Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Old Lines: The Battle With Body Image--How Do I Fight It?

This post was originally a guest post on Lauren's old blog. I had been wanting to post something on body image, but I'm in such a different place with this struggle now that I'm a mom that I feel like I have to learn how to fight this battle all over again. Right now I am actually overweight and I do need to change my body, but this was a good reminder for me and I'm so glad I pulled it out.  Read my thoughts below and I would love if you would weigh in with your thoughts in the comments!

I will get straight to the heart of the matter: I struggle with body image.   I am not overweight. I am not super thin. I am pretty much average. There are days where I feel sexy and beautiful (oh how I love those days) and there are days when I feel so ungrateful for the wonderful gift of my body. I have come a long way on a journey to love myself, but it is truly a daily struggle that I have to stay on top of.

I know I'm not the only one that has this struggle. I decided that if I want to see a change in women's attitudes about their bodies, it had to start with me. I had to make the first move. Today I share with you the NUMBER ONE thing that I finally figured out that made it all make sense.

 Find Your Personal Word of Wisdom

In the LDS faith we often refer to the Word of Wisdom. This Word of Wisdom is basically a health law that teaches us to take care of our bodies. What most people think of when they think of this is: Mormons don't drink, do drugs, or drink coffee or tea. The Word of Wisdom actually goes far beyond that. It covers everything from eating in moderation to getting enough rest. We are promised great blessings if we keep this Word of Wisdom.

A while back in a discussion at church on the Word of Wisdom this particular line was brought to my attention "Given for a principle with a promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints."

The weakest of all saints.

The Word of Wisdom was written for the weakest of the Saints.  I am certainly not weak when it comes to the Word of Wisdom. Following this law of health that has been revealed has never been difficult for me. Don't drink? No problem. Not even a desire. Eat in moderation? Sometimes challenging when Girl Scout orders are placed, but other than that, got it!

This made me think that maybe more is expected of me. Maybe I need more--my soul needs more. This discussion in church happened at the same time that I had made some healthy decisions that made me feel so much better both physically and emotionally. I wondered if there was a connection. The decisions I made went beyond the Word of Wisdom and brought me great peace at how I felt about my body.

It was then that I realized that  yes, I probably did need more. I needed something tailored to me. I did a lot of pondering and praying and I have learned that I need to live a little higher law of health for my personal peace and progress. If I make those choices then I am much more free in my own body.

I used to believe that the blessings we are promised for living a healthy life and taking care of our bodies had to do with physical health. I had not realized that there are infinite ways in which we can be blessed and when we live a health code that works for us, we are blessed with mental health as well. We are blessed with confidence, peace.

I no longer desire to change my body. My body is at a healthy weight but it is not a bikini body, yet I am completely at peace with it. I exercise and eat right to take care of it as it is, not to change it. For a girl who has literally sat in front of the mirror and brought herself to tears, this is truly a blessing. But I have to stay on top of it. I struggle when I get comfortable and slack on those healthy practices.

This suggestion of finding your own Word of Wisdom may sound "Mormon" or exclusive, it's not.  I encourage you to find your own Word of Wisdom. Find the health practices that you need to put into place to be happy in your body and to find that peace. You will find it if you pray about it, of that I promise you. {One of my favorite posts on this topic can be found here. It's a great reminder that God KNOWS us and has a plan for us and our bodies, He will tell us what we need.}

How do you feel about this topic? Are there any lifestyle changes that you've made that were personal and brought you peace? Do you agree/disagree with my approach to dealing with body image? Why or why not?

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