Body Image Healing




Body Image Healing

Now, ya'll know this is something I am SO passionate about! Body image is something I talk about a lot, but it is so close to my heart and it is so important, especially for the women of this world chasing freedom!

When it comes to my body image journey, I've literally had to WORK my way through it, amidst tears and fears, negativity and self-sabotage. The journey is constant and it is something I still work at daily, but I now feel like I'm working to maintain a positive body image driven by health and nourishment rather than working to achieve unrealistic body shapes based solely on aesthetics and 'fitting in' (into friend groups, romantic relationships...a size 4 pants).

My negative body image used to eat me alive. I used to see myself as ugly or too big - there was ALWAYS something that needed improving - and all that hate and harshness toward myself only brought me more struggles. It is so easy to slip into this mindset and see ourselves as 'less than'. And it's this mindset that girls these days seem to be so conditioned to have, I believe, that is leading to things like depression, severe anxiety and eating disorders.

I’ve done tons and tons of internal work to become free of this harmful mindset. It isn’t one of those things where you can just snap your fingers and be healed. It has been a constant work, a constant practice. I've been in training to be set free from this and no longer be in bondage of what my body looks like on the outside.

As I was reflecting on this body image healing journey of mine that has spanned the past 8 years, I realized that there are 3 lessons that I learned that I want to share with you. My hope is that they’ll help you to become more conscious in your freedom walk and help you to look at your thoughts and how you think about yourself in another way.

1. A better body does NOT fix a toxic mind


For the first 4 years of my journey, I didn’t quite get this. I was just so focused on my body and being the right shape, thinking that if I could change my body, my mind would feel better. So. Not. True.

I felt like if I could get to a point where I felt comfortable around other women or with men and liking the way I looked in photos or just seeing myself naked and actually being happy with what I saw, then I could feel like I had ‘done it’; I had gotten ‘there’, and then life would just be so much better and I’d be so much happier.

But because it was the body that I was chasing, I fell into patterns of skipping meals, seeing how long I could go without eating, seeing how few calories I could eat in a day so I could feel smaller...all to fit in or be loved by a man!?

Because the ‘dream body’ was my goal, my mind too a back seat and it got darker and darker and darker. I was burning calories out of hatred and fear. It became an obsession. And that affected all other areas of my life - I couldn't show up in my friendships and sports and school the way I wanted to and used to be able to. Being consumed by diet, food and exercise only takes away from all of the other and more important things in your life like your relationships and spirituality.



“Diet culture can't touch true freedom”.

The lifestyle change that you want will NOT come through focusing on changing your body. It will come through transforming your mind...transforming your mind is the BEST way to change your body and it will positively impact the rest of your life as well! You have to work on taking care of your thoughts and becoming obsessed with the right things, like following Jesus and self-inquiry and growth. That’s how I did it.

When you can transform your mind and strengthen your thoughts and live in this faith-filled, truth-filled, mindfulness journey, your body IS going to follow suit. And your spirit and relationships and all will go with it! 


2. Running from your issues will never get you to freedom

Now, this isn’t always fun work (however, it is freedom work!), but you have to reveal where your self-sabotage and body image issues are rooted. If you're just running from one diet to the next, trying to find the ‘perfect plan’ or the next person who will ‘fix’ you and you're not willing to put in the work to find out what’s at the root, then the issues are going to stay there and show up again and again.

I’ve been paleo and keto. I’ve counted every calorie and every macro. I’ve joined weight loss programs...and none of these things had a lasting impact for me. All that happened is I was led to a point where I still didn’t like how I looked, so I searched for the next fix...outside of me. And honestly. This. Was. Exhausting! I knew there was a way that I could slow down and walk with Jesus to find freedom, but it required me to do the internal work. We HAVE to do the internal work!!!

"There is so much healing in revealing"

One day, all of my struggles and hiding what was really wrong and the exhaustion just imploded - I laid in the shower literally crying to God: “I can’t do this anymore. Whatever work needs to be done; I’m up for it, I’m here for this freedom walk.” And I believed that He would provide me with the energy I needed to tackle this thing once and for all.

What was revealed to me after this all-time low, was that for me to experience true liberation and yank out my limiting beliefs and negative self-talk from the root (you know, that stuff that happened when you were a little girl, the comments people have made to you over your life, or influence and comparison from social media), then I had to bring it all to the surface, intentionally, to clear it. Honestly, if you don’t take the care and time to reveal what’s really doing on and peel back the layers, you’ll never know the liberation and flow that you CAN feel.

3. Where are your goals actually going to get you? (and be super duper honest!)

The first 2 points have to happen first; you need to work on your mindset and address issues from the root AND THEN you need to ask yourself “where are my goals really getting me?” I mean, REALLY!?

2019 has been the first year where I can say I am pursuing health and I am choosing to be a good steward of my body by honoring it through movement and nourishment no matter what. This is non-negotiable. This allows me to show up in this world in the way that I need to. It’s the first year that I didn't have a number to hit when it came to my physical body. I asked myself, “If I got down to 150 pounds, where would that really get me? If I got down to size for pants, where would that get me?” I realized I didn’t need the approval anymore, which was where these ‘goals’ were trying to get me.

I used to like people saying how good I looked, or how it looked like I’d lost weight, or commenting on how fit I looked. But guys! What we have to know, like really KNOW is that getting into size 4 pants will not help your relationship with Christ. It won't strengthen your marriage. It won’t make your business grow and expand. It won’t get you anywhere you TRULY want to go. For me, I could do all of the things to get my body to look a certain way, but at the end of the day, it was never going to grow my heart. And that’s what matters.

So now, my goal is health. I don’t weigh myself. I’ve taken the focus off numbers and this might work for you too. My goals are around my business and for my impact and finances and family and...you get it right!? Body goals for me are just super toxic (refer back to point 1.), so I have just released them all this year and it has brought me so much freedom. So. Much. FREEDOM.

When you nourish your body the majority of the time and you do everything in moderation, just like the Bible says. So often we think that food freedom is the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. That's not true. There are boundaries within freedom and that is why freedom exist. That's maybe hard to wrap your head around. But it’s how you find true blue freedom. Set those healthy boundaries for yourself. Understand your weak points. Understand what you can't keep in the house. Understand what you may need to let go of for a while so your body doesn't crave it constantly. Do these things for yourself in the pursuit of something bigger, something deeper.

So, ask yourself “where do my goals get me right now?” And be honest with yourself. Be honest with yourself even if you do have weight to lose. Maybe you need to stop with the numbers game and start with the freedom game too!


“Your body knows when your mind is being ugly.”

If you need help with healing your body image, you might like to listen to my podcast: The Chasing Freedom Show. I talk about Body Image in episode 22 and 64 - check it out on Spotify, iTunes, or SoundCloud.


Xo,


Tan

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