Eating disorders involve extreme disturbances in eating behavior. An eating disorder can begin to reveal itself very early in life, and is no respecter of race, gender, or ethnicity. An eating disorder can be characterized as:
- an excessive or compulsive consumption of food (bingeing)
- and/or getting rid of food (purging)
It may also be characterized by
- self-induced starvation and excessive and unhealthy weight loss
It may also show itself in any combination of these extreme eating behaviors, bringing with it strong feelings of being completely out of control. We may manifest inappropriate behaviors to compensate for our unhealthy eating behaviors, including, but not limited to:
- excessive use of laxatives and/or enemas
- frequent dieting
- an overall unhealthy obsession with body weight and shape
We may have believed the lie that our bodies define who we are, and that changing our body image to fit an imagined standard would bring fulfillment, peace, and acceptance into our chaotic lives. We may have jeopardized our relationships, health, jobs, morals, and values to ensure we meet these imagined standards.
We may have used food as a means to control. We felt our circumstances and relationships were unmanageable. We compulsively obsessed over food as the one thing in life that we could bring order to.
We may also have rationalized our addictive behaviors, justifying our unhealthy relationship with food as “health conscious.” We may be living a double life, secretly acting out, ashamed of our lack of control, ashamed of our bodies, ashamed of our destructive and irrational behavior.
We became disconnected from reality making true intimacy with God or other people seemingly impossible. Some of us cling to the false sense of control and power our behavior gives us. Some of us sink into despair as we cycle through the endless shame and pain that the disordered eating brings us.
Healing begins NOT when we change our behaviors, but when we change our beliefs about
- who we are, and
- what God created food for
We let go of the lie that our bodies define who we are. We let go of the lie that food is a means to control and manipulate our disordered eating. We begin to believe the truth about who we are. Then, the truth about God’s purpose for food can bring about healing.
With support from our recovery group, our Sponsor, and our Accountability Partners, we can begin to renounce these lies and believe the truth that
- God loves me unconditionally, He gives me my value, and I do not need to change my body to have worth and significance, and
- God created food for His purposes: to fuel my body, to enjoy in moderation, and to celebrate in community.