I think I started my first diet when I was in 3rd grade. I went to a small school in Arkansas and it was the day we were learning how to read a scale (or maybe we were learning about weight…who knows?) All I know, is that was the day I learned about humiliation. That was the day that my teacher, Mrs. Tubbs, helped confirm that I was chunkier than everyone else in the class. One by one, we each stepped on the scale and Mrs. Tubbs called out our weight. April stepped on…”55 pounds.” Miranda stepped on…”57 pounds.” Stephen stepped on…”73 pounds.” Shane stepped on….”69 pounds.” Then I stepped on the scale( again, oblivious to the fact that I was at all different.) Mrs. Tubbs says with a hint of shock and amazement,”80 pounds!” Then I hear shouts from my friends all around the room,”EIGHTY POUNDS??!!!” Humiliated. It was a small class, in a small school, and we were all friends. I don’t think there was any mean-spiritedness going on that day, but I will never forget it (obviously, it has been over 25 years ago and I remember it like it was this morning.) I dieted throughout elementary school, middle school, junior high, high school, college, and beyond. Even until recently to be honest with you. I think I have tried every diet plan, pill, shake, bar, contraption, magic, plastic surgery, voodoo, whatever. You name it, I’ve done it. With age comes wisdom, and I am finally at the point where I know the only real solution to weight loss is healthy eating and exercise. I get that. I also know that I am the way God made me. I will never be one of those skinny minny’s with a perfect figure, zero cellulite, and hourglass figure. I remember praying to God (most of my life) to make me like the women in magazines or on TV. I begged God to please let me wake up for school the next day and be skinny like my friend Kami. Now I pray for forgiveness for not loving the body that God gave me. I thank Him that I am without disease and that I have bright smile. I thank Him for my pretty eyes, freckle-face…..and even my curves. I don’t know if there will ever be a time that I time that I stop weighing myself everyday (or multiple times a day.) But I do know that it is time to give myself a break. A break from the agreement that I made with myself so many years ago that unless I have a perfect figure I am less than the person I should be. I know there are women like me. I know there are women who think about their weight several times a day. What I want to say to them is….stop! I read somewhere (probably in one of my HUNDREDS of weight loss books) that every time I have a negative thought about my weight, replace it with positive thought. Every. Single. Time. That became almost like a full-time job for me at first. That is how many negative thoughts I had. Doing that, along with a whole lot of prayer, I have had a much better time over the past year with this affliction. There are times when I become weak and let negative thought reappear. I’ve identified those times as times when I have let someone or something compromise my confidence. Recently my feelings were hurt by people I feel I gave 110% to for many years. They may not even know they hurt my feelings, but I let it affect the way I feel about myself. I let those feelings break the ”force field” which I have worked so hard to build around my heart. I noticed it was then that the negative thoughts about my body came back. One had nothing to do with the other….but the thoughts were back. Moping around the last few days have made me realize it is time to say (out loud if necessary) “Gimme a break!” Not to the people who hurt my feelings…but to myself. When it comes down to it, it is up to me to make new agreements with myself and to throw out the old ones. My new agreement is, “I am a beautiful person with amazing God-given talents, and I will not let anyone or anything take that from me.” I hurt for that little girl in the third grade, standing on a scale, wondering what was so wrong with weighing 80 pounds. But now I am in a position to protect her and guard her heart, and that is exactly what I am going to do. In this ”Insane Search for Sanity” today I encourage you, in whatever area of your life you struggle, please…..just give yourself a break. YOU are amazing.