Like many of the conversations we have here in my little internet corner, this one won’t be an easy one. It’s a topic I have skirted around a couple of times and it is one I’ve been super nervous to discuss with you; but, today we are going to break the ice on the conversation about our relationship with food.
I don’t know about you, but I have had a struggle with food and body image since I was really young. I can’t quite pinpoint the exact moment that I shifted from carefree girl to girl obsessed with calories, fat grams, and the size of my jeans. But at some point in my younger years my mindset shifted and the struggle to shift it back has been REAL. Does this sound like you? If so, I encourage you to keep reading so we can try to walk through this topic together and maybe come out on the other side with a little more courage.
There is something you should know first, though, before we move forward. This is NOT the post that will fix all of your issues with food and dieting. These words are not meant to erase everything you have been struggling with. This is just me, a friend, reaching out to you and saying “you’re not alone in this and you are not defeated.”
The steps I want to share with you today are not the cure for the struggle that we both face every day and none of them are going to fully eliminate the problem — but I believe that they can help us move forward, start to find healing, and learn to shift our mindset. Remember, I’m not here to tell you that there is a sure set of steps you can take to rid yourself of this burden– I’m just here to share my story in hopes that we can walk through this together.
1. Stop Gripping so Tightly & Learn to Let Go
Control is a huge part of this struggle for me. Whether it’s fighting for control over every little thing and being obsessed with what I’m putting in my body, or panicking because I know I have far less control than I would want. At some point I had to stop lying to myself: I cannot control everything. Including my body. Yes, I can make healthy choices. But I can’t control that I’ve been created with a small chest and wide hips. I can’t control that I’m a short girl with thick thighs — no matter what the number on my jeans says, they will always be thicker than what I have allowed myself to believe is acceptable.
I have to learn to be okay with the amount of control I DO have as well as the control that I DON’T have. And so do you, friend. Because we have both been made with beautiful intention — to be exactly the way we are. So, instead of fighting the way we have been made, maybe we should simply let it go. Let go of the control. Let go of the standards we have been told to live up to. Let go of that image we have of our perfect body because we have better things to do with our minds. Let go of the control we so badly want to have over the shape of our hips, size of our thighs, and flatness of our bellies. Let it all go so we can focus on the things that matter.
2. Stop Fighting Yourself & Start Fighting FOR Yourself
Something I believed for far too long is that I would wake up one day and this struggle would be over. And it wasn’t until recently that I realized that just isn’t going to happen. I’m not going to “grow out” of this. I’m not going to forget about it with time. It isn’t just a part of life — it is a part of me. And as much as I may hate to admit that, it’s the truth. Sure, it in no way DEFINES who I am. But it is a small part of who I am. It’s just as much a part of me as my quick temper, impatience, and tendency to procrastinate — they are all things I hope to change with time, but they are all things that will probably remain a part of me for the rest of my life, even if I can improve them somehow. It is how I handle them that makes the difference.
So, instead of fighting this part of me and being confused by the fact that I’m still dealing with it, I’ve decided to accept its presence and start fighting FOR myself. Start fighting for the things about me that matter MORE than this struggle — the good stuff.
And you should too. Start thinking of all the positive things you know to be true about yourself and FIGHT for them. Fight for your compassion. Fight for your love of art. Fight for your dreams, the people you love, the silliness that makes you…well, YOU. Those are the things worth fighting for. And I would be willing to bet that somewhere along the way you and I might find that while we were fighting for the GOOD stuff, the not-so-good stuff just sort of fell away. It’s when we shift our focus away from the struggle that the struggle itself seems much smaller.
3. Stop Believing the Lies & Hold Onto the Truth
It is nearly impossible to ignore the lies thrown at us every day. Or how about learning to let go of the lies we believed as little girls? The same ones that followed us through our teenage years and now as adults. I think some part of us likes to hold onto the lies simply because they feel comfortable and familiar. But we both know that we can’t continue to believe them while also believing the truth. We must choose which one we will hold onto — which one will we stand for? If not for us, for our best friends, our moms, our daughters….the versions of ourselves we want to be.
To stand for the truth, we must first understand the truth. And here it is.
We were not made for this. Our Creator did not weave every piece of us together so intricately and perfectly just so we could sit here and be unhappy about it and use all of our energy trying to undo it. No, we have been created for far more than this. We have been created to be storytellers, wives, moms, world changers, doctors, artists, business women, advocates, missionaries, friends, role models, and most importantly: shining examples of the love that surpasses all other loves. We were made to represent Jesus and if we are so focused on the lies of the world then we will never fully know the truth: that we have purpose beyond what we look like and what our body fat percentage is. We have real work to do! We have a world to change! And it isn’t going to happen if we spend all of our time trying to count our calories and measure our waists.
So, friend, I am inviting you to STOP gripping for control, STOP fighting who you were made to be, and STOP believing the lies of the enemy. You have so much work to do — a purpose that only you can fulfill. And you don’t have time for hating your body and obsessing over your food.
That leaves me with an invitation…
Will you join me? Join me in learning to stay focused on what matters most and trying to show the world that we will not be weighed down by expectations, lies, and envy. NO. Let’s show them that we can shine with GRACE, PEACE, and DIVINE PURPOSE.
I have one more invitation for you:
If you are feeling at all inspired by this post, I would like to offer you a gift. Something that I pray will bring you closer to overcoming this struggle every day. I have created a 7-Day devotional that expounds on this topic and takes an even deeper look at the healing process. This devotional is completely FREE for those who have read through this post — because that tells me that YOU might be the reason God placed this devotional on my heart. So, I would like to give this devotional to you.
And if you do choose to use the devo, please let me know! Snap a screenshot of your download on your Instagram Story and tag me (@s.sweetlyblog). I would love to see you using this free content. Plus, you never know who you might encourage in the process of sharing.