Weight no longer defines me. In the past, I felt like even if I was a good mother, friend, or sister… I was still the fat mother, fat friend, or fat sister. Now I’m just Tamara.
Would you think you could lose 12 dress sizes and 140 pounds in a little over a year? If you answered “no,” then you probably feel the same way I did when I started First Place in January 2004. At that time, I was wearing a size 28 and weighed 290 pounds.
I had been overweight my whole life, starting at about the age of 10 and gradually increasing to my highest weight of 320 pounds when I got married. I was skeptical from the beginning, but felt that I was running out of options. The way I saw it, I could try First Place, undergo surgery, or get even fatter. I decided to give First Place “a shot.” I didn’t have high expectations. I just didn’t want to gain any more weight.
My whole life I felt like a skinny person trapped in this fat body. I knew this “fat suit” I was lugging around did not fit and was not what God wanted for me. I wasn’t sure if First Place was going to be the answer, but I wanted to try it and do exactly what was required. I followed all nine commitments and was surprised every week when I lost weight. I really thought I would be the exception. I even dared the program on. I thought I’ll do everything they say and when it doesn’t work, I’ll say, “See I just can’t lose weight!” But I did.
As my heart and mind grew stronger in faith, the “eating thing” didn’t seem so tough. I kept it simple and only ate foods I knew I could count. Now I eat a wide variety of healthy foods as I’ve grown more confident in my choices. With an accountability partner like God, there simply was no cheating. I didn’t make special allowances for birthday parties, vacations, or holidays and I didn’t think I deserved a break because I did well the previous week. I just followed the program… week after week.
God gave me strength when I had none and assured me it would work if I just stuck with First Place. I’m not quite at my final goal, I have about ten pounds to go, but I know if it is his will, I will get there. My experiences represent the kind of power God can have on your life, the weight loss is just an outward expression of God’s position in my life, and he is first.
Weight no longer defines me. In the past, I felt like even if I was a good mother, friend, or sister… I was still the fat mother, fat friend, or fat sister. Now I’m just Tamara. Now I’m just me. As a side note, I used to think that “chivalry” had died, but that’s not true. Men just didn’t acknowledge me before, but now they get doors and wait at entrances and I’m thinking, “Where were you before?”
I am free now to live my life the way he designed it to be, I am able to reach out to people and share with them my successes through First Place. There are many examples where my testimony of Christ’s power has touched others’ lives. Best of all, God is no longer a long distance phone call or a relative I see once a year. He is my friend and I get excited to talk to him every day. I’ve lost 12 dress sizes and 140 pounds in a little over a year. If you were to ask me, “How did you do it?” I would simply reply, “I didn’t, He did!”