Fighting for Freedom (Body Image)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Part of blogging is a decision about how much you want to share, how much you want to open up. There is such a thing as too much is all on the internet after all, not a private diary. That being said, I don't know about y'all, but I have always been so blessed when a blogger has chosen to share a story, a struggle, or a stirring in her heart that I too have experienced. It's nice to know we're not alone and that somewhere out there, someone's going through the exact same thing.

I've thought the above before, but I was reminded of it again when I read Jessi's beautiful and honest post about her struggle in feeling freedom with her body image.

Because y'all - she wrote the words and thoughts and feelings in my heart. I shared last summer about my weight gain during college and here we are almost two semesters later and not much has changed. I haven't dropped the weight like I'd hoped and planned. My exercise plans fell to naught once the semester started because when you're tired and have tests and papers, excuses are so easy to make.

 Like Jessi, I've felt freedom in so many other aspects of my life: freedom to pursue my passions and dreams, freedom with words and relationships as I pour out my heart through writing and try to love people as best I can. I've felt freedom in my fashion choices, freedom in changing my hair, wearing make-up, being in charge of my own schedule, freedom in managing my photography business and in creating art.

I've felt freedom in everything else except when it comes to my health and body. Because I don't like being in pictures any more, because I'm just a little too curvy (yes, there is such a thing), because I miss wearing certain clothes, because I walk around feeling trapped in a skin that doesn't feel like mine anymore. Because I miss feeling confident about how I look (and not just because of a stylish outfit or good hairstyle).

I've always said that things have to get to a certain point where you're so tired of them that you're willing to do what's necessary. For me, when I was in high school, I finally had enough - I was tired of being heavy and after a couple of years of my parents trying to encourage a healthier lifestyle, I made radical changes on my own. I started with baby steps, eating healthier and with smaller portions; I started walking everyday and built my endurance up to working out 6 days a week: running, step class, weights, yoga, Zumba. I became a Zumba instructor and a flexitarian (i.e. semi-vegetarian).

Part of me misses that Grace - the Grace who did what she had to, who had a passion for exercise and who stayed strong in order to become healthy. I haven't seen that Grace for a while...and that only contributes to current frustration. But I'm also a big believer that there's a season for everything. In high school I had the time and energy to work out so much  - I know I could probably do that now, but things are a little different. I used to run all the time. Now, I crave yoga and dancing. I used to eat peanut butter and drink smoothies every. day. Now, I usually have eggs and fruit in the morning.

We change. People change. So if I spend my time beating myself up and trying to become the girl I was in high school, I'll only make myself miserable.

I have to decide what works for me right now in this stage of my life. And for me, that's eating more grilled chicken and broccoli in the dining halls, downloading a yoga postcast, not having a cookie every day, drinking more water each day, not snacking as much in the dorm.

It means listening to my body.

Because I might not love how it looks right now, but it's still my body. It's doing the best it can, so I need to start doing the best I can to take care of it. I'm ready to feel freedom in that area of my life again - so it's time to take those steps.


  1. "I have to decide what works for me right now in this stage of my life."

    This, and this whole post, were very timely for me. The way my waistline is steadily expanding and the way that my old clothes don't fit anymore can be a little disheartening... even though I know that it's an inevitable part of this current stage of my life! I sometimes miss the Clare who felt more in control of her body, who could lift heavy weights and do long pilates sessions and go for runs. Now I try to lift tiny little weights and I do brief gentle yoga sessions and go on walks. lol. It's SO important to realize that life has a million different circumstances, and to feel free and accepting of ourselves no matter where our conditions put us.

    Thank you for a much-needed post in my life! ♥

    1. Don't you love that about blogging? I feel like God's timing is perfect, even in small things like reading a blog post about something you're dealing with in your life. I agree - I almost think our bodies change with every major season in life, which can be hard to adjust to. You seem to have the mindset about embracing the changes in your body. You're still doing what's best for you health-wise. Also, the end result will be so worth it - a baby! :) Love you, sister mine!

  2. I have never commented, but I have been reading your blog for over two years now. I enjoy your blog so much! You have such a wonderful voice, please continue to share your words.

    God Bless,

    1. Hi Violet! Thank you so much for commenting - it means so much to hear that you've been reading for over two years! I'm so grateful for your sweet words and hope to see you around. :)

  3. I read this post and the one you linked to back in 2013... and this is so courageous of you, Grace. I'm so touched by your frankness and honesty with the world. Let Mama Mary help you grow in your womanhood, curves or no. :) Blessings. ♥

    1. Aspirer, thank you thank you for reading and leaving a comment. I've found that sometimes you overcome anxiety of what others think of you by going ahead and speaking your mind. Honest at it is. :) God bless!

  4. I really needed to read this Grace! Thank you so much. I too struggle with body image. I use to be a competitive swimmer for 10 years I was always in shape. Body image was never a problem for me. But when I stopped swimming I gained weight and I've never felt as healthy as I once was. So I've been learning to love my body, while making a difference eating and working out. So thanks again, I'll keep you in my prayers.
    Have a blessed Lent

    1. Thank you, Marisa! I'm so glad you enjoyed my post and that it struck a cord with you...I always love reading something someone else has written and think, "me too!" I completely understand how you feel - it's been hard remembering how great shape I used to be in...but like you said, it's learning to love our bodies while making small changes. I'll be praying for you also! <3