The following is a guest post by my friend and blogger Meredith King. She is a young woman with a big heart who recently started a campaign called Skinny is a Lie. If you would like to find out more about her, you can find her personal blog here, or visit her campaign site here. I hope you are challenged and encouraged by her post!
The Skinny Is a Lie Campaign began on Pinterest and for Pinterest when I came across a picture of a skinny model with a quote by Kate Moss that said “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.” Every time I read the words, they turned my stomach. I had flashbacks and remembered when those words were whispered in my ear, and I felt as if something manipulated my thoughts. The name of the liar was Anorexia. This lie kept me on 5-day long starvation bets with myself, when I literally could not bring myself to eat. I began to die physically, mentally, and spiritually, for a so called “ideal weight.” In this world we equate beauty with happiness, and beauty=skinny. Almost everyone tries dieting, or feels guilty for not being thin enough. But what is this world coming to when 8-10 year old children believe this this stuff? What is this world coming to when girls (and boys) are literally starving themselves to attain a “perfect weight”?
And what is the perfect weight?
Let me tell you something: if you make perfection your goal, you will not reach it. Maybe I sound like a pessimist, but hear me out. Perfection is something everyone chases on some level, and weight-loss plays very sweetly into people’s desires to be perfect when those desires get out of control. Your goal may start out realistic, such as reaching 120 lbs. Yet when weight loss becomes an obsession and you put all your energy into being perfect, 120 will not seem enough. You eat a lie, and it’s the only thing you may eat for days. The skinny-high starts out feeling good, as your weight falls to 100 lbs… 90.. 85. Then you feel like death itself. Being skinny does not keep you happy. In-fact, everyday activities may start to wear you out. You become exhausted. Your world may feel as if it is collapsing in on you. You might push away your love and friends and hopes and dreams as you attempt to reach the unattainable. This kind of skinny is unattainable because it is a lie.
If you try to combat the lie of being skinny with an obsessive desire to be healthy or an obsession with being strong, you will still end up hurt. Your good intentions to be healthy can become an eating disorder called “Orthorexia”, which means that you become pre-occupied with eating only pure foods, and freak out if you think you’ve ruined it. You try to make yourself pure through what you’re eating. On the other hand, if you become obsessed with being strong, you’ll be the strongest one of all. You’ll show everyone up. You throw away your whole life to workout. You will probably end up with some beautiful muscles, but in the mean time you may ditch your family, and maybe a job, and anything else that matters, and your body will become extremely over-worked. But when you’re a workaholic you can’t stop, because stopping makes you weak.
These obsessions are one and the same. The drive behind them is the need for perfectionism and control. They take hold of your life. They control you. I’ve heard people say “Oh, I don’t have the self-control it takes to be anorexic.” For a long time, I thought I was in control of anorexia, but the truth is, anorexia had control of me, and it was eating me and my life alive.
The Skinny is a Lie campaign is not to encourage people to be fat. It’s to encourage people to be the size they are. Obsessions with food, starvation, health or exercise are all unhealthy obsessions. These obsessions cannot make you pure, make you strong, comfort you, or save you. These obsessions will lie to you. They will make you purge as a sacrifice of your guilt of eating, they will make you panic if you’ve eaten something bad, they will drive you away from things that matter so that you can just do a few more push-ups, sit-ups, or go the gym one more time.
The lies keep you believing that without them, you are never good enough. Whether that’s strong enough, or pretty enough, or perfect enough… It’s the obsession with the lies that will keep you here. You never feel like it’s enough. Maybe you’ve only had thoughts like this and haven’t acted on them yet, or maybe you’re reading this after purging for the third time today, or you are on your second day of eating only spinach and drinking orange juice, or maybe you have just spent six hours exercising and it never felt like enough. But let me tell you the truth: wherever you are in these obsessions,whether at the very beginning, just starting to bite into the lie that you aren’t enough, or you’ve been struggling with an eating disorder or compulsive over-exercising for years, you ARE beautiful. You are enough! You really, truly are enough.
My story of anorexia and bulimia, and even some compulsive over-exercising and a bit of orthorexia boils down to my intense problem with being a perfectionist and a workaholic. Anorexia and Orthorexia were attempts to purify myself. When I messed it up, Bulimia came in to help; I could get rid of all the guilt. Cutting came in to punish my mistakes. Exercise was there to make me strong enough to live life alone; needing no one else.At some point I realized… all these things were making me less strong and more vulnerable; that in my desire to have control, I had lost complete control of my body and my life, and also my mind and my spirit. I was living a life filled with pain, guilt, and lies. I began to dig through all the reasons I had these beliefs, and asked myself why I felt the way that I did. With all of it uncovered, I sat in grief of my life, more sunk into depression than before.
Then one night I saw many other Christians worshiping. I saw freedom in their hearts and in their eyes. I knew it’s what I wanted. Before, freedom had sounded scary, freedom would make me fat and vulnerable and I would always feel guilty for eating like a regular person. This time, I got on my knees and I told God to take everything—I would give it up for him. I was free. It sounds crazy and maybe you believe in God, but don’t believe in freedom, or maybe you don’t believe in God at all. But that mindset went away–of needing to purge and needing to starve. I still struggle with perfectionism and being a workaholic, but I’m also learning the truth. Jesus Christ makes it so that I don’t have to be perfect. It’s okay to mess up. He makes it so that I don’t have to work to make an identity for myself, he is my identity. (Also, if you’re afraid healing from your eating disorder will make you fat and ugly, it’s a lie too. I’m 125 pounds, which is my healthy weight and I much more beautiful now than I ever was before.) Jesus came for those of us who couldn’t get it right. He died to save those of us who are struggling and who are guilty. He came to give us grace. And nothing you have done will keep you from Jesus, because he will forgive anything you have ever felt or said or thought or done… even the things you still struggle with.
The only one who I am willing to serve, who is worthy to be served, is Jesus Christ. He will never abuse you. He will set you free. John 8:35-36 “Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” When you are a slave to skinny, or another one of the lies, you will never be good enough for them. You will never be in the family. Satan doesn’t want to accept you, and these are his lies. Satan wants to turn you away from the truth. The truth is about freedom, love, redemption, grace, and acceptance. The truth is about Jesus. The truth is that you are BEAUTIFUL, that you are WORTH IT, and that you are LOVED. When you submit to Christ, the son, He will set you free from darkness, from the cages of bone you live in, from the leash of food you are chained to, and from the feeling that you have to get on another diet to make yourself presentable or good enough. This MINDSET will be gone when you surrender to Christ. I used to think that freedom in Jesus meant I still had to constantly fight these things in my life. When I surrendered to Him completely, the mindset was gone. I was FREE! I didn’t feel like I had to be skinny anymore, I didn’t believe that skinny felt good. I felt ALIVE, I had ENERGY, and I had JOY. Things that SKINNY NEVER LET ME HAVE.
Being a slave to Jesus is the only way to be free; he is true enough to be served completely. Nothing else will do. Nothing else is enough. Skinny will never be enough. Food will never be enough. Health can’t save you. Jesus makes you beautiful. Jesus fills you up. Jesus saves you. He’s the only one who can forgive your sins. He’s the only one who can really comfort you. He’s the only one who completes you and makes you perfect. He’s the One. And SKINNY IS A LIE.
I say this, not because I’m looking to convert you or any other reason. I say this, because it is my story. Jesus is real to me and heals me and forgives me, and I am happy and joyful: these are things I never had without him or with my eating disorders. The guilt is gone, and so is the self-hatred. I believe this is can be part of your story as well. Good luck on your journey… You are BEAUTIFUL.
I invite you to join in the conversation by commenting on the blog, giving me the link to your blog or connecting any other way you’d like. My goal is to spread the word. My goal with the campaign is to combat all the lies society and media throw at us about beauty. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
If you’re interested in knowing more about my brand new campaign visit: skinnyisalie.wordpress.com
If you’re interested in helping get the word out against Thinspiration, eating disorders, and lies about beauty, please tweet, pin, link, or blog your thoughts with the hashtag #skinnyisalie.
If you’d like to talk with me about your story please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find my campaign on twitter: @skinnyisalie
You can also find my skinnyisalie pinboard:http://pinterest.com/merryheart/skinnyisalie/
I can’t wait to hear your stories!
Art Credit: Pinterest