I am about seventy‑five pounds overweight. My life is a disaster. I don’t go out of the house. My children beg me to take them out, and I tell them no, that they are crazy if they think I’m going out looking like this. I don’t pick them up at school because I don’t want the other mothers to tell me that I am getting fatter all the time. I can’t stand the criticism.
More than once, I have thought about committing suicide and ending this martyrdom. My husband asks me to go out with him, and that makes me very mad. I tell him, “Don’t you understand that I don’t want to go out?” I know that I should have better eating habits, and that, rather than stay at home, I ought to go out more to entertain myself. But that’s what I think at night; by morning, everything is the same as before.
We are sorry for your pain. It is obvious that you are living a miserable life. While that is obviously sad for you, it is really tragic for the rest of your family.
We will not give you advice regarding your weight. That is a medical and sometimes psychological issue that is too complex for this short forum. Recent research shows that losing weight is not an easy thing for anyone, but especially for those who are obese. We strongly suggest that you see a medical doctor immediately to discuss your options. Make sure you are completely honest about how your weight is affecting your entire family. If the doctor you see does not help you, find another one who will.
It is also obvious that you have a loving husband and wonderful children who have been victims of your self‑centeredness. You are being extremely self‑centered and insensitive to the needs of those closest to you when you care more about what people say about you than you care about your husband and children’s happiness. It doesn’t matter if it’s weight, a birthmark on the face, or a big wart on the nose: physical abnormalities are part of many people’s lives. It is sad that you have let it affect your happiness to such a great extent; but it is tragic that you have forced your family to be victims of that misery.
You would do well to begin by memorizing these words of the Apostle Paul: “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.”1 When you think about these wise words, ask yourself, “What is pure, or lovely, or admirable in my life?” Make a list of all your blessings. Change your thoughts from constant obsessions about yourself to a focus on the good people and good things around you. Ask yourself what would make your husband happy, and then do it! Think of ways to make your children happy. When they ask you to take them out, go! If you think people are looking at you or talking about you, remind yourself that your children’s happiness is much more important to you than your own discomfort.
Self‑esteem and self‑care are very important. But constantly focusing on self to the exclusion of those around you is a recipe for disaster, both for interpersonal relationships and for personal contentment. True happiness comes through sharing and giving. As you share more fun times with your family, you will feel more satisfied within your self because you will know that you are meeting their needs. And when you become more satisfied within, you will have more strength to battle your weight issues.
If you disregard our advice and continue on your current path, you will likely drive your husband away. And as your children grow up, they will want to get away from you as well. This will have nothing to do with your weight and everything to do with your self‑centeredness. But it doesn’t have to happen. You can change.
Linda and Charles
1 Php 4:8