Let’s talk about something that makes recovery really tough. Yet, it’s not something that just affects people in recovery. It affects many of us. It’s called being bloated and feeling fat. It’s a very real battle, a battle that is fought in the mind, a battle that we sometimes aren’t sure anybody else would understand.
Actually one of the most comforting reminders for me as a child of God, a redeemed child of the living God is that there is One who can sympathize with our infirmities, with these battles. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
The amazing thing is that Jesus, the Lord of the universe, came down and experienced many of the physical sufferings we endure, even in a way some of the emotional sufferings, and yet He was without sin.
So He could die for men as a man, but He could take their sins upon Him as God. It blows my mind; I can’t explain it to you, but I know that this is the Lord Jesus Christ who bears my infirmities, because I have so many of them.
One of these weaknesses is a huge struggle with body image every day.
I can’t tell you how often I get discouraged when I get up in the morning and go look at the bathroom mirror.
It’s a huge battle to not let that mirror define my identity.
You see, as a human being, my tendency is to look on the outside, of myself, of others.
I look at other pictures of celebrities, of famous people, of people who are ‘prettier’ than me, and I feel fat. I feel worthless, down, depressed. All of the food I look at just makes me ‘feel fatter.’
What’s wrong with all of this?
The size of my stomach does not determine the work that God has done in my heart. The size of my waistline does not change God’s love for His child, His redeemed child, redeemed from the pit of despair, redeemed and sanctified and washed with the blood of Jesus Christ.
We’re a society that is so based on what people look like or what people do, that we often forget (me included) that the worth of a human life is inherent.
#1) God made each person with worth. Each life is not random. And each one, no matter how big or small (whether at conception or 110+ years old) is precious.
#2) God made each person in His own image. Though at the fall, that relationship was damaged, man was damaged. Mankind fell away from God; but at the same time man still has that worth because he is still human, still made for God!
#3) Jesus Christ reconciles us to God. He does. And it doesn’t matter what ‘size’ you are; Jesus’ love and sacrifice was unconditional. He didn’t love me because of anything in me. He loved me because He loved me.
And that’s how I need to look at the the body I’ve been given. This body is a gift from God. It’s not a curse. The size of my stomach might change, but that doesn’t change God’s unchanging love for me, His grace that has been poured out.
One passage that has really really kept me grounded and centered is Romans 8 and the reminder that ABSOLUTELY nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Also, I have a podcast episode here with my thoughts if you don’t want to read the whole post!
Even if I get fatter and I have more fat, more cellulite as I get older; even if I lose muscle; even if I’m really bloated every night, I’m still a human. I’m still a child of God. I’m still someone who has worth given to me by God.
Tell yourself the truth.
Don’t let your mind take over with the lies.
Last of all I wanted to share some of my practical tips for dealing with being bloated:
1. Don’t wear tight clothing and definitely don’t look in the mirror. It’s just not going to help you right now.
2. If you do have to look in the mirror, try to use a ‘face’ mirror that doesn’t show your whole body.
3. Focus on your identity, the fact that you were created in God’s image, and that each life (no matter what size) is PRECIOUS and BEAUTIFUL!
4. If you want to move, do something that doesn’t require you to wear clothes where you will be tempted to compare your body size with others.
Go …. DANCE in the kitchen.
Put on a sweatshirt and some sweatpants and go do some stretching.
Put on a nice baggy T-shirt and then go do a fun workout in your bedroom.
5. Get RID of the clothes that constantly make you focus on your body. This is a huge one for me; once I got rid of those clothes, I found a HUGE freedom in being more outward focused. God used it in my life to show me that I was being selfish when I was constantly examining myself in the mirror. I started to notice other things rather than the shape of my body when I got rid of those clothes.
Am I completely rid of selfishness? By no means; and that’s why I need Jesus every. single. day.
6. Eat food that you know is comfortable for your body. That means it’s ok if you just are not feeling that salad or that bowl of chili.
Some ideas for happy food (that work for me) when you’re bloated:
Bread and nut butter
Yogurt and nut butter
Fruit usually is pretty nice (bananas, strawberries)
Since today is also WIAW, I’m sharing some of my favorite recent ‘happy food’ eats.
Last of all I wanted to point you to two bloggers that have addressed the struggles that can come along with eating disorder recovery, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (this would be one of my bloating struggles!), the digestives struggles that can make recovery harder, and body image.
Victoria @ The Die Hard Foodie
Robyn @ The Real Life RD
Each of these ladies have so many posts that have really helped in opening up my eyes to different ways to help my recovery, digestion, being bloated, body image, and many other struggles. They each also have way more knowledge than I do, so I hope you can check these gals out and find their posts to educational and helpful!
Some of my favorites from their blogs (that have helped me in recovery):
Why Dieting Doesn’t Work – Robyn
Amenorrhea: Part III (Part of Robyn’s 3 part series)
How Intuitive Eating Helped My Digestion – Victoria
Linking up with Amanda and all the other bloggers for Thinking Out Loud Thursday to discuss this struggle. I would love to hear your thoughts.
How do you deal with feeling fat?
Do you have strategies to work with episodes of being bloated?