Come and join me for tea on this sunshiny day while I muse about body image. It is a topic that many people discuss in not only casual conversation, but also in the media, books and other places.
I read the book Invisible by Ginny Yttrup earlier this year. It got me thinking about the struggle that many of us have with accepting the way we look, no matter our size.
Is it a struggle for you? It is a struggle for me. Everyday I battle with it, wishing that things were different in one way or another, when it comes to my body.
Why is it such struggle? Why do we as a society place so much emphasis on our size?
We, as a family, have been working on overall health focus rather than body size focus and it has been better. It helps when you can focus on exercising not to lose those pesky 5-10 pounds or more, but rather improving your overall health.
Exercise is good for you. It can even be fun if you have company! It can also take over your life and become your primary focus. Food is a need. It is something we need to survive, to nourish our bodies. It can also become an obsession. Some people obsess about all organic food, gluten free, dairy free and other “free” lifestyles, while others focus on gourmet, fancy and appearance in their diet as well.
I find that we often can focus too much on things like this. It doesn’t mean it is wrong to lose weight, gain weight etc. But it is wrong to make it our primary focus, where it establishes our self worth, our value in this life.
Our value does not lie in what people think of us if we bear the stripes of motherhood, are not the size we wish we were. When the time comes to face death, what will it matter?
I watched my aunt pass away the past few weeks. I watched how her weight went to very low numbers that models would envy and I thought of how ironic it could be that the numbers that become to important, were suddenly not the focus.
We let numbers on a scale rule our lives, instead of living them. If our friends or family cannot love us with our quirks and struggles, sometimes they may not be the healthiest people to spend time around.
We also need to think before we say an idle comment about someone’s appearance. When was the last time you complimented a friend without them losing weight? Are we only encouraging when others are dieting? What about when we see someone eating well…are we encouraging of that too?
I have been hurt by many ignorant comments in the past about body size, diet, image, exercise and other things. It hurts when people ignorantly and flippantly say a comment that cuts to the quick.
I read this book that was one of the best I have ever read on the topic…http://www.amazon.com/Life-Beyond-Eating-Disorder-ebook/dp/B003ZK5LJW/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1374255176&sr=1-1&keywords=life+beyond+your+eating+disorder
She spoke some words in there about using an ignorant stamp when people make those comments. It applies to many areas of my life, and I need to use it more often. When someone makes a comment and they don’t realize what they are doing, stamp them on their forehead with an invisible stamp. You can tell yourself, “They are just ignorant. They don’t know what they are saying.” It can often help ease the hurt.
To all you women and men out there that struggle with body image, Remember that you are beautiful. You might struggle with all the shortcomings of your body and don’t let accepting yourself stop you on your journey to be healthier, but remember that you need to believe you are beautiful or handsome. You are made in the image of God and accepting that is a first step.
Work at your health, but don’t get obsessed. Love your family. Remember that this body is just a shell. Enjoy the relationships you have, with healthy people that love you for you, not your body.