What I Learned About Gaining 15lbs In 2011
Editor’s Note: Today’s post was written by Jessica Eschezabal. She tweets at @jessieeche. One of our topics this year was beauty & body image, and we had so many incredible submissions. Our body weight and what we see in the mirror is a daily fight for most of us – but not one we are meant to be fighting. If you’d like to read more stories on this, check them out here. – Lauren
If I had to describe a large portion of 2011 in one word it would be obsession.
I was obsessed with my body. Always trying to make it more beautiful. And the worst part was that it was a secret struggle.
I gained about 15 pounds during the summer of 2010. Once I got back home, the number on the scale scared me to death. All of a sudden, I looked in the mirror and saw a different person. I saw someone I didn’t want to look like.
I’m still not completely sure what caused such an intense insecurity. Why I desperately needed to lose the weight. But that didn’t seem to matter at the time. All I wanted to do was get back to normal. And while I was at it, I decided I wanted to pursue the best body I could get.
I wasted countless hours online looking through exercises, magazines, and at models. I have always liked and appreciated fashion, but this time I got sucked into the fashion industry and all of its pressures.
Everything was about me, me, me.
During this time God was knocking at my door but I was too busy on the computer to get up and open it. One of my best friends approached me several times asking me if I was okay because I looked thinner. I would assure her I was fine, but inside I had a terrible knot in my stomach knowing what I was doing was so wrong.
But I couldn’t stop.
I tried several times to stop looking at models on Tumblr. I was successful for several days, and even felt a hint of freedom. But I would soon find myself scrolling through the pages again. I was chained.
I couldn’t eat food without mentally calculating calories or thinking about what the ingredients might be. I went to bed thinking about it, and woke up thinking about it. I never thought I had a problem, but today I will completely acknowledge the fact that I was developing a psychological disorder: anorexia nervosa.
But then God saved me.
One morning I woke up and I’d had enough. I couldn’t live like this anymore. It was eating me alive. God was pounding at my door. He couldn’t stand seeing His beautiful daughter destroying herself. He couldn’t stand seeing His precious creation being consumed by His enemy’s lies. He wanted me back.
And I finally opened the door.
I went to my university that morning and confessed everything to my best friend and asked for accountability. I decided I would not exercise any longer until I felt I could do it without the wrong motives. I deactivated all my email subscriptions to the latest exercise routine and diet tips. I deleted all the fashion Tumblrs I followed and all the models I followed on Twitter. I cleaned my room of garbage. I was done.
What gave me the power to all of a sudden drop everything I held onto so tightly? God. I did not do it on my own. It would have been impossible. God filled my broken body with strength and I was able to stand up again. You will not find that strength elsewhere.
This is what I learned about body image: if your eyes are on yourself, you will never be satisfied. This world offers counterfeit beauty. You have it for several years and then it’s gone. Fashion models are an illusion. They are not real. (Don’t believe me? Go watch the Dove Evolution video.)
God said, “Fix your eyes on me.” And so I did. And everything changed.
I saw myself as God’s creation. Beautifully and wonderfully made.
I never had to live chained to the lies of this world. God sent His son to die for me so that sin no longer had a hold on me. I didn’t have to be “beautiful enough” for Him. So why was I living as if I were still chained to that?
In 2011 I learned how to live a life of victory. Learning from my past mistakes and applying the lessons to my future.
The thoughts still come back to haunt me. But I don’t need to submit to them any longer. When I am completely consumed by Christ, I lose sight of myself. I don’t matter anymore. It’s not about me, but Him.
I want my security to come from a different source. Not the world, but Christ.
One of my favorite authors, Leslie Ludy, describes a girl consumed by Jesus perfectly, “Her value comes from knowing she has been redeemed and loved by the King of all kings. Her focus is on His desires, not on her selfish wants.”
That is what I am striving for. I am definitely not all there, but I am getting one step closer each day. This is my goal for 2012.
“They care not at all what the world thinks of them, because they are entirely taken up with the tremendous realities of their King.” —Bishop Bardsley
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