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As identical twins, we’ve always had a lot in common. Growing up, we both loved swimming and joined a competitive swim team at six years old. The heart-racing feeling before each race was exhilarating. Unfortunately, that exciting feeling quickly turned to fear about how we looked in our swimsuits. For both of us, our appearance started to creep to the forefront of our every thought.

In middle school, we each filled journals with weight-loss goals, food logs, and our most beauty-obsessed thoughts—stacked on shelves next to teen magazines promoting the latest fashion and beauty fixes.

At age 15, we both quit swimming—not because we hated to swim but because we hated the way we looked in our swimsuits. Our years of relentlessly trying to “fix” our bodies simply hadn’t worked.

What we didn’t realize then is that our bodies were never the problem. The problem was our body image, or the way we viewed and thought about our bodies. It had been skewed by all kinds of influences, including movies, TV, magazines, and even friends and family who learned from all of these same sources.

After years of struggling, things changed. We even started swimming again. But it wasn’t dieting or makeovers that did the trick—it was learning how our skewed views of our bodies had held us back in every way. Our research has showed us that developing positive body image—or feeling good about your body from the inside, not just how it looks—is a key to health, happiness, and seeing ourselves as God sees us.

The Root of Negative Body Image

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