Journey to Security…

Summer 2016, Los Angeles, healthy and whole…

Security is something I struggled with growing up… When I was about 6 years old my body changed a lot and I gained a ton of weight… By the time I was 16 years old I weighed around 230 pounds… I was altogether unhealthy and completely insecure… Honestly, you could say I was the most insecure person I’ve ever met… Afraid people would judge me because I was so big… And intimated by the smallest things…

So to say I understand insecurities is an understatement… Because they dictated every fiber of my being for more years than I’m proud of… But a lot has changed since I was that 16-year-old girl… And, after being over weight for 13 years, I made a decision to become healthier and pursue confidence…

Far right, age 9 with my father and sister…

And it’s not that I didn’t try as a child or teenager… During the age of 6-16, I probably tried every diet and fad out there, and my family usually joined in the circus of “ways to help Amanda loose weight.” The problem was, nothing ever truly stuck… Trying to loose weight as a kid and teenager made me feel like I was messed up on the inside… I just felt set apart, like I didn’t fit in anywhere… I just wanted to be a normal size, to wear the same type of clothes my peers wore, and to participate in normal activities without fearing judgment from anyone… Plus, having a genetically small sister didn’t help… She could and still can eat anything without gaining a pound…

Since the dieting never really worked… I just felt overwhelmed with emotion and insecurity… And as much as “security in God” was preached in my life,  well I didn’t have any… My identity was based solely in the people, religious leaders, school and church settings that surrounded me… And so, in so many ways, I just felt lost and lacking a huge piece of me…

Fall 2005, heaviest and most insecure version of me…

However, at 17 years old, I saw something… I saw God move in a powerful way… And it encouraged me to step away from my comfort zone, from my insecurities, and to move towards something higher… Something better than a diet or a fad…

And that’s when I started eating healthier…

Was it easy?.. At first it was a challenge… Truly testing my insecurities and making better decisions I was able to loose 100 pounds over the course of 2 years… The first 50 took around a year and a half, and the last 50 took around 6 months… Those last 6 months I kind of decided I was done playing games, and that I truly wanted to be a better version of me…

The scary part was I developed an eating disorder… A disorder that would follow me around for 7 years… It haunted me at night and made me feel like a failure when I woke up the next day… Because I would binge on sweets and then exercise to purge them… Something inside of me wasn’t at peace during this time…

Spring 2011, the middle of an eating disorder…

And so I felt like a fraud… Because I was helping people loose weight and become a better version of themselves, but then I was still hiding this secret… Holding onto it with all of my might… Being an advocate for health and wholeness, but then completely doing the opposite in private…

And I thought it would never end… The unhealthy relationship I had with sugar… It felt like a nightmare that I’d never wake up from…

Plus, I was scared to gain all of the weigh back… Gaining it back would mean I was a failure and had no self-control… So exercising helped me cope with the mess I continued to make…

And it didn’t matter how many prayers I prayed, or how much I pleaded with God to remove it from me… It was just there… An addiction… Lurking around in the deep trenches of my soul…

Looking back I now see the piece I was lacking was an identity solely founded in Father God… That, without a life founded in Him, I am nothing more than a chaotic mess… A sea of emotion…

Because I leaned in on sugar to rescue me from my insecurities… To help me escape my fear… To make me feel better when I felt alone… But it never did any of those things… Instead, my abuse made me feel smaller, like a liar and a hypocrite…

Summer 2015, Paris, France, with one of the 4 kids I nannied…

But then, I began to gain this relationship and deep connection to Father God through the things I learned from the kids I nannied… And it caused me to feel balanced, full of purpose and secure at my very core…

To this day I still feel like a wreck on the inside if I don’t slow down, rest and spend time in His presence everyday… Because His presence is the only place I feel at home… Like I belong… Like I am loved, accepted and not a burden on others…

And the great thing about Father God is the unconditional love He continues to lavish on me every moment of the day… Even when I’m stressed and anxious about “what’s next,” He’s there for me… To lift me up and remind me that I have nothing to fear because my identity is in Him and Him alone…

Quite honestly, my entire life (like yours) has been a process… A process of failure upon failure… Trying so hard to get it “right” and then falling on my face… But a truth I’ve learned is, it’s ok to fail, to learn, to mess up… Because, at the end of the day, Father God is there to pick us up, dust us off and welcome us home… Into the Kingdom I believe He created for all of us…

January 2017, with my mom and sister… The healthiest I’ve ever been: spirit, soul and body…

So, now I feel like I am at a place in life… A place where I can say my relationship with health is one of the most rewarding things in my life… That my health is actually my wealth… And I don’t just mean the health of my body, but the health of my soul… Because it is so healthy and pure to cultivate a relationship with Father God… And then to allow that relationship with Him to spill out into other areas of who I am… That the relationship is not just built for my spirit, but for my soul and body too.. And when all three are at peace, I feel whole and complete from the inside out…

If you want to continue to follow Amanda’s journey, please visit: www.amandawinder.com

And, if you’re interested in nutrition counseling or cultivating a healthier lifestyle in any area, please visit: www.cultivatelife.us/food

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