That’s all it took to send my thoughts into a tailspin. Two seconds with my feet planted on a scale was all it took for my entire day to feel ruined.
You know the thoughts that started. I considered the wine, the candy, the burritos I’d had over the past week. I remembered the day when I met a friend for ice cream instead of exercising and the mornings I just couldn’t rouse myself out of bed for a run. I grabbed the back of my thighs—you know, the place we’ve all grown up learning to squeeze and hate—and vowed to live and eat differently. Spinach, no carbs, lots of water, and for heavens sake lay off the dessert.
My thoughts spiraled in that crazy place. You know the one. The place where you know you are crazy, that you are not the fattest, grossest person to ever grace the planet, but you can’t stop the thoughts. Suddenly, everything looks big and swollen and you notice the double chin that really isn’t there, but you’re just sure it is.
This crazy zone is the same place we go when we have absolutely nothing to wear. If you are married or you at one time lived at home with your dad, they give you that look that says: “Hey sister. Calm Down. I’m starring at a closet full of clothes and there’s at least 10 outfits on the floor right now. Why don’t you just breath.” But you can’t breath or calm down because you have somewhere important to be with absolutely nothing in that dreadful closet that remotely will fit the occasion. And it all just feels crippling.
Loving our bodies can be one of the hardest parts of womanhood. We’re taught to hate and to hide what God has given us. I think it’s good and maybe even freeing to admit out loud that we often feel like a number on a scale, even if we know that number doesn’t define us. It’s healthy to admit we struggle with comparing our bodies to our friends and hoping one day we’ll win what feels like an endless battle.
I love a story Anne Lamott tells. Her friend lay dying in a hospital bed, body filled with cancer, and Anne was visiting her before a book signing that evening. In what became a pivotal moment, she asked her friend:
“Does this dress make my hips look big?”
Her dying friend looked at her and said,
“Annie, you don’t have that kind of time.”
Big hips? You don’t have time to worry about big hips.
Beautiful, especially considering the recent events in Boston that made us all consider the terrible brevity of life.
I struggle and I know you struggle too. Your body is not a problem and you are not a number on a scale. The truth is I’ve grown significantly in this area and learned to love my body over the years and maybe you have too. But in some ways, it will always be a fight not to succumb to hatred of our bodies in stride with culture. And that’s ok. Our job as redeemed women is to keep fighting to focus on what really matters, instead of allowing hateful thoughts to steal the joy of living, loving, creating, and embracing—all the beautiful parts of life.
I don’t have time to let 3 pounds or big hips or a week of dessert to occupy space in my mind. And I hope you don’t either.
Do you struggle with body image? What helpful ways have you found to love your body and not let worry steal your joy?
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- The Comparison Battle Part 2 | Hips and the “F” Word
- big thighs, blue dresses, and self-love
- Your Body is Not the Problem
- Life As A MRS | The Comparison Battle