I never intend to be triggering whatsoever in my posts, and intend for them to be pro-recovery and helpful for eating disorder sufferers. However, I know that triggers vary from person to person, so I am putting the disclaimer here. If you are easily triggered by eating disorder posts, even pro-recovery ones, maybe skip this post.
Even when I struggled with these things, they were dirty words to me.
Anorexia was different. It lied, sneakily telling me that it was a good thing. But bulimia, purging… I knew that this wasn’t good, wasn’t healthy.
So… why did I do it?
Bulimia entered my life when I had been discharged from my first round of counselling when I was about 14. The therapy had been for binge eating disorder/night eating syndrome. I went a whole month after therapy with no binge episodes, which was absolutely amazing… but the urge to binge came knocking again one day. But this time, the guilt was too much to bear, and I made myself vomit.
It wasn’t fun. Not remotely. Not the bingeing part, and not the purging part.
So… why did I do it?
I know that I was dieting at the time. I restricted my food, counted all my calories and macros, and avoided certain food groups. If you’re not aware of this, restricting food is a proven recipe for extreme hunger, and obsessing over food. But I didn’t know this at the time. I thought my obsessive thoughts about food were just what had gotten me “fat” in the first place.
But now I know that dieting is what led to the obsessive thoughts, and, ultimately, the bingeing.
Now, for me, unfortunately, before I ever had the opportunity to recover from bulimia, I developed anorexia, fearing all foods like I’d never feared anything else in my life. At one point, I swore that I would never eat again.
Healing from anorexia, though, involved taking the same steps that would have needed to be taken to heal from bulimia. As crazy as this may sound to the one who is sick but feels their BMI doesn’t show it… to the one who justifies the puking with “It’s not that bad; I just eat too much. Purging just levels it out,” there’s another way. To the one whose enemy in their head says that bulimia is the saviour that helps them to keep their “food addiction in check,” it’s time to rest in the arms of your REAL, human, true, loving, forgiving, redeeming, and transforming Saviour. His name is Jesus.
Meeting Jesus changed eeevery little thing in my life. He saw me in my literal mess of puke. Like, I’m going to be so real here. Jesus met me on those dark nights on my kitchen floor when I was stuffing myself with food; in those times when I was eating away while simultaneously leaning over the toilet bowl ready to get rid of it all; He met me in the horrid sin when I was so terrified of eating a morsel of anything but my mom, desperately pleading with me to eat tried to feed me a bagel and I threw my plate of food aiming for her head. I’m writing this with tears streaming down my face because that’s how good my God is!!!!! That’s how good His GRACE is!!!!!
But actually taking the steps of healing He wants you to take means ditching the diets.
Yes. Bulimia, like other eating disorders, often goes hand in hand with dieting/restricting. You have a restrictive mindset during the day, avoiding certain food groups, counting calories/macros maybe, only allowing yourself one meal, whatever it is… and it’s not sustainable. You binge, the guilt is unbearable, you purge, and it becomes an addictive cycle.
Maybe you don’t even feel like you are too restrictive, but, really, your mind is a battlefield of it. I can’t go for lunch with friends because I already made lunch, and I just know that if I go out, I’ll still eat that food at home. You don’t trust your own hunger cues.
The reality is that maybe you can’t right away. I certainly couldn’t when I was first recovering. That was because my stomach was so shrunk, and I my idea normal portion sizes so warped. I remember by first meal in family-based treatment from anorexia took me hours. I will never forget it: 3 chicken strips, some potatoes, and some broccoli. “No one on earth eats this much!” I whined to my mom. LOL.
Once recovery became my own, extreme hunger was something I welcomed, albeit fearfully. But, with my God, Jesus Christ, leading the way, I was guided by Truth, Love, and Grace. And hope for a clearer future.
The more I ate to my hunger, even when that meant 5000+ calories per day, the more my hunger tapered off. Now, I probably eat closer to 2000ish, but since I’ve had a regular period for 6 months and since I’m a healthy weight, I have no reason to count anymore. I’m free. I don’t have any desire to binge or purge; to live selfishly consumed by that anymore.
He wants to free you, too. If you have yet to meet Jesus, He is the God of all grace and truth, power and might, wisdom and knowledge and love. Receiving His love, His Word says, is just a matter of believing in Him and confessing that belief, and surrendering to Him to follow Him with your whole life. Oh, He’s right there next to you, arms open wide. If this is you, I join you in this song of freedom. May the Holy Spirit encourage you through it today.