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Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me Paperback – December 6, 2018

4.9 out of 5 stars 36 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"When it comes to a topic as personal and private as one's body image, it takes an author with tremendous courage and willingness to be vulnerable to touch the hearts of readers. Amanda Martinez Beck is that author, and her book Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me is surely that book, ready to touch the hearts of its readers. Packed with important truths from Scripture and Church teaching, moments of deep and powerful reflection, and a personal story that will relate to so many, this book is ready to touch hearts and reframe all of our thinking about the gift God has given us in our unique and beautifully created bodies."

Tommy Tighe, author of The Catholic Hipster Handbook and co-host of Repent & Submit on CatholicTV

"I have witnessed too many homilies filled with body disparagement and calls to diet to lead a more holy life. For decades I have longed for the Church to have access to non-diet ways to relate to food, yet the diet industry and weight bias have kept it from us. Finally, I have a book that describes the dangerous distraction to diet along with futile focus on weight through the lens of Catholic teachings. Thank you, Amanda, for writing this book and sharing your story! I found it easy to read and deeply inspiring. I hope every member of the Catholic Church connects with her book's wisdom. Especially, I hope priests read it before they deliver homilies referring to food and bodies. This book helps us understand the important nuances of how we relate to food and how it can enhance or hinder our relationship with God and loving our neighbor."

Julie Duffy Dillon, registered dietician and host of the Love, Food Podcast

"Amanda Martinez Beck has written a lovely book that teaches women about loving their bodies the way they are and realizing that their bodies are perfect in the eyes of God even when the world is telling them that they are imperfect. She intersperses her work with moving vignettes from her own journey from an insecure, overweight child to a confident size-dignity activist, and provides insightful questions for reflection as well as guidance in accepting one's body - and by extension, one's self - as a valuable gift with inherent worth and dignity in the eyes of God. This book is a must-read for any woman who has ever looked in the mirror and wished she had a different body."

JoAnna Wahlund, The Catholic Working Mother

"In Lovely, Amanda Beck bypasses the trite statements we think we're supposed to make about our bodies and delves right into the tough questions about how should view ourselves, body and soul, in light of the Gospel. A challenging, beautiful read!"

Haley Stewart, blogger, podcaster, and author of The Grace of Enough: Pursuing Less and Living More in a Throwaway Culture

"When I was twelve, a stranger told me I had thick thighs, and 17 years later, I still think about that comment as examine my body in the mirror. Lovely is the first book I've read that asked to engage my whole person — mind, soul, body, and thick thighs — and I'm so glad I said yes. Achingly raw and vulnerable at points, this book never demands more than it gives as Amanda weaves together biblical insight, expert voices, and her own personal experiences. In bravely entering into this conversation, Amanda offers us a gift: a chance to dialogue with her on questions we've been too afraid to ask. I, for one, am so grateful for the chance to finally speak."

Joy Beth Smith, author of Party of One

"There are so many plus-size models, so many plus-size retailers, so many people advocating for body love and body grace and body mercy in the world. But you'll only find those voices 'in the world.' What about those people who are in the world but not of the world? The fact of the matter is that when we go to church, when we are among the body of Christ, those voices are painfully absent, and, ironically, those of us with 'unconventional' bodies are often met with shame, scorn, derision and judgment as opposed to the peace, love, grace, and mercy the Church should be known for. Lovely advocates for body compassion and challenges us to see ourselves the way God sees us. 'My body tells my story' and 'Jesus loves my body.' Whew. It's a radical, almost revolutionary idea that ought not to be so radical: the idea that Jesus loves us as we are, with our bodies, in our bodies, our bodies themselves, and that he actually might be responsible for the story written in and by our bodies. Amanda reminds us that our bodies are instruments — not ornaments — to do the Lord's bidding. They are vehicles of his grace and kindness in this world. It may not be perfect, but it is good and holy, and God created it, so I shall learn to love it. I thank God for this book and I thank God for you, Amanda!"

Simone Samuels, plus-sized fitness professional, blogger and Youtuber/host of Sipping with Simone,

"Amanda Martinez Beck has written a book that is radical — that is, it gets to the root of so much of what ails our society. Her call to see ourselves as made for relationship with God, and to see our bodies as good no matter what, is holy work. This book beats back the forces of evil which long to ensnare and entrap and abuse, and replaces fear and self-hatred with love. Read it for yourselves, your families, and your neighbors. May we all learn to give grace to ourselves, that we might be able to give grace to our neighbors."

D. L. Mayfield, activist and author of Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith

"If you've ever experienced shame and frustration in regard to your physical self, Amanda Martinez Beck has words of mercy and grace you need to hear. In Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me, Amanda challenges our commonly held notions of health and wellness for our greatest good. Through vivid personal stories and powerful biblical teaching, Amanda's gentle voice dislodges the various ways body shame has taken hold in our own hearts and lives. Readers of Lovely will learn how to extend mercy to the body God has given them, thereby becoming beacons of God's mercy to everyone they encounter — something we need more of in today's world."

Erin Straza, author of Comfort Detox: Finding Freedom from Habits That Bind You, co-host of Persuasion Podcast, and managing editor of Christ and Pop Culture

"In Lovely: How I Learned to Embrace the Body God Gave Me, Amanda Martinez Beck invites us to see our bodies the way the Creator made them, as good and lovely. In a world that constantly tells us how to fix our imperfect bodies, Amanda calls us into a better way. She asks us to see our bodies and the bodies of those around us as good, while acknowledging their weaknesses and flaws and pain. With personal stories and truths rooted in Scripture and Christian theology, Beck offers us a theology of the body that honors each body as made in the image of God. Beck's book is important reading for anyone who struggles to embrace their body and live fully into who God has created us to be."

J. Nicole Morgan, author of Fat and Faithful: Learning to Love Our Bodies, Our Neighbors, and Ourselves

From the Back Cover

All bodies are good bodies.

Except fat bodies.

At least that's what our society tells us. According to the prevailing dogma, thin bodies are good; fat bodies are bad. In fact, any body that fails to measure up to society's standards of perfection is bad. The perfect face has no blemishes, the perfect belly has no love handles, and the perfect skin has no wrinkles or stretch marks.

According to this standard of flawlessness, a good body can have no illness, no disability, and no inadequacy. Our cultural understanding of good bodies makes most of us feel like hopeless failures.

This is not what our loving God wants for us.

In Lovely, size-dignity activist and self-proclaimed "fat girl" Amanda Martinez Beck talks openly about the purpose of bodies, what makes a body good, and the need to reframe the way we think and speak about our own bodies and the bodies of the people around us. Much more than a "self-image" read, Lovely will retrain you to think about your whole self "€" body and soul "€" in terms of mercy, kindness, and wonder rather than criticism, failure, and self-loathing.

Don't let the scale, the mirror, your interior critic, or the world around you keep you trapped in lies. All bodies are good bodies, including yours.


Amanda Martinez Beck is an author and story consultant who lives with her husband, Zachary, and their four young children in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Learn more about her and her work at

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Our Sunday Visitor (December 6, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 128 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1681922371
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1681922379
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 4.8 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.6 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.9 out of 5 stars 36 ratings

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Amanda Martinez Beck is a Catholic author and size-dignity activist. She writes about being fat, Catholic, and loved at and is the co-host of the Fat & Faithful Podcast.

Customer reviews

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