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From the October 4, 2004 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

After my first child was born, I lost all the weight I had gained—about 45 pounds. After my second child was born, I lost all but six pounds of the 45 pounds I had again gained. But after the birth of my third child, I had gained 60 pounds, and I became scared about my weight. Doctors had warned me that I might develop diabetes if I did not lose all the weight within five years that I'd gained during the pregnancy. I did lose most of the weight at first, but then I gained all of it back, plus several more pounds. At my heaviest, I weighed up to 220 pounds (nearly 90 pounds over my normal weight), and I had gone from a size S to size XXL. I felt miserable. My life felt out of control—I could not even climb the steps in my house comfortably or bend over to reach my feet. I had tried several diets, but none of them worked for very long.

In order to get a spiritual perspective on controlling my weight, I began to study the words heavy and light in the Bible and in Mary Baker Eddy's writings. A lot of times, studying key words in this way is very enlightening because really delving deeply into the meaning behind the words shows me what's going on mentally—and what I need to change.

My study inspired me to talk with a Christian Science practitioner, and to ask her to help me through prayer. She suggested that I also study the word control in the Bible and Science and Health, and she assured me that because I was made in God's "likeness," as Genesis 1:27 says, I was a spiritually perfect being.

I began to study passages on control and learned that my Father-Mother God was right then in complete and perfect control of everything about me. I saw that, as a spiritual being, I could not be controlled by a desire for too much food. I also began to pray every day to understand more clearly that there is no room in divine consciousness—in God's realm—for me to be overweight, oversized, overburdened, overbearing, misshapen, disproportionate, uncoordinated, inflexible, clogged, or otherwise unable to express the good that God was giving me each day.

I began to realize that as a perfect creation of God, as His image, I was unlimited in beauty, grace, punctuality (every part of me was in the right place at the right time), strength, power, proportion, coordination, balance, agility, flexibility, and focus.

I prayed with a statement Jesus made, quoted in the book of Matthew. His disciples had violated Hebrew law by not ritually washing their hands before eating. When questioned on this, Jesus said, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man" (15:11). Popular culture tells us that what we eat affects our body size and shape. Jesus tells us here that only our thoughts affect our body, and that food has no real effect at all. I realized that it wasn't what I was eating, but what I was thinking, that affected my appearance.

As my spiritual perfection became firmer and clearer in my thinking, the weight disappeared slowly and steadily. Although I noticed no difference in what I was or was not eating, my husband, who does the family's grocery shopping, noticed our grocery bills decreasing. I became aware of greater control: If I was really just thirsty, I found myself drinking more water than juice; if I was hungry, I found myself eating only what I was really hungry for. Each year I had to replace my wardrobe, going from XXL to XL to L to M to S. Over four years, I lost 80 pounds. My weight is back down in the 130s. Now, over a year later, I still have effortlessly kept the excess weight off.

Christina Camacho lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, with her family.

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