Covenant Christian Academy Blog

Never miss an update! Subscribe to our blog.

Overcoming Negative Body Image

Posted by Teddi Miller on Oct 12, 2021 10:00:00 AM

 how to heal from negative body image

 “You will probably make the team. You are pretty good for a fat girl.”

Before this was said to me in the fifth grade, I didn’t think about my body much. I just wanted to hang out with friends and have fun playing softball. But, after this was said to me, my body was all I thought about. It even took away the excitement of finding out I DID make the team. And, I was the pitcher!

It happened one other time. And then I begged my mom to help me go on a diet. This started a cycle of disordered eating and exercise. I became consumed with my body image. I tried every diet under the sun. I was anorexic for years. When I could not hide that anymore, I was bulimic. I worked out not because I loved it but to burn calories. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of compulsively trying to control my life through diet and exercise. It was EXHAUSTING. Brutally exhausting. I hated myself. I was never happy. No matter how thin I got, I still thought I was fat. 

I eventually found healing, but it didn’t come quickly. It took more than 20 years. My prayer is that no matter what your struggles are, you can use what I have learned to lead you toward a path of healing and hope.

There were three distinct things God used for my healing.

Surrender: Letting Go and Letting God

While I did ask God for help, I never let go of my need to control my life. I would pray and beg God to take away my issues, but I did not ever fully surrender. I did not allow my body to be God’s temple where the Holy Spirit could dwell and draw me into His full presence.

I eventually broke down, completely defeated. I cried out to God and said, "I can't do this anymore, Lord. I need you."

I wanted to be like the tree in Jeremiah 17:7-8 with roots completely immersed in God. I wanted to be surrounded by His love for me.

healing body image issues

I begged for God’s forgiveness. I was stubborn for thinking I could ask Him to help me without turning my worries, fears, and control over to Him. I apologized for not getting help and for not finding help in His precious word.

And then I said, “I am ready.  I need You.”

Renewing the Mind: Replacing Lies with Truth

The body is a divine gift. A temple. A dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. When we look in the mirror, letting our eyes linger on every flaw, we are not thinking about the body being a temple of the Holy Spirit. We have to stop thinking that way!! 

When our thoughts tell us, "You’re ugly, you’ll never measure up, you’re unworthy of love, you’re less important than that girl with a flat stomach,” we need to recognize those thoughts are not from God. He does not compare us to anyone else. He delights in us just the way we are.

It takes time and intention to change thought patterns, but recognizing God’s voice vs. the enemy’s voice is essential in tackling the problem. We must identify lies before we can get rid of them.

tips for healing eating disordered eating

If I asked you to describe your body, would “wonderful” be anywhere in your description? Most people have a hard time saying anything they like about themselves. It took a lot of work for me to read this verse and actually believe it was true. I spent years telling myself I’d messed up God’s creation. Thinking my body was wonderful was a stretch.

We renew our minds by repeatedly reading truth, replacing our broken thoughts with God’s truth.

  • Write scripture and words of encouragement on your mirror. Say those words to yourself. Tell yourself: you are worthy, you are beautiful, and you are an image-bearer.
  • Use scripture apps on your phone. Scripture was delivered on my phone at various times of the day. Especially during meal times. It’s amazing how God will allow the perfect verse to pass through your day.  

Healing in Community: Leaning on Family and Friends

After my experience with completely submitting control to God, I confessed to my family what I had gone through for most of my life. I was always really good at hiding and faking, so most people did not know my hurt. No one ever asked if I was okay or offered help because no one knew my pain. The enemy used isolation to keep me stuck in my pain.

Inviting my family into my struggles was significant for multiple reasons. First, I needed their support and accountability. My conversations with them have been a gift that strengthens and encourages me.

I also wanted my kids to know God wants us to depend on others. He does not expect us to go through life alone. When I kept things bottled up inside, my desire to control would take over, and I would try even harder to figure things out independently. We are going to experience troubles at all levels. Some are going to be huge, but even the little things are worth discussing. Knowing you have friends and family cheering for you and even crying with you makes dealing with this crazy life more manageable. God created us to live in community, sharing the load of blessings and burdens. I desire to use this struggle and redemption to help others, and I am glad this journey started in the walls of my home.

becoming healthy after eating disorders

God offers us a different standard to measure success, and it has nothing to do with appearance. 

The Lord does not look at the things people look at…the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

Your intentions, your heart, are what matters in His eyes.

I’m praying you know your worth in Christ and it would be the driving force in your life.

**This blog was revised from a devotion delivered in Rhetoric School Chapel in September 2021.

New call-to-action




Topics: Health