The Weigh-In

Jami AmerineBy Jami AmerineMay 16, 202229 Minutes

Excerpt from Well, Girl: An Inside-Out Journey to Wellness by Jami Amerine

“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives
from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about
idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save.”
Isaiah 45:20

 

At this point in any wellness book, we have been told it is time to do the most dreaded of tasks: the weigh-in.

Cue the theme song from Jaws.

Record scratch.

Cue “Amazing Grace” with bagpipes.

I am going to ask you to weigh in, but it will not involve a scale. For the rest of this book, I am going to offer you an entirely new type of “weighing in.” We are going deep; we are breaking the mold; we are cracking the candy-coated shell. On the other side, you will be joining me in the total freedom in which I have come to live, breathe, feast, love, and shop in the perfected size of my created self.

Welcome, sweet one.

If you have weight to lose, and this is the part you were most excited and curious about, I am excited for you. If you are rail thin, maybe even need to gain weight, and finally be set free from the battlefield that is your mind, I am over the moon with the revelations that we will now indulge in. And if you are a perfect weight but pay homage to the method by which you arrived, you are about to continue in your wellness, unshackled from the burden of a golden calf. My hands are shaking with delight, for this is what I sought for nearly all my years. The very first task at hand is to redefine the weigh-in.

At first, this might be very scary. If you are like me, which if you have made it this far, you probably are, the scale defines many aspects of your life. It is a measurement device by which we are validated and destroyed. My scale must believe it is servicing forty-five different women. It has weighed a woman whose weight has been up, down, stagnant, and staggering. I have kicked it, called it horrific, very un-Christian names, bowed before it, jumped on and off it (with one eye open), prayed to it, and once I talked to it for over an hour about a cheesecake incident that still makes me weep. I threatened that scale with disembowelment should it ever breathe a word of that catastrophe to anyone for any reason. So far, it has been true to its silence. My scale has seen me naked from a very compromising view. And it has seen me ugly cry, while naked, like a crazy woman.

However, once I stopped to consider the importance of the fancy pink glass ranking device, I realized it’s golden-calf status in my life. And I am not telling you to get rid of your scale. That would be bossy and law-laced. I am asking you to ask yourself: Everything is permissible, but is it beneficial? You absolutely can weigh yourself, but if you are in any way associating the numbers on that bathroom scale with your worth as daughter, it is time to ask God to weigh in on the subject.

Weigh-In

The term weigh-in came to me in a flash. The acronym followed later. All of my Plan Bs and all of the times I cried out to God for help were glaringly obvious in that instant. I was filling pages with what my husband calls my “writer’s download.” Basically, I sit and “word vomit” all the things that are going on in my busy brain. And no, this type of purging has not afforded me weight loss. And yes, I have checked. My goal at that point was to come up with the plan, a plan to set me and you free from this struggle. I had just written out the words, “False god: all the authorities I follow and create in the hopes of success, never stopping to ask Him what I should do.” And my phone rang.

It was my doctor.

I had gone in earlier that day to pick up a prescription refill and have some blood drawn. While I was there, the nurse took my blood pressure. She asked me if I was upset or stressed. I shrugged and said, “I mean, I have six kids, a book to write, and ninety-nine loads of laundry.” She wrote something down and took my blood pressure again. Of all the numbers I know to the nearest decimal point, I know nothing about blood pressure. And now, my doctor, who had been notified by the nurse, was calling to tell me my blood pressure was “dangerously high” at 143/90. Two numbers that mysteriously seemed appealing to me. She said, “I will be in touch when your lab tests come in. In the meantime, no stimulants or heavy cardio. Switch to decaf. I will get back to you.”

Switch to decaf? Obviously, this woman was a monster. Then again, she just validated my excuse for skipping the gym that morning.

I returned to the download. “False god: all the authorities I follow and create in the hopes of success, never stopping to ask Him what I should do.” And I decided to practice what I was about to preach. “Hey Jesus, it’s me, what’s up with my blood pressure?” I can’t say I heard Him; but all of a sudden, I knew. I was taking too much thyroid hormone.

Two days later, this was confirmed. I was taking 145 mg of Natural Thyroid compound. The doctor explained, “Since you have lost so much weight, I suspect that you are overmedicated.” Granted, I couldn’t get past the “You have lost so much weight” statement, so I worshipped there for a little bit. And then she said, “I am cutting you to 35 mg a day. Stay in touch with me.” And that quickly sent me to crazy Jami land.

Thirty-five mg a day?! I was freaking out. Why? Because, yes, at that point, I was at risk of a stroke or heart attack, but I was down two pants sizes!

You’re not going to want to mess with my meds if it means I have to go buy new jeans. But I stopped and Weighed In.

“Hey, Jesus, I want You to be my everything. I want You to be my only option. It terrifies me to think that Beloved Living is not the reason for my current successes. Instead, my faith is weak. I am afraid to lower my dosage of thyroid medication. Help me help my unbelief. Also, please don’t let me die from hypertension. Amen.”

And I surrendered. Which is what I am going to ask you to do. In the process, you will want to align your heart with He who saves, which means there is going to be some golden calf crushing.

I have come to see how very little I involved Him in my life. I talked the talk. But I didn’t dance the dance. And friend, it is a party.

The Weigh-In is to check in with God for basically everything. The most important part of this journey is to make God your only god. I created this acronym to help us redefine the Weigh-In.

And since its inception, I have said this prayer or reminder hundreds of times a day. It has become a Sacred Standard, like brushing my teeth or wearing my seatbelt. I have lost weight. But greater, I have come to know this God whose ways are perfect, and I have ceased to be a lukewarm Christian with a divided heart.

I am happy to report He is exactly who He says He is and His promises are there for the taking. Which brings us to the lions’ den.

Daniel

Daniel the prophet would not be swayed. He knew too much. He believed so deeply there was no other God before the God who drenched him in peace. He had been forbidden to pray to this God. This was not even an option. Daniel held fast to the God of His heart to his own detriment. Which was totally cool with him. And so the story goes, he was arrested for praying and led to his impending demise (Daniel 6).

We can assume it was dark, and it smelled like a neglected litter box. One might wonder, was Daniel’s faith—faith that had granted him legend status in the pages of the most important Book ever written—so great his heart didn’t even race at the thought? Or, as I have come to understand, was he so confident in what would happen next, he just sat on a cold rock and waited out the night? Alone with his God and giant predatory cats, I imagine he lay down and fell peacefully asleep. Perhaps a beast came over and sniffed him. Maybe another lapped its sandpaper-like tongue over his bearded cheek. But none would dine on this beloved servant of the God of Israel.

Through the ages, Daniel would be known for his faith and survival. Survival that makes no sense in the world of flesh-eating lions. Okay, I am no Daniel either. Which is the great thing about the Word of God. The Word shows us that Jesus, God who became man, had questions too. He boldly asks God why. And when others asked, He boldly answered them.

Help My Unbelief

Nothing can be as terrifying as watching the near death of a child. Whether you are a mother or not, losing someone you adore is scary and painful. In Mark 9:23–25, Jesus comes face-to-face with a father whose son is about to expire. Like Daniel, Jesus—God in the flesh—is this man’s Plan A, his only hope. And he asks Jesus to help him. He begs Jesus to intervene. And Jesus says, “You got it; all you need to do is believe.” To which the man replies, “I do! I do believe! Please, help my unbelief!” I can’t say this is my favorite scripture, but it is in the top five. For me, it is permission to ask for more.

I am no Daniel.

I like to eat, but I have no interest in being eaten. The first time my dad traveled to Africa for a safari, we jested with him, “Don’t get eaten by a lion!” He laughed and said, “I am not ready to die. But it would be a great story.”

Hard pass.

But I propose we are slowly being devoured by dozens of things, things that God had no intention of consuming us. And we feast in contempt for our belly rolls and failures and then count those follies against ourselves, furthering us from the ease of a life lived well, communing with the Father who adores us.

And He not only adores us, but He is also big enough to handle our questions. Even Jesus, His only Son, begged Him to spare Him and change the plan (Luke 22:42). And we hear no mention of God’s wrath at the inquisition. He heard Jesus. He knew the road was impossibly scary and hard. And this is a testament to any good relationship. . .raw honesty. In the months leading up to this chapter, I have had my doubts. Dang! I even had a book contract that bound me to my thesis! And I have said, “Um, hey, God, it’s me again. Although I want to lose weight and get to know You better, I also don’t want to be sued by Barbour Books because the nudging of my heart was way off, and we are all supposed to be eating a 1×1-inch square of corn bread with fat-free margarine for dinner for the rest of our lives. Amen.”

Again, no wrath.

No harm.

No foul.

Paramount to Weighing In, seek Him first. Yes, seek Him first, the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33). Which brings me to this gem: we are all going to focus on gaining instead of losing. I know it is getting weird up in here.

Gaining

It is entirely possible to change your mind about Weighing In and Gaining (Romans 12:2). Here is where the psychology of weight loss and our grand creation come into play. Of the emails I receive from readers, some of the harshest have come from those who believe that I am embracing a New Age philosophy. This started when I did a Facebook Live talk about the book The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale.

The audiobook, a gift from my mother, is hands down one of the most important works I have ever encountered. Dr. Peale suggests that we are systematically destroying the good life offered to believers by embracing a negative outlook on every aspect of our lives. I can justly speak on Dr. Peale’s behalf, the man loved Jesus. Given the opportunity, this book can offer a classic wealth of hope and a new mind. And it is biblically sound. In my studies, I have never found a scripture reference that encourages believers to talk to themselves or others about how horrible their lives are.

On the contrary, we are specifically told to focus on the positive. Philippians 4:8 states: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” And within this scripture is embedded word after word about the power of belief. So I am forced to ask if there is power in belief, and if I believe in only failure, struggle, and a miserable existence, what will I create with that power?

Furthermore, so many of the accusers of the New Age panic are the same people lined up to buy books and teachings on the very thing to which they take offense—a Plan B that empowers their motives, neglecting the God of their creation. Not to mention the fact, the offense lends to negative thinking, dwelling on the opposite of excellent and praiseworthy, creating yet another pompous law, which looks an awful lot like a golden calf and bathing in fear, which was cast out by perfect love (1 John 4:18).

Dang, I love the download. This God, His ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30).

We are wonderfully and perfectly made (Psalm 139:14). Within that perfect design, there is a factor that allows us to think. And those thoughts speak to our bodies. If you touch a hot stove, your brain tells your body to take your hand off the heat source and do it right now. Seriously, take your hand off the stove. So then, if in our minds we tell our bodies, “Hey, I am going to punish you by not allowing you to eat real food. I am going to restrict your consumption. And in the process, I am going to tell you how much I hate you,” our bodies respond in kind.

“What’s that you say? Restricted calories? Uh. . . okay. Let me hold on to this fat for you. You will need it later. You’re welcome.”

By shifting our minds to that of gain instead of loss, we are creating inner mind space that speaks to our bodies in a language of plenty and love. I have come to believe that fat is not an enemy. That doesn’t mean I want to keep it. But it was created for my benefit. Originally, the design was simply a storage system for seasons of famine so we wouldn’t die when there were no buffalo. However, I have gained fat in times of little to no appetite, barely eating anything. Looking back on a season of unreasonable fat gain, I had just put my oldest son on a bus to marine boot camp and buckled our two-year-old foster love into her car seat one last time. In another season, I had a son using drugs, I was caring for my dying mother-in-law, and I had torn my calf muscle and plantar fasciitis. In that season, I was probably only eating about four hundred calories a day. I gained thirty pounds.

To which I now say to my body, thank you. Thank you for your perfect design. Thank you for wrapping me in this protective layer. Bless you, you are indeed wonderfully and perfectly made. You do exactly what you were created to do—cover this soul with armor to face the elements. Wrapping me in fleshy protection while I navigate a fallen world full of hurt and loss. Well done, friend.

So I created a new way of journaling my wellness journey. Not by what I lost but what I gained. First, I went to my favorite consignment store: I bought a blouse that was one size too small, a new ninety-nine-cent spiral notebook, and some reward stickers that said stuff like, “YOU GO GIRL!” and “GREAT JOB!” In that book, every evening, I would list what I had gained. I gained when I implemented the Weigh-In method, making every decision to the Lord. And I would gain when I went to a new dance class or kept my cool when I had every right to lose it. I wrote out and spoke kindly to myself about the accomplishments. Then I gave the accomplishments pretty little sticker trophies. And I told myself I was doing a great job in the care and keep of my God’s beloved daughter. I was rocking Beloved Living. And about two weeks into the project, I gained a new blouse. One that did not fit me when I sought to be set free.

If you are a mom, this practice might make more sense; if you are not a mom and you can picture a child you love or care about, dwell on that little human. If you have to think of an animal, but for a moment imagine that innocent spirit and how you talk to them. The outcome of abuse is not pretty. The damage is substantial. And yet, this is how so many of us treat the vessel we have been gifted by a Father who loves us. We speak with contempt and ugliness. We starve and beat our bodies into submission, and we expect these vessels to respond positively? It goes against every reasonable response.

Abuse and neglect breed brokenness and want. Love and care breed wholeness and fulfillment. It seems almost ludicrous to have to say this. But I am talking to me, not just you. There is no one in my life that I would treat as harshly as I treat myself. If anyone were as cruel to one of my children as I have been to me, they would need a prosthetic limb by the time I got finished with them.

Saying it here is profound: I have a master’s degree in counseling and human development. I am a certified foster parent. I know that negative talk is soul-crushing, and yet, I have justified it as a means to make my body behave. In no other instance would I use these methods to curb or change behaviors. Beloved Living is the care and keeping of a child of God. You and me. Jesus said, “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2, emphasis added).

Little one, stop being mean to His baby. . .you.

Well, Girl Wisdom

Can you imagine being so confident, so in love and committed to God, that a lions’ den was the equivalent to a long night in a crummy hotel? If your heart were no longer divided and YOUR Creator was your only help, do you believe you would be entirely well? If you had a billion dollars, who would you pay to direct your wellness choices? Guess what? You have the ultimate personal trainer available to change, protect, and guide. And it is free, bought and paid for with the blood of Jesus.

Freedom Gain

To Weigh In is to seek God in everything. From now on, we will Weigh In, our Plan A, and record our gains instead of our losses. We are developing a brand-new mind, and our entire person will never be the same. Take a moment and read Ephesians 4:23–25. Then celebrate; the answer to our struggle to change was there all along.

Order your copy of Well, Girl: An Inside-Out Journey to Wellness by Jami Amerine