The 40-Day Body Image Workbook: Hope for Christian Women Who’ve Tried Everything – Heather Creekmore

The 40-Day Body Image: Hope for Christian Women Who've Tried Everything by Heather Creekmore
Published by Bethany House Publishers on December 12, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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A 40-day journey to rethink everything you thought you knew about food, your appearance, and your body

More than ever, you are bombarded with intense pressure to meet culture's elusive standards of beauty. And while you know theoretically that God loves and accepts you for what's on the inside, is that really enough to free a gal from the nonstop stress of body improvement?

With humor, grace, and biblical truth, nationally known body image coach Heather Creekmore leads you on a 40-day journey to stop stressing about your body. Full of hands-on exercises, self-inventories, quizzes, guided questions, biblical truth, and healthy tips, this one-of-a-kind workbook will help you:

· go deep to work through destructive beliefs and thought patterns
· feed your mind with God's truth
· release the pressures of image management
· reevaluate your relationship with food

It's time to stop comparing, start living, and find the rest that comes when you entrust your self-image to the Savior.

This is one of the best books that I have read about body image issues. Heather Creekmore carefully analyzes societal messages and skewed ideas in the church, delves deep into Scripture, and shares nuanced perspectives on some of the deeper issues behind women’s struggles with their appearances and with food. Instead of co-opting current trends like the body positivity or body neutrality movements and trying to baptize them in Christian language, she delves into how elements of these movements align and depart from a biblical worldview, and she helps her readers construct a deep understanding of God’s design and vision for our bodies.

Creekmore is honest about her own struggles and is frequently quite funny, and she thoroughly integrates information from other books and research studies. I also appreciate that even though she wrote this book for women, she frequently talks about negative impacts on both men and women, instead of making it sound like body shame and disordered eating are only women’s issues. That alone makes this stand out from many similar books. She also engages with multiple aspects of appearance, not just someone’s body size and weight.

The 40-Day Body Image Workbook: Hope for Christian Women Who’ve Tried Everything will appeal to Christian women who want to improve their relationship with their bodies, and to people who want to better understand and support struggling friends. The author addresses an impressive range of topics here, building on different ideas through the forty daily readings. The readings are typically about four pages long, and they include reflection questions and Bible verses to look up and analyze. At the end of each reading, there are more questions to ponder and sometimes activities to try. However, unlike some workbooks, this offers a significant amount of information and wisdom to even the most passive readers. Readers can benefit from the author’s teaching whether they do the exercises or not.

Throughout this book, I had occasional concerns and disagreements, but these usually got resolved later on. My two biggest lingering concerns involve the material about food. Firstly, when she writes about why diets don’t work and are frequently harmful, Creekmore doesn’t always adequately distinguish between diet plans where you eat less than what you need to fuel your body, versus diet plans where you eat full portions of healthier foods. It’s true that if someone is obsessing about and controlling their food intake for the primary goal of weight loss, then any kind of new eating plan might cause problems, but eating full meals of healthier foods is not going to cause the effects of a crash diet, and will not lead to an eating disorder unless there are other causes.

I understand the author’s sensitivity to how seemingly healthy choices can spiral out of control, but I still think she should have made clearer distinctions. Also, even though her advice about abolishing “food rules” can help people recover from disordered eating, she never explains the difference between unhealthy “food restriction” versus someone cutting out foods that they are allergic or intolerant to. This book includes two passing mentions to medically necessary diets, but that’s not enough. The author warns so strongly against food restriction that she needed to balance this out by explaining why it’s different for people with health-related food sensitivities to restrict what they eat.

The 40-Day Body Image Workbook is a great resource for Christian women who want to heal their relationship with food and their bodies while also deepening their relationship with God. Creekmore shares vulnerable personal stories and helpful advice, and she provides lots of healing insights while also encouraging women to pursue professional help if necessary. This book is very wise and helpful, and even though I had concerns about things that could have been clearer and more nuanced, I was very impressed with this overall.