Thursday, March 11, 2010


Hi, my name is Jenni and I have a problem with body image. There, I said it. I think it all started when I was about sixteen and I discovered one day (much to my horror) that my butt had grown considerably, complete with stretch marks. Innocent me, I didn't even know such things were possible! I knew there was nothing I could do about it so I tried to shrug it off and not let it bother me. But it was always in the back of my mind and I would wonder if there was something I could have done to prevent it.
I stayed pretty thin and wore the same jeans from high school until I became pregnant with my son. I knew that being pregnant would come with the added bonus of weight gain but I was still shocked when, at one of my last prenatal visits, the scale showed that I was almost 160. I was thinking "I'm only 5' 5"! How did that happen?"
After he was born, the obsession to lose the weight started. I didn't have the time or the money for a gym membership and my husband was working incredibly long hours. I didn't want to go walking or jogging by myself every day so I did the only thing I knew would work. I didn't eat. I would eat something like toast or a bowl or cereal for breakfast and sip coffee all day long until dinner. The coffee made it feel like there was something in my stomach but it did nothing for my lack of energy. My husband became increasingly concerned about how weak I was that he was constantly telling me to eat something. I said I would eat when I lost the weight.
And most of the weight came off by the time I became pregnant with Jazmyn. I was five pounds away from where I wanted to be. Several months into the pregnancy was when I started seeing my midwife and she pressed the issue of eating lots of healthy food for the baby. The thought of gaining a lot of weight terrified me but I tried to push my feelings aside and follow her recommendations.
Jazmyn was born in June so shorts, sun dresses, and swim suits were in season. I started out with a good attitude of "The weight will come off eventually." and "It took nine months to gain this, it's going to take some time to come off". But after having several people ask me how far along I was, and when my baby was due, (sometimes while I was holding my infant!) I became increasingly depressed. I would bounce around from starving myself, trying to exercise, and times of doing nothing and thinking, "What's the point? I'm just going to get pregnant again and gain it all back!"
I was probably twenty pounds away from my ideal weight when I got pregnant with Eden. This time I was determined to eat plenty of nutritious food and grow a healthy baby. I was successful, she weighed nine pounds at birth, but it also came at a cost for me. Who would have thought it was possible to gain so much weight on an almost completely organic diet? Well, it's possible and here I am.
As soon as she was born I started thinking about exercising, cutting back portion sizes, and fitting into my "skinny jeans". Yes, I've still kept some jeans that I haven't worn in almost four years because somehow I think they will serve as motivation. I fantasize about putting on a bikini again and what that will feel like.
It's a daily struggle for me to eat enough for my nursing baby.  I still have days where I'll skip meals, convinced that the hunger pains mean my body is consuming fat. If I miss a day of working out, I'll eat less, chew gum and work out that much harder the next day. When I step on a scale I'm willing the dial to move down with my mind.
This behavior is unfair to myself, is obsessive, and it's a sin. That's why I need Jesus. I need His reminder every day that He loves me just the way I am and that losing weight could not make Him love me more. He reminds me that the women of faith in the Bible have no mention of their weight. Even the Proverbs 31 women is not held to a standard of thin. My body is a temporary shell that won't last but my relationship with Jesus will last forever.
I hate admitting that this is a part of me, but it is and I am thankful for my husband who tells me I'm beautiful every day. I know he believes it and I am learning to believe it for myself. I want to be a good example to other women and my own daughters of what it means to be truly beautiful.


  1. This was very touching, Jen. You are beautiful inside and out! =) And you have 3 beautiful children to be very proud of you! I love you, sis!

    - Sarah

  2. Thank you for your honesty! It totally sucks when someone asks how far along you are when you're holding a baby. This happened to me twice last week! One great thing I discovered, though, is that when you don't eat, you're body goes into starvation mode and holds on to whatever it can, thereby defeating the purpose. So now I get to eat :) It's just the struggle to eat nourishing foods and to avoid processed sugars. Have you checked out Nourishing Traditions? BTW, you are so beautiful!!!