I’ll tell you what, if I hear one more advertisement, or one more “influencer” talk about the “Quarantine 15” I’m going to seriously lose it.
It’s like, I’m sorry, I just survived a freaking pandemic, can we cool it on the body talk for just five minutes?
Thankfully, I’m pretty bulletproof when it comes to “weight talk” or “body image” language, and diet culture — but for a long time, especially in my early recovery, that was not exactly the case.
It’s really interesting, seeing the world through the filter of recovery. I’m in my…gosh, 13th year now, of recovery from a severe case of anorexia, that nearly took my life. And one of the greatest defense mechanisms I’ve found has been to condition my mind and heart to protect my recovery at all costs.
And so, naturally, when I hear the lamentations over the “quarantine 15” numerous red flags go off in my mind, that —hey, this is not recovery-positive content.
I think, with probably the vast majority of the population, body image thoughts have been popping up as we’re coming out of quarantine — whether we realize it or not.
Let’s face it: No one has seen a hair dresser for nearly four months, gyms have been closed for what seems to be an eternity now, emotional eating is what gets us through the day sometimes, and frankly, that evening glass of wine has become all-too available companionship.
Factor all those things together, and naturally, we’re going to have some thoughts about what we see in the mirror.
And as someone who not only survived anorexia, but also dealt with debilitating body dysmorphia — the peace that I have found with my body image has certainly been put to the test in these past months.
And thankfully, with Jesus’ help, I’m still just as strong today as I was on Day One of quarantine.
But I’ve definitely learned some things, that I figured I might as well share with you.
After all — my “The Truth About Bloating In Recovery” post is still one of my most popular blogs with over 600 comments.
Allow me to preface: going from 78 pounds to a healthy weight — my body underwent some major, MAJOR changes. And praise God for that, truly. But to say that I look like a different person would be the understatement of the century.
So as a result, I had to completely separate myself, from my body. I am a soul, I have a body. My soul is forever, my body is just a rental car I’ve been given for this life.
But that’s the biggest thing I’ve been reminded of during this quarantine: my body is merely a house for my soul.
Of all the challenges of isolation – sure, being physically unable to go places was taxing – but it was our souls, that, if not tended to, led to true crisis. So we FaceTimed. We attended church and events virtually. Our physical presence — our bodies — became secondary to feeding our souls with virtual interactions.
But this period of lack – this season of true need for caring for our physical bodies with things like: fresh air, movement, using our bodies for things other than Netflix, and sitting, and stagnation — truly needing those physical things has given me a new-found respect for all the incredible things my body can physically do.
I appreciate that God created it to be able to run, and jump, and lift heavy things, and ride a bike, and sweat in the sun.
And further to that, I have a deep appreciation for my body’s ability to keep me healthy. Coronavirus taught me not to take my health for granted anymore. I need to be my body’s greatest ally. In addition to wearing a mask and washing my hands, I have a responsibility to aide my body in staying in “fighting form.” This looks like eating nutritious meals with enough calories to sufficiently fuel my body. This looks like getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated. This looks like finding creative ways to move my body while stuck in a quarantined existence.
Not once does having a “thigh gap,” or weighing XYZ come into that picture. Not once.
It’s time to remember that.
It’s time to appreciate my body for the beautiful, intricate, and irreducibly complex machine that it is.
And lastly, to remember that I was made perfectly by our gracious and loving Father. My body is a gift. One that is to be used to fulfill my purpose on this earth. My body is a temple – a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, living within me, and guiding me. My body is strong — strong enough to one day, God willing, bring children into this world.
My body is beautiful. No matter what size or shape. No matter if it’s pedicured or with a fresh hair cut. It is a beautiful reflection of He who made me, and His light shines through me every day.
So – body image: 2020…let’s remember those undeniable truths, and offer ourselves some grace in the process. This has been a tough year so far. Why be at war with our bodies, when we can be the literal living sanctuary we were created to be?
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary – pure and holy for 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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119 responses to “Body Image in Quarantine Times”
You have no idea how much I enjoy your blog!!! It is ALWAYS uplifting, inspiring, and seriously motivating. Thank you, and please keep up the good work
Thank you so much Shakeela! Oh my gosh I’m so touched! I’m glad it resonated with you!!! Love you dear friend! Hugs and love xox
Such wonderful, powerful words, Caralyn. Be well my distant friend. ❤️
Thank you so much John, I really appreciate that. I can always count on you for an encouraging word!! Hugs and love xox
Take a bow dear lady, the love of that truth has set you free ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋
Oh my gosh thank you Mark, I am humbled by your generous words. Have a great night. Hugs and love xox
13 years in recovery: God is GOOD!! I pray that your blog and other outreach activities help many who suffer as you once did.
As a long-term person in recovery myself (29 years one day at a time free from alcohol), I find the old saying ‘being comfortable in my own skin’ goes well with your blog today. Once we are given the opportunity to recover physically, we must practice continually getting our hearts and minds going along the same path. I remember how beer commercials during a football game would basically make me drool with desire. It is only by His grace that He helps us along our individual path of recovery. And recovery can be a mis-nomer: I certainly don’t want to recover the life I had. Instead, I cherish the moments and days as they come, remembering what He has saved me from and always ready to share the hope He has given me.
You are an encouragement to many (myself included),
God is SO good!! Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words, Chuck! And wow 29 years!! That is AMAZING!!! That is so inspiring, oh my goodness. You’re so right about that – He has so much in store for us!! Cheering for you in your recovery! Hugs and love xox
Yes! Yes!Yes! I’m praying everyone who reads your words here will let them resonate deeply within their heart and soul, BEFORE they consider how the “Quarantine 15” looks on them. Thank you for your hard-fought and heart-felt words Caralyn. Love and blessings to you <3
Thank you so much Mindy! Oh gosh, I will join you in that prayer. Yes! Blessings to you as well! Hugs and love xox
As a runner who has gained at least ten pounds during this pandemic, it’s hard to keep a positive body image. I’m still running three days a week and hitting the stationary bike for three more, but it feels like I’m carrying around a sack of potatoes 🥔 all day!
Ok, rant over. I love what you said about our souls are forever, but we’re just renting our bodies. As a middle-aged guy, I needed that.
Keep up the good work, Caralyn. You truly are effervescent—even in writing!😀🙏
Thanks for sharing that David. Yeah – it’s always hard to give ourselves grace. Especially when it comes to athletic performance. I feel you there. Amen – renting our bodies!! Thanks for saying that!! Hugs and love xox
We haven’t met, but I want you to know I always love reading your blogs! They are always honest and inspirational.
Oh my gosh thank you Lisa! You just made my night!! I appreciate that, and I appreciate you! Hugs and love xox
A wise woman once told me that when I find fault with myself, I am actually being unappreciative of how God made me on purpose and I am criticising His masterpiece. I believe more and more this is absolutely true. Yes, we need to care for what He gave us but going overboard saddens Him. That has helped me so much through the years. As always, love you, beautiful friend.😄❤
Hi Tonya! Thank you so much for your beautiful words. Wow – what a powerful thought. You’re right – we need to appreciate His craftsmanship! That’s absolutely true!! Love you, friend. I hope you have a wonderful night. Hugs and love xox
You too! Hugs!XO😄❤
My body as a rental car! Great image! Body image is a tough nut to crack. Part of it is how society pushes image, but I also think there’s some personal pride involved. I was fit and muscular once upon a time. Now? Well, several near-death events have permanently changed me. Especially after the last one. Haven’t been right since. It’s embarrassing. I find myself telling people how I used to be as if to apologize for how I look now.
So, yeah, I think there’s an element of pride/embarrassment, a sort of “whistling in the dark” for those who don’t have the knowledge or maybe ability to do better. On the other hand, I need to say congratulations on 13 years! That’s simply heroic, especially considering all you are exposed to in comments. Mostly good, but some not so much. I’m sure it makes it hard to stay the course. I hope you’re working on your sequel speech so you’re ready when the time comes!!! Have a great weekend!!!
Hahah thanks Jeff! I must have rental cars on the brain after last weekend’s getaway! You’ve brought up such great points. Keeping the perspective of gratitude for life itself goes a long way. And thank you! Yeah hard to believe it’s been so long!! Sequel speech! Love that!! 🙂 I’ll get on that!! Thanks for stopping by and being such a great friend! Hugs and love xox
Excellent. “A temple,” yes. If all men learned that, what a different world we would live in. I was reminded again today how little respect men have for women in this day and age. God bless you always!
Thanks so much Sandman – yes! A temple indeed! True. Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox
The quarantine 15 is utter nonsense. The last thing we should be occupying ourselves with is the possibility of added pounds. Jeesh!
Utter nonsense indeed!! Glad you think so too. Thanks friend for stopping by!! Hugs and love xox
More excellent from a superb blogger and writer. Good stuff Caralyn.
Gosh Derek you sure know how to make a gal smile! Thank you so much 🙂 Hugs and love xox
Haha I try thanks
Beautiful! I agree with Shakeela! You’re so real and an inspiring young woman. 😇 Lots of Love from Miami!!
Thank you so much! Oh my gosh I am seriously so touched!!!! You made my day!! Hope you’re having a great week! Hugs and love xox
On this scorching summer evening, your blog is reassuring as always to reflect on your reinforced mental space in recovery. I’d like to say that you have my sympathy for having gone the journey from a beginning and fragile day one to becoming the negativity-resistant person you are now, through time and with Jesus’ hand. All the best!
Oh my gosh thank you Odell. And that really means a lot. Life has definitely been a journey, but I’m so grateful for all the lessons God has so generously taught me along the way, even if the learning process was difficult. Negativity resistant – 🙂 I like that! You’re too kind! Have a great night. Hugs and love xox
I am so proud of you! I too know all about body image and anorexia. It is a disease that will steal everything from you if you let it. A positive body image is so important yet so hard in our society of defining unrealistic expectations of ourselves, especially though social media. My motto is to be wise to yourself, do what you love, and be proud of who you are. Surround yourself with family and LOVING friends who are positive and happy. Remember God made all of us unique in His own image. Our Father in heaven made all of us royal too. We are all princesses in His spectacular Kingdom and that makes us royally BEAUTIFUL! Tamara xoxo
Oh gosh you’re so kind, thank you Tamara! And thank you for sharing your story. That is such a great motto: be wise to yourself!! Amen amen – loving friends are so important!! Thanks again for this wonderfully uplifting response! Hugs and love xox
Thanks for the reminder to carefully filter media stuff AS IT GOES IN and I talk back to it.
Pray for the ladies on magazines a the check out. Or that I see on TV or Facebook.
“Thank you God for making us Beautiful. Make our souls prosper as well. ”
“I trust You to tell me how to do this, God.”
“Create in me a clean heart oh God
And renew a right spirit within me”
“man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the ❤.”
Let’s do this!
Thank you so much! Those are great truths to remember! God is always in our corner. Hugs and love xox
God bless your good and beautiful soul Caralyn. I’m so happy for your recovery. Indeed, God gives the battle to His strongest soldiers.
Stay safe and be well always
Lots of love
Thank you Frances Anne. You are too sweet. Amen – God is good and I am so grateful for the healing He’s blessed me with!! Hugs and love xox
My dear friend Caralyn,
Thank you for this honest report about the connection we have with our own body. It is an instrument that God gave us in the hand. We are the administrators of this body and must treat it accordingly with due dignity and respect, because it is said: A healthy mind in a healthy body.
It is also good that you write that this body is the real temple of God. God dwells in every heart and His creation is not separate from Himself, for we are a part of His creation, drops of the great ocean of All Consciousness.
I liked that you became aware of how important the body is, which we should appreciate and honour given as a gift by God. This is the humility in gratitude to God to treat this gift of God with appropriate awareness. In the same way we should treat our spiritual development with respect and gratitude to our great Creator. It goes hand in hand with many insights and silent observations in everyday life and makes us more conscious.
The corona virus is in the true sense a test for all of us, how we deal with this situation, what we can learn from it – this will help us to expand our consciousness, because it offers us all the possibility of a self-analysis we can benefit from. This is exactly what you are doing, my dear friend Caralyn. You see with the eyes of the spirit and write with the ink of your heart. This touches the hearts, because it is living life and it touched my heart as well. Gratitude and honesty (it was not always like that…) they are your virtues – and your spirit is about to rise – continue on this path of the heart, which wins hearts in this way…
I thank you that you have become an example for many people who are now able to take you as a kind of orientation in their life, as they can see that even in difficult situations there is always a solution, when we also have trust in God.
Continue this path in your life together with the awareness that the Godpower is within you.
From heart to heart, my friend
Much love and many hugs to you
Hi Didi, thank you for this wonderful response. I can always count on your for a nudge of encouragement. Amen to that – our bodies are the temple of God!! What a powerful truth! And you’re so right – that should dictate how we honor and respect it. I’m so very touched. Thanks again my dear friend. Hugs and love xox
Welcome, my friend 🙂
All that is good for you and your family, dear Caralyn 🙂
Hugs and love
Thanks Lawrence. Hugs and love xox
You’re welcome Caralyn! You explained your sentiments well and I can understand your frustration about the hoopla. I only want to add I hope this whole body image pressure being put on especially women, but, also men isn’t really too upsetting for you, because the way of the world isn’t going to change unfortunately. Your efforts to date are highly commendable obviously, and, I’m sure you’ll continue in that vein to maximize the positive potentialities of sending out a good strong message to individuals who have the same or similar conflict you experienced that had such devastating consequences physically, but, most important what it was doing to you spiritually. Thanks for the opportunity to add my two cents in more ways than one. Hope it helped someone, somehow. Take care.
You are right in what you say!!!
Your body is God’s temple and someday it’s going to be glorified, and you will live in total freedom & harmony — spirit, soul and body.
Today, you live by faith in the Son of God, Who gave himself for us.
You have everything in the right perspective. Keep that and you will be doing well.
Thank you so much! Amen to that – how blessed are we for such a generous gift?! Hugs and love xox
👌 Awesome! Thanks for sharing. 🤗
Thanks so much! Have a beautiful weekend! Hugs and love xox
Right on sister! Have you heard of Jameela Jamil’s movement called @i_weigh? A few years ago she started it, inviting people to post their pictures with adjectives describing themselves. All to say we are more than the number on the scale. I joined and posted a no makeup selfie with my words, mother, cptsd, suicide survivor,sushi lover, avid reader, lover of car trips etc.. I received such an overwhelming positive response. I met a woman and immediately we started messaging each other privately. We are kindred spirits. She was the first one I started to share my poems with. She prompted me to start my blog. It took just one person believing in me for me to go after my dream of being a writer. That was almost 2 years ago, now 3 self published poetry books later. I share this story with you because your blog is so inspiring for me and I know it touches others in the same way. We must join together and say, NO MORE body shaming! That is Ms. Jamil’s message. We’ve got to love and accept ourselves and yes God made us beautiful. Another heartfelt post you’ve written here my friend. Much love as always🥰❤🙏
Thank you so much! I haven’t! But that sounds really powerful. And how incredible that you joined in! Thank you for sharing your story 💛 you are an importation! Hugs and love xox
My pleasure, check it out on Instagram. She sends out newsletters too. I think you would definitely enjoy taking part💜
uh-oh. guilty as charged. I just mentioned in a recent post my “covid-10” that I am trying to get rid of… I just added in it as part of talking about the house cleaning I was going through and getting rid of all the excel junk we had…
It’s all good, Jim! Quarantine has definitely thrown all of our routines and lifestyles for a loop! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
“A 48 year old preacher wheezed his words from his decrepit lungs, beaten down by years of preaching, teaching and never resting. ‘God gave me a horse and a message, and I’ve killed the horse,’ he lamented ”
“Train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 timothy 4:8
Stay healthy and serve the LORD all the days of your life. 🙂
Oh wow what powerful quotes! Thanks so much for sharing that! And yes! I love that verse! Hugs and love xox
Yes, I think just getting through the last 3-4 month was enough without thinking about Quarantine 15.
I completely agree! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
A while back I wrote a blog post entitled, “I’m a short, fat, quilter” in which I share how I came to accept my body shape for what it is. Round. It took a lot for me to get there and accept my shape for what it is. The funny things when I say it out loud people don’t hear the comma’s separating the words, people hear me say, I’m a short fat quilter.
I’m short. Making just over five feet tall. I have been since 8th grade. This isn’t going to change. It is, however, really helpful when showing other quilters dimensions in a quilt shop setting.
I’m fat. Every single time I’ve tried losing weight to get “healthier” the weight comes off, then no matter what I’m doing physically and eating – or not eating – I gain all that weight back and then some.
I’m a quilter, that’s somewhat self explanatory, except for the fact that I started years before I hit my 30th birthday and have therefore been a quilt maker for more than half my life.
Since I stopped freaking out, worrying about the shape of my person I’m much more content, and my weight has stayed about steady.
The blood pressure could use a bit of work, but that’s been stress induced because while, Pray about everything, worry about nothing and the peace of Christ will knock your socks off, is my favorite verse, it’s not always something that I am able to practice well. I’m working on that, just like I’m working on my faith life in some of the beautifully old ways.
Hi Teri, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this issue. Oh gosh, commas are important! I love this wisdom you’ve shared – prayer really is the ticket. And yes! With His peace, we can feel centered and good about ourselves as His masterpieces! And side note: how cool that you have that skill of quilting! That’s amazing! I would love to know how to do that artistic work!!! Hugs and love xox
Caralyn Thank you! I’m really honored that you picked up on that quilting is a skill. With some serious determination on my part, and by God’s Grace I’ve managed to meet a long time goal in the quilting world. It is bringing a shift, a holy and grace-filled shift in my innermost being.
thank you for being, and shining your light as Caralyn <3
It’s not just a skill but artistry!!!! 🙂
Thank you. <3
Great blog…thx for sharing your insights and journey 🙂
Thank you so much Monty! I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to read!! Have a wonderful weekend. Hugs and love xox
Another gem. I especially relate to your analogy. The rental car needs a tuneup. Have a wonderful day.
Thank you Dennis!! Rental car needs a tune up haha love it! Have a great weekend! Hugs and love xox
You are very wise to trust so completely in Jesus for your strength. I’m glad you’re coming safely through this trial.
Thank you so much Penny! Yes! He is our stronghold! Hugs and love xox
It’s easy to let all these ideas of what my body ‘should be’ marinate in my thoughts and leave me feeling less than amazing. Especially since my body (esp my tummy) used to be “perfect” not so long ago.
My point is… I’m glad I read this. A gentle reminder to keep the nasty thoughts out.
It’s the uplifting post I didn’t know I needed.
Thank you, Caralyn.
Stay safe and be blessed 💜
Thanks so much Agyeiwaa 🙂 you’re so right – gotta keep those negative thoughts out!! Sending so much love and hugs xox
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[…] Body Image in Quarantine Times […]
Thank you for the link up! Hugs and love xox
Thank you so much. Hugs and love xox
Very warm hugs too you dear,,, love you so much
hello friend! thanks for stoppin gby! Hugs and love xox
Your comments full fill me from energy
Just before I read this article, 3 things happened; which I think are worthwhile mentioning.
The first, was a thought that popped into my head whilst watching a kitten play. The little thing ran across the living room at speeds faster than a Tesla model 3 and slamming into furniture. Then it would get up do it all over again like nothing happened. Then it would leap up onto tables, etc.
Watching this little rascal, I began to wonder. If I was to scaled myself to her size and attempt to do exact things she does, I’d have a dozen broken bones, I would never be able to jump as high, etc.
My thoughts turned to amazement as even though the human body is capable of amazing things, physically, we do actually lag behind the animal world. In a matter of speaking, we are physically inferior.
It seems no wonder that in comic books, men have to be adorn with an animals characteristics in order to be able to incredible things; because we are just not as capable.
It made me wonder.. If man is the pinnacle of creation, made in the image of God, why is he so physically week compared to the rest?
The second thing was the fact that obviously during the quarantine, I had put on so much weight. I do feel like an over-weight sometimes. Haha… But that is easily remedied with proper diet and exercise.
Oh and the 3rd thing, comes even more in line with your article. Driving in my car, just 30 minutes before I read your article, the DJ mentioned an interesting statistic. According to what he was reading out, those around you see you as 20% more attractive than what you do when you look in the mirror.
So if I look in the mirror and think I have more in common with a Picasso painting than Brad Pitt, those around me believe I look like George Clooney. (if that makes sense).
Everyone struggles with self image from time to time. Some take it to dangerous extremes. But it is important to know, no matter what shape we are physically in, we are all still made in the image of God.
Oh my gosh your kitten sounds adorable. You’re so right – the human body is amazing. And what an interest statistic. So interesting – thank you for sharing that! I’m glad this resonated with you. Isn’t it funny how God puts thoughts in our heads and leads us to read certain things! You’re so right – made in His image. Sending so much love and hugs! Have a great day! Hugs and love xox
Thanks Gorgeous.. Have a great day.
Thanks Ts. Hugs and love xox
You have no cause for a body image problem because you’re still gorgeous inside and out. Keep the blogs flowing, they are helpful. My daughter still consults your Instagram site for recipes it seems
Thank you Ian, gosh what a kind thing to say! oh wow – that’s amazing! does she have any recipe requests?? 🙂 Hugs and love xox
I asked her and she is happy to view your posts as they come 🙂
I lost 3 pounds just working in the sun today. Even after drinking two gallons of water. I always wondered where these ideas come from. Not from any of the guys I work with. Haha. While everyone was quarantining, I was outside building stuff. I read about trends more if only to explain it to the other guys. “People are doing this don’t look directly at them.” Well. In their languages.
oh wow that’s sounds like it was quite the afternoon
Just, class differences I guess. We’re a little slow at the bottom
I was just thinking about self-esteem. I honestly never can understand the people that look at themselves in the mirror and constantly compliment themselves; “Oh.. you Gorgeous person.” “Hey operator.. I just saw a handsome guy in my bathroom. No wait.. that’s Me.”..
I just look at my face in the mirror and think, “Well, it looks better than my butt. That’ll do.”
hahhahahahahahhahahhaha oh my gosh i seriously laughed out loud at this. that is so great. i love it. love it. love it. love it.
It is so hard for me right now because I’ve gained weight. I feel so horrible. Please pray for me. Thank you in advance.
Thanks for sharing that, Amanda. Quarantine has definitely been a huge adjustment: mind, body and soul. I will absolutely keep you in my prayers!!! Hugs and love xox
[…] blog that I follow recently posted something interesting about Body Image in Quarantine Times. I encourage you to take a look at that article as […]
Thank you so much for the link up! Hugs and love xox
Love you dear
Thanks friend. Right back atcha! Hugs and love xox
Come and hug me
Such a good thought process here! I, too, have been irritated by all the jokes about quarantine weight gain and making light of our society’s obsession with size. I’m constantly growing in the journey to care more about my health than my aesthetics, I’m tracking with all these words.
Thanks so much! Glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox