We’ve all seen the t-shirts that say “I’m not fat just fluffy” with some cartoon character painted on the front cramming donuts in its mouth. Unless you’re a pillow top mattress or a couch cushion, that is a lie. I told myself lies like that all the time.

Lie #1 – “I’m not overweight just big-boned.” My 5’3″ frame, size 7 shoe and hands smaller than most 5th graders disputed that claim but I stuck to my story.

Lie #2 – “I’m pretty muscular and muscle weighs more than fat.” This concept may be true but negated by the fact that at 241 pounds, I was unable to successfully open a pickle jar or carry my groceries in from the car without stopping most days.

Lie #3 – “It’s not my fault. My thyroid doesn’t work right and slows my metabolism.” While I do have thyroid issues, I also shoved french fries, fried chicken and cupcakes in my mouth every chance I got. My thyroid couldn’t have kept up even if I had the metabolism of a hummingbird.

Lie #4 – “I don’t have time to exercise.” I’m a busy women, don’t get me wrong, but I found time to do things that were important to me like watch hours of DVR’d Top Chef episodes and bake Barefoot Contessa’s latest tart.

Lie #5 – “I’m big and that’s just who I am.” This was more of an unconscious lie. Being the fat girl had become a part of my identity and I guess I just figured it was my cross to bear. Fate had predetermined who would be fat and who wouldn’t and apparently, on that day, I drew the short straw.

The biggest step in this journey was getting honest with myself about what I was. 34 years old, morbidly obese and borderline diabetic, not big-boned, not über muscular. My thyroid wasn’t solely responsible and I could make time in my schedule for exercise. Nothing about my identity depended on me being Big Val, a nickname given affectionately by Lord only knows who in middle school.

Getting honest with myself 18 months ago was the hardest step. And some days, it still is.

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.