apology.
So...I'm not perfect, not 100% "there." And I'm not all hard-core at any point. I enjoy small treats. I am learning how to eat ONE cookie. There was a point in my life, not so long ago, that I considered that basically impossible.
Looking at those belts lying side by side...looking at the INCHES of difference...4? 5? I don't know...that's a major improvement in a year's time, though. I still have a very long way to go to anything like a HEALTHY weight...I definitely still have to shop the plus size section (I am already praying about that...soon...not tomorrow, but soon enough, new [presumably used] jeans will have to follow after the new belt, and plus-size jeans aren't all that easy to find in the "free or practically free" category). But looking and thinking things through, I do believe I'm learning this business of loving my body.
And I think it's starting to love me back.