Finding Freedom from an Eating Disorder: My Encouragements to You
Three plus years.
That’s how long I’ve been free from an eating disorder. And you know what? Finding freedom from an eating disorder is still a choice. I will be honest and admit that there are days when I hear those same lies that I once believed (and acted upon). Lies like, “You would be prettier if you only lost 5lbs,” or “The best size is a size 0,” or “You shouldn’t eat that today, you didn’t work hard enough for it.” And even though I can now recognize these lies, it is, sometimes, still a CHOICE to label them as lies and walk away. It is still a choice to aim for balance and freedom, when my flesh wants to slip back into old ways.
Most days, food freedom and living life without ED thoughts is the normal and anything else feels foreign. Other days, I have to choose more proactively to walk in normalcy. I’m sharing this because I know so many girls start trying to find freedom from an eating disorder and are discouraged because they don’t recover over night.
And what I want to share is that it is okay. Eating disorders do not develop overnight, they start slowly, often times as good things (like me: I wanted to start exercises to get healthy for my future family) and eventually lead us to captivity and ruin.
As a Christian, I believe that eating disorders start with lies that begin with the deceiver, himself. When we realize that these lies come from our enemy, we can more easily defeat them because we can fight with truth. As you fight for your victory from an eating disorder, my first encouragement for you is to realize that these are LIES. Listening to lies is dangerous. Your life is at stake, sweet friend. Let’s not gamble it.
I feel like a lot of Christian women struggle with eating disorders because it’s like an acceptable sin. It really isn’t hurting anyone, right? (Just ourselves). It’s not like taking drugs or something. After all, it isn’t an eating disorder. I’m taking care of the temple God has given me. If you are struggling with an ED, I know these thoughts have crossed your mind because they crossed mind – more than once. I was okay. It wasn’t a problem. I was taking care of my body. But, it wasn’t until I saw the seriousness of my condition and realized the lies I was listening to that my attitude toward my ED, changed.
So how do we fight for freedom?
A few practical ways…
- Don’t except this to happen overnight. Recovery is not an overnight process, but a DAILY CHOICE. You MUST fight for freedom. You must choose to become uncomfortable. Trust me, I know how comfortable EDs are. I know that they become this safe, little prison and it feels awkward and uncomfortable to crawl out into the daylight again. But, my encouragement to you is to daily choose to crawl out of that cold, prison cell. Try new ‘scary,’ foods, daily. Eliminate your rigid rules, one at a time. Start small, but daily increase. It’s a daily chose. Yes, you will fail and yes you will fall. But, you must keep pressing on.
- Surround yourself with accountability. When I was choosing to recover from my ED, I had accountability surrounding me. One of my best friends and I would text each other what we were eating during the day, my mom and dad kept close watch one me, and I told close friends. Yes, it’s painful to have your deepest flaws known to the watching world, but sweet friend, we are all flawed and those who love you the most want to help you.
- Don’t stress about returning to normalcy in a ‘clean,’ way. I remember when I was trying to gain weight post – ED, that I tirelessly researched (and I hate researching) how to comeback from an ED with a clean diet. Let me tell you, you will not find freedom from an ED by following your old ED rules. This is going to mean you will need to learn to eat pizza, again, without freaking out and enjoy a cookie without beating yourself up for it. And it’s going to take practice.
- If you are a Christian, dig deep into God’s word. As a believer, I know I would not have recovered if it wasn’t for my redeemer. I shed many tears of repentance, sorrow and anguish to my Savior over and over during that dark season. And the beautiful part? He knew. He listened. He loved me, forgave me and gave me the strength to overcome the ED that I didn’t have on my own.