Reshape Your Body Image: Confessions of a Body-Change Addict

The other day Miranda Lambert’s photo graced my Facebook newsfeed. Wearing a stunning black gown, the picture showed her by a microphone wiping tears from her eyes as she declared her thanks to God and her love for Blake and her fans. It didn’t take a country music expert to figure out the scene or context of her emotion.

Yet, there was something awry in the caption that set just a few centimeters above the image. It read:

“She broke into hysterics when they revealed how she cut the extra weight.”

Are you kidding me?

Come on Facebook … how could you not catch that this is a ridiculous gimmick for a new diet pill? It looked so fake.

But, instead of scrolling right past it in disgust, I did something a wee bit cray cray.

I clicked on it.

That’s right. I tapped until that screen blinked to solid white and transported me to some random site that took so, so long to load it scared me. So I decided to quickly get click off, afraid that I had inadvertently clicked on a virus-type thing.

You see, I have serious problem. That is: I’m a sucker for diet ads.

During moments of self-reflection, I ask myself, “Why would I risk being a victim of Internet espionage just to find out how Miranda Lambert lost weight?

It’s because I struggle.

It’s the same reason why it’s hard for me to not just keep flipping when I see “Transform From Mommie to Hottie” appear on the television. It’s also why spotting “How She Lost the Baby Weight Fast!” prompts me to pick up the magazine and pray the person ahead of me needs a price check on her green beans so I have more time to read the article.

I have a problem. But, I don’t think I’m alone.

Ironically, buried somewhere on my desk is a stack of certificates proving that I’m a bit of an expert on weight loss. I’m a fitness instructor and trained in nutrition. Intellectually I know there are no magic pills, formulas or fixes that will make any woman’s body model-perfect with minimal effort.

Yet, I still search. I’d rather believe that maybe the miracle cure does exist and I just haven’t found it yet. I wrestle the lie that the answer to all of my body problems lurks just one click (and four easy payments of $19.95) away.

I’ve tried every fad-eating plan from apples all day to eating like a zookeeper. (OK, I made that last one up. Don’t Google it.) I’ve taken the supplements and I’ve kept a journal detailing my calories and mood while consuming them. I’ve detoxed and gone clean. Gone vegan, flexatarian and then come back again. My food and exercise regiments have had more make overs than most Hollywood starlets.

“Maybe this next one will be the last …” is my constant hope and prayer.

The oft-cited definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I think this applies well to those of us hooked on diets, weight loss products and promises of a better physique. We body change addicts are a bunch of hopeful desperados following different paths that always lead to the same dead end.

If you’re also growing weary of the self-improvement rat race, then I have some good news for you: The best hope for freedom from our body image struggles isn’t found in the latest diet or fitness craze. It’s found in changing where we place that hope.

Seriously, we body re-shapers are the most hopeful group around. That’s a good thing. The problem is that we often look to our food or exercise plan to save us. And that’s where we miss it.

See, salvation doesn’t come from wearing a size four post-baby or from getting your abs to look like they were never stretched out by a wiggling tenant in your womb. We know it, but we don’t act like we believe it.

Our thinking and motives get out of whack as we start to buy the marketer’s myth: that beauty really would make our lives so much better, and happiness correlates with having thin thighs.

Yet the truth is: Beauty can’t save us. Neither can a perfect body. Instead our greatest hope for salvation comes only from a savior who offers us more than the best personal trainer or diet consultant ever could. Only Jesus offers us unconditional acceptance. Neither Bob nor Jillian can promise us that after a week spent with friends like Ben and Jerry.

Jesus loves us even if our maternity pants are still our first choice years after childbirth. And he reminds us that we have grace for all of our journeys, including a quest to a healthier body. We just have to believe it.

No, you don’t have to quit Crossfit, start eating foods that aren’t caveman approved, or throw away your P90X box set, unless you want to.

Instead, I just encourage you to change the caption on your picture. See yourself not as a woman whose life’s theme is the pursuit of a better body, but as a woman designed by God for a much more significant purpose. Focusing on who you are in Christ, and not who you are in the flesh, will diminish the lure of even the most amazing body-altering plan.

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Heather Creekmore
Heather Creekmore is a speaker, writer, mom and pastor's wife from Texas. She writes about her struggle with body image at Compared to Who and she would love for you to join her on Facebook as well.