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3 Things to Remember When You Don’t Like What You See in the Mirror - GUEST POST



This post was written by Grace McCready, author of "Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like" and blogger on Tizzie's Tidbits of Truth. She has so much wisdom, and I'm so excited to have her featured on Run the Race! Enjoy her post!

 

When I was in high school, I had an eating disorder called “anorexia nervosa.” People who have this eating disorder struggle with their body image. As a result of having a negative body image, they decrease the number of calories they consume and increase the number of calories they burn in order to lose weight.


However, eating disorders are a very dangerous trap. The people who struggle with them don’t suddenly stop struggling once they lose a couple pounds. Over time, an eating disorder becomes a lifestyle of constantly counting calories, working out, and limiting food intake. Eating disorders can lead to serious health problems and even death in severe cases.


So how can you prevent your negative body image from escalating into an eating disorder? Keep these three things in mind:


1. You’re not the only one who dislikes her body.

Not many people are willing to admit that they dislike their bodies, but having a negative body image is incredibly common, especially for women. I would argue that 99% of females dislike at least one thing about their bodies. Because of the Fall, we don’t have perfect bodies on Earth. Although that can be a difficult reality to accept, it’s true. So whenever you feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t like the way she looks, know that the girls at your school and your church feel the same way.


2. It’s okay if you don’t love every single thing about your body.

I used to think that I had to love my body. But as I recovered from anorexia, I learned that it was unrealistic to expect to love my body; I simply had to accept the body that God had given me. You don’t need to pressure yourself to feel a certain way about your body. All you need to do is live out the truth that your body is beautiful and was designed with a purpose, even on days when you don’t feel good about how you look.


3. Your body’s natural signals are a God-given guide to help you make healthy decisions.

While it’s normal to struggle with how you view your body, it’s not normal (or okay) to let your body image dictate how you live. For example, when you notice a desire to eat less at meals, listen carefully to the signals that your body sends you, such as hunger and satiety signals. These signals—not the way you feel when you look in the mirror—should guide your decisions about how much food to eat. Similarly, when you’re tempted to overdo it during a workout, let your body—not your weight on the scale or the size on your clothing—tell you what it can and can’t handle.


One Last Thing

When I had anorexia, I held many beliefs about my body that were rooted in lies—lies that I was ugly, fat, and overweight, even though I was objectively too skinny. Satan whispered lies in my ear to trap me in unhealthy thought patterns and behaviors. Over time, the lies that he told me started to sound like the truth; and I became a prisoner to them.


In hindsight, I can see that Satan’s ultimate aim was to kill me as I lived out destructive habits. Only through a very long recovery journey and the healing power of God did my thought patterns and behaviors become healthy again. Jesus taught that “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 ESV). So even though there are still days when I dislike what I see in the mirror, I can differentiate the lies from the truth—and that, sisters, is where freedom truly begins.

 



Grace McCready enjoys spending time with her family, hanging out with friends, and watching her favorite TV shows. She is the author of Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like. She shares personal stories + Scripture to encourage young women at her blog, Tizzie's Tidbits of Truth.


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