If you’ve ever said, “I just want to be skinny” then this post is for you!
A closet full of clothes and I have nothing to wear!”
I stood staring at 4 linear feet packed with hangers– all holding clothes that were too small or “made me look fat.”
I just want to be skinny! Then I’ll be happy, I thought.
Have you ever thought that if you could just be “skinny” then ______ (insert problem) would be better? Maybe you’ve imagined that losing weight or toning up would be the fairy dust that would propel you to excel in life and love.
In our modern world being thin is truly the gold standard. And, apart from moving to a remote island, that message is pretty inescapable. It’s no wonder that half of the women in the US are trying to lose weight at any given time.
We want to be better, we want to be thinner, but do we know WHY?
Is Just Being Skinny the Fix?
When life goes awry, how do you fix it? When things don’t go quite as planned, who and what do you blame?
Me, I often felt that I was being held back because of my dress size or because my skin was anything but clear. I obsessively tried to fix any and everything that was “wrong” with me to no avail.
You see, when we are on the lookout for flaws, flaws are all we will find. When we are hunting down the cause of our troubles, our flaws are an easy target.
“Skinny” and “fat” can easily become metaphors for “happy” and “sad.”
I just want to be skinny may really mean I just want to be happy.
It is easy to get signals crossed when we are steeped in a society that equates physical beauty and thinness with self-confidence, happiness, romance, and health. But that is certainly not the case.
At my thinnest, I was my unhealthiest. At a size zero, I had no reproductive function and my doctors were puzzled by my gastrointestinal issues. When I gained 15 pounds in an effort to become pregnant, those health issues went away. No coincidence.
Do You Have Preferred Problems?
Body image and weight can become The Thing we focus on and try to “fix.” They become our preferred problem. Sounds odd, right?
But, when we think about it, there are some problems we prefer over others. Namely, problems we think we know how to solve are generally better than those we have no idea how to address. Some challenges are easier than others and some struggles are familiar, almost comfortable.
Let’s take diet and exercise as an example. I work as a nutrition coach. While the vast majority of my clients come to me for food-related help, they often have other struggles in their lives such as depression, anxiety, dissatisfaction with their career, or relationship troubles.
They are very aware that a change is needed in other areas of their lives, but they just don’t know where to start. Analysis paralysis sets in.
So, they focus on food.
“I just want to be skinny,” they say. But it’s about so much more.
For someone who’s been on numerous diets (successful or not), diets are familiar.
And, truthfully, diets feel comfortable compared to more intense interpersonal, emotional challenges. They know the ups and downs, the celebrations and heartaches of trying to “fix” their bodies and food. So, they hone in there.
But is being “skinny” really the be-all, end-all? The first step in untwisting our desire to be skinny “NOW!” is to separate our desire for thinness from our desire to be happy, confident, and in control of the “out of control.”
But wait a minute… these are the very things we want to create but feel incapable of doing so. They’re problems that lead us to preferred problems.
The answer lies in seeking God for those things that only He can provide, reading Bible verses about beauty and self-worth.
While self-help books and therapy sessions can assist, no earthly tool can replace the magnificent work that God can do when He is asked.
When we ask for help (Matthew 7:7-12) with honesty and humility, when we stay connected to The Vine (John 15:1-17), when we seek Him first (Matthew 6:33), He will answer.
Body image and the Bible…It’s not always in the way we expect but always in the way that we need.
Let Peace Do Its Work
When we get to the heart of the matter of our weight loss ambitions and allow God to do a work- joy, boldness, and trust will flow. The irony is that this place is the optimal mental and spiritual state for reaching our ideal body weight.
When we are content with our worth and value in Christ, the desperate grasping for skinny stops.
How we eat becomes more about how we can fuel our purpose and honor our temple and less about reaching some celestial number on the scale and wondering if you should weigh yourself.
As food restrictions and labels fade, eating within our body’s hunger and fullness signals gets easier.
Your reasons to exercise can now be about enjoyment and movement, and we may actually start to look forward to it.
This shift in thinking has created the environment for natural weight loss. It feels backward but this is the “forward” way that reveals why you may have failed to make long-term changes in the past. Don’t be disappointed, be relieved that this time can be different!
Finding Your True Fix for Skinny
If you find yourself putting so much emphasis on body weight that it detracts from your quality of life, then there is a good chance that you are looking for weight loss to do more for you than weight loss can offer.
By uncovering what being “skinny” really means to you, you are better able to address the challenges beneath the surface.
As we give those deeper desires to God, He can heal those broken places. The wholeness that comes from relying on Him will help us reach our healthiest, happiest body weight with no strings attached.
Download Your Free More Than Skinny Toolkit
This resource will help you unlock the values that you hold in high regard. Values that are bigger than a pants size and more riveting than a 6-pack.
Sign-up and you’ll receive a few worksheets and customizable affirmation cards to help you renew your mind and put I just want to be skinny behind you.
- Download the free toolkit below. You’ll get worksheet, printable, plus join my weekly newsletter!
- Print. Any paper will do the trick, but card stock for your cards would be ideal.
- Carry or display your cards to keep these important ideas handy!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Amazon #1 Best Selling Author, Homeschool Mom, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.
Wow! This hits home for me big time. Thank you for reminding me of so many truths that can get muddled up and lost too easily by all the messages that surround us daily.
I am glad this resonated with you! I was just emailing with a client how this is something that I still wrestle with too… I think it is a great conversation to have so that we can be aware of the influences all around us. Thank you for the comment!
Elaine Mingus (RadicalChristianWoman.com) says
After almost 20 years being eating disorder free I STILL find myself wanting to “be skinny” for the sake of skinny-ness.
It’s hard to admit that someone with the wisdom and grace I’ve been given STILL struggles. It’s not a feeling that goes away once and for all. It can resurface even when you think you’ve conquered it depending on circumstances. It’s an area we are forced to continually give to Jesus!
Thanks for the great post!
You are so right! Those old thoughts that come charging in out of “nowhere” serve as an excellent cue to find our reprieve in Christ. This is something that I continue to wrestle with too… Interesting the things that God allows to linger that draw us closer to Him.
Thank you for chiming in!
Wait y’all struggle and y’all are Christian’s? I’m a Christian but I started to wonder if I was because I struggle with depression and an eating disorder especially about my body and idk how to make it go away and that’s all I want….
Christians have struggled since the garden of Eden. We’re not perfect, just forgiven. The fact that you’re here shows God is speaking to you about something more <3
Susan Boltman says
Thanks so much for your great words of wisdom I so desperately needed today. A good reminder every day! God is always working within us, helping us, Let go Let God.
I am so glad that you found this helpful, Susan! Living in this day and age, we ALL need to be reminded about what matters most. You are created for a great purpose!
I was what was considered the ideal weight.. I was a gym rat, diet crazy.. I looked the part. I fit in. I loved the compliments, I loved how people wanted to do what I could do. They called me “insane.” They dreamed of being able to look the way I did and eat and exercise the same way. What they didn’t know is I hated every inch of me most of the time and still didn’t think I looked good enough. I knew I was in better shape than many people but I just constantly wanted to get leaner and faster and more crazy. I was self obsessed. Every day I was fighting a losing battle. I was also very depressed, anxious most of the time. I sorta had an idea of who I was, or so I thought. I thought I was the fit girl, the health nut, the girl guys found desirable. I thought that was all that mattered… I had reached my goal in life. WOW. How very wrong I was… God started to make his way into my heart and lead me to get baptized. I broke up with my boyfriend at the time, stopped partying, stop working out, stopped my old life completely. I did a complete 180… At first, I felt a sense of freedom, joy, purpose. I felt like I finally know why it was so exhausting to fit in.. because God hand picked me to stand out. Sadly, after living the Christian lifestyle for a year, I became depressed. I missed my old life, I missed physical affection, I missed my fit body. When I changed my lifestyle to a Christian lifestyle, after a while I started to use food as a form of love. I was still praying and spending time with God, I just felt so isolated that I ate. It wasn’t very helpful that I was working overnights at a very stressful job and eating at all the wrong times. I was spending too much time alone. I shouldn’t have written this as if this is now the past and everything is good now. I want to say it is not all good. I’m a mess. I’m comparing myself to who I use to be, how I looked, how people looked at me. I’m journeying back to my old self again. I am self obsessing, crazy dieting, working out like crazy and avoiding God. I am angry with him for taking a way what made sense. I am killing myself trying to get back into my old body… The funny thing is nothing is happening, my body will not change back no matter what I do. I know I need help. I know God is trying to teach me something about myself. I mean, I know I wasn’t happy even when I was “ideal.” & yet I want to be that person again so badly. I know it’s not what God wants but I can’t seem to let it go. I don’t know how to let go of who I use to be.
Hi Jaclyn! Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to so much that you wrote. The world we live in paints beauty and thinness as the answer and the messaging is so strong, even with mountains of evidence against it, it’s still hard to let go of. I believe that the enemy, Satan, knows our weaknesses and will exploit them in any way possible to put a wedge in our relationship with God and/or make us ineffective for ministry.
At some point, I had to let go of the ideal JUST because it was making me miserable. It wasn’t that my heart changed (it didn’t at all) but… I could not stand the thought of spending one more day wrapped up in angst and sadness over something that actually didn’t matter that much to me.
You see, God showed me how the things that truly mattered to me had nothing to do with how much I weighed. I don’t want my daughter today to talk about how thin I was– I want her heart to warm when she thinks of me. I realized that I don’t care about what complete strangers have to say about me and I actually hated the idea of making other women feel inadequate around me.
Do you *really* want to be that person again? Be honest with yourself. I’d hate to see you chasing a false dream.
What kind of person do you truly want to be? How do you want to make others feel around you? What do you want your life to speak?
Maybe you want to be someone different?
I am praying for you now, that God will whisper a new truth into your heart.
Feel free to email me if you want to chat some more at [email protected].
Nailed it again Brandice! I can’t wait to get the tool kit and start putting my efforts toward true healing and value instead of the misplaced value I’ve placed on being thinner.
Hey Jen! I’m so glad you found this helpful. Let me know how the toolkit works for you and if you need anyone to bounce ideas off of 🙂
Such a great read! I found this blog awhile back and just recently started adding it back into my routine. There’s SO much truth here and it’s really hard for me to separate my worth from the number on the scale. God is so good though and only He can provide what I’m looking for. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
You’re welcome, Nicolette! We need those constant reminders that God has so much more for us than measuring ourselves by that number <3
I’m exceedingly grateful for how you’ve let the Lord use you, and let it be public the struggles you’ve faced. For a small period of time in the past, I’d been vomiting and starving myself. And over the past few months my weight spiked drastically due to binge eating, and now I am at my greatest weight and became depressed and over critical, isolated and just inconsolable. The Lord answered my prayers and lead me straight here. I mean after just reading this blog post – you really struck a chord, I couldn’t contain my tears before I got three words deep because I just felt his presence with me, I broke down. I knew this would help to deliver me from this darkness I was feeling. Like, I can’t express and God knows the relief I felt reading this and taking notes. I even downloaded the worksheets. But wow, just wow. I’m grateful. Thank you so much. I can’t help but tear up.
I’m so glad He led you here, Chenoa! There is great hope and, in time, you’ll see how this struggle is the very thing God uses to transform EVERY area of your life. Hugs!
Thank you so much for putting this in a public place, God is using you and you are doing a great thing for people. I am so glad to see God working against the enemy here. I have struggled with eating disorders and wishing that I could go back to my past skinnier body. But you are right, I could never trade the worth, Grace, freedom, and love I have felt from God for the self hatred and obsessive worried thoughts I had when I was skinnier. God is so much better, He will always be better than anything the world could offer. Thank you. : )
Ginger [Community Manager] says
I am so glad you are finding it helpful, Hannah! You are correct, your worth is found in Him. Claim His grace and live in this freedom.
Oluyemi Akinyele says
Thanks for sharing.
However,I truly do want to be skinny as it makes me healthy and happy.
I don’t diet because of the views of the world.i believe that being fat is being fleshly.
What can I do to be skinny ?as starvation diets are unhealthy and I want to honour and glorify God with my body and in my eating.
It’s ok to those desires but keeping your worth IN CHRIST is key!
Breandy Tankersley says
Looking at your pictures you look thin or healthy. How can you understand obsession about weight? I wake up everyday, miserable and in pain. I’m ruining my relationship but I’m grumpy and angry with everyone, everyday. I hate myself and how I feel. I’m 40 lbs overweight. I can’t breathe well if I walk. I’m so miserable. I’m giving up on myself, my marriage and falling away in my spiritual walk. My husband says I’m obsessed with my weight. I say I’m unhealthy and unhappy. How can reading scripture help me lose weight.
Hi Breandy! Remember that people look on the outside but God looks on the heart. The outside is not a direct reflection of someone’s struggle. My story meant gaining weight to be healthy and, as I’m sure can guess, was HARD. Now, I’m a little softer than I’d like to be but I am SOOOO happy, I’d not trade it for anything.
Your weight and happiness do not have to be dependant on one another. We find that the Word gives us value outside of what the world says. When we have peace in God, we’re less drawn to the food and our bodies will find their healthy space. Trying to “fix” our weight keeps us focused on the symptom and not the real problem which is a spiritual one.
Seek the Lord and see what HE has to say about it and, in that, you’ll already be finding the solution. The Lord does not want you unhealthy so don’t fear but He will work on our hearts first.