You look healthy.
It tops the list of things NOT to say to a recovering/recovered/suffering person with an eating disorder. While, to most, this is a compliment; a good thing; the mental illness that is an eating disorder is a pro at twisting positive things into negatives.
There was a time that this compliment “triggered” me quite severely. A person’s well-intentioned “You look healthy” would automatically translate in my mind to “You got fat,” “You gained weight,” “I guess she finally lost that amazing will power.”
It is often the result of a simply relieved, caring loved one or acquaintance who is truly so happy to see health back in a sufferer’s body. And today, when I ran into a former co-worker and she barely recognized me because of the “pep in my step and health of my hair,” I was joyfully teary eyed when she said, “I’m so happy to see you look healthy.”
We worked together at a trendy-health-food cafe. I didn’t see it at the time, of course, but the environment was a trigger for old habits and thought patterns. It sounds like this co-worker saw it in me, though.
“You seemed consumed in it,” she said, “When you were there. But I had to come over here to tell you that I remember you for your kindness. You were so genuinely kind to me and everyone like I’ve never known. That shone through whatever you were dealing with. I didn’t know if I should come over here and tell you that, but I thought you needed to hear it. And I’m so happy to see you looking so happy and healthy… I barely recognized you!”
Happy and healthy… healthy hair… pep in my step…
The enemy in my mind wanted to turn those words, for a split second, into
You lost control… you got fat… you “fell off track”…
But, as today I embarked on the beginning of a new set of trials with new doctors to hopefully restore my menstrual cycle and hormones; as I look back to the food I’ve eaten with friends and family over the past few years with little obsession and much joy (not perfectly, but miles ahead); as I look to JESUS, my example, my purpose, who says not to think or worry about what I put in my body for a single second…
I replied with sincere thanks. That it meant SO much that she could see the changes in me, even in my step. That she looked at me and saw health and happiness, and still, above all, kindness, meant the world.
I wish I had told her that that kindness was empowered by the Living God, but I pray for the opportunity to see this woman again.
For now, I thank her for the reminder that health and happiness are good good things from my Good Good Father. They empower me to do His will, and that is all I desire from this life.