The holiday season has descended upon us, a welcome relief from the tyranny of politics and Halloween (the former is definitely scarier than the latter).
It's the time when we travel to spend Turkey Day with our families and loved ones, cook all the delicious foods, and maybe even start decorating for Christmas.
But it's also the gateway for body shaming and guilt about weight. Weight loss companies are already eagerly awaiting the time that they can air their new commercials. Convincing us that we need to lose weight is their major concern: it is a $20 BILLION a year industry. But we need to make sure that our weight loss culture's bottom line is not the biggest influence on our hearts. We have to be grounded in our loveliness as people created in the image of God.
But we need to make sure that our weight loss culture's bottom line is not the biggest influence on our hearts. We have to be grounded in our loveliness as people created in the image of God.
Because we are beloved children of God, shame, guilt, and fear are not our portion. Love, confidence, self-control, and power are our portion.
Self-control. That's what weight loss is supposed to be all about, right? What about self-control over all the negative thoughts that tear us down, that tell us we are ugly and weigh too much and are failures because we can't fit into last year's jeans? How can we have self-control over our minds and hearts?
One answer is thankfulness. A valuable practice in the fat acceptance movement (introduced to me by J. Nicole Morgan) is to declare your thankfulness for your body. Taking the time to say out loud (and to others) what you're thankful for effectively shapes the way you think about your body. Want to reap joy and appreciation for your body? Sow joy and appreciation for your body in your heart, mind, soul, and strength? It's biblical (Galatians 6:7)!
So, here are some of mine:
I'm thankful for my heart and my great blood pressure.
I'm thankful that I am super flexible and can easily sit and play on the floor with my children.
I'm thankful for the ability to smell and taste delicious foods that my loved ones (or myself) have prepared.
I'm thankful for the muscles that support my frame.
I'm thankful for my hair, which looks awesome in a pixie cut.
I'm thankful for my lips, which look awesome in bold red lipstick.
God created me good, and I have to make the decision to believe him and to delight in this body of mine. And get this--I can even rejoice in the weaknesses in my body, because weakness increases my dependence on Jesus and my compassion for others. (Also biblical--2 Corinthians 12:9!)
So, please--I beg you--spend this Thanksgiving in true thankfulness for your body, not in resentment of it. A holy love for our bodies is what God has for us, because he so loves us from head to toe, inside and out. Making the choice now to love our bodies will make New Years such a better season, when losing the weight of the whole world seems to be everyone's goal.