Body Image and LeAnn Rimes: Worshiping the Art of Skinniness

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Does LeAnn Rimes have an eating disorder?  A few days ago, she posted a picture of herself in a bikini on Twitter.  This started a tsunami of tweets about whether or not LeAnn has an eating disorder, including one saying “@leannrimes “Whoa, you’re scary skinny! Sorry don’t mean to offend but that’s a lot of bones showing through skin…”

LeAnn replied “@AJPaterson1987 those are called abs not bones love.” Later, in an airport, she tweeted this:  “Boston Dog’s sliders and French fries in the Cabo airport are so good! Anyone coming here try them!!!”  LeAnn has tweeted previously on the subject
of her body.

While it is not my place to comment on LeAnn’s situation, I think our culture is deranged in that it worships the art of skinniness.  When a culture believes, “the skinnier the better,” to the point that many models look like concentration camp survivors, we certainly have tragedy on a monumental scale.  By the age of seventeen, Americans have been exposed to 250,000 ads featuring pencil thin models.  It’s no wonder we are ultra-obsessed with body image. Most of the models in the media are anorexically thin, and most are unable to menstruate due to exceptionally low levels of body fat.  That speaks volumes.  Barbie, the most popular doll in America, would have diarrhea 24/7 if she were real because her waistline is so incredibly tiny.  Is this what we want to portray to our girls?  Check out my goodbye letter to Barbie for more information:
https://cherriemac.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/bye-bye-barbie-body-image-and-barbie-dolls/

We live in a culture which screams, “To be thin is to be beautiful, and beauty is almost everything.” Sadly, the message sinks deeply into our souls until it chases people into a sea of despair.  We grab onto what appear to be life rafts, but are sharks in disguise.  This quickly lead us into the Ferocious Foursome:  Dieting, which leads to bingeing due to feeling extremely deprived.  At this point, the dieter wants to eat everything except the TV.  So the second step of the Ferocious Foursome is Bingeing, which leads to more shame and self-contempt.  After the Bingeing comes purging (for some) and then over-exercising (for some).  If the last two aren’t practiced, the lifelong dieter is stuck in the cycle of dieting, bingeing, dieting, bingeing, until they are dizzy.  Research shows that almost all diets lead to weight loss, but later on weight gain. The dieter eventually gains more weight than he or she lost to begin with!  It is exceptionally rare to lose weight and keep it off for decades.

The truth is, body image issues such as compulsive overeating, purging, bingeing, and negative thoughts about our bodies are much more about our stories and relationships than food.  People often try to work on the symptoms only, and don’t address their reasons behind food issues.  Until we address the underlying issues, we won’t fight the Body Image Bandit and win.  When did you first start to binge, purge, or have self-contempt about your body?  While the cultural current is certainly a key factor, addressing the pain in your story will help you fight back the Body Image Bandit – the Father of Lies, who tries to convince you that you are unworthy unless you’re stick thin.

So how can we avoid the Ferocious Foursome, and concentrate on what is truly important?  What if we could learn to embrace the bodies God gave us, and realize with every cell ofour beings that we are each unique masterpieces?  I hope you join me on the passionate voyage of discovering the real you and focusing more on your gifts, talents, and calling than your tooshie.  After all, “Man looks at outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.”