“The ‘Big’ Truth about Body Image & The ‘Skinny’ on Body Shaming”by Heather H.

“The ‘Big’ Truth about Body Image & The ‘Skinny’ on Body Shaming”

Let’s be honest here, we see it all over the media and in society’s portrayals on so-called beauty and what a “perfect body” looks like. For many years, celebrities and everyday people have been called ugly, cruel names such as “fat”, or “obese” for not being the “ideal size”. For many years as well, modeling agencies have had a standard of what they look for in a model, the taller the better and the skinnier the better. We’ve heard horror stories about anorexia and bulimia. The truth is those are not just statistics and stories, but they are real people…real women (and even men!) who struggle with body image. The truth is that we all know that not everyone is created and built the same. Some of us are a 5’8 slender build (like myself) with long legs, long arms, big hands with long graceful fingers, but huge feet that are nearly impossible to find shoes that fit that are actually cute! Or the struggles of finding jeans that don’t make you look like you’re expecting a flood!

Some of us are a 5’2 rounder build with a little more “junk in the trunk” or a bit more curves, shorter legs, and dainty small feet, a nice voluptuous figure. But there’s some who are in the middle…maybe a little taller or shorter, some maybe a little more “blessed in the chest” than others, or you feel like you’re still waiting to hit puberty when all your friends are buying their first real bra. Let’s face the real honest truth ladies, no matter what age you are 13, 22, or 45 we compare our bodies to others whether the bodies of our peers and girlfriends or the airbrushed bodies in magazines and ads. However, calling yourself “fat” or someone else “big-boned” or “obese” is not the answer. Neither is calling someone “scrawny”, or “too skinny”, and “bony”, both are just as hurtful. All name-calling is hurtful.

The “body shaming” trend in media and the rise against body shaming is everywhere! The truth is you should NEVER been ashamed of the body God handcrafted that is home to your soul. I had always gotten picked on for being so skinny, I can’t count how many times I’ve been told “Girl you should eat a cheeseburger or somethin!”, “Girl, you’re gonna blow away with the wind!”, or the most annoying “When are you gonna gain some weight?” I dealt with it, there were days it made me mad, and there were days I thought I may have some kind of problem, some people thought I had an eating disorder. (which I never did). They say “stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”, that’s one of the biggest lies on the face of the earth. According to anad.org (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) “Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food (e.g., binge-eating), and feeling a lack of control over the eating. This binge-eating is followed by a type of behavior that compensates for the binge, such as purging (e.g., vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics), fasting and/or excessive exercise.” and anorexia is a little bit different, “Anorexia nervosa is characterized by emaciation, a relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight, a distortion of body image and intense fear of gaining weight, a lack of menstruation among girls and women, and extremely disturbed eating behavior. Some people with anorexia lose weight by dieting and exercising excessively; others lose weight by self-induced vomiting, or misusing laxatives, diuretics or enemas.” Both of these disorders give a human being a distorted false view of their own body, thinking that their “fat” when in reality everyone else can see that they are wasting away. If you or someone you know maybe struggling with an eating disorder there are listed symptoms, warning signs and resources to find help on anad.org.

Obesity, on the other hand is defined as “Obesity is a complex disorder involving an excessive amount of body fat. Obesity isn’t just a cosmetic concern. It increases your risk of diseases and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Being extremely obese means you are especially likely to have health problems related to your weight.” according to the MayoClinic.org. On the flip side of things, for many years ladies on the “heavier” side have been ridiculed mercilessy for their size as well! This is NOT okay people! The classic lines of “Oh she’s got a pretty face, but she’s a bit on the heavy side”, or being told they need to lose weight. Weight gain has been struggle for many women, whether they used to be slim and fit in figure, and may have gained weight after giving birth to beautiful children! Never be ashamed of stretchmarks or any type of scar, they tell a story and make you who you are!

However, the bottom line everything comes down is…YOUR HEALTH! Whether you are a size 2 or a size 14, it doesn’t matter about shape and size; it matters how your body feels inside! As I mentioned your body is a home for your soul. C.S. Lewis once said, “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have bodies.” Your body is a temple where Jesus Christ lives in YOU! Do you want a junky, messy living room for the Lord and Savior of your life to dwell in? I sure don’t! Now, don’t get me wrong…I love my sweets and have a lil bit of habit BUT I actually love fruits and veggies, juice and plenty of water! It’s okay to balance out your little junk foods every once in a while with a healthy dose of clean eating! I’ve taken small steps such as cutting back on sodas, drinking lots of water and juice as well! There are many healthy recipes on Pinterest and many other websites! It’s really a proactive effort. In all reality though, nothing beats good ole fashion exercise (of any kind, just be active!) and well balanced eating habits.I want to leave you with these simple truths: 1) Body Shaming is NOT okay, don’t be jealous of someone smaller or bigger than you. 2) A healthy lifestyle is important, we glorify and honor God with our bodies (plus don’t you wanna feel better?!) 3) YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!! It’s time to let your outside match your inside! Your beautiful soul shines through to your outer appearance! You are made in His image! Your are a princess daughter, who walks in confidence! Psalm 139:14 says “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” He crafted every cell and fiber of your body together! Here’s to all you beautiful ladies out there, don’t let a number on a scale or size on a tag define you, let your Maker and your hard work at a healthy life define you!

With love your sister in Christ,
Heather

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