There’s only 1 woman in the USA with no body image issues. (And no, it’s not me.)
Here is a short video clip:
Here’s her secret: (Short Video under 2 Minutes)
Let me know your thoughts.
I feel freedom in the air as we approach this July 4th. Gratitude beyond words grips my soul as I think of the sacrifices men and women made so you and I can live free.
I’m sure you or someone you know receives regular attacks from the Body Image Bandit. By the age of 17, Americans have watched over 250,000 ads. Most of the ads shout, “Thin is beautiful, and beauty is almost everything.” This is why I am committed to helping women recapture their true callings. There’s more to life than chasing Skinny. Readers of Tooshie will experience glorious freedom through the book. It is a collage of humor, faith, stories and the psychology of food and body image.
Here is a short video – only 3 minutes – that explains the core of what freedom from the Body Image Bandit looks like. I recorded it with the vision of setting the captives free. I hope you enjoy it. If you don’t have body image issues, consider sharing with someone who does.
After all – there’s more to life than chasing Skinny!
We are drowning in a tsunami of cultural messages that shout, “Thin is beautiful, and beauty is almost everything.” You have dieted, binged, exercised, and starved yourself at time to chase Skinny. Yet in your soul, you’ve always wondered if Skinny would truly land you in the perfect life. Join Cherrie Herrin-Michehl, MA, LMHC, a Christian therapist, on a healing, fun journey to defeat the Body Image Bandit, who wants you to believe your worth is measured in pounds. You will laugh, ponder, and grasp the heart of your food and body image problems. After all, food/body image struggles are much more about your heart and your story than you ever realized. Then you will begin to unveil the actual causes of your food/body image battles, and the truth will set you free.
My book, Tooshie: Defeating the Body Image Bandit, is now available!
“Freedom from the body image wars and obsession begins with the truths in this fresh new look at making peace with your body.” Gregory Jantz, Ph.D., best-selling Christian author and psychologist.
Here is the link to Amazon:
When did you first begin to obsess about your body? Can you identify what event or events sprung you into yo-yo dieting, starving yourself, purging, binge eating, and/or excessive exercising?
Once you can do that, you’ve identified a major contributor that prevents you from developing healthy relationships with food and exercise. Draw a time line of your life and place markers at the most eventful times.
Also other changes, such as getting married, divorced, moving, having a friend move, starting or ending jobs, etc. Remember, any major change is stress, whether it’s experienced as positive or negative. No wonder brides gain an average of 18 pounds during the first year of marriage!
During these difficult times of your time line, you probably began to obsess about your body.
You attempted to self-medicate by dieting, bingeing, purging away your true feelings, and/or overexercising. This offered you what we call the illusion of control in…
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Game of Body Shame:
Start with your game piece- shaped appropriately like a pair of jeans. All players start at square one – the square of shame.
1. Shame: You feel discouraged because you don’t match the photo-shopped, false concept of beauty promoted in our culture. Roll the dice and move to the next step.
2. Diet: If you’ve landed on this square, it’s probably Monday. 🙂 Wait out your turn because you’re at the mall with a friend. Suck in your stomach, as you’re trying to pour yourself into the size of jeans you’ve always dreamed of wearing. You figured that jean size was the magic ticket to the perfect life. Roll the dice and move to the next step.
3. Fail at your diet: Of course you did, because you set yourself up for failure by going “on” a diet. Reference Paul’s statement in Romans 7:15-16: “My own behavior baffles me. For I find myself doing what I really hate, and not doing what I really want to do.” (Living Bible). Roll the dice and go to the mall. Oops, it finally happened – you busted the rearend seam of your “magic size” jeans. Roll the dice and open your bottom drawer to pull out your old jeans.
4. Binge, eating everything except the TV. Roll the dice, and look at fashion or celebrity magazines while you wait in the dentist’s waiting room. Roll the dice, and if they add up to an even number, you stumble into a trap called bulimia.
5. Promise to start a diet again next Monday.
6. Continue until you decide to stop the cycle.
But there is hope! Overeaters Anonymous
“I know, ” I said. “Sometimes I wonder if women could go a whole week without talking about
fat grams, and
She glanced out the window at the pink snow from the cherry tree.
“Why don’t women just get on with their lives instead of obsessing about their bodies? I really don’t get it.”
We had just hiked one of the St. Edward’s Park trails down to Lake Washington. The Seattle sun smiled on us and people laughed and told stories as dogs, kids, and trail runners met and then passed us.
“I think the windfall of media poisons our thinking, causing us to compare ourselves to photoshopped and airbrushed images. And since we see over 250,000 ads by the age of seventeen, we’re drowning in a tsunami of lies.” I ignored the beep my phone made to signal I’d received a text message. “It leads to a lot of comparing and coveting; wishing we had bodies that are not actually real.”
“That’s true,” Cindy said. She reached into her backpack to find her phone. “This whole business of coveting can drive us to despair. When we compare and covet something someone else has – like an image in a magazine that has been photoshopped- we buy into the lies of the Body Image Bandit. I heard a clip of Cindy Crawford saying, ‘I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.’ She was talking about how the pictures of her in magazines don’t resemble her because of all the photoshopping.”
“Wow. That’s unbelievable,” I said. I noticed two kayaks paddling down on the waterfront. “Hey, want to go kayaking on Saturday?”
“Sure. Sounds fun. Let’s see if we can go on the Hood Canal to check out the seals you’ve been telling me about.” She got up and put her cup in the recycle bin. “I’m going to write a challenge to my Facebook friends to go a week in their real lives without talking about diets, sizes, workouts, and foods. I bet they’ll have better weeks because they won’t get into negative thinking patterns.”
“That sounds interesting,” I said. “Can’t wait to hear how it goes. See you Saturday.”
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17
Great news! I just learned that chocolate has superb anti-aging properties. I read a short article about this while waiting for my kitty’s appointment. If I keep drinking mochas at the same rate, I should reclaim my 29th birthday by Labor Day! I guess I will keep feeding the chocolate monster within. Maybe I should get back into the habit of making chocolate chip cookie dough. I used to mix it up every few weeks, but hardly any of it made it into the oven because it would take a detour and end up in my tummy. Then it would immediately slide down due to gravity, but for some reason the gravity would stop kicking in when the cookie dough got to my rear end. Weird, huh?
While I had this delectable news about chocolate on my mind, the vet assistant called us in. Prissy, my kitty, had to get her booster shots. It’s still hard to believe I have a cat because I thought of myself as a dog-only type of person. But my husband kept wanting a kitty, so what could I say? She is very loving most of the time, very low-maintenance, and makes an excellent heating pad.
So when Prissy and I got called for her appointment, they weighed her in. The last time we did this, the vet scolded me because she had plumped up to eighteen pounds. He said he was concerned about her health at that weight, so asked me to cut back on her food. Let me tell you, Prissy got nasty and angry. Even worse than me when I used to believe in diets and was irritable because I felt so deprived. She spent a lot of time hanging out by the pantry door where the cat food is kept, making noises like she was in labor of birthing sixteen kittens. So I cut her back very gradually, a little each week. Today we got the good news that she has lost a little over two pounds. The vet now wants her to lose about two more pounds, then she will be at her so-called “ideal weight.”
The advantage that Prissy has over you and me is she has no psychological hang-ups about her weight. She doesn’t compare herself with other kitties, thinking, “Is that cat’s butt bigger or smaller than mine?” Or, “When I turn so you can see my profile, do I look like a pregnant mongoose?” She has no concerns about her appearance because she is preoccupied with more important things like pouncing on our dog or looking for bugs on the ceiling. I have seen no evidence that she obsesses about her waist or the appearance of any other body parts. She doesn’t care about her size or shape, but is more concerned about keeping herself clean. Oh, to be a kitty!
What kind of freedom would you have if you were more like Prissy? I don’t mean having claws and a mousie toy, but what if you could be totally without knowledge or concern about your appearance? Maybe that gives you shudders, and you picture yourself as a sloth rolling out of bed with bad breath, putting on a little pit juice (deodorant), and going about your day. Your hair is uncombed and your clothes are wrinkled, but you don’t really care. You’re on a mission to hunt down breakfast – and the bigger, the better.If you are like the majority of teen girls and women, you frequently compare your body with other people. Many – not all, but many – of those you compare yourself with – have eating disorders that you can’t see.
Other times women and girls compare themselves with the pictures they see in magazines and usually get depressed because they feel they don’t measure up. We have already discussed the statistics on this, which reveals that females feel bad about themselves the more they look at magazines. So why torture yourself with magazine-induced depression?
And so I say it again – let’s have a beauty/fashion/celebrity magazine recycling party. Imagine this: You get together all of your friends and their friends as well. Each person brings all of her beauty magazines, all of her fashion magazines, and all of her celebrity magazines. Each person adds her magazines to the pile. A microphone is provided where anyone can talk about what the magazines have done to their hearts. You may want to have a cake to celebrate the day that you decided to give the Body Image Power a kick in the rear-end.
Maybe you could even find a speaker to discuss all the ways you can kick the Body Image Bandit out of your life.I rarely look at such magazines. I really don’t need that kind of negative influence in my thinking. I am reminded of the passage in Philippians 4:8, although it was not written with body image issues in mind, Paul attests: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, think about such things.”
It is not healthy to stuff our feelings, as I often tell my clients. In fact I tell them that stuffing is for turkeys and teddy bears, and they are neither one! Neither are you. So it is important to get your feelings out in a safe venue, perhaps with a trusted friend who is not shaming or even on paper because paper doesn’t judge. (If you are concerned about someone finding it, no worries because you can type it and then delete it. Believe it or not, the act of the purging your feelings is what is important.) King David called out to God again and again, and often expressed his feelings. Had he been born today, he would have received just about every diagnosis in the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders.
Even though it is healthy to express your feelings to safe people. That is why I like to express my feelings with friends or on paper and to God, and then focus on the positive : …”whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.”
Focusing on other peoples’ bodies and shaming ourselves for our own looks is not true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable. In fact, it is false (when we look at magazines which are photoshopped and airbrushed), shaming, wrong, and despicable. It brings us down and is another form of “stinkin’ thinkin’” as Al-Anon and the 12-step programs say.
You will notice that Scripture does not say, “Look at the woman (or teenager) in front of you in line at the store. Notice if her thighs, waist, bust, ankles, and/or fanny is bigger or smaller than yours. Then mope around for the next four months because you feel fat and ugly compared to her.” Thank goodness it doesn’t say that! We are not supposed to compare ourselves to the world’s standards, because we are actually citizens of heaven. That is why Scripture emphasizes, “Man looks at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b).
How I wish we could saturate the hearts and minds of girls and women with this profound truth. You probably noticed the verse says nothing about evaluating ourselves on the basis of our body fat percentage, or on the shapeliness of our figures. What a sigh of relief. Since we’ve seen over 250,000 ads by the age of seventeen, we may not be able to completely erase their effects from our minds and be like a kitty. But with practice of stopping negative thinking and focusing on more pleasant thoughts, we can reclaim the plunder of the Body Image Bandit. Like this story? There are many more funny stories in my book. Tooshie:Defeating the Body Image Bandit
My eyelids have a problem: They are falling every day, and at this rate they will be to my bellybutton by next Spring. I’ve thought of different ways to stop the sagging. I could use scotch tape, but I’m not sure how well it would work. Or maybe tooth picks would do the trick. Neither of those options sound promising. I know duct tape would do the job, and it comes in pink and purple. Maybe I could use different colored tape for different outfits. (Ok, by now you hopefully know I’m kidding. Please don’t try any of these things!)
Thankfully, we are created for so much more than obsessing about our appearances. Our culture blasts us with images from every angle, so I can easily forget that I have a much higher calling than obsessing about things such as my eyelids. The truth is God created me in his image, and I have a greater purpose than focusing on my eyelids, or any other part of my physique.
Deep in my soul, I know that I was created for so much more than fixating on questions like, “How can I get my eyelids to stay up in my northern hemisphere where they belong?” Or…drum roll, please…”Do these jeans make my tooshie look fat?”
Jesus cares much more about my heart than my runaway eyelids. He wants me to be the eyes, the hands, the love of Jesus, and to shine brightly in this world. He has crafted me as a unique masterpiece with gifts, talents, and a story, and he desires deeply for me to use those treasures for his glory.
I am me, and I can celebrate that I am a unique masterpiece. I’ve had the privilege of working with people through their hardships and helping them to see the beauty of their stories, and to grasp that they are each gems. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
My eyelids may be sliding south, but I know that I have a calling to show the light of Christ in this world. I can use the pain of two chronic illnesses and a divorce years ago from an abusive man to show people with humor and grace that they have much higher callings than focusing on appearance. I could obsess all day about my eyelids but I’m choosing to go out and live passionately to shine the love of Jesus.
What would it look like for you to stop obsessing about your appearance and focus on pointing people to the cross with your gifts, personality, stories, and talents? You are a masterpiece.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
I really wish there was a hair hotline for people to call when they are about ready to get out the weed whacker or dog clipper and whack it all off.
“Hair Hotline. Is this a hair emergency?’
“Yes, it is,” I assured Ms. Hair. “I’ve been growing my hair out for months, and I’m about ready to take a Weed eater to it. My bangs hang halfway down my eyes, and poke me like little kids tickling their younger brother. It’s really annoying. I’ve tried gel, mousse, and every type of hairspray on the planet, including pizza-flavored. But that only resulted in a crowd of teenage boys hanging around my house.”
“Oh ma’am, that sounds pretty heavy.”
“Well, that’s not the worst part,” I continued. “Last week I gave it all up and globbed a chunk of Crisco on my hair to try to get it under control, and now I look like a complete moron. I can’t get it out of my hair. I’ve tried everything I can think of.”
Ms. Hair snickered. Just what I needed – an unfriendly hair hotline helper to shame me.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I was just reading the funniest email someone sent me.”
“It looks pretty bad, and people have been calling me Crisco Head and telling me I should get into the oil export business. But they are right, in some ways. I look like I could resolve the entire world oil crisis. I really need help.”
“Yeah, that sounds pretty serious. Maybe you could do the export thing, or you could get a wig.”
I couldn’t believe her suggestions. “Don’t you have any other ideas?” I asked with a sigh.
“Okay, there is one other thing. Go buy a box of cornmeal, and empty the whole box on your head. It will soak up most of the oil so you don’t look like a greaser. Then you can brush it out of your hair, after rubbing it into the roots and covering each strand. Your hair will look sleek and gorgeous.”
“Sounds good. I’m gonna go buy some cornmeal right now.” Click. I hung up without thanking her because I didn’t think she deserved it with her slimy attitude.
I zipped to the store in my convertible, hoping the wind would whip through my bird’s nest-like hair. But of course that was impossible. At the stoplight I reached into my bag and got out my lipstick to do a quick touch-up.
Climbing out of car, I noticed a giant grease stain on the headrest. I whipped out my compact mirror and realized I had applied a thick layer of flesh-colored cover up instead of my favorite lipstick. My lips were heavily globbed with the cover-up because I had decided to apply the lipstick extra thick to detract from my greasy hair.
I pulled out a Kleenex and wiped off the cover-up, then strutted into the baking section of the grocery store to grab some cornmeal. Once I paid for it and drove home, I went into the kitchen and poured the entire box on my head. That’s when the phone rang.
My husband called to let me know we would be having guests over for dinner. He said his boss had to fly to Australia unexpectedly to take care of some business, so the dinner party scheduled for next week was to take place that night at our house.
“That’s going to be a little tough,” I responded. Later we will definitely have a long chat about this.
“Oh, don’t let it stress you out, honey. You know Ben is from Oklahoma and loves a good Southern meal with lots of grease and cornmeal – something like beans and cornbread, with lots of bacon grease in the beans.” Ugh.