Eating Disorder Awareness Week

22 02 2011

I apologize for the lack of recent posts. I’ve honestly had zero inspiration to write lately. This isn’t all bad…since I generally write about eating disorder topics that are giving me grief at the time, I think I should be excited that I haven’t had a lot to write about!! 🙂 But anyways, there are two purposes of this post: #1. To give you a bit of an update on my Bad Friend, and #2. To tell you about Eating Disorder Awareness Week!

So #1. I’ve been doing alright. Consistency is NOT my game at the moment, though, which can be quite frustrating; I honestly cannot predict if a day will be a “good” or “bad” eating disorder day. I’ve lost a teensy bit of weight…nothing terribly significant…but when my Doctor gets my weight report from the nurse here at school, I often get a phone call. I felt almost trapped for a time. I wanted to eat __________, but I felt too afraid to just go for it. I wanted to take a day off from working out, but eating became a challenge if I didn’t do something active. So I took a step and called my mentor. Could anyone explain to me why I didn’t do this earlier?!? It was definitely helpful to talk about the issues that were driving me crazy at that moment, and even MORE helpful to hear her give me a bit of advice and a huge amount of understanding without batting an eyelash.

Last time I spoke with my mentor, you know what she said to me? She said something like “You gotta keep working”, to which I replied “I’m trying!” And then the stinger: my dear mentor said, “You need to try harder.” Ouch. But those words (and the rest of the conversation) helped renew my passion to continue working towards recovery…working HARD. If you sit down and have a meal with me, it might not look like I’m trying that hard, but please believe me when I tell you I’m working! Offer me dessert, and doubts might be erased 😉 So that’s where I am at the moment!

And #2. This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. I’ve been looking at tons of websites about eating disorder recovery, research and awareness over the past few days, and dang…I get so ticked off! And then I feel inspired to work hard and DO something about eating disorders. Granted, there’s not a lot I can do, but I can speak up, I can keep an eye out, and I can post!! There are a lot of Public Service Announcements out right now about awareness – here is one I like a lot.

As a note, I’m rethinking what I want this blog to be, so keep your eyes open for updates on changes! 🙂


One Year Ago Today…

21 12 2010

One year ago today, my life took a dramatic turn. In case you’re new to my blog, I’ll give a bit of a recap: Over the course of last Fall semester, I lost about 15 pounds that I didn’t really have to loose. I felt exited early on (who wouldn’t?) but became nervous when the weight kept coming off and I became underweight. About a month before I came home for Christmas break, I had a chat with a friend, who helped me see that there was more to me loosing weight than just what it seemed on the surface. Her concern? She feared I was surrending to an eating disorder. Even though I didn’t want to admit it…she was right. And I needed help. I made an appointment with my doctor for the day I arrived home for Christmas break. Coincidentally, I got sick (and I mean SICK) on the train ride home, which made me look even less healthy than I actually was.
It didn’t take much for the doctor to take action. Between my lack of weight, blunt explanation, and ghostly pallor, he shipped me off to the hospital for testing. Stat. I’ll spare you the details 🙂

I honestly can’t believe it’s been a year. But then again, I think it’s been closer to 40.

In the past few weeks, I spoke with my counselor a lot about what it would be like coming home for break this year; remembering the things that happened, accepting them, dealing with them, how I felt about them…things like that. During counseling sessions, wave upon wave of memories flooded over me. Some were funny (like how the tech who wheeled me to my CT scan happened to be a classmate). But others – most of these memories – were much more meaningful, if not uncomfortable or even painful. I’m going to share one with you now: *as a warning…it isn’t pretty.

I arrived at my doctor’s office weak, pale, puking, weak, dehydrated and did I mention weak? I wore baggy sweats and a huge coat, but couldn’t get warm. Mom and I met my friend (who I talked with before Christmas break) in the parking lot, and then headed to check in. Fast forward to me telling the doctor why I thought I lost weight. He furrowed his brow in concern as he stood up, grabbed his stethoscope and approached me to take a listen. He couldn’t hear through my sweatshirt, so he lifted it up halfway. And mom and my friend gasped. My sweatshirt did a great job of hiding the extent my not-so-secret secret. You couldn’t count every rib, but they were probably more visible than ever before. I looked at my mom and friend…mom had tears in her eyes, and my friend looked worried. Reality, reflected to me in their eyes, was hitting us all at the same time. Bam.

As I told this story to my counselor, I began to feel upset at the memory of it all. When she asked “Do I see shame on your face?” I couldn’t speak through the tears blocking my throat. She was exactly right. I am guilty of hanging on to shame from that moment of truth without even realizing it.

And then I got angry. Through the tears, I began to talk, to reflect on how I felt right then. She asked me what I caused me to feel shame. I paused…and realized it came to this: How did I let myself go this far? How did this get so out of control? What made me think that neglecting my basic needs could ever be acceptable or result in anything good!??! I had no answer except a cocktail of anger and frustration, mixed with a splash of heartbreak.

“Too long have I lived in the shadows of shame, believing that there was no way I could change, but the one who is making everything new, doesn’t see me the way that I do…”

My counselor asked me to do to two things that day:
#1. Love and accept myself, and in so doing, accept and acknowledge the feelings of shame, then let them go. How? Embrace this sentence: “This is who I am”. This is who I am on December 21st, 2009. This is who I am on December 21st, 2010. Not the same person. But still me.

And then she asked the unthinkable.

#2. She asked, “Can you love the eating disorder?” What? Are you freaking KIDDING me? Love my “bad friend”? Love my lying, deceiving enemy? Are you crazy?!?! I HATE it so much! And then I stopped. My counselor didn’t say a word. But Someone else did. In that moment of silence, I heard “love those you hate” or, “…love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” (Luke 6:27-28). Ouch. I had nothing else to say. Except that I would try.

There is no doubt that my life has changed in this year. I still struggle with anorexia. Think of it like a war; days are like battles. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I don’t. But overall, there’s improvement:
I am a more confident person.
I ate a burger at a restaurant.
I speak up (sometimes).
I assert myself (sometimes).
I ate a great Thanksgiving dinner with pie AND ice cream, sans worry.
I cry more – hurt more for the people I love.
I’ve gained friendships I never imagined.
My friends step up and keep me “in check” more faithfully than I would have dreamed, and I love it.
And most importantly, I’m getting closer to recovery one step at a time; one bite at a time.

And I’m trying to embrace that this is who I am.

And now, for your viewing enjoyment 🙂

Guess What?!?

23 11 2010

If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you’ve probably heard something about some of my food fears (as ridiculous as “food fears” may sound). The fear-foods are ones I’ve labeled as “bad” and I’ve convinced myself that I don’t really like them. Sometimes it’s true, sometimes not. I’ve overcome quite a few of them…pizza (which I discovered I like), normal amounts of bread (delish!), things like that. But there’s one that’s been quite tough. Let’s see if you can guess: I had a couple home-made ones over the summer, but the concept of ordering one at a restaurant? No way. I can’t even remember the last time I ordered one. But I wanted to. How silly is it to be so petrified of a food that you can’t go out with friends and order one? It’s really quite silly. And annoying! So I made it my goal, grabbed a few fantastic friends, and headed to Red Robin to order a………


Believe it or not, I actually ordered a burger! Now, it wasn’t anything extravagant…just a plain old cheese burger…but that’s not the point. And I didn’t come close to finishing the whole thing, but again, that’s not really what matters. What matters is this: I ordered the burger. I ate half of the burger. I ate fries. I went home and had cake and ice cream (we were celebrating my birthday). And I didn’t beat myself up about it.

The burger was on my mind all week. I kept thinking about how I would feel…how I would react. I even had a dream that I FORGOT to order a burger when we went out! Fear that I would feel a need to restrict myself the next day, or work out really really hard threatened to overtake my excitement about this huge step I wanted to take. The enemy taunted me, trying to get me to back out. Even while scanning the menu at Red Robin, the Garden Burger caught my attention, and for a moment, I was tempted…you see, a Garden Burger is “safe”. But I wasn’t there for a wimpy little Garden Burger…I was there for a BEEF burger!!

That night, any time that I heard that nasty little lying voice, I simply ignored it. Or told it to shut up. There was no way in…uh…you know where 😉 that I would let the enemy ruin my super-awesome-fun-stride-taking night! And for the record, I succeeded with that.

As I went to bed, I was pleased with how the night had gone, but it wasn’t until the next morning that it hit me just how amazing it really was. I looked in the mirror, expecting to be discouraged and dissatisfied with how I looked…but I didn’t feel that way at all. Quite the opposite, actually! The feelings of needing to restrict surfaced, but I didn’t want to do it. Wait, did I just say I DIDN’T WANT TO!?!? OHMYGOSH! A bit later that morning as I told a friend that I ate half of a burger and some fries and didn’t feel bad, I got really excited…almost giddy! And I felt proud.

This, my dear friends, is a huge victory. And a huge defeat for my bad friend. And this?

the end result

This is a half-eaten burger!

P.S. I’m probably not gonna go burger crazy, but I’m not gonna lie…this burger was pretty tasty!


25 10 2010

Confession: I like to plan ahead. Next time you see me, feel free to ask to look at my planner. I’ve seen worse, but it’s pretty full of inky scribbles, some highlighted, others crossed out…daily assignments, to-do lists, activities, birthdays… There’s a lot there! For me, organization = lack of chaos. And we all have plans for our lives, or at least an idea of what we’d like to do or be, or where we’d like to go. These plans we make are all direct…a straight shot to our destination of career or family or ________. Do you ever plan for things to go wrong? Plan for less than positive events and situations to arise? Didn’t think so. Of course, we know that not every day will be perfect, but we don’t schedule catastrophes!

This morning, my devotional was about detours. It talked about when Paul became ship-wrecked with hundreds of other prisoners on their way to to Rome (Acts 27-28). Things didn’t go as planned. No one on that boat thought “hey, I think on our way to Rome, we’ll crash, spend a few months in Malta, then go on to Rome.” No. But it happened. And because of it, lives were changed…lives were saved.

The author of the devotional writes about how we jam-pack our schedules…we plan and we plan a LOT. But our plans for success aren’t always what will actually bring us there. Sometimes, Someone has a detour in mind that makes NO sense to us, but will be worked out for His glory, and for a greater purpose than what we see in the moment. You can see where I’m going with this 🙂

Did I ever plan on struggling with an eating disorder? Nope! This was SO not what I wanted. It struck at the most inopportune time, and I was not okay with it. But it has a purpose. Soon after diagnosis, I began to wonder why this all was happening. Like I said, it was (seemingly) poor timing, and to be honest, I thought anorexia was the last thing I’d ever deal with. But after I began to ask “why?”, I started to get excited. You see, the Bible says that all things work for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I decided right then and there that my struggle with anorexia, my detour, wouldn’t be worthless. I decided to talk to people about it, to be open…if someone else could be helped by my willingness to speak, then all of this would be worth it. (Hence this blog! 🙂 )

“A few things about detours…
First of all, they never show up at good times to our way of thinking.
Second, they always mess with our plans.
Third, although they cause stress, they often take us to places (geographically, emotionally, spiritually) that hold unexpected blessings”

But anorexia is a huge detour. It seems like it holds me back in so many areas of life. It’s inconvenient. It’s not fun! And it seems like I should have conquered this by now. Paul was only Malta for about three months. It’s been longer than three months for me. What the heck?!? But:

“Detours don’t just happen for God’s people. Each one is either allowed or ordered by God himself, and since all God’s actions hold purpose, so does every detour. Don’t miss this detour’s importance for your life and others’ lives because of a hard-and-fast hold on your vision of how things should move along.”

My detour isn’t just for me. There’s other lives to be impacted or in some way touched by my struggle. My detour could be important not just to my life, but to someone else’s! Someone else could be blessed or learn something from my detour. That’s a scary thought…yet somehow, pretty exciting.

(Note: all quotes are from “The Daily God Book: a Year of Listening For God” by Erin Keeley Marshall)

So Where is the Victory?

18 10 2010

It’s been way too long since my last post. I’m going to blame it on school and copious amounts of homework! Anyways, this semester has been hectic! Despite my doctor’s concern, I registered for 17 credits, and was dong alright until the School of Education sprung a few mandatory deadlines on us. I still thought I could manage, but, alas, it was just too much. I decided to drop a class that could be easily taken at another time. But it wasn’t just that simple, just dropping a class. Nope, I had to go and get all emotional about it! 😉 But I should have seen it coming, should have known that 17 credits would be too much. Or I should have started the papers for that class earlier. Something. I failed. I messed up. Right? Well, that’s what the Enemy would have me to believe.

The day I chose to drop the class ended up being incredibly emotional. Actually, the week as a whole felt like an emotional roller coaster. And I was weak. Emotionally vulnerable. Guess who came knocking? Yep, the Bad Boyfriend tried to nose his way back into my life. He stood outside my (metaphorical) door trying OH-so-hard to convince me that I’d feel so much better if I’d just not eat. Or maybe just a little bit…something light. But for goodness sake, DON’T eat a normal meal. Don’t eat anything substantial. To be honest, I listened a bit. I ate, but maybe not as much as I should have…yet I still see myself as victorious. Am I delusional? Am I blinded to reality? Perhaps not.

See, I listened to the Enemy for a couple hours, but guess what happened? I became RAVENOUSLY hungry! So I told that bad boyfriend, the Enemy voice, to get lost. I wanted to eat, and that was that. He didn’t go down easy, though. I fought him around the kitchen, throwing him out of the fridge and the cupboards. I might have even found him hiding in the freezer. And I kicked him out the door. See, he affected me even when trying to decide what to eat, even after making the decision to actually take care of myself. So the question lingers: If I still hear this voice so strongly, how can I see myself as victorious?

I chose to eat.

Despite the emotion and enemy voice warring inside of me, I pushed through, and ate anyways. Even though the Enemy followed me around the kitchen in the most frustrating way, I fought to ignore the voice…to quiet him, to make him leave. I didn’t allow him complete power over me. True, he started out with the upper hand, but it didn’t last. And for the record, none of this was by my own power, but the power of Jesus. He came through, just like He always does 🙂

I do not trust in my bow,
my sword does not bring me victory;

but you give us victory over our enemies,
you put our adversaries to shame.
Psalm 44:6-7

From now on, I’m going to try to end each post with a goal. In the following post, I’ll report on the progress with said goal. So the goal I’m setting tonight? I need to go to a restaurant and order a burger. How hard can this be? A freaking (excuse me) burger?! Yet, thus far, I’ve found this to be pretty intimidating. So here’s to becoming victorious over a silly (and probably tasty) burger!

Let Go And Let God

22 09 2010

The last few days have been pretty emotionally charged. I’m not exactly sure why, but I think a lot of it has to do with homework loads catching up, cloudy skies, and *drumroll*…letting God be God. Here’s what went down: I’ve been trying way to hard to make some things in my life be what I thought they should be…trying to control them. Inside, I felt felt shakier and shakier until the other day, I sort of cracked, and I fully realized my error. That still small voice inside of me simply said “Let go. Let me take care of it” and I had no choice. That’s not to say it was an easy thing to do, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

So how does this pertain to my bad friend? Well, one thing I’ve been trying too hard to control is my bad friend himself. It’s like I forgot that God actually does care and actually does want to help me. I’ve been trying to fight on my own, whispering up a prayer for help every now and then, but I haven’t been turning anorexia over to Him on a daily basis. Big mistake. Yes, I get help from people trained in eating disorder recovery, but they aren’t a magic cure. It doesn’t fit 100%, but 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 comes to mind right now, especially the part about our faith being not in men’s wisdom but God’s power:

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.


The other issue at hand is emotional eating (or not eating). Most of us are familiar with forgetting to eat when we’re stressed or upset. It happens. My experience in the last couple of days has been either a complete lack of appetite, or, like today, a feeling like “don’t eat. Just don’t. Just. Don’t.” even though I’m sitting here feeling kinda shaky and really tired. Now, don’t freak out. I did just eat because I recognized the physical sensations, and stuffed that lying voice under a couch cushion. But the point is, when I’m upset or down-trodden or fill-in-the-blank strong emotion, my initial response has become “don’t eat”. But you know what? It won’t solve anything. It won’t make it any better. I certainly won’t feel happier, at least not long term. Most likely, I’ll just feel tired and even more upset. I probably won’t look too good. I’ll suddenly not be very sociable. Homework will be nearly impossible. I’ve done this before. And it’s not worth it.

So please forgive me if I’ve not seemed myself recently. And here’s to “letting go and letting God.”

It’s a Long Road to Confidence

18 09 2010

One of the requirements my doctor gave me in returning to school this fall was that I MUST weigh in with the nurse weekly for the first month. The nurse would then call my doctor to report my weight. If the doctor doesn’t hear from the nurse? He’ll call my parents. It feels like probation! The good news is #1. The doctor hasn’t had to call my parents and #2. I’ve gained about a pound since coming back! But here’s the thing. Yesterday when I weighed, I recognized that I felt kinda disappointed that my weight was the same as last week. And this feeling wasn’t because I hadn’t gained weight. Confession time! I felt disappointed because my weight wasn’t lower. WHAT THE CRAP?! I know I’ve felt this many times before, but it wasn’t until this week that I fully recognized it for what it is. A pure lie. That eating disorder voice tried really hard to tell me that it’s BAD for me to gain weight, that I should only loose weight. That I’m better if I loose weight. False.

So why is this? Why do I feel this keen disappointment when I get on the scale to see that nothing has changed? The obvious answer would be that the Eating Disorder voice is just being a jerk. I know that’s part of it, but there’s more. Of the multitude of factors, I think one of them is a lack of confidence. Wahmp wah.

Somewhere along the lines, I’ve equated thinness with confidence. When I feel thin, I feel confident which gives a sense of power. I have the confidence to wear anything I want. I can eat or not eat. This is a dangerous and potentially destructive confidence. I’m so blinded by the high from feeling confident and powerful that I would forsake my basic needs of eating in order to maintain that? Wow. There’s GOT to be a better way.

My confidence needs to come from something bigger than myself. Jeremiah 17:7-8 says:

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

I need to stop looking for affirmation from people around me. I need to stop worrying about what that person thinks about me in whatever respect. I’m done being intimidated by people who I think are better than me. My confidence won’t be based on what other people think. My confidence and peace will come from the Lord. How liberating!

What joy, what joy for those whose hope is in the name of the Lord
What peace, what peace for those whose confidence is Him alone