Posts Tagged ‘eating disorders’

Recovery

Eating Disorder Awareness- Recovery

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, cialis which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, treat  share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, treat and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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Who you are and what you struggle with are not the same thing.

This statement it true, but when you are struggling with an eating disorder, it doesn’t feel true.

When I was struggling with my eating disorder, I lost who I was. I couldn’t separate myself from it—we were the same.

The scariest part of recovery for me was not the idea of gaining weight or losing my long-time coping mechanisms…don’t get me wrong, those things were absolutely terrifying. But there was something that was even harder for me to face and that was the reality that I didn’t know who I was without my eating disorder. I was scared of losing my identity.

And the idea that your eating disorder gives you your identity is such a lie from the Enemy—no one but the Lord gives you your identity. And while I knew that with my mind, I didn’t feel it in my heart. Twelve years of hearing the lies of the Enemy had given them such a hold over me.

As I entered into recovery, the eating disorder and I started to separate. Instead of it being a part of me, it stood right behind me, breathing down my neck. But it was a start. As I walked further into recovery the eating disorder was pushed further back behind me. It could still talk to me, but the voice grew quieter as it was pushed further away. Sometimes it was so far behind me that I couldn’t hear its shouts anymore. And sometimes something would happen that pushed it right behind me again.

There’s an argument between psychologists whether or not people can ever be recovered from their eating disorder, or if they will always be “in recovery.” I absolutely one hundred percent believe that full and final recovery is possible not only because I have met people who consider themselves recovered, but most of all because I love a God with whom all impossible things become possible.

In this post I talked about how God promised me that the year 2013 would be the year of my recovery and praise God it was! I saw such amazing freedom in the year 2013 and as it got closer to the New Year, I got more and more excited about full freedom. But the Lord also warned me—He warned me that just because I knew recovery was coming didn’t mean that the Enemy would respect it one bit. And let me tell you, Satan has not respected my recovery.

On the morning of January 1st, 2014, I got up and was so excited! Yeah freedom! I went downstairs, made breakfast, and when I put the first bit of food in my mouth I had the strongest urge to use an old ED behavior. And you know what I did? I said, “Well, that’s not who I am anymore!” finished that bite of food and the rest of my breakfast, and then I praised God for His faithfulness!

I currently consider myself in recovery, not quite to the point of recovered, only because I have to continue to be on high alert for any ED thoughts or behaviors that enter my life. But I know that the status of recovered is in my future. I am confident of it because in the past year God has taught me who I am in Him. Any anytime Satan tries to tell me otherwise, I can look him in the face and say I am a new creation in Christ! He has made me new and I will never forget my identity in Him. The parts of me that fell away along with my eating disorder were not core parts of my identity. I did lose things with the loss of my eating disorder–I lost depression, anxiety, and bitterness. And it turns out, I was just fine letting go of those things.

Eating disorder recovery statistics are discouraging. But Praise the Lord that He is not a respecter of statistics. After 12 years of battling an eating disorder I didn’t think that I would ever recover. And yet I have :) If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, don’t give up on recovery! No matter how long you’ve been battling this disease, you can win.

If you want to learn more about eating disorders, click here to read more posts I’ve written about the issue :)

How to Love Your Body–Some Practicals

Eating Disorder Awareness- How to love your body- Some Practicals

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, advice which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, buy  share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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This blog post is continuing along the theme of the post I wrote several weeks ago–A Resolution that Could Actually Change Your Life, which was a post encouraging people to not weight themselves. This blog post will offer some concrete, practical changes you can make in your life. Who do I think may benefit from making these life changes?

  • People in recovery from eating disorders
  • People who want to be in recovery from eating disorders
  • People who struggle with disordered behaviors and thoughts
  • People who have low self esteem and want to learn to love themselves more
  • People who want to support those in their lives who have eating disorders
  • People who want to support those in their lives who are in recovery
  • People who want to fight eating disorder culture

Ok! So what are these practicals?

  • Write a Thank You note to your body--Writing a thank you note to your body, thanking it for all that it does for you, is one great way to start loving and appreciating your body. You can also write an apology note for all the ways you have mistreated or failed to appreciate your body. Another thing you can do is keep a list of everything you like about your body, adding one thing to the list every day. You can also take 10 minutes every morning to thank God for each of your body parts–no skipping parts allowed :)
How to Love Your Body--Some Practicals From http://eatingdisorderrecovery.tumblr.com/%5B/caption%5D
  • Stop Weighing Yourself–If you haven’t read A Resolution that Could Actually Change Your Life, I recommend it! I think we would all be much healthier and start on the journey of loving our bodies more if we all stopped weighing ourselves. I explain more why in that post.
  • Stop Counting Calories–Americans seem to have an obsession with counting calories. I personally don’t think anything good comes out of it. It gets all of us obsessed and focused on a number, which really doesn’t tell us much about how healthy we are. For people with eating disorders, they generally have a number of calories in their mind that feels acceptable to eat, and it’s generally a number that is way to low for their bodies to actually function at any sort of baseline level. Our society tells us that the fewer calories we eat, the better. But any good nutritionist would tell you that that’s just not true. Instead of focusing on the calorie content (or fat content, or whatever else) in food, focus on eating a wide variety of foods from all categories (starches, meat proteins, dairy proteins, fruits, veggies, and fats) plus some treats now and then (or everyday if you have a sweet tooth like mine). :) If you are in recovery or supporting someone in recovery, I would recommend blocking out all the nutrition facts on the food labels on the food you buy. I am very frustrated by the new proposed Nutrition Label design (click here to see it). I have no issue with the changes they’re proposing as to what is shown, but the MASSIVE calorie number at the top makes it seem as though the most important thing on the label is the calorie content and it also makes it incredibly difficult for people, like me, who try not to look at the label, to avoid the huge bold number at the top.
  • Evaluate Your Workout Habits–Society tells us that you can never work out too much. This is absolutely not true. Working out excessively can actually work to break down your body, especially if you aren’t eating enough food to balance your workout, and excessively working out can harm you psychologically. If the thought of missing a workout gives you anxiety, your workout habit is probably not healthy. If you associate working out with being a “good” person and not working out with being a “bad” person, your workout habit is most likely not healthy. If your eating habits are such that you are not be able to eat enough to support the amount of exercise you are getting, your workout habits are probably not healthy. My suggestion for healthy workout habits is to not focus on calories burned while working out (I have a rule that I don’t workout on a machine that shows me calories burned because I know it would be unhealthy for me). Also, don’t do workouts that aren’t fun for you. Find a way of staying active that gives you joy–that might be hiking, going on walks around the neighborhood, yoga, zumba, dancing around your room, roller blading, biking, soccer, softball, ice skating, swimming, running, etc. I would say that being honest with your workout habits and how it may be negatively affecting your mind and body is probably one of the hardest things to do, but I really recommend taking the time to really think about it and consider some of the things I talked about here.
  • Don’t Look at Clothing Size Tags– I realize that this is a hard one to do because you choose the clothing you’re going to try on by the marked size. Here are some ideas of things you can do to help avoid clothing size: Shop with a friend or family member and have them bring you a wide variety of clothing sizes and don’t look at the tags when you try them on. A healthy thing for everyone to do is cut the tags out of your clothing once you buy them–eventually you’ll forget what exact size you’re wearing, or at least won’t be reminded every time you put them on. Another thing you could do is choose clothing that is stretchy and so it will fit you at a range of weights. This helps you take your mind off of any changes happening in your body–this is one of the reasons I wear leggings pretty much 24/7. It helped me take my mind off of my body as I was trying to recover and it still makes me feel more comfortable now.
  • Do Things that Make You Happy–I cannot stress enough how important it is to take time for yourself. I don’t have class until 3pm on Tuesdays so I get up early, go to yoga, and then go to a cafe and get something yummy for breakfast, have time with Jesus, and then do homework. Tuesdays are so fun because I get some time to myself and treat myself :)
  • Avoid mirrors–I would suggest not having a mirror in your room. I live in a dorm so I can’t remove the mirror that is in there, but last year as I was trying to recover, I was able to strategically move one of our dressers in front of the mirror. The less time you spend in front of the mirror, the less self-conscious you’ll feel about yourself. Also writing encouraging notes to yourself or whoever else shares your mirror is always nice :)
  • Surround yourself with healthy people–If you mostly hang out with a group of people who constantly talk about their eating and workout habits, discussing their bodies, dieting, etc., it’s going to be very difficult for you to keep healthy and positive thoughts going in your mind. Really think about who you spend your time with and what effect they’re having on you and your self esteem. Also, don’t be afraid to tell the people you’re hanging out with that you would prefer for them to change the subject if they’re talking about something that is triggering or just unhealthy. I have to do this sometimes with my friends and they’re always super respectful and move on to a new topic.
  • Mediate on Psalm 139–Psalm 139 is quoted so much to the point where it seems kind of trite and cheesy. I went for a long time without reading Psalm 139 because of this reason, but lately I’ve been reading it a lot and have been struck by how powerful it is. It’s quoted all the time because it’s amazing. I’ve been so moved by the idea of God being with me even before I was born–that He saw my unformed body and that His presence kept me company even in the womb. God is so awesome!
From http://hellobrielle.wordpress.com[/caption%5D
  • Be careful of the language you use with yourself–This is a really hard one–it is really challenging to change your thought processes. One thing I would have you think about is this: Would you ever speak to someone the way you speak to yourself? Would you ever critique someone’s body and actions the way you do yours? I would guess that for most of you, the answer is no. When you catch yourself saying something really mean to yourself, make the effort to stop that thought and speak a truth against it. Just try your best to remember that there is so much grace, always.
  • Keep a list of how you want to impact your world and the people around you–I’m guessing when you think about how you want to be remembered in this world, how you want to better the lives of your friends, family members, and strangers, the number one thing that comes to mind is not that you want to be remembered for the shape of your body. You have the ability to change lives, to bring hope, to give love to those who do not feel loved, to be the hands and feet of Christ. What is your life’s work? What is the call of your soul?

Be gentle with yourself. Learning to love yourself is a long process, but it’s so worth it <3

Interested in learning more about eating disorders? Click here to read more posts I’ve written on the topic.

Things you say that contribute to eating disorder culture

Don’t be like grumpy cat. Think about the language you use and how it could be hurting you or those around you.
Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, this which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, visit this share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, erectile and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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I hear things on a daily basis that contribute to eating disorder culture and it makes me really sad, but I also know that because eating disorder language is so embedded in our culture, a lot of the time people say things without realizing that what they’re saying is hugely problematic and potentially harmful. This is a short list of some commonly said things that I wish everyone would stop saying:

  • Saying things like, “I’ve been so good today!” or “I’m being so bad!” when referring to eating healthy/unhealthy foods or working out/not working out. Language like this ties your self worth to the food you eat and the workouts you do. It is super common for people with eating disorders to think that they are bad when they eat or eat particular foods and that they are good when they use ED behaviors such as restricting, purging, exercising, etc. Your language confirms what people with eating disorders already think about themselves and it also sets you up to have dangerous disordered thoughts.
  • Constantly talking about/posting to social media how many calories you’ve burned, sizes you’ve dropped, weight you’ve lost, inches you’ve reduced, workouts you’ve completed. I get that it’s exciting when you meet fitness goals and you want to share. But when you share your victories, you could be severely triggering others. Additionally, your constant focus on numbers could turn your diet/quest for health or fitness into dangerous disordered thought and behavior patterns. Note: many eating disorders start with diets.
  • Talking about how many calories are in the food you’re eating or commenting on what other people choose to eat. I have two stories to illustrate this point:—A few weeks ago I was in the dining hall, waiting in line to get dinner. I was standing near a milkshake machine and these two girls walked up to it. One girl said, “I’ve never had one of these! I’m going to get one!” and I could tell she was looking forward to it. Her friend said, “Ok, but since I’m your friend I feel like I have to tell you–those things have like 700 calories.” And you know what? The girl walked out of the dining hall without her milkshake.—One of the amazing girls I met in treatment ended treatment the same day I did–we were both leaving to start our freshmen years of college. We would occasionally call each other that first semester of freshmen year to encourage each other or to get support if we were having a hard time. My friend struggled with anorexia and she needed to restore weight. One day she was in the dining hall, eating her meal, when a guy, who she didn’t know, came up to her and said, “Wow, you eat a lot.”—What good does your commenting on the caloric content/nutrition value/portion size of another person’s meal do? You have no idea what the person you’re talking with is battling. When you stop commenting on the food you or others are eating, you avoid potentially triggering others and causing them massive setbacks, and you also free yourself from having to obsess about the food you yourself consume.
  • Justifying the food you’re eating by saying things like, “I can eat this because I worked out earlier.” You should not have to justify the food you chose to eat or feel judged because of what you’re eating.
  • Saying things like: “You look so great!” or “Have you lost weight? You look amazing!” I know the intention behind comments like this is to be encouraging. However, when you comment on someone’s outer appearance, you’re confirming that people care about and are paying attention to that person’s body/weight/appearance. At one point, my eating disorder caused me to lose a lot of weight and so many people told me that I looked awesome. I wonder if they would have told me how great I looked if they knew that I had an eating disorder and that, after a while, my body started shutting down because of the lack of food. And then when I started restoring some weight and improving my physical health, people who knew that I was struggling with an eating disorder continued to comment on how good I looked. Wait, so why is that bad? You would think that this would have been encouraging, right? The reality is that, for me, it just communicated that every time my close family members and friends saw me, they were analyzing my body. I do think that for some people who are restoring weight, it can be encouraging to hear things like, “You look healthy,” and “You’re beautiful,” and I don’t think it’s bad to occasionally say things like, “You’re pretty” or “You look good!” to anyone in your life, but I do think we need to 1. Cut back on all compliments that focus on outer appearance, 2. Seriously cut back on compliments concerning weight-loss or body size, 3. Drastically increase the encouragements we give people that have to do with their inner selves and their core identities rather than outer appearance.
  • Making idiotic jokes like these below. I can’t tell you how many people told me these exact jokes or ones very similar while I was struggling with anorexia and binge eating disorder. If you think these jokes are funny or have ever said jokes along these lines, you need to realize that you are fueling eating disorder culture by trivializing diseases that destroy lives. And in anticipation to what many of you are thinking: Yes, I do realize that I may take this “too seriously” and might need to “lighten up.” But my eating disorder took years of my life that I will never get back and I’m one of the lucky ones–I am alive and in recovery (Praise the Lord). In my opinion, the deadliest psychological disorder cannot be taken too seriously.

Note: I understand that Kat Dennings is probably trying to be funny/promote healthy body image. However, she is trivializing anorexia by suggesting that it’s something people choose. While there are some pro-ana communities that promote anorexia as a valid lifestyle choice, the vast majority of people with anorexia never set out to be anorexic–the deadly disease infiltrated their body and mind. Her statement would be just as ridiculous if she said, “I tried cancer once and then I was like, nope not for me.” Her statement makes it seem that anyone with anorexia is choosing to be that way and that they could stop anytime they wanted to just by eating a bagel.

This clip below is from an episode of Shake it Up, a Disney Channel show. Demi Lovato, who has struggled with an eating disorder for quite a while, saw this episode and tweeted that she thought the joke was absolutely terrible and inappropriate. Disney did decide to pull the episode in respond to Lovato’s criticism. However, this episode shouldn’t have had to be pulled because this joke should NEVER have been in there in the first place. Absolutely disgusting.

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My purpose in writing this post is not to condemn anyone or make anyone feel bad, rather my goal is to bring awareness to how we can all help and love each other and ourselves better. I encourage you to be careful about the language you use and the things you do. Our words have immense power (Proverbs 12:18Proverbs 18:21, Proverbs 16:24, John 1:1, John 8:31-32, Revelation 12:11). The reality is that people struggling with eating disorders, low self esteem, and disordered eating quite often look completely normal. You cannot know what the people around you are struggling with, so please think about the things you do and say that might be triggering and that fuel eating disorder culture. Making these changes could have such positive effects not only on your siblings, friends, roommates, children, and other loved ones, but they could help you positively change your inner thought life and help you love yourself more and treat yourself better.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle  ~Unknown

To learn more about eating disorders, click here to read more posts I’ve written on the topic.

What Causes Eating Disorders? Biological, Social, Psychological, and Spiritual Factors

eating disorder awareness-what causes eating disorders? Biological, <a href=page Social, troche Psychological, and Spiritual Factors” src=”http://www.heismakingeverythingnew.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/eating-disorder-awareness-what-causes-eating-disorders-Biological-Social-Psychological-and-Spiritual-Factors.jpg&#8221; width=”600″ height=”600″ />

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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I believe that there is real spiritual warfare going on in and around us right now in this world, and I believe this for many reasons including the vast Biblical evidence and my own personal experience. As someone who has suffered from a variety of psychological disorders during my life and who is working to become a therapist, I frequently think about the intersection of psychological disorders and the battles taking place in the spiritual realm. While that is a topic way too big to address in this one post, and I honestly have not come to a complete conclusion of what I believe is the relationship between the demonic and psychological disorders, in this post I’m going to give you a few of my thoughts on why people get eating disorders.

So why do people struggle with eating disorders? Here are the three factors typically mentioned:

1. Biological factors there have been a lot of studies done that show the biological roots of eating disorders (here is just one study). Just as people can be born predisposed towards schizophrenia, alcoholism, and mood disorders, some people are born predisposed to developing eating disorders. Think about it this way: the vast majority of women in the U.S. will diet at least once in their lives, they are all exposed to similar media messages, they come from a variety of socioeconomic statues and family backgrounds, and yet there are estimated to be around 8-9 million women in the U.S. who suffer from eating disorders…that’s only about 3% of the population. So how is it that some women develop EDs and others don’t? Part of the answer is biology. It is estimated that 50-80% of the risk for developing EDs is due to genetic/biological factors.

2. Social Factors Just because you’re predisposed to eating disorders biologically doesn’t mean that you will necessarily have an ED at some point in your life. Social and environmental factors do play a sometimes very large role in the development of EDs. These factors might include things such as being emotionally, physically, or sexually abused, growing up in a high-pressure home where parents placed an emphasis on physical appearance or were always dieting, lack of healthy social friendships and relationships, being bullied, participating in a high-pressure activity such as modeling, the entertainment industry, or competitive dancing, etc. Sometimes these situations can “activate” a biological predisposition.

3. Psychological Factors- these factors include things like low self esteem and suffering from another mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or OCD. There is also work being done to see what sort of temperament traits, such as perfectionism, could influence the onset of eating disorders.

I think one thing that is important to remember is that Christians have biological, social, and psychological factors that influence the onset of their eating disorders, just as non Christians do, which is why I’m a huge advocate for everyone with eating disorders to receive treatment from a psychologist who specializes in treating EDs or from a specialized treatment center. I see a troubling trend in the Church where Christians struggling with serious mental disorders receive prayer and perhaps some counseling from their pastor (who most likely doesn’t have a Masters or Ph.D in clinical psychology or mental health treatment) and then don’t get any treatment from trained professionals. Eating disorders are very real and dangerous diseases that typically require treatment.

PLEASE don’t hear me saying that prayer doesn’t really work and God doesn’t really heal because I absolutely know He does. It was God who ultimately brought me healing and recovery from my eating disorder (although the many years of therapy I had were absolutely elemental in the process), but I have also seen the Lord work to bring freedom through therapy. Healing is such a huge topic that I don’t have time to address now (and also don’t have all the answers to), but if you’re interested in some of my views about prayer and healing, read this post.

With that being said, do I believe that spiritual warfare plays a part in eating disorders in addition to the biological, social, and psychological factors? The short answer is yes, I do. Here’s a breakdown:

1. Biological factors- We live in a fallen world and as a result of that our bodies suffer in ways they were never intended to. I believe that living in a fallen world has messed with our bodies, meaning that biological predispositions to diseases, including eating disorders, are not something that God creates in people, but rather are a result of our broken world that He never wanted for us. With this perspective, you can say that Satan contributes to the onset of eating disorders because he is the one causing turmoil and brokenness in this world.

2. Social factors- I believe that the Bible teaches us that everyone has freewill to disobey the will of God. This means that people have the freewill to abuse people, bully people, pressure them, etc. The social factors that contribute to eating disorders are in no way ordained by God, but I do believe that they can be influenced by Satan. I believe that when people do evil things like abuse, assault, insult, or bully others, their actions can be influenced by the grip of Satan over their lives. Here is a post where I address the tension between good and evil in this world, including some ideas of why bad things happen.

3. Psychological factors- One psychological factor that influences the onset of eating disorders, as mentioned above, is the presence of other mental disorders. I believe that Satan can and does influence these other disorders just as he does eating disorders. Another major aspect of eating disorders is low self esteem and the unhealthy thought life that accompanies low self esteem. In my post What an Eating Disorder Sounds Like, I shared the constant mental struggle I was faced with every single day as I battled my eating disorder. This is where I most saw the demonic most manifest itself in my eating disorder struggle. I am not sure if I would say that Satan caused my eating disorder–I think my ED was the result of my mind and body doing the best they could to protect me from some pretty terrible things happening in my life by giving me a coping mechanism. But whether or not my eating disorder was directly caused by the work of the Enemy, it was absolutely maintained and worsened by the work of Satan. The terrible things I thought about myself and the hatred I had towards my very being were from the Enemy. Satan was so entrenched in my mind that he was able to make me believe in my heart that God did not love me anymore. Healing from my eating disorder consisted of replacing disordered coping mechanisms and attitudes about food with healthy ones, but the deepest work of healing happened in my soul where I had to allow the Lord to speak truth into my life. My real recovery came with the reestablishment of my relationship with God and with me holding firmly to the truth that I am loved, adored, and known by God.

What are your thoughts about the causes of eating disorders? Do you think that the spiritual realm affects things in our world like psychological disorders?

To learn more about eating disorders, read some more of my posts on the topic by clicking here. 

What an eating disorder sounds like—The life in the mind of an addict

eating disorder awareness- what an eating disordre sounds like-the life in the mind of an addict

Disclaimer: I am not a psychologist and am not trained in eating disorder treatment or prevention. I struggled with disordered eating/eating disorders for 12 years and I am now in recovery. My purpose behind writing these posts is to start the conversation about eating disorders, malady which continue to be misunderstood and stigmatized, thumb  share my experience with those who have eating disorders or know others who do, viagra sale and to hopefully give some clarity and understanding about these complicated and dangerous diseases. I also want to give hope that recovery is possible!
Trigger warnings: In all of my posts about eating disorders, I try to be very sensitive and avoid triggering language. However, the reality is that I am talking about eating disorder thoughts and behaviors and recognize that these posts could trigger people struggling with EDs. If you think that these posts could be the least bit triggering for you, please do not read them. The last thing I want to do is to set anyone back in their recovery process.

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Through my recovery process from my eating disorder, I’ve really come to understand how hard my eating disorder was for my friends and family. I go back and read journal entries from when I was sickest in my ED and I do not recognize myself. I read words and am so sad for the person who wrote them. Writing out the words of this post is sad–facing the reality that I wasn’t living out a full and joyous life in the Lord for so many years is hard. But God is a God who redeems all things–our testimonies have the power to release others from darkness.

I can’t imagine how hard and confusing it is for people who have loved ones with EDs to understand what is going on. I know that I said and did things that were really hurtful to people I loved and I made it really hard for people to be around me. I know that it’s hard to continue being persistent in the way you love, support, and show up for the person in your life struggling with an ED. My purpose behind writing this post is to give you a small glimpse of what it’s like to live with an eating disorder. And even the words I’ve typed in this post are insufficient to explain the burden you carry when you have an eating disorder–it’s painful every moment of every day and it’s with you every moment of every day. I hope that this post will help you understand your loved one who is struggling and help you give them more grace and love.

I also hope it will also encourage you. This post describes my past, but praise the Lord it does not describe my present and will not describe my future! The Lord is so faithful. Recovery is possible. But I’m letting you know now- it’s not going to be an easy road and it’s not going to be a short road. Be gentle on yourself as you try to love someone in your life who right now is probably not very easy to love. But also be unrelenting in the way that you pursue them, love them, support them, forgive them, and pray for them. 

Here it goes.

I’m sitting with my friend at a worship night. The pastor is giving a powerful message about God lifting away past baggage, hurts, and pains and bringing healing. All I can think about is the fact that my friend and I are going to Sonic after this.

Am I going to get anything to eat? A milkshake? A milkshake and a burger? Burger and fries? Milkshake and fries? How many calories in a milkshake? How much have I eaten today? I didn’t really have dinner but I don’t know about the milkshake. What about just a burger? What do I weigh? Have I gained weight lately? Does my workout cancel out enough milkshake calories? What is the pastor talking about? Burdens? Sounds about right. Maybe fries and the milkshake will be the best combination. What is my friend going to eat?

This was not a one-time occasion. This was my life.

Every day I would go to school. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Talk with friends. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Go to church. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Spend time with my family. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Do homework. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Watch TV. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Shoot a photo session. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Bake. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Workout. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

Spend time with God. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

At night I would lie in bed, unable to sleep for hours. Every bite of food I had eaten that day would haunt me. I would pinch the fat on my body, stare at it in the mirror. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

The panic would build. It’s 2am. Just do 100 crunches. Then 100 more. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

The irrationality of it all is astounding, but it all seems rational in the moment…I have saran wrap in my room from a project I was working on. I should saran wrap my stomach…that will make me feel better. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

It’s 3am. Let’s write out a list of all the food I ate today and how many calories it was. Then I’ll cut it in half and that’s what I’ll eat tomorrow. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I walk around feeling so empty. It’s late at night and I’m in the kitchen. I start eating. In my mind I’m screaming, “I’m not hungry! I don’t want this food!” But I can’t stop. I’m powerless. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I go to bed feeling ashamed. How much do I weigh? I need to be better tomorrow. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

God, take this from me. I don’t want to live this way anymore. No! Don’t let anyone take this from you! You have to be in control! You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I sit in my classroom through lunch. I’ve already finished the half of a sandwich I packed so I sit at the computer and bookmark another twenty recipes I want to make. I want food. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

This is not a life worth living. I have an eating disorder and need help. You’re wrong. You’re way too fat to have an eating disorder. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I got an A on my exam. Good job, you’ve avoided embarrassing yourself this time. But next time you’ll probably fail because you’re a failure. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

I hear mean, rude, hurtful words coming out of my mouth. I see my relationships with my friends and family members disintegrate in front of me. But I’m powerless to stop it. You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

“Oh, how He loves us, oh how He loves us, how He loves us.” But God doesn’t really love you. How could He love a worthless piece of crap like you? You’re fat, you’re worthless, you’re stupid, no one loves you.

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In recovery, getting rid of eating disorder behaviors is hard, but even that is easy compared to getting rid of the thoughts. It’s the thoughts that plague you ever single day. You may look like you have it together on the outside but on the inside you’re fighting a war.

Psychological disorders are hard and messy and confusing. I encourage you if you have a loved one struggling with an ED, don’t assume that you know what they’re going through. Ask them questions, even if it’s hard. Read memoirs about people struggling with EDs and ask them how their experience relates to that of the book authors. Use this post to start a conversation. Keep showing up in their life–their ED tells them that they aren’t loved, aren’t worth anyone’s time or attention- don’t let their ED win. And please, please, please, help them seek proper treatment. And please, please, please, never stop praying for them, for a total defeat of the Enemy.

Need to read something encouraging after this post? Here is my post where I talk about my recovery from my eating disorder.

Want to learn more about eating disorders? Click here to read other posts I’ve written on the topic.

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