Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Dr. Gregory Jantz's new book, The Body God Designed: How to Love the Body You’ve Got While You Get the Body You Want, (Siloam, 2008).

Pressure to live up to our culture’s current idea of a perfect body can leave you feeling bad about what you see in the mirror. You may think that if you could only get a thinner waist, thicker hair, longer legs, a shorter nose, a smaller rear end, or a bigger chest, you’ll feel better because you’ll look better.

But what if your perfect body is simply the one God created you to have – the unique design He planned for you before you were even born? What if you don’t have to agonize over your body and work hard trying to change it?

You can have the perfect body for you if you accept the body God planned for you and focus on taking care of it well. Here’s how:

Accept the body you have. Instead of fighting against God’s design, decide to operate within it to discover all the beauty and functionality God has placed there. Realize that, even though the shape of your legs or the size of your nose may not fit society’s highest standard of beauty right now, that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Understand that what needs to change isn’t your body itself, but your perception of your body. Embrace the reality that your body is nothing less than a temple for the Holy Spirit – a receptacle for God’s presence. Since God has chosen to honor your body by dwelling within it, choose to respect it yourself.

List what you like and dislike about your body. Make two lists: “Things I Really Don’t Like About My Body” and “Things About My Body I’m Not Totally Disappointed With.” On each list, write down what parts of your body are in their original condition (the way God made you), and what parts you’ve changed. Next to what you’ve listed for body parts in their original condition, write, “Blessings from God.” Next to what you’ve listed for body parts you’ve modified in some way, write, “I’m committing these to God.” Keep your lists to use in your personal prayer times.

Celebrate your uniqueness. You only have to think about the huge variety of beautiful flowers God has created to know that God seems to enjoy diversity. Recognize that He has created you to be distinctively unique among all the many people He’s made. Appreciate the fact that you’re one of a kind, and your body has been designed just for you – no one else. God knows you intimately; even better than you know yourself. So stop wasting your time and energy trying to change your body to be like other people’s bodies and start discovering more about your own God-given body.

Be honest about the current state of your body. Give yourself a reality check. For example, are you trying to squeeze into clothes that don’t really fit your body’s current size? If so, get rid of all clothes (including underwear) that don’t fit.

Be honest about your current lifestyle. Evaluate how often you incorporate exercise into your life: Do you walk short distances, or drive everywhere? Do you use stairs whenever you can, or do you look for elevators or escalators? Do you spend time regularly outdoors, or do you spend most of your free time in front of the television or computer? Consider how much sleep you’re getting on a regular basis: Do you usually wake up feeling refreshed, or do you have trouble maintaining your energy during the day because of insomnia at night? Think about what you eat: Are your meals nutritious, or are you more concerned about eating for convenience than maintaining a healthy diet?