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?
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
A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia. Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.
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