Today’s No Fat Talk Tuesday comes to us from Cara, who blogs over at A (not so) Desperate Hausfrau. Although she was born and raised in the states, Cara is now living in Germany with her husband, Luis, who is a professional athlete. Every time I visit her blog, I’m left with a serious case of wanderlust. When I read Cara’s story, I immediately knew it was one that a lot of women would be able to relate to, and best of all, it’s incredibly encouraging and uplifting. Thank you, Cara, for being willing to share you story! – Madison

My “No Fat Talk” began last year when I desperately prayed for God to change the way I saw and talked about my body. My body consumed my thoughts and if I wasn’t feeling good about it, my entire mood was affected. 

As I began to unpack why my thought life was so concerned with whether I felt “squishy” or “toned”, “fat” or “skinny” I concluded that my thoughts simply reflected my heart, and in my heart was an identity defined by my physical being.

My story is not dramatic, but rather one of how problems slowly take root in our lives through subtle instances and changes, often without us even realizing it.
For me, my issues began back in high school when I was often told that I had the “cutest little figure.” This was in thanks to my active involvement in sports.
How is that a struggle you ask? Because it became the foundation of my identity, so much so that when I went off to college and gained some weight, I became fearful of what people would think because, to me, my body was what made me accepted.
  I started eating healthier and running a lot to stay in shape. Gradually, eating healthier turned into extreme calorie counting, temptations of not eating and throwing up to “undo” the damage of moments when I lacked self-control and couldn’t put the ice cream down.
These habits led me to a scary 108 pounds in 2008, down from 125 since the start of college in 2004.
At first I didn’t like it, but as I tried to gain weight I felt bigger so I went back to 110. I stayed busy and active and really liked moments when I didn’t have time to eat because I knew I would feel skinny.  
I also developed a bad habit of comparing my body to other women. Whether it was in a magazine or someone I knew, I was constantly scrutinizing myself compared to them. I critically examined my own body in the mirror, telling myself what needed to be better which perpetuated a very negative self-perspective and extremely negative self-talk.  
My issues hit their peak last summer, after the loss of our first baby. 
Running crazy with hormones, my body didn’t seem to recognize that I was no longer pregnant and I felt it tried to hold on to every ounce of fat I consumed.
I threw myself into running and limited what I ate in order to get my body “back”, and to no longer be reminded that I used to be pregnant.

Just two weeks after I could exercise again, my knee started hurting and I had to stop running. I remember coming in after cutting a run short, bawling—sad that our baby was gone, angry that my body was too, but mostly disgusted that I even cared how I looked after just losing a child.

Through it all, God got my attention and transformed my heart. He stripped me of everything I used to control my weight so that I could see myself as His “workmanship”.

He set me free of the chains that bound me as I meditated on 1 Peter 3:3-4 and Proverbs 31:30 and made my focus about my heart rather than having the perfect body.

Today, I’m not as toned as I used to be, I weigh more than before, but I feel healthier and better than ever.
  The really sad thing about my story is, I have never once in my life been fat. Not even close.  And yet somehow I was convinced otherwise. 
Our culture creates such pressure for women to look a certain way, to be a certain size, that they had someone like me “fat talking” herself into dangerous cycles of negative self-talk and flirtation with eating disorders.
Something needs to change. And it starts with us, girls! Let’s work to remove the negative thoughts and strive to have beautiful hearts, which I know from my own experience is worth far more than the beautiful bodies we all so desperately long to have.
 If you’re interested in sharing your “No Fat Talk” story, I would love to hear from you! Please e-mail me (madisonjanemayberry@gmail.com) for more information! – Madison
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  • Brooke

    What a beautiful story – thanks for sharing, Cara!

  • http://www.theflippingcouple.com/ Cindy @ The Flipping Couple

    Wow, that’s a beautiful story Cara. Thanks for being willing to share it with all of us!

  • http://foreverfaithandfood.wordpress.com/ Kayleigh

    Thanks so much for sharing – I can relate to a lot of things that you said. You’re a blessing and an encouragement.

  • http://foodloveswriting.com/ Shannalee

    Great story to read! What strikes me most is how the idea of being skinny became an identity, the thing that defined value–and without it, where would the value be? It’s amazing how the enemy lies to us with absolutely anything he can to convince us THAT is what gives us our value, rather than the truth, that Jesus does. For me, it was this idea of being ‘good’ and meeting people’s expectations—different issue, same exact story. Just like Cara writes, it’s something I’ve had to battle and fight against.

  • Kristin

    Such an inspiring story! Fat talk” doesn’t always mean you’re fat! It’s all about perception and we’re trained by our culture to see the worst in ourselves. I wonder, is body image perception different in Germany?

  • Charissa Steyn

    This is such a beautiful testimony!! I LOVED every word! I can soooo relate to what you are saying. I just know the Lord is gonna bless you with a healthy baby soon :) I share a similar journey as you…it’s so freeing to just eat when we’re hungry, exercise regularly (but not overdo it) and not make our identity about our appearance!! You are beautiful!