Five Things to Remember For the Woman Struggling with Body Image
Trigger warning: this post does contain references to anorexia and eating disorders. If you are seeking help for an eating disorder, please reach out to a specialist in your area, or contact the National Eating Disorder Association.
During my sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school, my main goal in life was to be skinny.
In reality, I was a perfectly healthy girl and didn’t need to lose weight; but I genuinely thought that I was fat, so I made dangerous choices in an effort to change how I viewed myself and how others viewed me.
I was so dissatisfied with my body that I ended up harming it as I tried to become satisfied with it.
Body image was more than just a struggle for me; it was my life.
I don’t want you to reach that point, friends. That’s why I wrote this article; to share five reminders with you for when you struggle with your body image.
Five Things to Remember When Struggling with Body Image: Adopting Body Appreciation
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1. You’re not abnormal
Before, during, and after I had anorexia, I struggled with my body image. Honestly, I still do. But I have to remember that it’s normal to struggle, and I want you to remember that, too.
It’s okay if you don’t adore every single thing about your body.
I truly believe that most women wish they could change something about their bodies, whether it’s the color of their hair, the complexion of their skin, or the size of their thighs.
We live in a fallen world where we naturally notice imperfections, so don’t assume that you’re the only one who doesn’t love her body.
2. Making healthy choices in spite of struggling with your body image is the one thing standing between you and an eating disorder
I realize that might sound like a harsh reminder, but it’s so true.
If I let my body image determine how I eat and exercise, I would be dealing with anorexia again.
The difference between my life in high school and my life now is that I used to let my negative body image control my life by not eating enough, exercising too much, and keeping everyone in the dark about my struggle.
We have to take care of our bodies no matter how we feel, even when we wish that we could have any other bodies besides ours.
In short, taking care of our bodies means living in moderation; doing enough but not doing too much.
That could mean going for a jog when you would rather lounge on the couch, choosing a smoothie instead of a milkshake, and going to bed when you’re tempted to keep scrolling through Instagram.
Or it could mean letting yourself skip a workout every now and then, letting yourself eat a cheeseburger instead of a salad, and staying out late with friends instead of forcing yourself to go to bed at 9 PM.
Either way, when we live in moderation, we’re choosing not to let our body image control our lives.
3. Satan wants you to get stuck in a body hatred rut
Satan truly had me in a body hatred rut when I had anorexia, and for a long period after that.
It felt like a black cloud was hanging over me (even during my recovery) because I couldn’t see the truths about my body that everyone else could see.
I felt helpless to stop the endless loop of Satan’s lies that was playing in my head.
Satan wants us to be obsessed with ourselves, and he can use our negative body image to shift our focus off of God and toward ourselves.
Even a seemingly innocent dissatisfaction that you have for your hips, calves, stomach, or other body part can easily turn into a full-blown obsession.
But ultimately, Satan can’t trap you in a body hatred rut if you don’t let him.
4. There are more important things in life than the size on your tag and the number on your scale
As I obsessed about how many calories I consumed (and, in turn, how many calories I burned), my aim in life was simply to attain the body that I thought I wanted.
I didn’t care about how I was affecting the people around me or how I was putting my relationship with God on the back-burner of my life.
Rather, I simply cared about numbers; my size, my weight, and my caloric intake.
But if we devote our lives to having great abs, wearing a size 0, or eating greens, what will we have to show for our lives when we die?
Smelly food containers?
Even though you may find temporary satisfaction in a small size or a low weight, you’ll find true purpose when you invest in your relationships with others and with God.
5. Your body was given to you by God as a gift, not a curse
When I was recovering from anorexia, I knew deep down that God had given my body to me for a reason.
However, I didn’t understand what that reason was.
All I saw when I looked in the mirror was a disgusting body that I wished I could trade with anyone else’s.
It’s easy to fall into doubt and insecurity about the bodies that God has given us.
Perhaps you’ve wondered, “Why did God give me this body? He must hate me!”
On days like those, you can’t give into despair. Instead, thank Him for your body in spite of how you feel and trust that each part of your body was crafted with care and purpose.
Friends, I want you to know that your body image does matter; but it doesn’t matter as much as your relationship with God or your relationships with the people whom He has placed in your life.
Ultimately, the way that you view your body will change over time. But your calling to keep God above all else; including your body image, doesn’t change.
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.“Proverbs 31:30 ESV