The Comparison Battle Part 2 | Hips and the “F” Word

Cartoon of Women's Changing Room: 3 sizes Fat, Fatter and Fattest As a result of the flood of responses from Life as a MRS | The Comparison Battle,{click here to read} I decided to continue the discussion with one area of comparison most women struggle with: weight and body image – or hips and the “F” word.

If you struggle with negative body image and constantly compare yourself to other women, you are not alone. We all struggle. We all compare. We all wish we could change something about ourselves.

A few weeks ago, after Michael and I met some friends out, the words involuntarily spilled from my mouth: “Was I the biggest girl there?”

Two years ago, I moved home from China and had gained 23 lbs! That’s what oil and carbs and no full length mirrors will do to you. I was mortified and embarrassed to see people. I hated myself for letting my weight take over, and thought, “once I get back down to the weight I was before, I won’t struggle anymore.” I would have you know that for the past 6 months, I have been in my goal weight range. But I still compare. And worry and stress.  Which sometimes leads to extra gym time and egg whites; but more often leads to chocolate and cheetos. I thought that once I reached my ‘goal weight’ I wouldn’t compare my body to those around me. Why — if I’m in my weight range — do I still struggle with comparison and negative body image?

Have you been there? Are you in the midst of this struggle?

I could blame the media for giving me unrealistic expectations. I could attempt to only to surround myself with full-bodied women. I could pin up Dove advertisements all over my cubicle and mirrors at home. I could self-talk everyday, instructing myself, “you are beautiful just the way you are” blindly into a mirror.

But does this really work? Are we just Image of Dove Campaignsupposed to look at Dove commercials and “self talk” our way into being ok with cellulite and hips? I have to argue we’re missing the deeper issue.

The truth is we probably won’t ever be perfectly free from comparison. Most likely, we won’t ever be fully satisfied with our figure or number on the scale. There will always be someone we want to look like — someone to envy. You can swear up and down you’ll be content once you look like her or achieve a certain look — but I can promise you, the satisfaction will be short-lived and won’t solve the deeper issues.

Which begs the question: why are we confined to these bodies that won’t ever look the way we want them to?

“You were given a visible body to make Christ visible.” (John Piper)

Stopped me in the middle of my run.

With that quote something clicked for me: our bodies are just on loan for a short time. We won’t be confined to  imperfection forever. Not only were we created in the image of God, but we were given a visible body to do His work and breathe His healing on this side of eternity. In essence, to make Christ visible. And if you’re not a Christian, you can think of your body as made to bring beauty and love to the people around you.

Last night was glorious because I didn’t exercise. I came home and cooked for three dear friends – and finished off a bag of peanut butter MNM’s afterwards. And guilt didn’t consume me or steal my joy, because I focused on my task for the evening: making Christ and His love visible to these three girls.

Change of perspective: my goal is not to be thin. Or have the cleanest house. Or cook the best meals. And especially not to attempt be like everyone else. I want to take care of my body and not fall victim to either extreme of obsession or neglect. My goal is to use the body and gifts I have been given to bring life and beauty to barren places. In the way I’ve been gifted – created – in His image. Do you need a change of perspective?

What if the next time you looked in the mirror, you didn’t focus on your big hips or let the cellulite on the back of your thighs dictate your worth – but thought, “how have I used my body to encourage and bring life to others today?” So what if you ate three slices of cake. You made Christ visible today.

How have you used your body to bring life today? Do you struggle with comparison & body image? 

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Comments
12 Responses to “The Comparison Battle Part 2 | Hips and the “F” Word”
  1. Brayta says:

    You were given a visible body to make Christ visible… I’ve heard that before, but I think it just sunk in! Mission accomplished: you made me feel SO loved :) and Christ is evident in your kindness, encouragment, openness, beauty, and light… Just to name a few!
    Love this and can SO relate! A certain friend of mine(that you know) and I have a deal: whenever we are feeling unsatisfactory/appalled by our bodies, we call it out, proclaim thankfulness for having bodies that work, and insist that it’s “a free day”… Our bodies are free of mean self talk/condemnation, of relentless comparing, of binging or starving…
    I smile to imagine what God’s idea of perfect is :)

    • ruthie00 says:

      Incredible. Thanks for your heart, Brayta. I love the idea of a ‘free day':) Giving myself one today! What is God’s idea of perfect? Can’t wait to get to heaven and find out. Keep commenting and thanks for subscribing.

  2. Brayta says:

    Okay so apparently it just takes a while for comments to show up!!

  3. Erica lee says:

    I so loved this blog too!!! Ruthie you are one in a million! I love you! This blog spoke volumes to my heart!

    • ruthie00 says:

      Erica — so great to hear! I’m thankful I’ve finally started being bold and honest and people are reading. It took me close to 4 years to actually give into writing a blog. (why would anyone want to read what I have to say?) Now, I see why we should always follow the still small voice of God. Thanks for the encouragement. :) please keep the comments coming!

  4. Olivia says:

    This is easily the best blog post I’ve ever read on body image (and I’m interning for a website running a whole month of articles on the topic). I absolutely love this and am so inspired! The focus should be on serving and loving – if it’s focused on ourselves, change of the heart will never occur and we wont be content. Thank you so much for this post! Sharing it for sure. :)

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Thank you, Olivia! Feel free to use my post for your website as long as you link back. I’m glad you found me:)

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  2. [...] were imprisoned and without hope.                                            He has given you a visible body, not to compare to others, but to make Christ visible. Because He is a good [...]

  3. Ruthie Dean says:

    [...] bitterness, hurt friends, and turned my back on God. I am a far cry from perfect.  I struggle with body image. I compare. I have a hard time paying attention and slowing down. I struggle with feeling like God [...]

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