For as long as I can remember I have been a dieter. It’s basically been on and off my whole life. I would look at my body and then I would look at the thin, beautiful women on tv or the magazines or at school and I thought, “I don’t look like them. Something must be wrong with me.” I have spent most of my life punishing my body for being too round, for talking up too much space. I would go through months of consuming “reduced fat” chemical laden crap, hardly eating anything substantial. Instead of looking in the mirror and thinking, “body you are hardcore. You do incredible things everyday! I’m going to give you food that will nourish you and make you strong.” Instead I thought “Body, you are bad. You are broken. You don’t deserve good food. You may only eat smart ones microwavable meals and things that say “low-fat” on them. Come back to me after you lose some belly fat and we’ll talk about adding in some guacamole.”
Since noone had to see me naked, I could mostly keep my weight demon quiet… or at least quieter. Then a little over a year ago I got married. I suddenly couldn’t hide my body anymore. So I spent the next year essentially beating myself up for not being skinny enough for my hubs. Did he care about or even notice my chubbiness? Nope. But I did. And all of the sudden my weight demon took up residence on my shoulder. And it sat there for a whole year whispering lies into my ear. I believed it. I bought the lies, hook line and sinker. I hated my body, but I wanted to love it.
I came to a breaking point the end of 2014 and decided enough was enough. I had to change the way I was eating and treating my body. Not because I needed to fit into some skinny mold but because my body does hard things every day, darn it all, and it deserves to be healthy. It deserves to eat good food and be in shape. I reframed weight loss/fitness. I looked at what the world told me beauty was, and I decided I was going to call it out on it’s crap. NO MORE! No more torture for my poor, tired, beautiful body. It ended on December 29th, 2014.
That was the day I stopped feeding my body garbage, and started to see myself as the strong and capable woman I am. And guys, most days I really like my body! I look in the mirror and I think, “Dannnnnnng, I look gooood.” I go into the living room in a sports bra and yoga pants and I say, “Steve, I look goooood.” And then I sit in coffee shops and hear beautiful women talk about how they need to lose weight or a beautiful friend feels fat compared to the other people she knows and then I just feel sad.
Society has created this impossible standard for beauty and has elevated being skinny above all things. And if you don’t fit that mold, 9 times out of 10, you feel shame. I’ve decided I’m just not going to do it anymore. To myself or others. Because I am more than my body. There are so many things more important than being skinny or hot or whatever other unreasonable thing we’re told to be. Now I need to be clear here that I’m not saying skinny is bad and I’m certainly not trying to shame skinny people. It’s basically the opposite of what I’m saying. I just think that we need to start to treat our bodies with care and concern and that doesn’t always look like 6 pack abs or flat stomachs. Sometimes it does but sometimes it doesn’t and that’s ok.
I think it’s time for Christian women to stand up and say to other women, “You are more than your body, but your body is beautiful just as it is.” We should be shame lifters and freedom bringers. That starts with us. It starts by loving our own bodies, right now, as they are. I just refuse to be content with the shame that has kept me company for most of my life. No more! And I want to help free other women from it too. You can live a much more full life when the shame demon isn’t chilling on your shoulder. I flicked that dummy off and said, “You’re no welcome here anymore.” You can do that too. You have that power in your hands.
I am more than this body of mine. I am kind and loving and funny and hardworking and empathetic and passionate. I am a truth teller and a hugger. But this body of mine is beautiful, just as it is right now. And I have good news. So is yours. That is my freedom anthem. You are more than your body, but your body is beautiful, just as it is right now.