The girl with the blonde pigtails toddled over to the full-length mirror. Having watched her momma get dressed for work every morning, she knew the ritual well: a sidelong glance full of sadness, suck in the stomach, make a quarter turn to review the rear angle, sigh dejectedly.
Although hardly able to articulate full-length sentences, this precious two year old could easily emulate her mother’s disgusted response to her own reflection. Those big baby blues had soaked it all in.
As my friend shared this story with me early in our years of motherhood, my heart was pierced. Then, during my years as an elementary school teacher, the burden I felt in regards to the body image struggles of young girls grew. I specifically remember the exact moment God told me something needed to change.
One of my typically reserved fifth-graders returned to our classroom from delivering her Krispy Kreme birthday treats, excitedly announcing: “Mrs. So-and-So ACTUALLY took one of my doughnuts! She’s FINALLY not on a DIET!”
And the avalanche of confused comments began.
“I don’t know why she’s always on a diet anyway. She’s so skinny!”
“If SHE has to be on a diet, what does that mean for me? I’m WAY fatter than she is!”
“But she goes to Steak n’ Shake every day for lunch! And has a Big Gulp soda too!”
“Remember when she used to take a birthday treat but then throw it in the trash? What a waste!”
The next generation is listening to our critical comments and watching our responses more closely than we realize. We shouldn’t be surprised when body image and eating disorders plague so many, or when we continue to see unhealthy relationships between food and our bodies. We can do better. We must do better.
If we want to raise up the next generation well, we need to RISE UP ourselves! But how?
1) Get off the crazy “diet” train. Maybe even ban the word from your vocabulary. Eat foods that God (not factories) created, and give yourself grace. The gift of eating is meant to be enjoyed, not destroyed by a set of rigid rules.
So go ahead. Eat your food with joy… -Eccl 9:7 NLT
2) Look at yourself with love. You are the Creator’s masterpiece. He designed you perfectly. No mistakes. Let your reflection be a reminder to take care of your temple, but never respond with resentment. It’s an insult to your Heavenly Father.
For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph 2:10 NLT
3) Be a light to those still learning. In a world full of airbrushed ads and critical negativity, someone has to stand above the chaos and shine some perspective. The younger generation needs to see that there is a different path.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. -Matthew 5:16 NIV
I know many of us have experienced the exact same confusion and criticism in our own childhood, and perhaps still struggle with it ourselves today, but how will the cycle ever end if no one RISES UP? It’s time for a change.
If you’re ready to finally be free, perhaps it’s time to find a Rev Fit class or Wellness Revelation group near you or online through Rev Well TV. If you’re ready to help others break free, maybe the Lord is leading you to Instructor Training.
Even if you simply want to stand against self-loathing and negativity in your inner circle of influence, please know that the ripple of your response has the power to break the chains of food and fitness slavery for generations to come.
I pray that my children’s children will experience only love and gratitude when they look at their own reflection in a full-length mirror.
In the comments below tell us how you have seen the effects of adults’ attitudes and comments toward “dieting” and body image on the younger generation? What have you been inspired to do about it?
Dawn Miles is a homeschooling momma of two boys and a dedicated Wake Forest Demon Deacon sports fan thanks to her husband’s career. She’s been a Revelation Wellness Instructor since 2017 and is the founder of Everyday Faith + Fitness, where she encourages others to live well and love life through freedom in Christ.
Thank you for joining us this week on the Revelation Wellness Blog! We hope you enjoy this blog series for our February theme, RISE UP! Are you interested in Revelation Wellness Instructor training? Have you been feeling the tug? It may be the time for you to RISE UP and download a packet today!
Instructor Training Testimony
Check out this testimony from Sarah about her journey to Revelation Wellness Instructor Training.