Redeemed: Overcoming My Eating Disorder
Ed was my best friend. My only friend. Ed helped track every bite that entered my mouth, every calorie burned, and every pound that fell off my body. Ed had all the answers to get me exactly what I needed: the perfect body which would in turn give me the perfect life.
Ed is short for Eating Disorder.
For a long time, I believed my eating disorder was saving my life somehow, when in fact it was doing the complete opposite. My days consisted of hours at the gym (dragging myself from machine to machine to burn everything I had eaten that day), and calculating every single bite of food that entered my mouth. I weighed every ounce of food and reported it on a calorie tracking app. At the end of the day calories burned had to be greater than calories consumed. There was no other option.
I was exhausting myself, and the people around me, in my vain attempts to hold on to the very thing that I needed to lose in order to really start living.
I remember the night so vividly. I was starving, so the evening ended in a massive binge. Instead of eating my one cup of sugar free Jell-O, I had eaten all four for dinner. A whopping 40 total calories. I could not believe I had gone on such a binge, so I calculated that I had to walk up and down my apartment stairs a few extra times to work off the extra three cups of Jell-O.
That night I hit rock bottom, literally passing out on my bathroom floor. After pulling myself together, I finally mustered up the courage to make the scariest phone call I could imagine. After numerous phone calls around the Atlanta area, I finally reached a place that I knew would change my life forever, the Atlanta Center for Eating Disorders (ACE).
[pullquote width="300" float="left"]The views I had of my own body were the same as someone who was covered in third degree burn scars.[/pullquote]
In the conclusion of my treatment entry assessment, my results showed that the views I had of my own body were the same as someone who was covered in third degree burn scars.
I hated myself and now it was evident to someone other than me.
As a Christian, I could not figure out how to make myself pleasing to God. If I was a Christian, I had to be perfect. I felt that I was never good enough for Him and that I would never be able to live up to this perfect image that I thought God wanted from me.
It wasn’t until I entered into a group called Faith in Recovery at ACE that the Holy Spirit made His presence known in my heart. I realized that the God I serve knows that my flesh will fail, but through Him, I am restored and I can take refuge in Him. God has already taken care of our sins. He gives us grace - grace that we need to reciprocate back to ourselves.
During my eight months at ACE, I struggled big time. I fought my meal plan, sobbed over weigh-ins, argued with therapists, and continually hated my body. Those pounds I gained through recovery consist of experience, wisdom, and conquered fears. Pounds that were gained through accepting God again, as He reassured me that I am beautiful in His eyes and that He loves me unconditionally.
"I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." -Psalms 139:14
I have been called to revel in the new identity He has given me, regardless of my struggle to accept that I am an imperfect person. I am now choosing to accept myself as a reflection of Christ who loves and appreciates me as I am. My body is the temple of a Holy God and I need to treat it accordingly.
I left ACE unsure if I was fully recovered or not. But it was by faith, not sight, which brought me where I am today, one year out of recovery, and finally living my life.
"Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them for from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks tot eh Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!" -Psalms 107:18-21
While eating disorders show the obsessions with food and weight, they are often about much more than that.
The amount of talk about dieting, body image, and weight loss in the social arena is incredibly toxic and triggering for anyone to revert back to extreme measures or pick-up bad habits. It is our duty, as daughters of a great God, to counter these negative comments.
The first step towards eating disorder prevention is to stop feeding the negative talk we hear and turn it into something encouraging. Would you say the things you say about yourself to your best friend or a child? Probably not. Show yourself that same grace and compassion.
If you know someone with an eating disorder, be loving and kind to them. The struggle is completely real and deserves our utmost compassion. Show genuine concern for her feelings, and try to ease her into accepting the idea of treatment.
And if you're currently fighting your own battle with Ed, remember that Ed doesn't define you - you are the daughter of the King of Kings. You are not alone, because this community at Tirzah is here for you. But, even better? The Lord is near you - every day, in every moment, He is ready and able to fight your battles for you; to give you healing and a peace that transcends human understanding.
This post is part of the Redeemed series about recovering from self-harm. You can read the introduction here, and follow along the first Wednesday of every month as we go through this journey of recovery together.