How I Hokey Pokey

Feet in teal sandals pic

In my other life, I swam competitively or ran 6 miles most days.

Then, due to lupus and ankylosing spondylitis, I couldn’t breathe or walk for periods of time. Dressing myself seemed like running a marathon. So did using the restroom. I told God, at age 28, “Please take me if this is a preview of my future.”

One month I spent on the couch. I rolled off the floor and crawled down the hall to use the restroom. Every last thread of energy I used to complete the tasks involved in using the bathroom.

My future dreams included a triathlon. Not using every ounce of stamina to relieve myself.

Physicians and naturopaths tried many different approaches to treat the inflammation that ravaged my body, mind and soul.

I changed my diet as well.

After years of battling the beasts, sometimes I saw glimmers of hope. But often the darkness enveloped my life story.

Yes, I learned volumes from this journey. I’m a prayer warrior, and I learned to stop and breathe in the beauty of jasmine fragrance. I also divorced my drivenness. This go, go, go mentality of many Americans creates chaos of the soul. The drive shoots cortisol throughout our bodies, and stress pumps through our veins. And of course, that was me.

But nowadays – thanks to an injectable medication called Humira – I have part of my life back. I can sleep through the nights without waking all night long in pain. I can walk. I can dress myself. And I can breathe without having a frozen iced venti cup of water on my chest. (This works better than an ice pack, for some reason.)


Nowadays, every other Tuesday I inject myself. That’s my hokey pokey. As in, I poke myself with a needle that offers me two more weeks of a semi-normal life. (Sometimes I’m still exhausted, feeling as though I’ve been drugged. But that’s another story, and this happens on the sunny days. A part of lupus.)

And yes, I am quite aware of the side effects of this TNF blocker medication. I’m willing to take the risks. Because deep down, I’m an athlete. I love the wind caressing my hair on my pink kayak. (Below: pic with Werner kayak paddle.)

That. Is. Life. I feel the gratitude engulf my soul as I paddle among the seals and salmon.

And this is a piece of my heart that you may learn from:

Don’t share about your friend who died of lupus. Please don’t dance that song in front of anyone fighting any disease.


Oh, and also don’t share an approach you know will fix it. Because chances are – I’ve tried it. If you absolutely must share, please ask graciously first. To offer false hope is like piercing me with a broken piece of my life story.

Parking in a handicapped space when you don’t need to? I’m going to TP your house.

Why am I sharing this story?

So ribbons of gratitude weave their way through your own body image story.  Can you breathe today? Jump in gratitude. Can you walk? Rejoice.

Dance like a diva or dude to the music of gratitude.~




Do you have a hokey pokey body image story? Please share.

(*happy feet picture at the top shows my toes separated due to injections of cortisone from years ago. But who cares, right? 😉

The full story is in my book, Tooshie: Defeating the Body Image Bandit

The Only Woman in America with No Body Image Issues! ;) (humor)

Guess what?

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:


There’s Only 1 Woman in America with No Body Image Issues!


Here’s her secret: (Short Video under 2 Minutes)

Let me know your thoughts.


Book is Available


 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:


Book Launch Poster

The Game of Body Shame


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


Body Image: Fighting the Lies of the Body Image Bandit

What do you do when the Body Image Bandit bites? For example, let’s say you’re waiting in line at Starbucks. You notice the woman waiting in line ahead of you. She is probably a Zumba queen, and could easily model jeans on a billboard. You pinch your “muffin top” and sigh. But wait. You can take steps to protect yourself from the Body Image Bandit, who is the father of lies.

Step 1: Recognize the lies.

You have a much higher calling than asking, “Do these jeans make my tooshie look fat?”

Picture a pair of binoculars. This represents your constant scanning the environment to search for lies of the Bandit.

Take a few seconds to recognize you’ve been bitten by the Body Image Bandit. He is the father of lies, and he wants to make you feel like garbage (shame). Then you’ll  feel discouraged and won’t live out your true calling. You’ll be too busy beating yourself up. Here are some examples of the lies the Body Image Bandit feeds people:

  • I’m not good enough (i.e. not “skinny” enough, tall enough, too tall, my face is ugly, my (insert arms, legs, waist, etc.) isn’t good enough.
  • I’m not loveable as I am.
  • I can’t have a rewarding life until I lose ____ pounds.
  • I won’t have a full life until I’m a size _____.

Step 2: Reject the Lies.

Picture a sign that says, “No Parking Any Time.” As soon as you notice your brain going to the Comparing Channel, picture yourself pulling out of that parking spot. Just like you do when you pull your car into a space saying “No Parking Any Time,” put your brain into another gear.

Step 3: Replace the Lies

Picture a remote control. To replace the lies, visualize changing the channel. You were on the Stinking Thinking Channel! One starring plot of the Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Channel is Comparing your body to other peoples’.

Below are some other channel choices. Practice stopping your thoughts and changing the channels so you can do it faster than a woman with PMS can say, “Gimme ice cream!” Otherwise the lies will seep into your soul and rob your joy.

1. Service: How can you use your God-given talents, gifts and story to help others?

2. Make a list of everything you are thankful for. If you think can’t find anything you’re thankful for, think again. The majority of people on earth live on less than $2 a day! You probably have clean water, food, and more than one pair of clothes. Did you see anything beautiful today? Did you drink coffee today? Put it on your list. Learn to focus on the good.

2. Truth:. Copy specific verses down so you can memorize them. I like to use the blank business cards available at office supply stores. Here’s a verse to get you started:  “Finally, brothers and sisters, 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. (Notice it doesn’t say to think about clothing sizes, numbers on a scale, or what you’re gonna do when you “get skinny.”  🙂

3. Pray. Ask the Lord how to use your gifts, talents, and personality for His glory. (Have you read The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren? The book explains how to use your gifts, talents, personality and story to live out God’s calling for your life. Because you were not created for so much more than  to obsess about your appearance.

Like many activities, this takes practice! The more you practice, the better you’ll get at it. If you continue to work at it, you’ll have a renewed mind.

 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

lotus with leaf

Body Image, God, and Cellulite

My previous counseling office was in a building which housed an attorney, a mortgage broker, a tutor, two other therapists, and a physician who performed facelifts, chin lifts, botox treatments,and cellulite removal. In what other building in America could you get your thighs and head shrunk all in the same building?


One stop shopping at its best! (Please understand I know the Lord uses therapists as a vessel of His healing in many cases, and I have my own therapist who God has used to help me overcome my own struggles.)

But seriously, my heart grieved because young women who probably wore a size two or four often visited the physician for cellulite removal. The bottom line was that I was working hard to help my clients feel good about themselves with the bodies God gave them.

But the physician was acquiring her work from women who felt they were fat when they weren’t.  Week after week, I saw the same thin women coming to get the “fat” sucked off their thighs.

Each week their belief systems were reinforced with the idea they were inferior unless they appeared flawless. A glorious set-up for the Father of Lies. Because deep in your soul, you realize that to be flawless is to be on the other side of glory.

That was one reason I decided to move out. Also, all the fat sucking machines kicked the power switch off from overload! Seriously.

The media blasts us with 250,000 ads before age seventeen. Most of the ads shout,“To be thin is to be beautiful – and beauty is almost everything.”  

But God’s word says, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (I Samuel 16:7).

God’s perspective of life is much weightier than anything else. Even a number on a scale – or cellulite.

Body Image and Media: Dandelion Whine


On my power walk today, I saw a golden clump of dandelions. I surprised myself as I noticed, for the first time, their unsurpassed beauty. Each flower looked straight up to heaven, perfectly formed and truly glorious. How could I have missed this splendor that makes my heart sing? Why have I called dandelions “weeds “my whole life?

After stopping to admire the dandelions, I thought about how their poor reputation reminds me of poor body image gnawing at the souls of women in developed countries. The rose is known for its beauty and is the gold standard for flowers. But the dandelion is considered a weed.

I wondered if the dandelion is considered a beautiful flower in some countries. I remember meeting a beautiful young woman who had recently moved from Uganda to Seattle.

She was shocked that she had been approached on three occasions for modeling work. In Uganda she was considered too thin, and often wore several layers of clothing to avoid getting teased.

She was a dandelion  a weed, in Uganda. But in America, she suddenly was elevated to rose status.

Are you a rose, a dandelion ,or a lilac? Do you have the courage to live life to its fullest, embracing the tasks God has created you to do? We are not all roses, dandelions, or lilacs. God has created too many varieties of flowers to count.

Instead of whining because you feel like a dandelion, what if you could remember your unsurpassed beauty and begin to discover your true gifts, talents, and passions? Only then can you tap into the reason you are here, and live out your true calling.

When we stop whining and begin singing, we can be content with our God-given bodies, and get on board with what he has planned for us. You are God’s creation – a masterpiece and it’s time to begin living instead of drowning in despair from a loud culture that says you are a weed if you aren’t a rose.

So turn off the whining and enter into the story for which you were created, whether you’re a rose, a dandelion, or some other glorious creation.

Body Image: Stop the Negative Thinking (and heal your body image)


You’re waiting in line at the grocery store, and can’t help but checking out the fannies of the gals in front of you.  You’re in the “12 items or less” line, but the guy at the front of the line seems to have 350 items.  Man, is his gut big, you think.  He really doesn’t need those chocolate covered raisins.  Oh, and look at the next girl.  She is skinny.  Probably a size 4.  But even so, she looks kind of disproportionate.  Oh, I wonder what the people behind me are thinking about my tooshie?

You can’t help it.  Since you live in a culture in which you were exposed to 250,000 ads by the time you were seventeen, you have been brainwashed.  This sick tsunami of messages that scream, “To be thin is to be beautiful, and beauty is almost everything,” has brainwashed you and caused you to be hypercritical of your own body as well as other peoples’ bodies.

All of this negativity and comparison puts you back into the sick merry-go-round of dieting, bingeing, purging (for some) and over-exercising (for some).  What would it look like to stop the sick cycle and get off the merry-go-round forever?  The first step is to stop the poisonous habit of comparing your body to other peoples’ bodies.

But how can you do this?  It has become such an ingrained habit, it is almost as natural as breathing.  The first step is to recognize that it is doing a great deal of harm.  Women who put up pictures of thin celebrities and/or models often binge after looking at them because they feel like a failure in comparison.  The same thing happens when you compare yourself with anyone else’s body.

The next step is to picture a big red stop sign, and to picture screaming, “STOP!” whenever you catch yourself comparing your body to someone else’s.  Keep doing this over and over again.  You may even want to think of something else, such as a peaceful place like a beach.  Or else you might say a prayer to ask God to help you with your body image, or even recite a verse.

Although this won’t be easy, you will begin to notice a change from this “stinkin’ thinkin’ ” pattern.  You will notice that your eyes avert from looking so intently and judging your own and other peoples’ bodies.  Instead of feeling depressed and like your body is not good enough, you will begin to feel the truth:  You are a masterpiece – a unique and beautiful person, and you will begin to celebrate your uniqueness and see your true underlying beauty.