We live in the day and age that regardless of our best efforts we are inundated with unrealistic body image ideals. While I know that the pressure can be felt by both sexes I think the brunt of it is fixated on our girls and women. Mainstream media praises the efforts of already thin women getting thinner and applauds a size four for flaunting her curves. This sends a confusing message to our already confused young girls and women. Let me just add here that I am not suggesting that ultra thin doesn’t exist in healthy realms. I am speaking of the extremes to attain it and the misguided illusion that beauty is found in a certain size.
I am once again entering into a season where adolescence will soon give way to budding adulthood. A daughter who is somewhere between Barbie and make-up and trying to figure out how that all works together. It is a confusing time at best and hurling unrealistic expectations at them makes a challenging transition even more so.
While I am focusing on Jesus to be a better, wife, mother, and woman, her eyes are on ME! How, in all my earthly insecurities, do I help her overcome hers? Growing up I watched my mom succeed briefly and crash and burn on one crash diet after another and before I hit double digits I was joining her. Healthy food was torture, treats were taboo, and a growling stomach at the end of the day meant success. This was my inheritance.
I have made a list of behaviors to model in attempt to bankrupt my inheritance and add richness to the lives of my daughters (and future daughter-in-law, I want this to affect my son also) lives.
1. NEVER call an indulgent meal a “cheat” meal. Enjoy the meal and move on. No guilt necessary.
2. NEVER complain about a healthy meal. Again, enjoy the meal and move on. No need to feel depravation because it wasn’t a double portion slathered with cheese.
3. Let them see and hear me enjoy that freshly baked cookie as much as that juicy crisp apple. Food is meant to be enjoyed and treats don’t have to be eaten in private….there is NO shame in enjoying an indulgence.
4. NEVER complain about exercising. Instead, let them here me say positive things like, “What a great workout, it really challenged me.”, or, “It’s amazing how strong and energized I feel after exercising.”.
5. Never let exercising, beautifying, etc. consume my time. It is a small but important time of my day. Set aside a reasonable amount of time for it. I want them to know that even in their busy lives this is something that is an important and manageable part of their week. I want it to come as naturally as showering or sleeping.
6. NEVER body shame-anyone! Talk about how incredible God created our bodies. All different, shapes, sizes, and colors-what a creative God! Tell them that if we eat well and exercise our bodies will naturally find the size that best suits who God created us to be.
7. To not be afraid of changes. Different seasons of life will find your body growing or changing especially if you carry a baby in your body. If the experience leaves behind physical daily reminders just count it as a blessing and a badge of honor. Dwelling on what was steals from what is and what is to be.
8. It’s OK to have an athletic figure or a curvy one. Just don’t get carried away with extremes. Starving to be thin, exercising excessively, or overeating are all behaviors that should be considered worthy of change. Your health matters over vanity.
9. Investing in your health and well being is something you always have time for. When you take the time to do things that help you feel good about yourself you will, in turn, feel better equipped to take on your day and to be the best you can be.
10. No matter the circumstance, you’re “Fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)” by a God who tells you that you’re “His treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6). You’re worthy of love, respect, and joy. When you pause and try to see yourself through the eyes of Jesus, it is there where your worth lies.
~Be Blessed and be a Blessing~
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