You did it.
You finally lost that weight. You finally ran that marathon. You finally gave up sugar for a month. You finally fit into your dream size. You finally mastered that workout routine.
And yet something doesn’t feel right.
You still don’t love your body.
“So,” you ask yourself, “since I don’t love my body after I’ve done all this, when will I love my body?”
The answer to that question may initially disappoint you, but I hope you’ll find freedom in it.
Welcome to My World
And here’s that hard-to-swallow-but-surprisingly-freeing answer for you: you may never love your body.
From personal experience, I can vouch for that statement. Let’s rewind my life several years, and you’ll understand why. When I was in high school, I decided that I was going to do anything to be skinnier. Not because I was overweight. Objectively, I was healthy. But from my perspective, I was the world’s fattest teenage girl.
There was no major impetus for my unnecessary diet (aka anorexia nervosa) except my own body hatred. (There was definitely some spiritual warfare going on too.) You may know the rest of the story because I chronicled it in my new book, Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like.
Long story short, I never achieved the perfect body. I was so close yet so far from attaining it. In spite of the significant weight that I’d lost and how skinny I’d become, I still couldn’t say that I loved my body. Underweight, starving, and depressed, I reluctantly decided to begin recovery.
My physical recovery began, and my misery continued. I can’t express how disgusted I was with the body that I saw in the mirror during my recovery. No, I still wasn’t overweight. I wasn’t fat. I was simply recovering.
But I hated my recovering self.
The self-loathing continued, but I pressed on. One day at a time. Taking one step forward and two steps back. Every. Single. Day.
The Necessary Shift in Our Body-Love Obsession
Until I got here—the place where I can write about body acceptance not because I love my body but because I’m okay with my body.
There’s a huge difference between the two. I realize that it’s common to hear about body love, even in Christian culture. But this is what I would say in response to anyone who says you need to love your body: don’t bother trying. Instead of focusing so much on trying to love your body, just let yourself be okay with your body. Aim to shift your perspective from hatred to acceptance.
Perhaps that sounds like discouraging or hopeless advice. But I learned (and am still learning) that once I took the pressure off myself to love my body, I didn’t focus on my body as much. It made me cringe a bit less when I looked in the mirror. I didn’t obsess about my weight or appearance 24/7 anymore.
Here’s the thing—it’s important to listen to your doctor if he advises you to lose weight. It’s crucial that you listen to people who care about you (like your family and close friends) when they lovingly express concern for your health. But even if you lose that weight, get in shape, drop a few clothing sizes, or change your diet, that doesn’t mean you’re going to start loving your body.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. (Proverbs 31:30 ESV)
Friends, chasing the perfect body is a lie—and I dare you to believe the truth. Loving your body isn’t a reality for most women in our broken world. There may always be something that you don’t like about your body until you get to heaven. Then—and only then—is when you’ll have a perfect body.
Until then, I hope you’ll take daily steps to go from body hatred to body acceptance.
If you want to learn more about body image and acceptance, you can click here—that’s what my book Real Recovery is all about, friends!