NEDA Week Link-Up

If you are unaware, this week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

As my contribution, I wanted to link to some of my past posts, as well as some other blog posts, that I think bring important awareness to eating disorders for those who are unfamiliar with them.


Beauty Beyond Bones wrote a great article about NEDA’s “Come As YouAre” campaign.

Honestly, I really liked the campaign when I first saw it, because it depicts the truth: eating disorders are mental illnesses as much as they are physical ones. But this author makes some very important points that I completely agree with and think are incredibly relevant.

Another author writes about why she’s frustrated with NEDA Week, yet another article that my heart echoes, but also that challenged the calling I have personally felt to share my recovery.

That said, here is the link to my own updated post about my physical eating disorder recovery.

Almost four years ago, when I was blogging mostly about eating disorder recovery.

And, for anyone who may in the thick of recovery, here is one of the most tangibly helpful posts, by Julia Grigorian.

And finally, for anyone looking for what to say or not to say to a loved one struggling, here is a wonderful post for Elite Daily,

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The Biggest Lie of Our Generation: The Worthy Image

I saw something today, on social media, ironically, that resonated with me deeply:

The biggest lie of our generation is that, if it’s not post-worthy, it’s not important.

I definitely agree that this is one of the most fundamental lies of our generation.

I think it’s okay to desire excellence in what we do. As someone who posts Instagram photos for the cafe I work for, I care about the quality of the photos and their edits. But nowadays, paying big bucks for presets for photos on personal Instagram accounts is the norm. There are “rules” around how often to post, and how to structure captions. And I am saddened by how many women have told me that they use apps to shrink the body parts they want to appear smaller and enhance the ones they would like bigger, and I know this isn’t just limited to women.

If it’s not “beautiful” in the eyes of man, in the eyes of human-decided norms, it’s not “good enough.” But this could not be further from the truth.

The post went on to say that most of the things that God cares about are not even seen by man, or recognized by anyone but Him. If we do things for the purpose of being SEEN by others, in general, we are not living for His glory.

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” LUKE 12:7

How unfathomable is it that God knows every inch of our hearts, minds, and souls… even our physical bodies… and says He could not possibly love us more than He already does, let alone less? Only Jesus… only Jesus.

Rather than putting any of my energy or attention into people seeing me, noticing me, or lifting my own name or persona, I pray that this would be a year in which God would show me how to simply bring glory to HIS Name, the only perfect lover. The only worthy image.

PHYSICAL EATING DISORDER RECOVERY PART 2: Slow Progress is Still Progress

Hi Friends!

Because I get more questions about this topic than anything else on the blog, I figure it’s something people are either interested in, experiencing, or want light shed on. I also think it’s important to talk about, remembering that I am not a doctor, physician, nor do I have any nutrition credentials. I can merely speak from my own experience.

To read what I wrote earlier about physical AN recovery, head here.

Now, since that post, written about 8 months ago, I am up another five pounds, 18 lbs above my lowest scale weight. I do not weigh myself besides for doctor’s appointments, but I do think it’s interesting to note, especially in light of the fact that I see it as progress. I used to be petrified of gaining weight. But I feel healthier, stronger, and more confident than ever knowing that this weight remission has been achieved.

I also have grown an entire inch in the last year or so, confirmed by my doctor. This figures into some studies that have shown that anorexia, especially among teenagers between 12-16, which is a fundamental age range for growth and development, can stunt growth for a long period of time. Studies have also shown that proper restoration of nutrition can allow for the time span of growth of bones and height to lengthen, or be “made up for” later in life. For me, that was this past year, at 20-21 years old, I guess.

Because, when my height was taken accurately at my doctor’s a few weeks ago, I came in at 180 cm, or 5’10.86″, when a few years ago I was just UNDER 5’10”.

My body has clearly used the extra food and extra rest I have focused on allowing it to repair itself. It was after a month of little to no exercise, and lots of holiday food, that I got my period on New Year’s Eve.

I haven’t seen one since then, but I am hopeful that my physical body is *finally* coming into its own. And I really do have only Jesus to thank.

In my last post about physical recovery, I decided that I would only provide advice when I had had 3 consecutive periods. This has not happened. I have, however, only been seeing good progress (slow weight gain and one period, yay!), and am somewhere in the middle of that kind of victory. On my way, believing for it.

And so, I thought I would share some insights from the middle of this journey.

The importance of food for health cannot be mistaken. 

I was only severely under-eating to the classification of anorexia for about 8 months of my life. Many people are in that boat for YEARS. While the damage is not irreversible, it can be long-lasting. I still deal with lost hair, bone loss, appetite struggles, digestion problems, hormonal imbalances, and amenorrhea. Adequate nutrition is crucial to our daily activities, for our brains, not to mention our social functioning.

It is okay for me to believe in, promote, and be passionate about healthy eating.

It took a long time for me to say this without feeling “guilty,” but I am genuinely passionate about healthy, clean eating. I believe in a mostly whole-foods based way of eating. I cringe at some of the fillers and additives in our “food” sources today. AND, I know that “hyper-clean-eating” is just as toxic, if not, in many cases, MORE toxic, than those unhealthy foods. I’ve found “balance”– called Jesus. I genuinely prefer the taste and preparation and fuel whole, “healthy” food provides, but I have no fear of treats. Food just “is” now, and, for me, it’s an exciting part of life that brings me MOST joy when it’s shared with others, communed over, and fellowshipped over.

Slow physical progress is still progress. 

There is surely no “one size fits all” in eating disorder recovery, but mine has been quite slow. Or, at least, it has felt quite slow. I have been actively trying to gain weight for over two years, and it has taken that much time to put on 18 lbs– but, heck, my body’s been doing what it needs to. It’s been sorting it out and learning to trust me after what I’m sure was a very confusing few years.

Weight does redistribute.

Multiple times throughout recovery, I have felt frustrated that weight gain wasn’t going to the places I wanted it to. In reality… it was sitting in my stomach. I was constantly bloated, and I do still struggle with this, as we all do. But the weight has slowly dispersed its way to other parts of my body– only as I’ve kept up my regular eating habits. For an excellent article on weight redistribution in recovery, head here.

Food knowledge genuinely CAN fade into the background.

There is one aspect of ED that I consistently thought would never “go away,” and that was simply the vast knowledge I have about nutrition.

Spending so much time consuming the over 60-billion-dollar weight loss industry, I also consumed so much food/exercise stats in a very self-focused way (can we talk about how self-centred anorexia itself is? That is not to say a person suffering from the disorder intends to be– but, rationally, the disorder very much promotes self-focus).

I still do know so much about food and nutrition, and would be lying if I said I don’t still sometimes see food as numbers. By the grace of God, I know I’m not meant to base eating on numbers, but I still know them, if that makes sense.

But, TRULY, with time, such unimportant facts have become less and less apparent in my brain.

The most prominent example in my brain: I have the most vivid memory of being 14, at the height of my bulimia, and I had cognitively chosen to restrict my food intake that day.

I remember actually saying to my mom, “I have sixty calories left, but I can’t decide if I should have a tablespoon of honey in my tea, or a few grapes.” She didn’t say much, and I knew she was worried.

Now I happily add as much unmeasured honey to my drinks as I desire, and would pluck grapes off any snack tray, thank-you very much.

Any specific questions about eating disorder recovery/mentality/physicality I am always happy to answer, remembering everyone’s experience is different!

As always, thank-you for tuning in. xx

ISAIAH 43:2:

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

Canada’s 2019 Food Guide: A New Lens

Since the ringing in of a new year, perhaps you have come across this image:



And you’re probably familiar with this now dated one too:

Many people are loving the new “food guide,” so perhaps my opinion will be unpopular one. But I have been itching to write about it, if only to provide a new lens about this whole “guide” thing any way.

First of all, I prefer the second image to the first… but not by much.

I prefer the second image, the old food guide, because of words such as “recommended” and “variety.” The general impression from this food guide is a lot more open. The servings it lists seem to be suggestive, not imperative.

The new food guide, however, includes much more imperative wording, which, for some people, can be triggering, or dangerous. Allow me to elaborate.

Having been diagnosed with four different eating disorders from the time I was 12-16, I have a firsthand understanding of the way this mental illness manipulates information about food to destruct. If my old “orthorexia brain” saw that first food guide and decided the guide was going to be its bible, as is what literally happened to me with other guides,  it would have read the following:

Choose whole grain foods? This clearly means that every grain that passes your lips has to be WHOLE grain. No additives or preservatives. Only grains that contain the germ. Only organic.

Make water your drink of choice? You can most certainly only drink water, then. No other beverages under any circumstances!

Eat protein foods. Ooh, this clearly only refers to complete proteins, like 100% lean chicken breast with no skin and egg whites.

Have plenty of fruits of vegetables? Perfect, so I’ll eat ONLY organic fruits and vegetables, with maybe one whole grain and one lean protein a day and tons of water. It’s a good thing I’m allergic to dairy, because apparently that’s no longer allowed for Canadians!

If the mental illness I struggled with would have deemed that guide the be all/end all, it would have been quite strictly just so.

Now, I completely understand that the majority of people see food guides like this and completely take them with a grain of salt. Utilize them as information to guide their understanding of some proper nutrition, and forget about it.

But I felt this needed to be written, because I know that, knowing the nature of eating disorders, someone out there at this very moment is actively engaged in a legalistic eating disorder that somehow involves this new food guide.

This is one of the reasons I have a passion for effective and clear communication. If this guide’s intended purpose is to provide general information for nutritional considerations, it should clearly say so, rather than trying to achieve a trendy, plain-language aesthetic. I’m just sayin’.

And I’m not hating at all on attempts to provide nutritional information, but rather providing a new lens on the way this is put out there (Is this suggesting that people should never eat chips, candy, their friend’s homemade cookies, drink hot chocolate, etc.? If it is not, it should say so).

I am passionate about LIFE outside of FOOD RULES. I know what it’s like for life TO BE food rules.

What was your reaction to the new food guide? Let me know in the comments!

 

“I Believe” Bible Study: The Necessity of Prayer and Fasting

Mark 9:29

“Jesus said to him, “This kind [of spirit] can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”

In today’s instalment of the I Believe Bible Study research, we’re talking about fasting and prayer as not only a suggestion from Jesus, but a necessity. 

To do this, we look to the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 9.

In this chapter, some of Jesus’ disciples are trying to cast a demon out of a man, but are unsuccessful. Of course, Jesus casts the demon out right away. When His disciples ask Him why they were unable to do what He did, Jesus’ reply is that the kind of spirit could only be rebuked through prayer and fasting.

This is a perfect example of an instance in which prayer and fasting are suggested together– and from the mouth of Jesus Himself. And, again, not only is this a suggestion, but Jesus’ wording is that the only way in this situation is through prayer and fasting. 

Think about this. What if, rather than trying to forge our own way in helping others, our first reaction was to turn to the God of the universe, sacrifice our pleasures/food/time to Him in prayer, and seek His will and healing? Do we believe He is a healer? That’s what it starts with. If we believe that God’s Word is alive (1 Peter 1:23), that He is who He says He is, that He is perfect (1 Peter 2:22), then we should want this time with Him.

The way most of us currently live our lives has taught us to be comfortable with a different truth–hence, a lie. 

That comfort is more desirable than sacrifice. That I deserve gifts and blessings. 

However, this song sums up true life, in Jesus Eternal:

Struggling to sacrifice something you know you spend too much time doing?

Remember these things:

  1. Your time in fasted prayer can lead to someone else’s healing.
  2. Time spent with/for Jesus is time given to ETERNAL glory– unlike any other way you could spend your time!
  3. If you desire “help with your unbelief” (Mark 9:23-25), Jesus promises to answer prayers (1 John 5:14).

Interested or feeling called to this challenge? Email me at wolfe3740@mylaurier.ca, comment below, or connect with me in any other media platform to get involved either via the online study, or the in-person study in Waterloo!

5 Things I’ve Learned Since Being Engaged at 21

My hands are no longer in beautiful shape 24/7, my ring is starting to feel as if it’s been on my finger forever, and “wedding talk” is becoming a necessary segment of every catch-up and conversation.

And while all of this is so exciting, and I am most certainly enjoying every aspect of planning, and being surrounded more than ever by loved ones, a few things have surprised me.

Johnny proposed at Parliament in Toronto over a month ago, on his birthday, December 15, 2018.

In wedding season, it’s common to be asked about the wedding, but not about the relationship. I don’t expect or necessarily think it would be right for people to be asking all the questions about mine and Johnny’s relationship, our decisions, and our love for each other. There is nothing wrong with excitement and questions about the planning of the big day, but much more than this day, I am excited to BE MARRIED to Johnny. The wedding day is going to be so special, but because our marriage will be special. It is that future together that we feel called to that is being celebrated. I am not fearful of myself getting caught up in the talk of that single day, as I’ve been enjoying it and allowing myself to enjoy it, but I want to express to others that the purpose of the day is what we really care about.

I had prepared myself for the, “you’re so young” comments… but I haven’t gotten a single one. 

In fact, everyone I’ve talked to has said things like, “it’s always been so obvious you and Johnny were meant to be together,” and “you’re both so mature” and “good for you guys!” We pray people see only Jesus Christ in our love for each other, and His story in and through us.

In terms of where our money is going toward the wedding day, I care most about my guests and loved ones having a good time and being cared for.

I want to make sure we have a fun and versatile DJ, delicious food, and accommodating facilities. I want every guest to feel mine and Johnny’s love and care for them in both the way Jesus is glorified in our relationship, and in the way we choose to host them.

The best thing to hear from loved ones in the planning process is “Tell me how I can help you. We’ll follow your lead and vision. You make all the decisions.”

The amount of decisions that need to be made are pretty overwhelming, but I have SO appreciated the reminders from people that are so willing to help with what I need help with, but constantly reminding us that every wedding decision is ours, and not trying to control what we want.

The “wedding day” WILL fly by, and that is not only okay, it’s exciting!

It means that will be married, and Johnny and I see marriage as we believe God intended it according to His Word, which involves different things from a dating relationship, and we are excited to enter into those things, truly doing life together. I am so excited for the special day of all my favourite and closest people coming together to celebrate Jesus, but it will be one day, a future afterward I can’t wait to host those people and continue to pour into them, sometimes alongside my husband!
Johnny and I have never been big “planny” people when it comes to our relationship. We both receive love and gifts when they are spontaneous and genuine and fun, and not talked about, calculated, or planned. So we haven’t “set aside designated times” for planning or anything like that. We’re just going with the flow, focusing on our relationship above planning the wedding, and learning how to love each other even still in this distance, knowing that it’s over forever soon!


January 11, 2020, I am very excited for you to get here… but I’m going to love each day leading up to you, pressing into Christ above all.

I Believe Bible Study: My Own Experiences

Happy Monday!

If you’ve been tracking along, you know that I am releasing research and information about the Bible Study I will be launching both online and in person in Waterloo this March. For all the information about the study, head here.

Today, I am talking about one of the reasons I decided to focus the study around fasted prayer, which is my own personal experience.

To be straightforward, fasting something that was a conviction in my life, and spending more time in prayer, changed my life.

“Kintsugi, meaning that which is bonded by gold, is an ancient art form of pottery within the richer provinces of China. The potter does a remarkable thing where they take the broken pieces of any bowl, using gold to mold the whole bowl together, creating something new. When I learned of this my mind instantly looked to the Lord and how he uses us, as the broken pieces we are, molding us by his sanctification. And though we have nothing worthy to give back to the Him for the life he has given for us, we are now able to bear his image and share who he is to those around us.
I’m not sure where your heart sits with this, but for me, I feel a joy and confidence in our Lord. He is making us anew each and every day, and all we may do is love Him in return. That is it. There is no bargaining or wager we must win, but a given reward. We do not earn, work, or gamble our way into the kingdom of God, for He had already done so. We cannot trade Christ’s pure love with work, and we must dare not to try. Know you have been given grace. And know you are loved. Reflect on his gift.”

This was written by a friend of mine at church, and I think it is so true of who our God is.

To support these statements with Scripture: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

This to say, WE cannot save ourselves. Nothing of our human flesh is worthy of God, and nothing we could give our beautiful Saviour makes any one of us more worthy or holy. HE is the only Holy one, and wants to dwell in us.
We CAN, however, choose of our flesh to gift Him what we ARE able to control, and He blesses those choices. I’ve experienced this.

As much as I have often recognized struggles within myself of things that I succumb to that I shouldn’t partake in, I know that I am not condemned for these things, but rather can look to the Truth of His joy and freedom from these things.

“These things”– for example, watching recipe and workout videos on YouTube for hours of my free time.

I have recognized that I can enjoy these videos for a period of time without conviction from God that this is not how I should be spending it. But there is a point where this becomes too much, and not honouring to Him/simply a waste of time. And while I know there is no CONDEMNATION for these things (Romans 8:1-2), that I am not to feel guilty for them, I simply know the Truth of my God and that He is my Creator, Past, Present, and Future, and it’s when I spend time with Him that I do not WANT to spend hours watching YouTube videos.

This is why I have chosen to “fast” these videos, and pray in times I would usually watch YouTube. And, man, has God changed my life.

-Prayer during these times has literally opened me up to retreating from my room at home for prayer time with my roommates.

-I believe that the Holy Spirit brought me to the Scripture verse He wanted me to talk about at the women’s event I spoke at at Redeemer University this past Thursday night. And God did AMAZING things through that Word, setting people free from addictions.

-I have noticed less anxiety and more peace in my life since spending more time in prayer and less time on YouTube.

These amazing benefits and more are my passionate desire for the world: for others to experience the way that sacrifices that feel big, but that are tiny in comparison to the sacrifice of Jesus’ LIFE on the cross, are so life-changing when we allow Him to take up the space. Time with Him has made me more others-focused, in that I have been more apt to think pray for my friends and acquaintances and people that have asked me for prayer, and to check up on them.

I truly believe in this practice. Not that it is something that makes us better Christians, because truly, in God’s eyes, that isn’t possible, or the point. But it’s simply a practice of loving our perfect Creator.