Katie and Jenna:
Hey FAM! We are two friends here to tell you about our struggle with body image and issues with food. We want you to know that you are not alone. And we hope to leave you with a few practical encouragements for wherever you are.
I'll start with my story. Countless times I’ve looked in the mirror and been disappointed with the person looking back at me. Thoughts start running through my head like “I’m not supposed to be this big.” I think about how my body got like this and ways to fix it: often blaming it on the food I ate the 24 hours prior. For nine months the solution was simply to throw up anything that entered my body. Although this strategy worked for a while, I knew that it wouldn’t last. I eventually reached a low point. I then decided to seek out Christian counseling. This is where I started unpacking the emotions behind my bulimia.
This helped me embrace my “thicker” body, but I soon shifted my obsession from being thin to being as toned as possible. I simply shifted from one unhealthy obsession to another. Instead of throwing up the food, I set strict dietary restrictions. This time when I approached the mirror I would critique my muscle tone, wreck myself in a workout, and then repeat the cycle again the next day. I began sharing my struggles, hoping to find other suggestions. A common response I received was “Katie, you shouldn’t feel that way - you’re made in the image of God!” I knew that but why didn’t I believe it?
For me, it wasn’t until after finishing my last season of my soccer career, that I realized that I had an issue with my view of food and view of my body. I was running anywhere from 6-14 miles a day while struggling to control my eating consumption. I expected to get in even better shape than I had been as a college soccer player; disappointingly, I was gaining weight and it devastated me. I ate "healthy" and was working-out so hard, which raised the question: why was I gaining weight? I distinctly remember the moment I realized I had a problem. I was having a rough day and binge ate a lot of food. I was ashamed and went straight to my room to hide. I passed the bathroom and a thought creeped into my head. “You could throw this all up and feel better.” As soon as I thought this, I knew that wasn’t who I wanted to be or how I was created to live. I quickly repented and cried out to God asking for freedom. I had lived in bondage to food and how I looked all my life. My prayer, since then, has been “God show me how you see me. Replace the lies I have been believing with your truth of who I am.”
Katie & Jenna:
We eventually connected and realized we could face this together. We both began the process of finding healing from body image and food issues by believing what God’s word said about our identity. In a practical sense, here are three simple things we did:
1. Together we shared our stories and struggles with one another and agreed to stop labeling food as “good” or “bad” but as “fuel” for God’s kingdom.
2. We tell each other when we are having hard days or are in need of accountability or words of encouragement.
3. And we recently went through Ephesians together and it talks all about our identity as Christians. We needed truth to wash over us. We encourage everyone to go through God’s Word and find out who God says you are because he is the ultimate authority, not us or the world.
Think about this: "As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5)
LET. THAT. SINK. IN. You are dearly loved and God delights in you like a husband delights in his bride on his wedding day. Nothing you do can change, increase, or decrease the love that God has for you.
If you struggle with body image, we want to encourage to do two things. FIRST, seek out accountability and friendship with a safe person. We promise you that it will be better together. Don't hide anymore. ALSO, you to seek out what God says about you. Invite him into the process and believe he will reveal your true identity. You were created for so much more than to just be pleasing to the eyes, but you were created to impact people’s hearts and eternities. It is a daily choice to walk in the identity of being a chosen, beloved daughter of the King. Knowing who you are is the best weapon against the enemy, your flesh, and the expectations of society that want to you hold you back from walking out in victory and freedom of knowing your true identity. When we align our thoughts and beliefs about ourselves with what God’s Word says about our identity in Christ, then we free ourselves up to be who God created us to be which is a child of God in whom He is well pleased.
Our prayer for you is that “his glorious, unlimited resources will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. And that you may have the power to understand how wide, long, high, and deep his love is for you! That you may be able to walk in the freedom of being a beloved daughter of God. Amen.”
If you need someone to talk to, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a former soccer play from Newport Harbor High and the University of Montana. I am currently working towards getting my Masters of Divinity in Pastoral Counseling and am about to start an internship through my church in Montana. I have a heart for young women and encouraging them in their passions and relationships with Jesus.
I am a Montana Native, recovered bulimic and former athlete of Corvallis High. I am currently majoring in Nursing at Montana State University and will graduate in May 2019. My passions include mental, physical and spiritual wellness/health in young women.