The Truth About Body Image

Before I start tonight’s post — just wanted to let you know that I put up another YouTube Video: 10 THINGS I’D SAY TO 15-YEAR-OLD ME! We talk body image, boys, beauty and beer!

If you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube Channel, I would like to personally invite you to! 🙂 I’m putting out weekly videos, and your support would really mean a lot! So THANK YOU! 🙂

I was shopping for my upcoming trip to the lake this morning, and as I was purchasing a bikini, I had a moment.

You know the type — one of those full-circle realizations where your life flashes before your eyes – kind of moments.

Well, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. It’s not like I solved world hunger or anything.

But, that bikini brought up a lot of thoughts about…body image.

It doesn’t matter who you are, how old you are, what body type you have — every. single. one of us has dealt with feelings about our bodies in some capacity. I mean, hello – we’re in the season of swimwear. This is prime time when body image is front and center.

And for really the first time in my life, I’m finally at total and complete peace with my body.

Which, honestly, is such a victory for this girl, who nearly died in her pursuit of “skinny.”

During my battle with anorexia, my body dysmorphia had such a powerful impact on my view of self, that my perception of my body was entirely skewed for nearly a decade afterwards.

Looking in the mirror I’d brutally tear myself down with hurtful words that would make a sailor blush. I’d stay home from social events, because I was ashamed of how I *thought* looked. I would never go shopping, because I couldn’t bear the thought of trying on clothes. (That, and I didn’t believe I deserved nice things.) I was completely enslaved to this belief that I was hideous.

I look back at that time now, and think, “My gosh, Care, you were beautiful. How could you not see it?”

That’s the thing. Our body image is so impacted by our brokenness. We’re not seeing with our eyes, we’re seeing with our wounds. We’re letting our negative self talk be the voice that we hear and believe.

We’re letting the self-doubt, the feelings of inadequacy, the self-consciousness, the past wounds or failings be the lens through which we see our bodies.

And I’m here to tell you: enough is enough of that bull crap.

I got over my body image issues when I stopped focusing on my body, altogether.

Here’s the truth: Yes, I have a body. But I am so much more than just a body.

I am a soul –and– a body.

Both equally important. Both given to us by the Father.

So what we do with them matters.

How we treat them. How we love and take care of them — it matters. Why? Because it is our responsibility as image-bearers of God.

Think about that — image bearers of God.

As soon as I realized that, I realized that by me hating my body, I was hating God. I was rejecting Him, and the gift He has blessed me with. And it was then that I realized, I need to change my thinking.

I need to start seeing myself — not through my own, broken eyes — but through God’s eyes.

God, who created me on Purpose, with a Purpose, and with a Promise. A Promise that He will make all things new — including me.

Yes, my past is full of incredible brokenness. Yes, I battled anorexia that nearly destroyed my life. Yes, I lied and was deceitful and manipulative and abusive and all that horrible crap that accompanies an eating disorder. I have incredible brokenness.

But that’s not the end of my story. For He is making me a new creation.

Seeing myself through that lens of crap from my past — that is a direct contradiction to the Promise that He’s given me.

By listening and believing those lies — those accusations from the accuser — I was rejecting the incredible gift of mercy and redemption that Jesus gave upon the Cross.

I had to pluck that out of my life by the roots.

Jesus didn’t suffer and die for me to believe I was worthless because my thighs touch.

THINK ABOUT IT

That is putting my body above God. That is worshiping a false god. Worshiping self. Making my body an idol.

I had to put my body in its proper place on the totem pole: at the very bottom.

That’s the hard truth about body image.

Seeing myself through the eyes of God, not the eyes of my brokenness.

I’ll leave you with the words from my inpatient journal when this finally dawned on me:

“Loving yourself is not selfish. Loving yourself means seeing yourself the way God sees and values you.”


“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5


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BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

144 thoughts on “The Truth About Body Image

    1. Thank you so much! Amen to that! He sees us as His precious children. And what a beautiful thing that is. Amen! I need to say that prayer too!! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you Scott, I do truly appreciate that. On the surface this might not seem like an issue that’s applicable to everyone, but i think deep down there are some slight similarities that we all can resonate with in some capacity. So glad you stopped by, my dear friend! Have a great night. Hugs and love xox

  1. You’re wonderful and your message is so powerful especially to young girls growing up. I’ve been through different things to you, but am overcoming trauma from childhood and a lot of scars that were related to appearance, bullying C-PTSD, body dysmorphia, anxiety and seeking Christ as He makes things new and transforms the broken things in our lives to be bridges to reach others. I’m sure God will use your life to help others. I don’t have an eating disorder, but my best friend from the ages of 5 to 9 years developed one – it was after we lost touch, but she died a few years ago from heart failure due to anorexia. There are so many other people out there who need to hear your message, moreover need to hear of the love and transforming grace of Jesus Christ to heal the broken hearted and bind up our wounds, to give us beauty for ashes and joy in place of mourning. I commend you and pray you keep going strong, and be encouraged that you are helping people, you might not see the fruit always, but who knows, maybe something you say could save a life. God bless. x

    1. Hi friend, oh my goodness, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m sending my deepest condolences. Gosh that is just so tragic. You’re right – there are a lot of people out there that are going through some tough circumstances. And Jesus is our healer for everything. Thank you for sharing this. Sending you so much love. Xox

  2. Seeing with our wounds. Now there’s a thought! In my 60’s, I’m not at all happy with the way my body is betraying me. Weight control? Pffft! Every time I look in a mirror I cringe. How the hell did I turn into THIS?!? I imagine people looking at me every day wondering what this old fart did to himself.

    Swimming? Not when my chest and abdomen look like a railroad map from the surgeries I’ve had! Pretty hard to take having declined from my best; two hours of hard cardio and weights every day right up to a few days before double bypass. I cried the first time I saw myself after my last surgery. It was more upsetting than the double bypass scar.

    But here’s what you’re helping me see. I’m looking at me with my wounds, both the physical scars and the hidden ones. But I’m still the guy who was physically fit in my 40’s. I still have a sense of humor and often “see” myself as I was. Right up until I see a mirror. I’ve got to learn to let that go and keep focused on the real person inside this “soft machine.”

    How does God see me? I’m the guy trying to help his kingdom with his blog and Sunday Bible classes. I’m the guy who likes to lend a hand. I’m the guy with a great wife and daughters. Mostly, I’m the guy He loved enough to save with His son. I guess that’s not too bad of a guy, eh?

    1. Hi Jeff, thanks for sharing your heart. You’ve definitely gone through a lot. And you’re absolutely right – you ARE that guy! You ARE helping His kingdom and spreading His love and His light. And yes! That’s the most important truth of all – we are loved enough to be saved by His son. That is such a comforting thought 🙂 Jeff, you and your girls have been on my mind all week. Hope (and praying) you all are doing well. Big hugs to you all xox

      1. Hillary is doing well. She and Julie are driving to Ohio tomorrow to see our other daughter in Columbus and Julie’s folks in Toledo. Hills is feeling up to it. Also, she gave notice at the stable today. She thinks the stress of the job might have played a role. Thank you so much for your prayers and concern! They mean a great deal! Have a great weekend! XO

      2. Oh praise God. I’m so glad to hear that. I’m sorry that she’ll be leaving the stables. Hopefully she’ll be able to find a way to keep horses in her life in some other capacity. 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  3. I have a question. I think it’s so wonderful that you became healthier and continue to recover every day. Did you go to a Christian recovery program or (re)discover faith while you were there on your own somehow? I want to be able to relate to this somehow even though I don’t share your spiritual beliefs. Some posts are tougher than others, even though I enjoy reading them all.

    1. Hi Paula, thank you for your question. Yes! I went to a Christian recovery program. My faith has always been a big part of my life but my recovery really solidified my beliefs, as it is the foundation of my recovery 🙂 thanks so much for taking the time to read 🙂 let me know if you have any other questions! Hugs and love xox

  4. Great post! It’s unfortunate that what the world we live in views as “beautiful” is all solely based on the outward appearance. I’m sure you’re familiar with this verse, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. ” Although I wouldn’t consider myself a “believer”, I don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater anymore. There’s wisdom in the bible that is universal and doesn’t necessarily need to be tied to belief, in my view. But, it’s true, focus on only the outward and neglect the inward and you have a hot mess on your hands, doesn’t matter how attractive said person is. I know the addiction cycle all to well, great job of overcoming, it’s no small feat!

    1. Thank you so much Peter!! I so agree — beauty comes from the inside and I wish the world would recognize that!! And thanks for that encouragement. Means a lot 🙂 big hugs to you xox

  5. May we always look at ourselves through Gods eyes. It is hard to not let how the world defines beauty to define you too. Let our faith and who we are in Christ be what matters.

    1. Amen to that!! Through God’s eyes. He loved us enough to die, so that really shows how precious we are in His sight 🙂 so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  6. Thank you so much for writing this post. I am not alone in my recovery. When I was in college I used to binge eat. Then I would go to my dorm room and say I was fat. I would then either try to make myself throw up or I did throw up. In 2015, I checked myself into therapy for anxiety, depression and my body image disorder. Even though i am out of therapy I am still learning healthy habits.

    1. Thanks Amanda for sharing that. I’m so glad you are reclaiming your life in recovery!! I’m in your corner and cheering for you 🙂 sending you so much love xox

  7. “Our wounds are often the opening into the most beautiful parts of us” 🙂! Congrats on re-inventing Yourself 💪🏻! Best wishes ⭐️

    1. Thanks friend – that’s a great point!! And I really appreciate that 🙂 best wishes to you too! Hugs and love xox

    1. Uh phone clicked send and I never finished my message. Anyway I’m a pretty skinny guy and I thought that maybe I could look bigger and there’s 2 ways of doing it. Either eat and gain weight or go to the gym work out while adding extra protein. I don’t need to look like a body builder but looking bigger than simply skinny was my objective.

      Without gaining too much I’m able to do a bit of both but the same time I’m not joining a gym. Just doing some exercises is fine. Eventually I’ll buy one of those machines that works everything at once. People do like others that look fit but not overdoing it either.

      I think people take it to the extreme and ends up being a disorder. Either way you’re doing the right thing by eating well. And that in itself is beautiful.

      1. Not to worry. Such great points. You’re right – healthy is a beautiful thing!! Hugs and love xox

    2. Good point! Maintaining and monitoring health is absolutely important!! 🙂 Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much!!! I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. 🙂 hope you have an amazing weekend!! Hugs and love xox

  8. Yes you (we) are more than just our body! That is such a powerful statement my friend ⚘🌻⚘🌻 I’m glad you realize that. Once everyone realizes that life will be so much better! This is such a great post. I will subscribe to your YouTube channel. Subscribe to mine too, lol! Have a wonderful night and enjoy your trip to the lake 🐬

    1. Hi Lane!! Thank you so much 🙂 so true!! We are so much more than our bodies, or the clothes or make up we wear or our hair styles or the cats we drive. Etc. it’s the HEART that counts! 🙂 have an amazing weekend! Hugs and love xox

  9. You certainly were beautiful. You certainly ARE beautiful. Your spirit, heart, soul are certainly beautiful. You are a creation of God. That makes you a beauty. Then, His Son Jesus Christ, the Promised Messiah of many years, care to earth before you were thought of generations ago, and died for you, as you were on His mind specifically. That shows you were a beautiful soul in His Mind, since Jesus is also God.
    Then, moving forward to your generation, Jesus knew where you were at all times Caralyn, and all you were going through, and you were still a beautiful person.
    Next, when you invited Jesus Christ into your life to be your Saviour, surrendering your life to Him, your beauty was enhanced by the Joy and Glory of the Lord. At that time also, the Spirit of God entered your life, moving right in as you gave Him residence, and you became wholly beautifully a saint, a disciple, an Ambassador of Christ, with His Light shining in and through you, noticed by all whom you meet and whom you encounter in life.
    So it is now the Beauty of Christ enhancing the beauty God had already poured into you.
    All those words Caralyn, to tell you and everyone else: you are an incredibly, fantabulously, beautiful Woman of God. All you are, do, say, exudes the beauty God has given you.

    Luv, 😁🥰🤩🌹

    1. Oh George, my goodness thank you so much my dear friend. You’re words are so like a balm to my soul. What an incredible Savior we have!! I love this beautiful reminder you’ve provided. And I am humbled by your generosity! Thank YOU for being His ambassador! I am blessed to know you! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks David! Haha Yes! God ruled indeed!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 So glad you stopped by! Big hugs xox

  10. So well done and so on point. If we disrespect our bodies, we disrespect our Lord. After all, we were made in his image. Keep up the great work. I see a minister in you yet….Beautiful yes, you still are and always will be, because the inside is radiant.

    1. Thanks friend 🙂 so true! We are temples of the Holy Spirit!! It’s always good to remember that! Thanks so much for your kind words 🙂 big hugs to you xox

  11. Very lovely post😌💕
    It’s crazy how I can always relate with your posts…sometimes I worry about my body, because I’m too skinny and small, as people always remind me of that every chance they get and sometimes it would affect the way I see myself and start eating much more than I can handle just to add weight. But then I don’t add weight and then I freak out and worry more, thinking I don’t look good at all. Then they’d tell me I look like a high school student and I’m in Uni, so I’d feel really really ashamed of myself.
    The point is, I’d already turned my body into an idol and this is not the life Jesus died to give me… Thank you for reminding me😊😊💕

    1. Thank you so much Scarlett for sharing your heart! I’m so glad this resonated with you 🙂 I’m sorry you’re feeling scrutinized by others about your body. You’re so right – keep your head up – you are beautiful just as you are. You’re taking care of yourself. And you’ve got your perspective right!! So glad you stopped by, beautiful! Hugs and love xox

      1. Thank you so much Care!!!
        It’s always a pleasure reading your posts, you are such an inspiration😊😊
        💕💕💕

  12. I love the statement about how Jesus didn’t die for us to believe we were worthless because we don’t have a thigh gap, that made me laugh then cry because it’s so very true. He didn’t suffer for us just so we could turn around and feel less than because society pushes a image of “you should look like this”! Thank you so much for reminding us that our bodies are worth more than rubies

    1. Hi Alexis! Thanks for taking the time to read this. You’re so right – that perspective is so powerful to remember. It really illuminates things, doesn’t it?? So glad you stopped by. hugs xox

    1. hahhaha oh gosh — you’re so right about that! bathing DRESSES! hahah hugs xo

  13. This post – Wow. I needed to read this! Although I didn’t admit it for years, I have had body image issues. And, to a point, I still do. However, I know I was made in God’s image. I’ve held on to that for years. Whenever I’ve gotten discouraged, I pray. I write in my journal. And it helps! I try to make better choices every day. Yesterday, I went to a place called Salad Creations before a big work meeting, and I surprised myself by getting the Green Goodness salad with the raspberry vinaigrette. My “normal” choice would have been a different salad, likely loaded with Caesar dressing. It was so good!

    1. Hi Laura Beth! Oh, I’m so glad this resonated with you 🙂 Thank you for sharing your heart. Yeah, I think body image is something that we all battle to some capacity. I love that — pray through it. That is so important!!! And way to go girl!!! Hooray for listening to your tastebuds and stepping out of the box!! 🙂 hope you have an amazing weekend!! 🙂 big hugs xo

      1. You’re welcome! Your posts always seem to click with me, and I love that. I hope you have a wonderful weekend as well. We are tackling the second garage this weekend – Maybe we can actually park my car in it soon!

  14. Your scars are full of wisdom. That line: “We’re not seeing with our eyes, we’re seeing with our wounds.” is a word our culture urgently needs to hear. To show you God’s timing, as I was reading I also had Spotify going and the song playing was Tauren Well’s “God’s Not Done With You”….coincidence? Don’t think so!

    1. Thank you so much Randy for this beautiful response. You’re so right! Not a coincidence at all!! He’s only just begun!! big hugs to you xo

  15. “As soon as I realized that, I realized that by me hating my body, I was hating God. I was rejecting Him, and the gift He has blessed me with. And it was then that I realized, I need to change my thinking.”

    I cannot tell you how hard it was for me not to break down and cry while reading this post. Honestly, it hits so close to home, and I have always admired your honesty. People really need to hear these words, and I am certain that God is working through you. Bless your soul. ××

    1. Aw, thank you so much for this beautiful response. I’m so glad it hit home with you. Amen – we are His creation, and loving ourselves is loving He who made us with such care and love!! Hope you have a beautiful weekend! big big hugs xox

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 so glad it resonated with you! You’re right – it’s something we all deal with in some capacity!! Have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks so much Natashya! Amen to that! Not to worship them!! 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼 #priorities! Hugs and love xox

  16. I love love love this!!! I believe God showed me the same thing as I hate on myself. It is a hard truth but it is so true. I was just thinking that as I get older and my weight creeps up that if I keep comparing myself to everyone else than I am going to miss the beauty and wonder that God made me to be. I am actually for the first time in a long in the process of being able to go to the store and buy clothes that complement my body. For awhile I didn’t even think I was worth doing that. Thank you for your openness. God is doing mighty things through you.

    1. Hi friend! Thank you so much for this heartfelt response. You’re so right – we miss the beautiful creations we are when we compare. Sending you so much love xox

    1. Thank you so much Elber!! That means a lot 🙂 glad it resonated with you. Big big hugs xox

  17. Thank you for sharing, Caralyn. For as confident as I am, I had struggled with body image since my youth when I was teased. So thankful for healing and deliverance in Christ. Keep preaching, teaching and creating awareness. There is so much you have to offer so many who are hurting. ♥️

    1. Hi Terese! Thank you for sharing your past. Amen – there is deliverance and healing in Him!!! He is the great healer 🙂 very grateful for you, friend! Have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox

  18. Just last night, in a class I have, one of the students mentioned that studies have shown that we see ourselves as what we think that others perceive us to be. Not just our physical appearance but our personality as well. I have not cared for a long time what other people think, my wife says I should care a little more because sometimes I guess I come off “rude”. There may be some truth to that, I prefer the term “blunt” or “straight forward”. My point is that we all need to be OK with ourselves. Who we are now, both inside and out, in our hearts and in our minds. We are what we are because of poor and good choices, as well as things we cannot control. Acceptance is a beautiful thing also. I am who I am, and I strive to be a better version of myself everyday. Somedays are better than others. The best part is that God knows who I am. He knows my struggle and He loves me always.

    1. Hi William, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this. You’re right – OK with ourselves – inside and out. That’s super important. And amen to acceptance!!! Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thanks so much 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to read it! Hope you have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox

  19. Good Video. I must say that I could not have given myself any better advice. When looking in the mirror, the image is true and your perception is sometimes an opinion. Be aware of the facts and not the judgements. You are what you give.

    1. Hey thanks so much for watching it!! And you’re so right – you are what you give. That’s a profound thought! Hugs and love xox

    1. Yes we are!! Thanks so much Kylie. Scars are proof of God’s Victory! 🥰 Hugs and love xox

  20. Hey! I recently found your blog and read through a few posts! Great content!!! ♥️ You are a light and an encourager 😊 Please keep writing and I will keep reading.

    1. Hi Rachel! Thank you so much! Gosh you’re kind to say that. I appreciate you reading!! Have a beautiful weekend 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  21. Loving and accepting yourself. That’s something that really needs to be said to a lot of people. A lot. I’m glad you wrote such a beautiful post on that. I will make sure to follow your blog to read more as well!

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 you’re so right – we all need a little more self-love and compassion! Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

      1. I’ve never really thought a lot about self love, until I started following BTS and their message. I’m glad you are soreading it too. I will definitely stop by more!

  22. Hello there Caralyn <3
    (I hope I have your name correct!)
    It is a long long road to being mentally and emotionally healthy after a long bought with body dysmorphia. And the only way for me was through my deeper connection with God.
    I am thankful God has touched your heart and soul and given you the strength to write and speak to others.
    Love and prayers,
    Jackie

    1. Hi Jackie, thank you so much for sharing your heart. You’re right – a long road. And amen! God is the way! Hugs and love xox

  23. Hey, Caralyn. I was actually curious on your perspective about bikinis in light of dressing modestly. A lot of Catholic women bloggers decry them.

    1. Hi Anna, thank you for your question! I personally don’t have any issue with them! Granted, my bikini is a “full coverage” bikini, but for hanging out on the boat in the sun, I think it’s just fine! I think there is beauty in modesty, of course. But when the time and place calls for a swimming suit…se la vie! Hugs and love xox

  24. ‘Jesus didn’t suffer and die for me to believe I was worthless’.
    This got me!
    I had a lot of issues with my stature when I was much younger. It felt like I wasn’t really growing compared to every other person. Though I was better at a whole other stuff than others, my body image stood on the way of seeing how good I was or believing in myself.

    Thanks for this post!
    It reminds me of then and how much God loves me and wants me to love myself beyond what I see or who I think I am!

    1. Hi friend! Thank you so much for your response and for sharing your story. Amen to that — He loves us so immensely and wants us to do the same! So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 hope you’re having a beautiful weekend. Hugs and love xox

    1. Oh that would be wonderful! Thank you! There’s a Facebook share button on the bottom of the article, or you can pass along the url! Hugs and love xox

      1. YW! I shared it on my FB group already, but thought that re-blogging meant to share blog post with other blog sites, including mine. 🙂 TY! Bye for now!

      2. Yeah unfortunately when I switched to a business profile, the “reblogging” feature went away which I was SOOO sad about. So the only way is to copy and paste, I believe. I’m working on finding some sort of widget that allows it! Thanks again! I really appreciate your support very much, Giselle. Hugs, Caralyn

    1. Oh my gosh what a kind thing to say. Thank you love. Yes He does! He loves all of us!! Hugs and love xox

  25. Very well said! I’m going to share this with my guy friend who had bulimia when younger and has severe image issues now. ”
    That’s the thing. Our body image is so impacted by our brokenness. We’re not seeing with our eyes, we’re seeing with our wounds. We’re letting our negative self talk be the voice that we hear and believe.”

    1. Thank you so much Mistye, for passing this along. will keep him in my prayers! big hgus xo

  26. That’s good. To see oneself as God sees you. That reminds me too. Imagine how I saw myself believing I had AIDS for 13 years. That was a horror story. It’s good therapy to see others who passed similar things and to hear their stories. I will try to see myself as God sees me. Good post.

  27. I love this, truly hits home. I’ve coped with self acceptance the same way. God created me so I cannot complain about His creation, my body is an amazing mechanism so I have to appreciate it and embrace it in all its glory. And I think whatever journey we’re going through with our bodies we have to begin loving them as they already before thinking they’re only capable of loving after they’ve reached a certain goal, because I think that’s when body dysmorphia settles in. Thank you for this x

    1. Thanks friend. So glad this hit home with you! Amen! Embrace it!!! Hugs and love xox

  28. “We’re not seeing with our eyes, we’re seeing with our wounds.” You nailed it! Reading these (your) words was an a-ha moment for me! Thanks for your sharing!
    Carole

    1. Yes! Thanks so much Carole! So glad this resonated with you Hugs and love xox

  29. What a God honoring post! Glory to God indeed!
    I was just reading that page last week. I only have a handful of days left.
    How blessed I have been! God cherishes you, Caralyn!

    1. Aww thank you Gail. I am just so grateful for you and your wonderful friendship 🙂 you are a blessing to me!!! 💛💛💛

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