Obtaining the “perfect body” will never make you happy. I can say this because I used to believe it would. I really wanted it to make me happy and I fought for it with everything I had. I portioned my food and I lived in the gym. The scale became my friend and my enemy at the same time. I quickly turned any desire I had for a healthy relationship with food into the “evil voice” that was just trying to “make me fat.” I felt empowered and strong because I had willpower that other people did not. I was taking control of my life while everyone else ate cake and I was proud of it. Even a little bit righteous. You see, I was going to be the thinnest, most put together, confident girl in high school, and everyone would admire me for it. Just watch me!
Looking back now, I am so sad for that girl. She was only 15 and she really believed that what she was doing was right and that it would, in fact, solve every problem. In reality, she was sad and lonely and confused, just trying to find a solution and a way out. My heart breaks for her, but I can not dismiss this journey because it has become such a part of her story. I have a hard time connecting with that girl because I have such different perspectives now, but she was me and I was her. So let me share some things with YOU that I wish someone would have told me:
This Is A Dead End
An obsession with food and the way your body looks oftentimes starts off as just a desire to modify your diet or lose a few pounds. This is not inherently harmful, but when it becomes anything more, it escalates quickly into just that. An obsession. This obsession with obtaining the “perfect body” gives a false sense of control and makes you feel like you are in the driver’s seat. And in a way you are, you are driving your body and your sanity down a road that only ends in death. You think you are pursuing something beautiful, I challenge you to rethink what beauty means to you; Is beauty simply defined by a thigh gap, or is it rooted in strong character and a heart that serves others? An Obsession with being excessively skinny will always be a dead end because the desire never ends. Your desire to lose just 10lbs can turn into wanting to lose 20, which turns into 50. If you do not have the ability to love your body now as a result of healthy thinking patterns, you will not love yourself 15lbs from now. This is a dead-end and will not make you happy because it CAN NOT make you happy. It is a fleeting thing, it has no roots. It is not enough to hang our happiness on. Our bodies will change by the week but the number on the scale leaves out SO many other details of life. It’s just flat does not deserve the authority to command your joy.
Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
It is not hard to compare. It almost seems like jealousy just comes so naturally. We don’t have to TRY to notice the things someone else has that we don’t have. The problem with comparison is that it fuels insecurity, which fuels depression, which fuels comparison and round and round we go. If we do not have the ability to recognize our worth where we are right now, we will not recognize it when our circumstances change. If we can not say kind things to ourselves right now, we will not say nice things 10lbs from now. Overcoming the comparison trap does not mean that we become blind to the strengths and beauty of those around us, it just means that when we recognize them, we can celebrate them and we do not have to receive them as a reflection of our failure in a particular area. Overcoming comparison requires serious practice and intentionality, take some time to be aware of when your thoughts are rooted in jealousy.
Galatians 6:4-5 Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.
Life Is Larger Than the Size of Your Jeans
In this life, we WILL have trouble. It comes for all of us. Obtaining a physical body standard does not eliminate hardship, it does not equip you for being a good friend and it will NEVER be the solution to a problem. It’s simply a distraction and a means of dealing with something much deeper. Because I know this now, my hope is that you actually open your eyes to the bigger world around you. One that is full of light and life and knowledge. One in which you can seek wisdom, be a helper and an ENCOURAGEMENT to those around you because you are secure and confident. Where you will not turn to losing weight to cope with life because again, it just does not work. The size of your jeans or the number on the scale can not paint your whole story. It is not possible for the scale to tell you about your heart, or to show you how loved you are by the people around you. God has designed you with unique characteristics and purpose.The number on the scale can not steal these from you, but it can trick you into thinking that your waistline is more important than the beauty of your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Is this REALLY who you want to become?
Every day we make choices that reveal our character and reflect our passions. Our actions reflect what we value. We spend every day practicing who we are becoming and we slowly become experts in the behavior we routinely practice. If I want to be kind, I need to practice thinking in away that breeds kindness. If I want to be forgiving, I need to practice forgiveness. Naturally, the behaviors we practice on a routine basis, become ingrained in who we are. Right now, If you are obsessed with having the “perfect body,” you are actively practicing behaviors that remove you from social situations, isolate you, drive you to secrecy, shut down your healthy body functions, distract you, discourage you, bully you, keep your focus on only yourself and your physical appearance, and ultimately lead to your extinction. I am begging you to ask yourself if this is REALLY who you want to be? My bet is that if you actually thought about it, you might care about being thin, but more than that, I bet you care about being kind, confident, encouraging, joyful, courageous, wise, fearless and loving to the people around you. Get your focus off of what is petty and PRACTICE what is important and healthy.
Philippians 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Disclaimer: There are natural health concerns related to obesity and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not bad. However, if being skinny is something that you are obsessing over and it is a destructive force in your life, that is a different story. Also, if you are naturally thin, this article is not meant to shame you! You’re lovely just the way you are! This is for anyone trying to fill a void that can not be filled through the pursuit of a different physical appearance. If you are struggling with an eating disorder of any kind please get help now. It was the best decision I could have made!
Written By: Krista DeYoung