I struggle with body image issues. I always have. Maybe it’s because I grew before everyone else and was taller and bigger. In elementary school, I was never thin…just normal. Maybe it’s because I always preferred to play sports with the boys and could never quite figure out where I fit in. I’ve been torn between wanting a fierce, athletic look and being model thin — you can’t have both. In fifth grade, I lost 12lbs and all my baby fat. I’ve remained thin and fit ever since. I still weigh the same as I did in high school even though I’m now in my 40s and have had two children. Yet why do I only see the imperfections in the mirror?
And the hard part is that I can’t talk about it. For real. Not because I don’t want to or feel ashamed, but because sharing those thoughts when I look great might make someone feel less about themselves. And I would never want to make anyone feel less. My joy is helping people accept who they are and develop a correct mindset of what health is — that it’s not just about how you look in a swimsuit. It is my passion to work with people and help them…probably because I’m constantly trying to preach it to myself as well.
When my daughter was born, I vowed to never talk about weight/image and I started showing grace to myself. I never want her or my son to have my issues. Today, as my daughter was crying that her skirt (she wears a uniform) felt funny and was afraid she looked weird, instead of brushing her off and telling her that she looks the same as every day she goes to school (which is what I normally do), I got down to her level and told her that I understand. That there are days that I don’t feel good in the clothes that I’m wearing and I also worry that I look bad. Then I told her what makes her special and hugged her.
I can’t keep my daughter from the onslaught of the world to look a certain way, but instead of avoiding the issue, I need to talk through hers with her. And maybe it’s time for me to be honest to everyone else. Maybe sharing my body image struggles won’t make someone feel bad, but make them realize that they are not alone.
I’m constantly a work in progress and each day I remind myself that I have a husband who adores me just as I am and I have a God who loves me and cares for me. I pray that God would give me eyes to see myself as he sees me. That I am perfect in his eyes.
God loves you too. He sees you, He cares for you, and you are perfect in His eyes.