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Intertwined | weight loss essay by Lisa Tomarelli


Lisa Tomarelli


On my night of reckoning, I was washing my hands and felt an ache in my left ring finger. My wedding ring was snug—too snug. I lathered the ring with soap and tugged. Stuck. My yeasty finger puffed up around it like a loaf of bread. The throbbing increased and I panicked, wondering if I’d have to get my ring cut off.

I swallowed as I faced my lifelong truth: I’m too fat. The fat had nowhere left to go but my fingers, and at risk was my gold wedding band.

God, help…?

I went back into the bedroom to the sound of my husband’s snoring and slathered on some hand cream. The ring started to lose its grip; three attempts later it slid off. My finger, red and swollen, was finally free.

My confidence reached an all-time low.

I went to the jeweler’s the next day. A middle-aged gentleman, wearing several diamond rings, emerged from the back room.

“Hi, can I help you?”

“I need my wedding ring resized, please.”

“Let’s have a look.” He picked up his eyepiece and squinted for several minutes. Spinning the ring slowly, he studied the black etchings on my gold band, a whirling pattern of intertwined vines and leaves. I sucked in my stomach and glanced down at the wedding ring display. Sparkly silver and gold promises of a life together taunted me as I waited.

“The pattern on your ring prevents it from being resized. It would ruin the design. There’s nothing we can do.”

I got back into the car and cried.

After years of pickup lines by guys at the bar, I had resolved never to marry. But then I met Joe. He loved me simply, unconditionally and honestly. He won my heart. Yet now, twenty years later, I have to take off my wedding ring.

Like the curvy vines on my wedding band, my prayers remained twisted and stuck.

God, do you love me no matter what I weigh? Will you help me?

That evening, I told my husband about my ring being too tight. “Would it be okay with you if I got a new wedding ring…maybe a plain gold band? I hope to fit into my original ring again one day.”

He held me close and said, “Sure, let’s go pick out a new ring together. I love you.”

This man still wins my heart.

I felt loved by my husband, but to earn my own love I needed to do some work on myself. I started with the basics and got help through an eating program. Making little shifts in my diet, I formed new habits day by day. To that, I added prayer.

One night, when it was finally quiet after I put the kids to bed, I was exhausted and thought I deserved a treat. I went downstairs to get myself a bowl of ice cream. The phone rang. Who could it be this late? It was a friend from long ago, and we reminisced and laughed for a couple hours. I forgot about the ice cream that night.

That’s you—right, God?

Later, at a family wedding with the traditional Italian cookie trays on display for all to indulge, I grabbed one of my favorites, but it didn’t taste as good as I remembered. After one bite, I stopped. Who stops at one cookie?

Is that you, God?

When I thought I was alone with my secret obsessions and had no one to rescue me, God taught me to depend on Him. Over the next four years, I managed to lose one hundred pounds. My original wedding band slipped back on my finger.

Confident? Oh, I had a swagger, for a little while.

But another year later, our marriage faced a new obstacle: my husband’s cancer diagnosis. This time, my prayer habit kicked in immediately.

God, help.

As I prayed, God continued to send answers. My husband found a clinical trial medication regimen. It was only available at a few locations across the county, but one of them happened to be the regional hospital ten minutes from our home.

God, thank you.

Even though I’m still working on my weight and am back to wearing my larger, plain gold band these days, my wedding ring means more to me than it ever did. Its circle of faith connects me to my husband, my children, and always, back to God. Whether I carry extra weight or heavy burdens, I know God’s help is intertwined into every step of my life, giving me new hope.


Lisa Tomarelli is a memoir writer and host blogger at She loves to blend powerful real-life stories with spiritual perspectives, and has been published in an anthology as well as on several websites. Her current memoir project takes a look at her 100-pound weight loss and how it taught her to trust God, one pound at a time. Lisa lives near Philadelphia and loves to travel. She is a lifelong learner, and her latest hobby is tap dancing. She loves the smell of coffee almost as much as the smell of books. A member of the Pennwriters group, Women’s National Book Association and Weight Watchers’ Readers Panel, Lisa can be reached at

Image Credit:
Lisa Tomarelli | Wedding Rings


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