Beautiful Freedom: How the Bible Shapes Your View of Appearance, Food, and Fitness – Stacy Reaoch

Beautiful Freedom: How the Bible Shapes Your View of Appearance, Food, and Fitness by Stacy Reaoch
Published by Good Book Company on May 1, 2024
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
Buy on Amazon

Explore God’s priorities for the way you live, eat, and exercise.

Every day we are exposed to messages about health, food, exercise, and looking good. It’s hard not to get swept along with it all; in fact, it’s easy to end up caring too much about these things and even to feel trapped trying to live up to the ideals that we see in the media.

Author Stacy Reaoch points you to the Bible to find freedom! The Bible tells us that our physical selves do matter. But it also invites us to think about our bodies in a God-centered way―helping us to reset and find a balanced approach that is grounded in our faith.

Beautiful Freedom is an invitation to love the body God gave you and to explore his priorities for the ways in which you live, eat, and exercise.

This book will help you find freedom from damaging narratives about weight, fitness, appearance, and aging. Even better, it will turn your gaze toward Jesus and help you love him more and more.

In this concise, thoughtful book, Stacy Reaoch explores tough topics about body image, food, and exercise through a biblical lens. She encourages Christian women to exchange negative cultural messages for the truth of Scripture, and she writes about ways that women can avoid the traps of obsession and apathy to care for their bodies in ways that honor God as their Creator. In the first part of the book, Reaoch gives examples of common struggles that women have, and she writes about how a biblical perspective on beauty and our true purpose can flip the script. In the second part of the book, she explores biblical approaches to exercise, food restrictions, overindulgence, spiritual practices of fasting, and aging. There is also an appendix that includes more information about eating disorders, along with recommended next steps for getting help.

Beautiful Freedom: How the Bible Shapes Your View of Appearance, Food, and Fitness covers multiple topics in a helpful, holistic way. I appreciate how the author shares examples from her own life and women she knows, representing a variety of different viewpoints and struggles. This book doesn’t make harsh or oversimplified judgments, and acknowledges some of the varying motivations and reasons behind people’s different approaches to food and exercise. Reaoch encourages people to pursue the eating and exercise habits that are right for their body and circumstances, as long as they are submitting all of this to God and not looking to their health habits to provide them with their identity, their meaning in life, or a form of salvation. Even though some readers will disagree with the author on various things, she is deliberately nuanced and makes space for people’s different health needs and personal convictions.

Beautiful Freedom is a great primer and conversation-starter about an important topic, and because the author includes reflection and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this will be great for people to read individually, in study groups, or in partnership with a friend or mentor. This will appeal to Christian women and teenage girls who are interested in thinking more deeply about how their Christian faith relates to their body image, food choices, and exercise practices. Also, even though Reoach wrote this for a female audience, she acknowledges that men and boys often struggle with the same things, and some men could find this helpful as well. Overall, I would recommend this to people who recognize a need for growth in this area, or who want to better understand and support loved ones in their struggles.