They Do Exist.

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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11 Responses

  1. nicolette31

    Thanks for this one! I think what I strive to do now is to exercise, etc, from the perspective of taking care of the beauty God has already given me..

    December 7, 2011 at 1:01 am

  2. Beautiful. What you said about never being satisfied if our eyes on on ourselves? SUCH a good point. Thank you for writing this.

    December 7, 2011 at 7:09 am

  3. Danielle

    While I am realizing more and more that I really do struggle with my self image (I’ve become pretty good at denying it), I just wanted to further encourage those that are looking to models as the source of our ideal. H&M recently admitted to using computer generated model bodies with real people heads to model their clothes. We are no longer competing with real people, but computerized version of the exact body type that models clothes best! Wow! Eye opening! Be encouraged ladies! God values you much more than you can ever know!

    December 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

  4. chilatz

    as someone currently struggling immensley with an eating disorder, i agree with some of your points but not all. i think for many people the never being satisfied when our eyes are on ourselves is true, however, i have been finding that eating disorders can also stem out of fulfilling many roles and having extreme expectations for ourself, as well as trying to be everything for everybody. when you actually pay a little attention to yourself, not being selfish, but treating yourself like you would treat anyone else, thats when the eating disorder starts to loose hold. its not selfish to pay a little attention to yourself, and take care of yourself, and give yourself little treats every now and then like the new pair of earrings you want, not necessarily to be fashionable but just because you want them. sometmies there is too much attention being focused outward for us to see ourselves in the light that God sees us. im really glad that you were able to get healthy, however, and i applaud you for that knowing how hard it is :) keep up the great work in staying healthy :)

    August 8, 2012 at 2:08 am

  5. kat

    Came accross your post today, and I want to say something. First of all, I admire your strength and faith in Gods truth. I struggle everyday to balance being healthy vs. being obsessed with weight or food. For me, my problem stems from my family. My mother has been in the ICU three times with complications from both anorexia and bulimia. She weighed 52lbs last year. Watching her struggle, her obsession with food, her constant distorted body image, has broken my heart. The sins of my mom have passed to me, and I constantly battle this. I long for a society that doesnt have a distorted view on beauty, that would stop telling young women that they are not good enough. I would love to find more links on this topic, if you know any please reply to my comment. Again, thank you. Your testimony is needed more and more to the women of today.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:17 am

  6. Very informative post. Thanks for sharing it i really need this post.

    April 5, 2014 at 6:03 am

  7. Love the inspiration you gave. Thank you for sharing the great post!
    instagram viewer

    April 10, 2018 at 3:14 am

  8. Thank you for the great article. You wrote it well.

    November 30, 2018 at 3:53 am

  9. Marek

    I see so many news that I have updated every days. your article gives me useful information and a fresh perspective on the subject.

    November 22, 2019 at 6:43 am

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