I’m Sharlee and I have a body image issue.

Big time.

This post may perhaps be one of my most honest posts yet. I plan to maybe turn this into a focus /area of interest on my blog.

My body image suffers immensely.

I know that I am not alone in this problem. Many people, women in particular, struggle with this problem. My problem is out of control most days and it is really extreme.

I have a roller coaster relationship with my body. One day I can feel gorgeous and sexy. I can get ready to go somewhere and say to Zach, ‘Damn you have a sexy wife!” Of course I’m half-joking, but I have those moments.

All too frequently, though, I have moments in the reverse. Moments where I literally cannot stand to look at myself and yet, as punishment, I will force myself to sit an analyze every roll of fat, every chubby part, every jiggle, until I literally want to cry so badly that I actually cannot find the tears.

My mom frequently makes jokes about taking my picture and what a trouble it is. It used to be funny. However, my problem with taking pictures of myself has gotten out of control. It’s something I no longer find enjoyment in. Which, in all honesty, is probably why I don’t take as many pictures of my dates and outings with Zach as I’d like.

I feel like I have to check the picture before moving on–darn you digital cameras! If I don’t like the way I look in the picture, it literally consumes me.

I obsess over it. I tell Zach what I need to do in order to “fix” my face or my body or the fat content of both. I make a plan. I berate myself in the most unkind ways.

There have been times that I have been out with a group of people and I am so worried about how I look that I will excuse myself and go to the restroom. I’ve been known to scrutinize myself in the mirror of the bathroom in order to keep myself from ordering what I really want at dinner.

I’ve been known to take pictures of myself to assess how I look before going somewhere and even after we’ve gotten there.

The number on the scale can literally determine my mood.

I know this is abnormal. I know that it is unacceptable. I know that it’s unbelievably unhealthy.

I started exercising as a resolution. I’ve only lost 3 pounds, which is not nearly where I hoped to be at this point. But it’s something.

I had an epiphany when I was at church last Sunday. The word of wisdom was the topic of discussion.

After a really good discussion about the commandment to take care of our bodies with healthy eating and exercise.The question was then posed, “What blessings have you received from obeying the word of wisdom?”

As I pondered that question, it hit me. My body image issue is Satan hard at work. He uses this as a way for him to get at me. It is his way to get me to  feel useless and bad about myself.When I do this, I become less valuable in every role in my life.

I have often expressed that my knowledge that I am a child of God has been the most valuable piece of knowledge I have. It has completely dictated the way that I live.

When I look at myself in a negative light or when I pick apart my body flaw by flaw, I forget who I am. It is Satan’s biggest weapon against me.

When I realized that, I also realized that exercising helps protect me from that weapon. It is my armor.

When I obey the word of wisdom, I remember who I am. I remember my value, and I see myself the way my Heavenly Father would have me see myself.

Deep down, I really do want to lose weight. I want to be able to take pictures without a second thought or a piece of anxiety. I want to be able to slip on a pair of pants or a dress or skirt in my size at every store without it fitting too snug.But I won’t be able to do that if I don’t remember who I am.

I am happier when I remember and I am kinder to myself and others.

How grateful I am for this knowledge. Now that I’ve had this realization, hopefully I will not forget. Hopefully I’ll be prepared to protect my image.

I plan to use this armor as a protection. I plan to let it help me defeat this bipolar relationship I have with my body.

My ultimate goal: no matter what the scale says, I focus on what I like, and I smile when I look in the mirror. I remember who I am, who made me, and that He doesn’t make mistakes.