Women and their weight

Dear Daughter,

It’s a mystery to me why we women are so preoccupied by our body image. It’s like God gave us an extra rib and with it an extra dose of insecurity. Maybe what He really gave us was humility (to juxtapose the confidence of our male counterparts), but we’ve twisted and turned it into low self-esteem. All I know is, every woman struggles with her body image to some degree. Even supermodels are consumed with their bodies because they need to maintain its fabulousness, which is difficult to do.

There’s a fine line between doing what it takes to be healthy and obsessing about losing weight. There’s also a fine line between being comfortable with who you are and being a little too comfortable with who you are. It’s crazy but our culture has capitalized on the negatives of both mentalities. On the one hand, images of hot women and diet foods litter our TV screens and magazine pages, but on the other, we’re told to accept ourselves as we are, even if what we are is obese and disease-ridden. We’re getting conflicting messages, and both ends of the spectrum can be damaging. No wonder we women are an emotional bunch!

I’m curvy, with a small waist and a J-Lo-like booty. It’s easy for curves to turn into rolls, so I’ve been careful not to let that happen. I’ve never been overweight, per se, but I’ve had moments where I’m less comfortable with my body than others. Right now is one of those times. I’m 7-1/2 months pregnant, so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but I’ve gained weight in areas other than the belly (see: J-Lo-like booty) and I’m mad at myself because of that. I regret that I haven’t been eating better nor exercising. In fact, I’m consumed with guilt and regret every day. And sometimes I want to crawl into a hole because I don’t want people to see me and think I look fat.

This is what we women do to ourselves. We beat ourselves up, which is just as unhealthy as eating poorly or neglecting to exercise. There is a deep mental connection with what should only be a physical issue. And it’s that mental connection that makes or breaks us.

Daughter, I’m not going to tell you to just be happy with who you are no matter what you look like, because I don’t want you to think it’s okay to be unhealthy. I’m also not going to tell you to develop a rigorous diet or fitness plan. Instead, my advice is to make the right decisions as they come to you. If you’re given a choice of an apple or a donut, or if you’re contemplating watching TV or going for a 30-minute run, stand back and decide which is the best choice for you at that particular moment. When you step outside of your instincts and put some thought into it, you’ll likely choose the healthiest option every time. And when you consistently choose the healthy options, your confidence skyrockets because you know you’ve made the right decisions, from which your health will benefit. Suddenly weight is no longer on the forefront of your mind, and you can focus on bigger and better things.

My hope for you is that you don’t get caught up in the rat race of weight obsession. My hope is that you’ll rise above all of that nonsense and will serve as a strong, confident, healthy example of what God intended for us women in the first place.

Love,
Mom

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Beth
    Nov 16, 2011 @ 17:08:23

    Fantastic advice. As I read I kept thinking, “Man, I wish I had heard that from my mom when I was growing up!” Such an delicate balance. Learning to be okay with the body God gave you and yet treating it as the temple is one of the biggest battle in my life and many women like me.

    Great words of wisdom Julia…I needed that today.

    Reply

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