today’s blog is a hard one (and a long one). it’s on loving your body. this is something that i’ve struggled with my entire life, from elementary school and to now.
it’s difficult for me to admit that i struggle with body image, body dysmorphia and poor eating habits. but, this year i’m all about vulnerability and i know i am not alone in this struggle, so i wanted to share my own story for whoever is reading in hopes that it encourages or you’re able to relate to some of my struggle.
i’ve always been small and skinny. as a premature twin, i barely touched the growth curve for the first few years of my life. in elementary school, i was always the smallest girl and i stood at the end of the height line.
around fourth and fifth grade, girls in my class started to gain weight and go through puberty. this meant that some girls grew tall or filled out. as for me, i stayed the same. this made me feel even more self-conscious about my body.
and then i started to gain weight. you would think this would be a positive thing, but i started to gain weight in weird places. i gained weight in my arms, my stomach, my legs. not so much the “desirable” places.
looking back at photos, i looked normal and healthy. i was twelve years old, gaining weight and growing taller. but, when i looked in the mirror as a twelve year old, i felt nothing but awkward, ugly and self conscious.
i thought that i was gaining too much weight and becoming “fat” or “chubby”. so, i took matters into my own hands and i stopped eating.
at dinner, i used to go to the bathroom and spit my food into toilet paper and flush it down the toilet. the packed lunches my mom made for me i would deliberately throw out.
since i wasn’t eating, i was obviously hungry.
here’s the thing: your body needs food. food is fuel for your body to be energized and after a few days of purposeful starvation, your body gets hungry REAL FAST and starts craving meals.
i started to binge eat. i would stay up late at night, go downstairs and eat tons of carbs, cookies and unhealthy snacks in the middle of the night to satisfy my cravings.
after eating unhealthily, i would feel so guilty and then i would go into the bathroom, shove two fingers down my throat and purposefully make myself throw up.
i was in an unhealthy cycle of anorexia, binge eating and bulimia. i would look into the mirror and feel unhappy and sad with my appearance. there was always something that was wrong, always something that could be changed.
i struggled with an eating disorder all throughout middle school and the first half of high school. i never spoke about it because i was scared that by admitting i had a problem with self image or my body, other people would start to noticeably see things wrong about me too. i was scared of admitting weakness and scared that other people would judge me for lacking in self confidence or finding fault in my creation.
so, what changed? here’s the answer: jesus.
i know some of you are probably rolling your eyes, but that’s my honest answer, solution and truth. i became a believer at age thirteen and that changed my life. when i was thirteen, i was at the peak of my struggle. puberty kicked in and i weighed the heaviest i have ever been before. i have never felt so uncomfortable or unhappy with my body. i was depressed, struggling with anxiety and an eating disorder.
i hated my face and i hated my body. i thought God made some major mistakes when it came to creating me.
and then, i heard the Gospel. the Gospel is the greatest love story of all time. never before, have i ever heard of someone who loved me so much that they would die for me. never before did i consider or believe that the perfect king and creator of the universe would want anything to do with me, an insecure and struggling thirteen year old girl.
but guess, what? he does.
jesus wants to have a relationship with us, he wants us to know how loved we truly are and he wants us to know that he sacrificed and died on our behalf, so we could spend eternity with him.
he wants you to know that you are beloved, that you were intentionally formed in your mother’s womb, that you are beautiful and unique, and that the perfect creator does not and did not make mistakes.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” -Ephesians 2:10
“You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” -Song of Solomon 4:7
hearing that has changed my life.
don’t be fooled, healing from my eating disorder and body image issues was not an overnight thing. i didn’t hear the gospel and accept jesus into my life and magically wake up the next day feeling like a million bucks and thinking i was a supermodel, but it was a start.
“i’m not religious” that’s ok, neither am i. i am faithful. i am faithful in that i believe jesus loves you, jesus loves me and he wants us to view ourselves how he sees us.
here are some other things that helped too:
ask yourself this: what do you want your legacy to be?
what i want people to remember about me is that i loved jesus, i loved others and that i was kind, funny, compassionate, adventurous, etc….
i don’t want to be remembered for just my face or just my body.
we are more than our outward shells and our surface appearances.
when people say why they love someone, it has to do way more than just appearance. your legacy and your worth is not based on your face or your body.
never before have i ever heard a person say,”i love chelsea because she has pretty hair, a size 2 waist and gorgeous outfits.”
but, i do hear people say: “i love chelsea because she is sweet, kind, genuine and makes an effort to get to know people.”
it’s your attributes and your actions that matter, not your appearance.
do you love people just based off of their appearance? i should hope not. so, why would you want to be loved just based off of yours?
“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” -1 Samuel 16:7
think about this: your body is more than something to be admired
have you ever considered how miraculous the human body is? everyday, it’s a gift to be living and to be breathing. it’s a blessing to be able to run, to dance, to look and admire the world around us.
as women, it’s a blessing to be able to experience the miracle of life and form a legitimate human being in our wombs.
that’s some powerful stuff.
in college, i’ve gained weight. the freshman fifteen is not a myth folks, it happens. when i first started to notice that i was gaining weight, i freaked out.
but now, i’m embracing it. i’m eating right and staying active and now that i’ve stopped a vegan diet, weight is coming back onto my body, but that’s normal and expected and i’m okay with it.
i used to be so fearful of not being a size two anymore, but that’s an unrealistic expectation that i’m always going to be the same size. i’m eighteen, not sixteen, and my body isn’t going to look how it did when i’m sixteen.
my mom said “your body is getting ready for childbirth” and that freaked me outttttt, but now when i look at her statement, it’s true.
as women, our bodies are made to have children and be pregnant and all that stuff, so it’s a beautiful thing to embrace and we shouldn’t be fearful when our bodies start to change. it’s natural, it’s the way it’s designed and it’s beautiful that our bodies can do more than just be something to look at.
body standards don’t determine your beauty
okay, i don’t know WHO decided what’s beautiful or what’s not in society and why we so easily buy into beauty standards, but i’m ending that now and saying that society’s standards towards beauty are ridiculous.
like who is determining that one body type is beautiful and another is not? to me, that’s crazy.
beauty and body standards are consistently evolving. i remember in the early 2000’s, girls who were tall and super skinny were ideal. now, girls who are skinny but “thick” in the right places are ideal. back in ancient greece, women who were voluptuous with curves were ideal.
this just goes to show you that how the world defines beauty is consistently changing and if you base your worth on that, you’re never going to feel satisfied or pretty.
also, since when do we let media and magazines determine what is pretty or what is beautiful? you want to know what’s pretty and beautiful?? you are.
this is something i consistently remind myself. comparison kills!!! you’re never going to be her and she’s never going to be you and that’s okay, that’s beautiful. i think it’s so funny how we all want to look like each other, but in reality, if we were all clones of each other, life would be so dull and bland and boring.
all the features that you hate because they make you look different are some of the things that make you look beautiful!! they make you unique and standout and they should be appreciated.
you are you and that’s wonderful. stop trying to look like someone else, stop trying to be someone else. you’re never going to feel satisfied or beautiful from that, you’re just going to keep wanting to change.
it’s okay to love yourself!
i think often times when we see an individual loving their body or their face, we can assume it’s cocky or boastful.
i think as a society we should be more applauding towards people who can look at themselves and say,”i love this about myself!! i think it’s really cool that God made me with curly hair!” or “i love that my body is athletic and i’m good at sports.”
our automatic thoughts when we look in the mirror is often times “ew” or “what can i change?”, but we should start training our brains to be appreciative, not critical.
i think everyday we should look at ourselves and think one positive thing about our appearance and one positive thing about our attributes.
for me, one of the physical attributes i like about myself is my smile. i like that when i smile, my face lights up and my dimple pops out. one of the personality attributes i like about myself is that i like to make people laugh and i want everyone to feel welcomed.
instagram ain’t reality.
this is one last thing i’m going to address. social media is all an illusion. i think the reason why so many of us struggle with self confidence and body image is because of the images we see online or in advertisements of these beautiful, flawless women with ideal bodies and faces.
but, we have to remember that it’s all an illusion. social media is people on their best day, posting their best angles and editing out their imperfections. that’s not reality.
reality is that somedays you’re not going to look the greatest. most days, i walk around with a few pimples on my face, messy hair and sweatpants. am i going to post that on social media for people to see? probably not.
but, on the rare days when i run a brush through my hair, throw on some makeup and wear a cute outfit, you can bet your bottom dollar that’s going to be documented with my iPhone, edited on Lightroom and posted on Instagram.
remember too that your favorite social media stars struggle with body image. so many girls on the internet have gotten cosmetic procedures or facetune their photos because they struggle with appearance and loving their body.
take everything on social media with a grain of salt.
yes, kendall jenner may be the skinniest girl alive with a gorgeous face and living it up on the bahamas, but i guarantee that even kendall jenner looks in the mirror and sometimes thinks “yuck!!!” or wakes up with pimples on her face or feels bloated after she eats a bag of hot cheetos or realizes she’s on her period and her body is sabotaging her.
so, what are we going to do? we are going to start loving our bodies, loving our faces and appreciating how we are made.
we are going to stop looking at our features as mistakes or things that should be changed and now, we are going to look at ourselves with LOVE and ADMIRATION!!
you are hot, you’re killing it and you’re doing an amazing job sweetie!! start viewing yourself how those who love you do: with absolute awe and admiration!! God did a great work on you because you are a beautiful creation and you’re someone that should be admired 🙂
i’m going to leave you with one of my favorite verses:
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” -Psalm 139:14
if you’re still reading, thank you! i know this was a long one, but i hope this encouraged you with what i had to say.
(p.s. if any of you are struggling with self confidence, body dysmorphia or eating disorders, please message me on instagram because i would love to pray for you and talk to you more about this!)
all my love,