You don’t walk into treatment broken and leave completely healed. The Meadows Ranch did so much to help save me, and started my journey of recovery. But when you go home, you have to choose everyday to continue walking in that forward direction.

So just like choosing to stay in recovery, I’ve realized the way I think about and look at my body is a choice I make everyday. And to be completely honest, some days, I just plain don’t feel like I love my body, or the way it looks.

Now I’ve been in recovery for over 10 years, but it wasn’t until the last three years that I’ve truly begun to understand and appreciate my body the way God has intended me to. See, just about three years ago I found out I was pregnant with my first (and so far only) child. My husband and I were thrilled. But I was also nervous because I knew with my history and the anxiety about my body image, that being pregnant was going to challenge my eating disorder thoughts about how my body looked. And during my pregnancy, as my weight continued to increase, it did challenge the negative thoughts that I work so hard to combat!

The only thing that worked for me to combat those negative untrue thoughts was God and his truths. During pregnancy and giving birth you realize that these bodies God has given us, are so incredibly strong and resilient! As I became a mom I started to see that, the way I felt about my body or how it looked, doesn’t really matter when this body of mine helped create this amazing child. And every day I take care of my child, is exhausting and challenging physically and mentally. And God has given me this body to do this amazing work in raising my child! So there are definitely days, or moments that I am not happy with how my body looks or feels. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t still choose to love my body. I’ve learned to love my body because God has given me this body to carry my child. To wrap my arms around him and consol him when he cries. To chase him and hear his giggles. To be his protector and friend.

And when this little sweet toddler of mine takes my face in his hands and says to me “ Mommy you are beautiful and cute” (which he does on a frequent basis), It reminds me that no matter how I may feel about my body, I still get to choose to love it and take care of it. Loving someone or something, like your body, it isn’t always a feeling. It’s a choice every single day, to say, “Whether I feel good about the way my body looks or not, I’m going to love myself enough to take care of it. And to remember why God has given it to me in the first place!”

So if you are in recovery, and maybe you’re a new mom, or an old one ☺ , and you just don’t feel like you love your body. Remember, love is a choice, an action. Not a feeling. And it’s okay if some days you just don’t feel great about the way your body looks! I know I sure don’t, but that isn’t going to stop me from taking care of myself and my body, so I can take care of the most precious thing that God could ever bless me with, my children!

What’s Your Story?

We want to give you a chance to share your story of learning to celebrate the beauty of your own unique body and soul.

Was there a major turning point in your eating disorder recovery where you finally accepted and appreciated your body? At what point did it happen, and what led you there? In what ways did it change your life?

Send a 500- 1000 word essay to [email protected] The first ten essays to be chosen for The Meadows Ranch blog will receive a free The Meadows Ranch blanket as a special gift!

Submit your essay by Jan. 15, 2017. We look forward to reading your incredible stories!