Every December, the chatter is the same. Wherever I turn, I hear women discussing how to say no when holiday treats abound. How to stay in shape when winter is in full force. How to eat clean and drop a few l-bs as the new year rolls around.
You know the discussions I’m talking about. The get healthy slash be fit slash lose weight mentality is inescapable. Everywhere you look or listen, you’re sure to find someone discussing it. New Year’s Resolutions are synonymous with it. Magazine cover lines are all about it—as are Instagram posts, Pinterest boards, website banners, television commercials, bookstore windows, you name it. Weight loss is a major part of our culture, and each impending January 1 only amplifies that mentality a hundred fold.
“I feel so fat; I need to cut out carbs.”
“I can’t believe I ate [fill-in-the-blank]. I definitely need to go for a run tomorrow.”
“If I could just lose ten pounds, I’d feel so much better about myself. My life would be better, too.”
Hear me when I say: I won’t resolve to lose weight this year. Or next year. Or the year after that.
I won’t resolve to eat clean. Clean food is food that’s been washed and prepped.
And I won’t resolve to burn more calories by spending endless hours at the gym.
What I will do is resolve to accept and love my body, and to nourish it body, mind, and soul.
This goal is not going to be easy, and that’s why I’m publishing it here on my blog. I want us to hold each other accountable. It’s time to speak truth to our dear girlfriends, sisters, and daughters. It’s time to speak truth to ourselves. You are beautiful, and you were designed by the greatest artist of all time. Your curves, your soft belly, your strong thighs—those are no mistake. God made you exactly the way you are. He knew what He was doing, and He created you in His image. He crafted your personality. Your strength, your sensitivity, your gentleness, your boldness. All designed by the One above. The best part: He gave you a heart and a soul and the opportunity to live life eternally long after your physical body has passed away.
Thinking about that gives me confidence. Know that the Lord actively created you and continues to pursue you. Put your faith in Him. Rest secure in that.
Today, I feel beautiful and worthy. I am happy. My walk through body image and health has been a long one. I’ve made great strides, but I’m still a work in progress. Believe me, I still have days when I worry about the way I look or the food I eat. I still let those annoying messages about “health” bother me sometimes. That’s why I see an awesome nutrition counselor on a regular basis here in Nashville. She has helped me understand that I’m in a season of restoration.
Since moving here, I’ve learned about the importance of rest. I’ve entered into a restoration both physical and spiritual as I embrace the full woman God has designed me to be. My physical restoration includes weight gain. It’s uncomfortable, challenging, and anxiety-provoking. And it’s the complete opposite of what culture tells me to do. So I have to turn away from the prevalent New Year’s resolutions talk and preach the truth to myself.
In reality, health is different for every single person. For me, health means eating more calories than what a magazine tells me to and not worrying about whether my food is organic or free of refined sugars. Health means doing yoga and taking walks rather than running a half marathon or doing high-intensity interval training. Health means trusting my body and living free of the rules I was once enslaved to during the height of my eating disorder.
And I recognize this country has an obesity epidemic. You may be reading this right now and thinking, Yeah but two-third of Americans are overweight. This is true. Naturally, the message we constantly hear is one of weight loss. But we are not often told about the other side of this problem. Did you know at least 30 million Americans of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder? That number only encapsulates the people who report it. In addition, anorexia is the deadliest of all mental illnesses.
Clearly, with this many people suffering on both ends of the spectrum, we are doing something wrong. The message of weight loss and dieting is a failure.
We need to find a way to focus on treating our bodies well—whatever that looks like. Cooking together, enjoying real food, moving because it feels good, and developing spiritual fitness so that we can run with endurance the race that lies before us.
There is no easy answer, but God has given me a heart for this, and I simply must speak up. I am passionate about being a good steward of the body God has given me, and I want to encourage others to do the same. I strive to treat my body the way Christ would want me to—to utilize it to the full potential of the gifts He has given me! I pray and hope this for you, too.
Take a second to think about the amount of time you spend focused on food, your body, your weight, your exercise routine. How much time do you spend working out? How much energy do you put into dieting attempts? How much brain space do you give to negative body image thoughts and restrictive food rules?
Now how much time do you spend with God? In prayer or in the Word?
Physical fitness is great⏤but it cannot compare to godliness and time with the Lord.
Don’t let the continual chatter about weight loss goals distract you or bring you down. Don’t use such talk to justify harmful behaviors or set produce negative thoughts. Filter out the unhealthy, unhelpful, and unproductive voices. Don’t follow them and don’t engage with them. Preach the truth to yourself and find the different voices that remind you your identity stands in Him alone.
Ultimately, we have to fix our eyes on Jesus. I really believe that’s the only way to achieve true health.
Forget resolving to lose weight or get fit. Resolve to enjoy your life! Enjoy food and enjoy moving because you have a body that can. I pray all of you who are struggling with any aspect of food, fitness, or body image let Jesus reign supreme in your heart instead. God has a mission for us and it doesn’t involve flat abs, clean eating, or record-setting weight loss. Spend more time with Him. Follow His call for you. And ask Him to reshape your heart and instill confidence in your body and the woman He’s made you to be.
If you want to talk more about Jesus Christ and faith and what-the-heck-is-all-this-stuff, shoot me a message. I love meeting new people, whether virtually or in person, and gabbing about life.
And if you'd like to know more of my story, you can read my testimony here.
Truly, He makes beautiful things.