Have you ever struggled with body image? My guess is that more women have than haven’t. And having an unhealthy view of our bodies negatively impacts our lives! How many women have you known that have tried fad diets like the lemonade diet, the grapefruit diet, and the military diet? There was even a vision diet where you eat everything with blue-tinted glasses. And there was a thing where you could get a staple in your ear, which was supposed to curb your appetite. We’ll try just about anything to get the body we want!
Consider these statistics:
- Forty to sixty percent of elementary school girls are concerned about their weight or about becoming too fat. This concern endures through life. (nationaleatingdisorders.org)
- In the United States, two million women suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some time in their life. (nationaleatingdisorders.org)
- Only two percent of women globally consider themselves beautiful. And two-thirds of women strongly agree that media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can’t ever achieve. (dove.com)
I have had an unhealthy relationship with body image since my early college years. I did cardio and lifted weights like a madwoman and was very conscious of what I ate. The thing back then was low-fat, so I ate low-fat everything. Occasionally, I would binge on something and then would have terrible feelings of guilt and exercise extra hard the next day. By the end of my senior year of college, I was down to ninety-nine pounds, which wasn’t a healthy weight for my five-foot-five-inch frame.
I continued to struggle as I got older. One of my roles in a previous job was to lead employee wellness efforts. Although this was right up my alley, I think it made me even a little more obsessive about health and fitness.
I tried to impose my diet choices on my family, and shockingly they were resistant. My husband eats like a middle school boy and our kids wanted stuff they thought tasted good like french fries and chicken nuggets. In addition, I tried to get everyone to exercise and was a failure there as well. I don’t think my daughters have ever been as mad at me as when I signed them up for a personal training session in middle school and the trainer had them doing jump squats and burpees.
Admittedly, I still struggle with my body image. I exercise every day with few exceptions and try to make healthy food choices. I still experience anxiety at times if I make unhealthy choices or don’t find time to exercise.
In Genesis 3, Eve was tempted by Satan. Does anyone else find it ironic that the first temptation involved food? I might have been more tempted by doughnuts or pizza than an apple though. Just sayin’.
Genesis 1:27 tells us that God created us in His image. Isn’t that amazing? We are created in the image of the most flawless, perfect being ever to exist! Our body is our temporary dwelling place while we are on this earth. Although I believe that we should be good stewards of our bodies, our body shape doesn’t determine our worth. God thinks we are beautiful just the way we are. Even with stretch marks. Even with muffin tops. And even with bat wings. Reminding yourself of this can help you to prevail in the battle of body image.
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14).