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CBN.com “I remember thinking, I am eating myself to death and I can’t stop it. I remember saying, ‘I give up. I’m not even going to try anymore.’ I really felt hopeless, and that hopelessness was very dark,” Kimberly Bensen reveals.
Kimberly weighed in at almost 350 pounds, and she was miserable.
“My back hurt all the time. My knees hurt all the time. It was uncomfortable sleeping. I couldn’t buckle up in a car; the seatbelt didn’t go all the way over. And it was just unsafe and unhealthy all the way around,” she says.
But she kept her sense of humor.
“I was going to this restaurant that was in Boston," she explains, "and I sat down on a bench and the arm of the bench broke when I leaned against it. That wasn’t the first that something like that had happened to me.”
Kimberly wasn’t always overweight. Looking back, she remembers how it all began.
“In high school I kind of fluctuated at 10 or 15 pounds over and over again. I would go up and down, and then the spread grew to, like, 30. Then I got down for my wedding, and after my wedding, the weight started increasing more and more. I got over 200. So I’ve been pretty much over 200 for the first 10 years of my marriage and over 300 for the second,” says Kimberly.
Kimberly’s husband, Mark, loved and encouraged his wife despite her excessive weight.
“My husband is the most wonderful man on earth. God gave him to me," she says. "He told me I was beautiful when I was 350 pounds. He’s always loved me. He supported me. I mean, he hurt for me because he knew I was hurting. He was concerned for my health. He held me when I cried about how I looked and felt. But he always told me I was beautiful.”
“My prayer for her was that somehow she could be free from the burden,” says Mark. “It was a huge burden in a literal sense and a figurative sense. It was a huge burden.”
One day an amazing thing happened, and it wasn’t at a weight loss clinic. It was at Kimberly’s church in Trumble, Conn.
“I still remember I was sitting in church and Pastor Dave was talking about the fact that the Israelites craved meat more than God. I remember going, Who can love meat, food, more than God? Think about it—God, food. There’s no comparison. Then I just sat there and said, That’s me. Where’s my time and my focus and my enjoyment? That’s when I first realized that I had put food above God. I was able to say that to myself.”
She continued her struggle with weight, but on October 1, 2001, Kimberly thought about that sermon. She prayed that God would change her heart and that He once again would be number one in her life.
“I finally said, ‘God, You know I love food more than You. I’m sorry. I really am. But You can change that, God. I can’t change that, but You can change my heart. O God, please. Change my heart, please. I beg You.’ I was praying and I really felt a stirring in my soul. I don’t know what to call it. I really felt a difference in my life.”
Just days later, at 347 pounds, Kimberly joined Weight Watchers with a friend. Then step by step, within two years Kimberly lost an astonishing 212 pounds. And she has kept it off!
Says Kimberly, “I think I have unending energy. I’m up early with the two little guys, and I stay up late with the two older guys. It’s wonderful not to feel exhausted all day.”
In one of her favorite pictures, Kim stands in a pair of her “old pants” with two of her children.
“Those pants, my daughter is in one leg—she’s my oldest, and my youngest is in the middle, and I’m in the other leg. I remember buying those pants with my mom. I had outgrown all plus-size stores. I was past a 4x,” says Kimberly.
Says Mark, “She’s filled with more joy than I have ever seen. She has always been a happy, upbeat, positive person. The energy she’s got to go with it now wears me out. I can’t keep up with her.”
Kimberly thanks God daily for her new lease on life. She wants to share her story with others.
“I feel like the guy in Luke when he was healed and he went around town shouting what Christ had done for him. That’s how I feel. I just want to give hope to people who’ve lost theirs,” she says.
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