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Even though it’s easy for me to be kind and compassionate with my patients who struggle with their body image, I’d always held myself to an impossibly high standard.
Isn’t it the truth that we’re all our own worst critics?
While I can’t say I’m 100% past any issues with poor body image, the change I’ve experienced over the past few years in my self image has been nothing short of miraculous.
So what did I do to move from a state of anxiety, self-consciousness, and dissatisfaction with my body, to one of acceptance, self-love, and contentment?
I submitted myself to God.
This isn’t a bait-and-switch.
While you might have wanted me to share the perfect diet and lifestyle program that I found that finally solved my relationship with food and my body…
I can tell you with 100% certainty that this program does not exist.
There is no diet or workout routine that will change the way you view your body if you live in a state of low self-worth, not rooted in your inherent worth as a human. And I don’t believe any of us would have inherent self-worth were it not for a loving God who created us.
After all, without God, what makes our lives any more valuable than the animals and plants we eat, the ants we step on, or even the bacteria in our guts? For me, it doesn’t make sense that humans have inherent value unless you consider the fact that we were created in God’s image.
We are God’s children, and that fact alone gives you and me more self-worth than we can even imagine.
I understand this post can be challenging to read for people who question the existence of God.
It can even be challenging for those who believe in God but question their own self-worth, or believe they can achieve greater self worth by improving their body, sticking to a rigid diet with enviable self control, or posting selfies at the gym after a tough workout.
None of those behaviors give us any self-worth, and to chase worthiness through your diet and exercise choices is not only a waste of time, but it’s incredibly damaging to your emotional and spiritual health.
I learned this the hard way after years of trying to manipulate and control my body and my appearance in order to receive praise and attention from my peers, especially members of the opposite sex.
I was never thin enough, never pretty enough, never attractive enough, and was constantly driven by the next stage in my physical development.
Whatever size I was, I needed to be a size smaller. Even though my stomach was flat, I couldn’t see ab definition and that wasn’t good enough. Thighs that rubbed together when I walked? Unacceptable.
It was exhausting and completely demoralizing to live life this way.
I was in constant anxiety about my appearance, especially when trying to have a (dysfunctional) relationship with a man.
And when I started my grad school nutrition program, suddenly my body became not only a way to attract others to me, but it also became evidence of my knowledge as an against-the-grain nutrition student. I believed if I wasn’t in perfect shape, no one would take my controversial nutrition opinions seriously.
I put so much stock in my body that it started to become my identity. Thank God I had enough wherewithal to not do anything dangerous to my body, but it could have easily went in that direction had I continued the path I was on.
Fortunately, before anything could get too serious with my poor body image and disordered relationship with food and exercise, I got to a place where I decided I didn’t want to live this way anymore. That there had to be something better for me than chasing perfection and trying to live up to others’ (and especially my own) expectations.
That was when I began to seek God and His truth for my life, not the lies I was being told by the world and the society around me.
It’s been a multi-year process at this point, and I still struggle all the time to live a life of complete submission to God, but the heart change that has come from putting God first in my life has completely altered the way I treat my body, and has provided me a sincere, deeply rooted belief in my self-worth, even in those moments I feel critical of my body.
(Especially in those moments.)
I now understand that Jesus didn’t die so that I could live a life of fear, anxiety, and self-doubt, but one of freedom, boldness, and self-love.
Anchoring myself in that truth has been the only thing that has actually allowed me to permanently change the way I approach my diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices.
Want to let God to help you change your approach to health too?
This is some pretty heavy stuff, but I promise it will be life-changing if you open yourself up to the possibility of God changing your heart.
That’s why I’m so grateful to my friend Maddy Moon for creating an awesome online program called Scripture, Food and Healing.
(And I’m especially grateful that she invited me to participate as a guest expert and share my nutrition knowledge with her participants.)
Maddy used to be a fitness competitor and model, who was always searching for the “perfect body” and the best diet to achieve it. But the truth is, even at her absolutely smallest, she was incredibly unhappy and unconfident.
In efforts to undo all of the damage the fitness industry did to her mental and physical health, she began to heal her heart through scripture.
Did you know that the Bible has hundreds of passages that relate to disordered eating, perfectionism, anxiety, caring about what other people think, giving up control, food issues, and body image?
Well, it does. And they are by far the richest pieces of wisdom one can possibly receive when going through recovery from disordered eating, or trying to undo their own body-hatred.
Maddy created this course as a way to teach you about these passages, but also to guide you through the healing process step by step.
Scripture, Food and Healing is a program for women who are tired of living their entire lives chained to a meal plan, calorie counting app, or a workout routine.
It’s for women who know they were created for a bigger life than trying to fit into a certain size of jeans or accomplish a specific body fat percentage.
It’s a fantastic interactive program that leads you through the deep questions and purposeful studying that will allow God to change your heart.
There is one devotional for each day of the program, all of which revolve around disordered eating or body image, teaching students how to mend the broken relationship they have with their body.
This program is for any woman who suffers from disordered eating, though it is most helpful for those that suffer from healthy-eating obsessions, such as orthorexia, or forms of restriction. It will help women with binge eating disorder or bulimia as well, as there is a unique blend of scriptures and passages for both types of struggles.
This program is a perfect fit for any woman who suffers from a negative body image, or has anxiety, control issues, or perfectionist tendencies. Basically, there’s a little something for everyone here!
The course begins on April 25th, 2016, and doors close at 5PM EST / 7PM MST on April 24th.
(Note: this program is not appropriate for women with clinically diagnosed eating disorders, please see a qualified health professional for help with this diagnosis.)
Scripture, Food and Healing is a six-week course that includes:
- 42 devotionals, one each day for the entirety of the course
- Journaling prompts to help you articulate what God is saying to YOU
- 6 Bible study calls from experts in the field of food, body image and recovery
- Intensive assignments that will rekindle your flame with food
- Body image exercises that will turn body dysmorphia on its head
- A Facebook group for sharing, connecting and growing
- Accountability partners for further investing in the healing process
- A prayer each day sent to your inbox
- Self-loving rituals to partake in on a daily basis
- Daily resources such as videos, sermons and podcasts rooted in the Christian faith (all applicable to food and self-care)
I’m especially excited about this course because I’ve seen a huge gap in the “body positivity” movement, and it’s important to understand where our true value as women comes from.
Jesus came to free us from all struggles that keep our minds and hearts in bondage, so why shouldn’t we turn to Him for help and healing in the way we treat our bodies?
Scripture, Food and Healing has already helped dozens of women improve their relationship with food and their bodies. Two of my private clients have gone through the course and loved it!
If you’re ready to let God guide you in your approach to deeper emotional and spiritual healing, Scripture, Food and Healing is a great way to get started on your journey.
Remember: the course begins on April 25th, 2o16, and doors close at 5PM EST / 7PM MST on April 24th. Don’t miss your chance to sign up!
While it will require a continued commitment to studying God’s word, regular prayer, and a daily humbling of your heart, this course can teach you how to completely change the way you deal with your health and body image issues using God’s truth and plan for your life.
There is hope for a better, more purposeful life, and we all need God to live our lives to the fullest.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
DISCLAIMER: I earn a commission on any sales of this programs purchased through the links above. I feel strongly that this program is more than worth its cost, and would not endorse any program I had not thoroughly vetted myself. By purchasing through this link, you help to support my free blog/podcast activities. Thank you!