It is a common misconception that people with eating disorders hate food. The reality is quite the contrary. In most eating disorder sufferers, food is obsessed over, constantly thought about, and researched.In the depths of my disorder, I constantly baked and cooked high-fat, delicious dishes that I wouldn’t let my own tongue even nearly close to, but that I served with glee to those around me.
Oh man. Hi, Reader. How are you?! This post is a long time coming. But it is being written for the one who finds his or herself in the same position that I am about to outline here. It’s a position I feel a heavy […]
Frustrated is my word of choice.
I am overwhelmingly frustrated.
I’ve read every blog post about hypothalamic amenorrhea.
I’ve spent months eating as much as my insides could take without exploding and remaining sedentary. Then I’ve tried adding in light exercise, eating high high fat contents without restricting other food groups.
Here is what I ate yesterday (As much as I remember, any way):
Whole goat’s milk yogurt with oatmeal, berries, and peanut butter
Fried eggs with white toast, hash browns, and bacon
Spicy Turkey sausages with rice and oily tomato sauce
Tons of crackers & bread with goat cheese, peanut butter, and jam
More oatmeal with brown sugar, full fat goat yogurt, peanut butter, and berries
Dairy-free chocolate ice cream with cherries and peanut butter
Today, I am stuffed. Painfully stuffed. TMI, but even the thought of food makes me want to barf.
I eat as much as I can and am hungry for one day, and suffer painful and debilitating consequences the next. I’m told I need to “eat more and exercise less,” and I am truly doing that to the best of my ability. But it constantly feels as if people don’t believe me, or think I’m not well.
I’ve experienced the extreme hunger noted by specialists, but also extreme fullness. I experience horrible digestion problems pretty much whenever I eat processed foods. And I truly believe that the more I eat these things, the better my body will be able to process them, but, if I’m honest, I’m frustrated with this physical recovery process. I’m frustrated with not having proper hormonal function, with feeling unwell, and with feeling as though my doctors don’t believe me. That I’m trying.
The number of times that I have been *certain* I’d gained weight, only to have lost half a pound or something on the doctor’s scale… it’s discouraging. It’s hard to know how to go about recovery.
And, to be honest… it’s even harder in the midst of planning for my wedding, especially when my dress has gotten tighter and tighter with each fitting.
The world says your dress should be getting “looser.” The message to brides is to take up less space, to lose pounds, and to look thin. And when you’re like me, and your most consuming battle in life was years spent in a restrictive eating disorder… these messages can easily be triggers.
But rather than allowing them to permeate me, I have focused on some key things that have shifted my thinking:
- What do I want my relationship with food to look like as a full time writer, wife, and, one day, mother?
- What do I want my relationship with food to look like at my bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding?
- What do I want to be consumed with leading up to my wedding – and for the rest of my life?
Here’s the thing: I weigh more than I have in months and months, and there were voices that told me I just couldn’t let that happen.
But it’s happened… and I’m okay with it. I’m really okay with it.
I’m finally realizing that my body wasn’t meant to be underweight – that this probably makes sense, too, haha. That in order to have a child one day, my body has been screaming at my slightly messed up mind for some time now that, hey, can you help me out a bit with some stability in order to maybe house a human being one day?
I’d heard all the things eating disorder patients hear:
-Your body wasn’t meant to be this low weight
-You need to eat and eat and eat. You will not get fat. You will heal.
-You will feel out of control for a bit. But it will become normal.
And I have to tell you, friend-who-is-reading-this who is where I once was, and doesn’t believe it either:
It is all TRUE.
It is wonderful to eat without measuring and counting. But it took YEARS, literally years for me, in order for it to be wonderful.
Triggers have made it un-wonderful again at times. But, overall, the not-being-consumed by food thoughts has been magical. Worth it BECAUSE I’m convinced of the truth of it. Fully and completely convinced by the Word of God that the food rules were not in alignment with how He calls me to live.
My knowledge about nutrition is most definitely a God-given tool, accompanied by a lot of Truth. But if that knowledge is seen as THE ULTIMATE TRUTH, it isn’t Truth anymore, because it is accompanied by untruths.
Here is what I mean.
My nutrition knowledge says that refined sugar isn’t healthful. This knowledge has equipped me to be in tune with my body’s cravings for natural sugars, healthful sugars, ie. fruit, etc.
My Biblical knowledge says that I am free from rules, including ones of abstaining from foods. It also says that I am called to eat what I am served, focusing on the people and the conversation rather than the food itself. And so, if someone goes out of their way to make a delicious dessert, or buys me dairy-free ice cream, you bet I’m going to eat it if I want it (which – I usually do).
THIS is the place I want you to get, my friend. But if you are in the trenches of restriction, know this, too –
Your hunger signals are out of whack. They simply are. You WILL NEED to eat more than your friends and family, than you perceive to be “normal,” in order to repair the damage. It is just the way it goes.
I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as bingeing in amenorrhea or anorexia or restrictive eating disorder recovery.
Believing this doesn’t mean that allowing my extreme hunger to actually run its course was always easy. It was not. I fought it for years. But allowing it to operate is the SWEETEST thing. You WILL stop feeling afraid all of the time. You WILL begin to feel “normal” once again. You just have to keep going.
Another HUGE lie that I have had to bring to the light was this: (I see you, Friend):
As long as your BMI isn’t any higher than 18.5, you’re okay.
Well, guess what?
I don’t get my period at BMI 18.5. Which means that, for MY body, that is underweight.
There are women who get a regular period at this BMI, because that is how their body was made. Their bone structures are probably much smaller than mine. But I have wide hips and a naturally larger frame that requires more weight. And – I could cry – I am FINALLY okay with this. Happy about it, even. Excited to see where my natural body wants to land.
It takes speaking these things that you’re so afraid to speak, for fear of shame or embarrassment or even being made to believe differently, in order to see the Truth. Each time I’ve spoken what the devil has tried to keep me from speaking, I have been nothing but amazed by the results produced.
What lies are you believing that you are called to bring to the light?
I am marrying the love of my life in 33 days, and I have never been more excited or joyful in my life. My soon-to-be husband came home from Winnipeg – for the last time ever – last week, and we have literally been bright […]
Happy Monday, y’all! Today’s post marks the first of a month-long Monday series I am starting called “Suffering for Righteousness.” I am starting with a light topic, and planning to delve deeper into the mystery of life with Christ – a life in which suffering […]
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
Does anyone else write stories in their minds?
The place most conducive to “Story-Writing” in my thought-life is the cafe I work at, Smile Tiger.
I’ve never worked somewhere in my life in which the people are so compassionate and family-oriented, and the atmosphere is so cozy. The most loyal and true “Regular Customers” are here every day, and the quaint furniture is entirely irreplaceable.
This is why, as a writing-coffee-lover who has been doing both for many years, it is bittersweet for me to announce that I am leaving the coffee industry behind, as I have accepted a full time position as a writer at a multimedia marketing/design agency.
I will miss serving people. I will miss directly engaging with strangers. I will miss tidying the cafe and answering questions and toasting the yummiest, fluffiest bread and heating scones. This is the shortest job I have ever had, but it has certainly left its mark.
A conversation I had today with one of my co-workers here actually reminded me of what I am excited to share with you guys today. It is something from Scripture that has been on my heart for some time now.
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. PROVERBS 28:13
This is a topic I’ve been wrestling with the Holy Spirit with for several days now. It goes like this:
We often hide our sins, our shortcomings, our failures. Our wrongdoings. But I actually think this hiding is one of the worst things we could possibly do, and the reason why is revealed by this Proverb writer.
When we confess and repent of our sins, we will find… COMPASSION.
What? My God, my God… you have compassion for (*insert most horrible “secret sin” I have committed?)
My God’s answer is YES. Forgiveness is His Song, and Grace for His people is all that Jesus is. But He asks us to confess them. Reveal them.
The thing I have been wrestling with is the tendency of people in what we share/confess when we ask for prayer.
In “prayer requests,” we often ask for help with the things that are “easy” to admit. Healing for someone with cancer; help with an exam. It is by no means WRONG to ask for prayer for these things, but how often do we confess things like porn addiction, lusts, and greed, and ask for prayer and accountability? How often do we call out the nitty gritty details of our most “secret sins,” renounce them, and give them to God?
I believe that the devil works to keep us in fear of sharing our sins. In fear of judgement, rejection, or change. But something I have discovered is that, the moment we bring to light the thing that we were so afraid to share, comes joy and healing we never thought possible. Then comes some of the sweetest moments in life– because, after all, Christ’s strength is “made perfect in our weakness.”
I was reminded of this at work today because of that beautiful co-worker I mentioned, who welcomed conversation by asking me questions about some of the real “tough stuff,” without shying away from any of the details. This kind of vulnerability should be normalized. This kind of revelation of failures, met with nothing but love, should be welcomed.
Is there something you are struggling with that you are afraid to share with someone – or just with God – that you are maybe feeling like you need to? What is this discussion stirring up in you?
There is such beauty in authenticity. We can know God’s Truth all we want, and we can believe it – but that doesn’t mean our earthly experience is 24/7 joy. But KNOWING that there is a Living God who wants to make us more and more like His perfect Son daily… that is tons of motivation to repent of our sins.
Good Wednesday! It’s been a while since I’ve had even a moment to update you here, but today I am finally able to sit down and write a bit about something that has been on my heart to share for some time: Multiple Streams of […]