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Body Image Worries at Hungry for Hope

By April 25, 2014 6 Comments

Constance-170x135Yesterday we received a note from one of our Lasting Freedom online support group members, who is planning to attend our upcoming Hungry for Hope conference for eating/body image issues.

She writes, “I’m feeling very triggered at the thought of HFH and feeling the need to look a certain way because everybody there is so involved with body image and eating issues in one way or another.”

She went on to explain that she worried that other members might judge her size. “I know this sounds incredibly shallow and self-absorbed,” she continued, “but I just wanted to be honest about what I’m feeling and see if you had any wisdom.”

Um, yes…

Here’s the funny thing about Hungry for Hope – and ANY eating disorders conference – pretty much ALL of us who have ever had eating/body image issues wrestle with these same thoughts in going, myself included. It’s one thing to be sending out communication via the internet and filming webinars that show my body from the chest up, but another thing entirely to connect in person and have those voices whispering in my ear, “What are they thinking about the rest of you?”

For my part, as someone who does not struggle with weight anymore, I often find myself worrying that those who are heavier won’t like me because I’m thin. Which is a weird paradox for someone who spent more than a decade working to be the thinnest girl in the room.

For others I know it can be the opposite concern – that others may reject them because they are NOT thin. Or make judgments regarding whether they’ve gained or lost weight. And everything in between…

So here’s the wisdom I’ve learned to find freedom from this internal mind-battle, which I am happy to share with any of you who have wrestled with this question.

#1: There is no “magic” size that guarantees people will (or won’t) like you.

Which means that all your stress about trying to achieve it – whatever you think IT is – is pointless and a waste of energy. Let’s focus on more positive, life-giving things, like how to show love to others who might be wrestling with their own worries. Which brings me to my next point…

#2: Most people are WAY more concerned about their own size than yours.

Sorry to burst your bubble… but it’s actually good news…

#3: Because of that, you are not alone in your worries.

Which means there is also probably lots of grace coming your way – the same grace you’ll extend to others because you get what it’s like to be judged.

#4: Satan wants to use things like this to distract you from what matters.

If God is calling you to connect with others and be ministered to at Hungry for Hope, it’s because amazing things are going to happen there, so you can EXPECT to face a lot of fear and anxiety leading up to it, because if Satan can keep you distracted you’ll miss out on receiving what God has for you. But…

#5: God is bigger than your fear.

And so are most people. So I encourage you to change the “agreement” you’ve made in your mind regarding lies about yourself and your body. Ask God to renew your mind, and to give you the grace to be you – JUST you – ALL of you – at this event.

I, for one, won’t be making any judgments about your body. Will you join me in that commitment?

Looking forward…

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>> Wondering if God is leading you to join us at Hungry for Hope this year?

Watch this and you’ll know in 3 minutes…

HFH 2014 Vimeo Still

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • abby says:

    Thank you, Constance. This was incredible and perfect timing. I don’t struggle much with body image issues anymore, but I now that my story is out there, I worry constantly about other judging my recovery–whether it meets their expectations or standards of what “recovered” looks like.
    Thank you, thank you for this truth and reminder!

    • Yes, it’s even trickier for those of us who end up “working” in the field we used to struggle in. I used to try to eat more at a business meeting just to prove to the person I was meeting with that I was ok eating. It’s taken many years for me to not be so worried about it, and even still I can catch myself worrying, but choose not to let it guide me.

  • Amy Schaller says:

    My first year at Hungry for Hope, I was more concerned about fitting in because I thought I would be the oldest person there, that I would stand out because of my age. I didn’t, there were all ages, all shapes & sizes, no one person stood out as not belonging, we were of one mind- focused on God to defeat ED.

    This year will be my 4th HFH event and each year I make new friends and deepen the old friendships. It is a place of safety and learning and worship and joy, as well as sharing tears and struggles and recovery.

    I am excited to see where God leads me this year through the sessions and new people I meet.

    • I’ve been to Hungry for Hope four times, and every time I find myself wrestling with some of these same anxieties. I’m usually the biggest body size there, however the love, acceptance and friendships I have made over the years remind me that God has brought me to this safe place and surrounded me with support to dash my fears. This is the one place I can go without judgment, and where everyone else understands the challenges. I pray you will find the love and support that I have had, so you can hear God say, “don’t worry here, I’ve got you covered.”

      • Yep. And we are hoping that more folks who fear that this event is just for “thin” people will know it isn’t, and/or will come in spite of that concern. We also try to be intentional on the staffing side of things to make sure all body types are represented.

    • Well said! And so true – there is no “right” age for this either. The issues can affect all ages, which means all ages are welcome. (18+)

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