I’ve been battling more negative thoughts about my body lately.
Maybe you have too.
It may surprise you that a coach focused on wholeness and freedom still struggles with her body image.
Some things God does along the journey rather than immediately.
I’ve learned some things that are not helpful (e.g., checking mirrors constantly, comparing myself to past pictures, focusing too long on areas of discontent). I’ve also learned what is helpful (e.g., focusing on my health behaviors and implementing them every day, regardless of what the scale says). It’s a journey, but I know I am headed in the right direction.
When I notice the feelings of shame start to enter, I have found it helpful to do 3 things:
Up my focus on the things I am grateful for (related to my body)
Gratefulness is like the direct arrow in the heart of thoughts that are disparaging my body. When I start to feel discouraged, I am learning to offer thanks for the ways my body moves, for its strength, for its ability to carry me throughout my day and empower me to fulfill all my responsibilities. Yes, I am in a larger version, but she is also a more compassionate, kinder version of Rachel. Full of wisdom and grace she has obtained along her journey.
Focus on serving someone else
I’ve come to accept that my thoughts about body image are quite self-serving. And when I find myself getting too down, it usually is an indicator that I need to get busy. It does not take very long for me to see a need in my environment or a word of encouragement I can offer to someone else. I often find that the encouragement that I need will come from the seed I deposit to someone else. I’m learning to keep sowing joy that I will reap at just the time I need it.
Double down on my health behaviors
I have learned all the things I need to do on a daily basis to keep myself in optimal health. It has taken years, but I now know focusing on the number on the scale does not always lead me to my best health. Rather, a focus on practicing the behaviors that I know matter (reading my Bible, exercise, water intake, eating balanced meals) sets me on the right path.
There are stages to this freedom journey, and I am learning that body image can be a stubborn foe as we are nearing the end. Though this journey can be long, I am finding joy along the way. I hope you are too.