Body Image and Comparing: Learn to Stop the Art of Comparing Your Body!

You are a masterpiece

Two weeks ago, I posted a blog about the “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” that happens when we get pulled into the undercurrent of comparing our bodies to other peoples’.  This leads to drudgery and despair because you drown in the pool of stinkin’ thinkin’.  It consumes you until you start the sick cycle of dieting that leads to bingeing, which leads to purging (for some) and over-exercising (for some).  See my posts about the sick cycle for more information.

What would it look like to beat the Body Image Bandit at this comparing game?  After all, coveting – and yes, that is exactly what it is – is a very unhealthy animal.  So let’s work together to stop coveting and comparing.  After all, what good comes out of it?   Here are some techniques to catch yourself at the comparing/coveting game and stopping it right then and there:

1.  Picture a large stop sign.  Picture yourself screaming at the top of your lungs, “STOP!”

 (Warning:  If you do this for real instead of inside your head, people will laugh and point.  So it is best to just picture it inside your head.)  This has really helped a lot of people.  Keep repeating this over and over until it becomes as natural as eating chocolate chip cookie dough when you are baking cookies. ūüôā

2.  Stop yourself and ask God to help you. You can’t do it alone. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8)  Repeat that verse to yourself, and you’ll shift to an attitude of gratitude.

3. Change channels! Turn from the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ channel to the “Bless others with your gifts,” channel.  Embrace your true gifts, talents, and story. Lean into your true calling, and pursue your passion! How can you embrace your calling and serve instead of obsess about your appearance?

  
Because after all, thinking about the size of your fanny – in relation to the size of other peoples’ fannies – is definitely not a noble thought.  It is a thought of coveting, which leads down to the dark road of depression.  So do yourself a favor, and stop that stinkin’ thinkin’ right in its tracks.

Be kind to yourself, and focus on your God-given talents, abilities to bless others.  Get your focus off your fanny – and those of other people!

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Body Image and Stinking Thinking: Stop Comparing Your Body

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Two weeks ago, I posted a blog about the “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” that happens when we get pulled into the undercurrent of comparing our bodies to other peoples’.¬† This leads to drudgery and despair because you drown in the pool of stinkin’ thinkin’.¬† It consumes you until you start the sick cycle of dieting that leads to bingeing, which leads to purging (for some) and over-exercising (for some).¬† See my posts about the sick cycle for more information.

What would it look like to beat the Body Image Bandit at this comparing game?¬†¬†After all, coveting – and yes, that is exactly what it is – is a very unhealthy animal.¬† So let’s work together to stop coveting and comparing.¬† After all, what good comes out of it?¬†¬† Here are some techniques to catch yourself at the comparing/coveting game and stopping it right then and there:

1.¬† Picture a large stop sign.¬† Picture yourself screaming at the top of your lungs, “STOP!!!!”¬† (Warning:¬† If you do this for real instead of inside your head, people will laugh and point.¬† So it is best to just picture it inside your head.)¬† This has really helped a lot of people.¬† Keep repeating this over and over until it becomes as natural as eating chocolate chip cookie dough when you are baking cookies. ūüôā

2.¬† Stop yourself and ask God to help you.¬† “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”¬† (Philippians 4:8)¬† Repeat that scripture to yourself, and your thoughts will be redirected.¬† Because after all, thinking about the size of your fanny –¬†in relation to¬†the size of other peoples’ fannies – is definitely not a noble thought.¬† It is a thought of coveting, which leads down to the dark road of depression.¬† So do yourself a favor, and stop that stinkin’ thinkin’ right in its tracks!

Be kind to yourself, and focus on your God-given talents, abilities, and get your focus off your fanny – and those of other people!

Confessions of a Purging Flunky

I was a purging flunky.¬† I remember back in high school when I first got whirled onto the merry-go-round called the Ferocious Foursome.¬† I had been on a diet (even though looking back I didn’t need to lose weight) and of course the feelings of deprivation consumed me.¬† This led to an all-out binge,¬†in which¬†I ate everything except the TV.¬† (You’ve probably been there, done that, and got the tee-shirt.)¬† So I figured there was only one thing I could do – ¬†throw up.¬† Of course!¬† The perfect cure-all.¬† I tried, but was unable able to accomplish the mighty feat.¬† So I tried again, and instantly remembered why I hated getting sick.¬†

At first I got mad at myself for not being able to hack the act of hacking up.¬† It seemed like¬†quite a few people were¬†doing it.¬† At the time I did not know that 18-20% of people with eating disorders would die within twenty years.¬† I thought purging was the new ‚Äėmagic weight-loss answer’. I had no idea that years later statistics would flood in about the life-threatening health concerns associated with bulimia.¬† Many would end up accidentally killing themselves due to the horrific damage on their bodies. ¬†Bulimia would eat up the lives of many girls and women, leaving behind families¬†who were¬†drowning in their tears.¬†

As a purging flunky, I skipped level three of the Ferocious Foursome and went on to the final four.  I ended up getting addicted to exercise for a few years.   Maybe you are wondering how anyone could possibly get addicted to exercise.  The biggest reason is that endorphins are produced.  Endorphins are similar to opiates, and provide a natural high.  Another definition describes endorphins as morphine-like substances originating from within the body.  The endorphins, combined with the payoff of looking and feeling superb, attract people into exercising more and more.   If you think of over-exercising in those terms, you may begin to understand how people get addicted.  

Bulimia of the purging or over-exercising type often emerges after a young woman’s boyfriend breaks up with her. ( To be more precise, one form of bulimia does not involve throwing up, but is based on over-exercising.)  A young woman compares herself to other young women, and starts to believe it was all about the size of her hips.  Comparing and coveting is an ugly animal, so it is no wonder that God commanded us not to go there.  He  knows that comparing and coveting poisons our hearts.  Even so, we have all driven in the fast lane of Coveting Road, probably more often than we realize.  The type of coveting I am speaking about in this case is when you see a beautiful, thin woman and you really wish you had her body.  Part of you believes this would give you the perfect life.  The problem is that because we live in a fallen world, there is no perfect life this side of heaven.

The ‚Äústinking thinking‚ÄĚ (this is a twelve-step phrase) that if only I were skinny, then my boyfriend would not have left me gets programmed into her heart.¬† So she kicks her dieting into high gear, but later on blows her diet and binges.¬† So she resorts to purging or over-exercising.¬† Either one of the two meet the criteria of bulimia if they are entrenched enough, according to the DSM-IV TR, which is the official manual of diagnoses.¬†

Once the stinking thinking takes root in her heart, she feels that if she were thinner, then she could have kept her boyfriend.¬† Sometimes the guys throw darts of violent words about their girlfriends‚Äô bodies, but even if they don‚Äôt, the girls are often spurred into bulimia.¬† (By the way, that is called abuse.)¬† The hundreds of thousands of messages in the media that endlessly echo ‚Äúto be thin is to be beautiful, and¬†beauty is¬†almost everything‚ÄĚ shoot darts into her heart until it bleeds tears.¬†

Since they cannot stay on the diet wagon forever, girls and women (as well as a growing number of¬† boys and men) quickly grasp the idea that they can throw up their food and get away with it.¬† On the surface, it seems like the only solution, but decades of research shows that throwing up quickly morphs into an addiction.¬† Bulimia is profoundly more damaging than once thought.¬† Those of us who were ‚Äútoo sissy‚ÄĚ to purge finally realized that it was a blessing in disguise.¬† My heart cries oceans of tears for those who are entangled with the beast of bulimia.¬† Bulimia is certainly a wolf in sheep‚Äôs clothing, as it seems so innocent in the beginning.

What if you could get off the dieting/bingeing merry-go-round forever?  What if you could celebrate the body that God has given you, and say goodbye to the Body Image Bandit?  Continue in this voyage of healing as we share in the celebration of kicking the Body Image Bandit out of our lives.