I recently had the opportunity to chat with my friend, Heather Creekmore, author of “Compared to Who: A Proven Path to Improve Your Body Image” on my radio program, Your Hope-Filled Perspective With Dr. Michelle Bengtson. We chatted about how we as women are prone to struggling with comparison and body image issues, as well as ways to improve your body image this summer. But we just barely skimmed the surface, so I invited Heather to guest post here to offer more of her wisdom and insight. Read to the end to take the FREE body image awareness quiz.
(There are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).
5 Ways to Improve Your Body Image This Summer
by Heather Creekmore
Having a healthy body image even during the summer doesn’t require you to find the right diet and exercise program. In fact, it’s possible to have a healthy body image without losing a pound or spending an hour in the gym. Why? Because our body image has very little to do with our actual, physical, bodies.
Instead, what if I told you that our body image battles are won or lost in our hearts?
It’s true. The real battle isn’t between you and the scale or you and the mirror, or even you and that pesky swimsuit in the dressing room. The battle is between you and the enemy of your soul –the one who wants you to believe that your worth correlates with your ability to rock a tankini.
So, no matter what your size, age, shape, or ability, here are 5 ways to improve your body image this summer.
1) Watch what you watch.
Some of you carefully watch every calorie and know exactly what food you are consuming in an effort to drop a few pounds. But, if you want to improve your body image, I’d say watch what you read, watch on TV, or on Netflix just as carefully as you watch your food. Consuming junk media will have a more harmful impact on your soul than a package of Oreo’s has on your body. Avoid shows that preach false messages about love, beauty, and what’s really important in this life. They will zap the life out of you. (Psalms 119:37)
2) Watch what you prioritize.
Summer can be a busy time of the year, especially if kids are home or there are vacations to plan and pack for. But, keeping your priorities straight—even in the summer when routine feels “thrown out the window” is an important way to keep a healthy body image. Spend time daily in God’s word and prayer. Don’t skip church just because the weather’s beautiful. These habits and priorities feed your soul and have a bigger impact on how you feel about your body than you may realize.
3) Watch out for comparison.
Comparison is sneaky. I like to relate it to those old Jaws movies. You may be going along just fine and then, boom! You hear that Nuh Nuh, Nuh Nuh sound of comparison draws your attention to the woman two towels down and whispers, “You shouldn’t wear a swimsuit, you’re not as thin as her. You don’t even deserve to wear a swim dress. Next year, you need a better body before vacation.”
We’ve all had it happen, friend. The enemy isn’t that creative. He’s constantly encouraging us to compare ourselves with other people so we stay in a state of discontent, discouragement, and distraction. Make a covenant with your eyes (like Job did in Job 31:1) to not compare yourself to or envy other women this summer.
4) Watch out for the “new.”
New diets, new exercise programs, even a new swimsuit will not change your body image. Only a new heart and mindset will do that. If you want to start exercising again, great! The program you already own will work just as well as a new one. If you want to watch what you eat, wonderful. There’s some wisdom in that. But, realize that the diet you already know about (the boring one—you know, moderation and eating more healthfully) will work just as well as the one prescribed in that new diet book.
There really is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Find freedom by recognizing that a miracle cure won’t fix you, only the transformative power of God’s love can help you feel better about your body this summer.
5) Watch out for the mirror and the scale.
Repeat after me, “My mirror does not determine my value.” Or, here’s another one, “The number on my scale does not reflect my worth.”
Friend, our mirrors and our scales can turn into gods that we try to please, distracting us from our purpose here on earth (to reflect and worship the one true God!). I’m not saying you never look in the mirror or weigh yourself. (Goodness, I’d be a toothpaste covered mess each morning!) But, stop staring and lingering. Especially if you’re wearing a bathing suit. The more you gaze into that looking glass the more you may find to feel unhappy about.
Real body image freedom is found not waiting until you feel content with the mirror (because trust me, I’ve never met a woman who’s always happy with her appearance!). The freedom is found when you can stop letting that reflection in the mirror affect your day. As Tim Keller says, the freedom is in self-forgetfulness. More mirror time leads to more, “Think about me” time.
Instead of fixating on your flaws or fretting over your flab this summer, take your mind off of yourself. Think about having fun with the ones you love. Think about enjoying summer with a heart of gratitude for all of God’s many gifts. I promise you, the freedom comes not when you love your body more, but when you learn to love Jesus more and can embrace just how much he loves you.
P.S. Here’s my Free Body Image Awareness Quiz!
Body Image Awareness Quiz: www.comparedtowho.me/follow
About Heather Creekmore
Originally an East Coast native, Heather is a pastor’s wife now living in Austin, Texas. Heather spent over a decade working in politics and marketing for non-profits before marriage and children. Now, through her own ministry, Heather speaks and writes to encourage Christian women who struggle with body image and comparison. I love her byline that says “Stop comparing. Start Living.”
Her first book titled “Compared to Who? A Proven Path to Improve Your Body Image” helps people find new freedom from comparison struggles. In her free time, Heather homeschools four children, drives the soccer practice shuttle, makes sometimes edible freezer meals, competes on Netflix baking shows and breaks grammar rules. That’s why we’re friends!