I’m 23-years-old, 5’4”, and 130 lbs.
Yep. I said it… my weight. It’s a risky thing to do. As part of my brain screams “nooo” I am coming up with judgements you’ll pass onto me now that you know.
“Wow, she hides it well.”
“You can definitely see the extra pounds on TV.”
“Girl needs a hamburger.”
See, as women we never can seem to find the perfect number on the scale. Society will tell us we’re too skinny or too fat… sometimes I even get both at the same time with “Wow you’re much smaller in real life than on TV.”
Lately, I have been on good terms with that last number up there. Though, it hasn’t always been the case. Turns out, even when you’re not dealing with an eating disorder, you can still have an incredibly unhealthy relationship with health itself.
I cannot remember the first time I compared my body to another. I grew up dancing, and instead of concentrating on form, I sometimes looked around the room.
“I want that person’s thighs, and another’s flat abs. The girl next to me has a great butt. I bet guys would like me if I had one like hers,” my 14-year-old self would think.
Through the years I've had constant struggles with my body. I lost 15 pounds in one summer after I was called fat for the first time. I was 16, and would try to avoid meals by staying busy.
I had the dreaded (but common) Freshman 15. That year started with gluttony, then came the most insecure time of my life, and ended back at counting calories again.
And of course, I've gone through a few revenge break up body months where I hardly ever left the gym. I will admit, ab workouts are great ways to get rid of anger... but nothing good comes out of doing something to spite someone else.
It took me a long time to realize each one of these phases of life stem from the same internal issue. I idolized physical appearance.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”
Our bodies are not ours. They are the Lord’s. Temples were buildings used for prayer and sacrifice to God. However, many people in the Bible would use them to gain a personal profit. This upset Jesus so much that he started flipping tables (See Matt. 21). That peaceful guy you see hugging children in paintings… these guys got HIM angry.
So, it makes me wonder… How angry does God get when we work to gain a profit of beauty by controlling what goes in and out of our body?
I now look at photos from the past and can hardly tell a change in weight. Though many of those seasons included weeks where I would think about my stomach growling more than what I was saying in a prayer. I would talk terribly to myself after I had one too many cookies. I’d spend more time counting calories in an app than going through prayer requests.
1 Samual 16:7 says, “But the lord said to Samuel, “do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the lord looks on the heart.”
I used to ask God to either take away my low self-esteem or cockiness (depending on phase of life), so I could have that good heart. Now I realize it’s several sneaky sins that lead to an issue in the first place. Vanity, coveting, and idolization are sins I commit in multiple ways just relating to the way I view my body.
But thankfully, Psalm 139:14 tells us “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works, my soul knows it very well.”
I work to combat vanity by praising God for giving me a body that can withstand a 5k, instead of praising myself when I cross the finish line.
I try not to covet the bodies of Instagram models, but love the one I was blessed with.
Through this, I work consistently to think less about my physical appearance... slowly tackling each idol I have created on the subject.
Having a healthy view on body image is definitely not a struggle I am through with… especially when I am on TV every morning. But, if I can get through a day knowing I am truly fearfully and wonderfully made... I know God is working to distance the girl I was at the ballet barre, from the woman that strives to love His wonderful work of art today.
**I want to clearly state that I am not talking about any kind of eating disorders in this post. Those are diseases, and I have no right to speak on that topic. This also has nothing to do with fasting, which I think is an amazing way to honor God!