Bearing the Weight of the World


Most of high school I weighed 126 pounds.

Most of college I weighed 132 pounds.

When we got married in June 1998, I was down to a new low of 126 pounds. (I lost 5 pounds the week of the wedding due to crazy busyness. That was, no doubt, a one-week low.)

After college, but before babies, I weighed a steady 141 pounds.

After my first two babies, I hovered around 146 pounds.

After my sister’s first baby, I weighed 151 pounds.

After four months of intense personal training right before I got pregnant with our third baby, I was super happy with a new low of 143 pounds. (But let me tell you, that was really hard work and I was watching my diet like a mad woman.)

After our third baby, I got back down to 146 pounds, but it wasn’t easy. With very regular exercise, I still waffled between 146 and 151 pounds.

By the time I stopped working as a speech-language pathologist, I was at a new steady high of 151 pounds with all the stress.

And after two months of poor eating, poor sleep, and tremendous stress due to my husband’s eye cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery at home, I was up to an all-time non-pregnancy high of 158 pounds.

I felt like junk, to be honest. The pounds were piling on for no reason. I was beginning to get worried, in fact. My body was taking on a life of its own. It seemed like all I had to do was step on the scale and another pound would be there. Permanently. Like it wasn’t going away anytime soon. Like I had no control over how this body of mine was reacting to life. Like I was barely fitting into my pants.

One day in early March, when I was at that all-time high of 158 pounds, I stopped by the personal training desk and spoke with a trainer. I’d been working out 3x/week like normal, but I was convinced that all the stress and life changes had literally blown my metabolism to shreds, that my body needed a major re-boot. I’d heard good things about some new metabolic, hormone, stress & vitality tests my gym had available, and wanted to see how much they cost. I had a conversation with the nicest, most helpful and kind personal trainer in the world. Heck, after we chatted a while, he even brought me up for a meeting with the gym’s nutritionist so we could look closer at those tests I was hoping to run. Needless to say, the tests were out of my financial league. No personal income to speak of and many doctor bills left me realizing I’d have to walk through this weight problem on my own.

The personal trainer offered me a Sunday afternoon friends and family class for $10 a session, but between family events, my son’s basketball tournaments and my daughter’s volleyball practice and tournaments, I haven’t been able to attend. He also said I’d fit nicely in a group personal training session he runs weekly, but to be honest, I don’t have an extra $50 a week to put into group personal training right now.

Since we met briefly in early March, that personal trainer has been the nicest, most supportive guy in the gym. When he sees me he says hi, and asks how I’m doing. He stopped me on the track the other day to let me know the tests are on sale this month. And he reminded me again with all sincerity, “let me know if I can help you with anything.” A couple weeks ago, I shared that I’m down 4 pounds since I talked to him in early March. “Keep up the good work,” he congratulated.

I’m down to 154 pounds. Still an all-time non-pregnancy high. The pounds are still coming off my body like molasses. But hey, I’m 4 pounds lower than that all-time high of 158.


The past four weeks, I’ve begun lifting weights more than I have for several years. When I spoke with the personal trainer, he reminded me I should be lifting at least a couple times a week. And I promptly reminded him that I hate weight training, that I avoid it like the plague. But I knew I had to change something. I knew I had to kick this body into a whole new realm. I knew I had to do something different. So as much as I hate weights, I began integrating lifting into my workout program again. I’ve actually been lifting 3x/week for the past month.

But yesterday when I was lifting, I realized something. I remembered WHY I hate lifting. I remembered why I STOPPED lifting during my sister’s first pregnancy in 2010.

Because life feels weighty enough in itself.

Too often, I bear the weight of the world on my shoulders. I sense deeply. I feel deeply. I live far beneath the surface in my heart. Lifting extra weight adds burden to my already worn and torn body and soul.

I knew that was true back in late 2010 when my personal trainer was pushing me beyond my limits with weights, when I crumbled in tears and she couldn’t understand why. I knew that was true yesterday when the weight of the world just felt too heavy to lift, when I couldn’t even curl two 10-pound dumbbells three sets of 12 reps.

Yes, it’s all becoming crystal clear. This is an unintended consequence of slowing my life to a new pace, an unintended consequence of shifting directions. It’s all crashing down on me, or should I say, it’s all piling up on me?

I’ve spent a lifetime bearing the weight of the world. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectations I set for myself. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectations I set for others. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectations others have for me. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectation of doing what the world thinks I should do, and being who the world thinks I should be. I’ve been bearing the unrealistically high expectation of thinking I can help, fix, restore, renew and remove everyone’s burdens.

Yes, it’s becoming crystal clear. A lifetime of mental, emotional and spiritual weight bearing has taken a toll on my physical well being. I haven’t known my boundaries. I haven’t honored any boundaries.

158 was an all-time high.

Now I’m at an all-time (lower) high of 154.

What weight do you carry?

What weight do you carry physically?

What weight do you carry mentally, emotionally, spiritually?

Just because we can feel the weight of the world, doesn’t mean we need to bear the weight of the world.

How’s that for a revelation?

Let’s lift the weights we’re meant to lift, and loosen our grip on the weights we’re meant to set free. You and me, friend. Just you and me.





  1. Susan Baunsgard says:

    Hi Amy
    Very interesting insight. Real physical weights vs emotional weights. We can simply walk away from those 10# weights. But those emotional weights? They are hidden in our hearts and minds. They can’t be walked away from. Instead we need to deal with them in a different way. This is where our loving savio

  2. Carol Forsberg says:

    I love your writings …you are blessed with an amazing gift.

  3. Barbara Matalamaki says:

    Good article…as always!

  4. Jennifer Johnson Camp says:

    Amy, this is so powerful. I am so grateful for you–for your willingness to lead in your vulnerability, for the sake of loving people. You are so beautiful, sister. Thank you.

  5. Kris Camealy says:

    Good words here Amy. You’ve been on my mind, friend. Xo

  6. Sarah Swanson says:

    Wow! You have brought me to tears! Love love love this. Thank you thank you

  7. Carol Femling says:

    You spoke about your mom (me) perfectly!! I know that’s why I am at a personal high for my weight. The last 10 years have weighed me down in every way possible BIG TIME!! I need to start doing the exact same thing you’re doing or I will continue to fall down. Thanks for sharing!! Love you! Mom 🙂

  8. Monica Anderson Palmer says:

    Amy Pederson my prayer for you is that you see the intensely brave person you are. First, you posted actual numbers (something I would never be humble or vulnerable enough to do. Secondly, you expose areas of yourself that again, I’m not sure I could admit to others out loud much less write about and post on a blog…so I pray you know in the very deep parts of your heart how brave you are. You will help someone, you’ve certainly helped me.

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