The post I am about to share is one on my list of unfinished blog posts I spoke about a few months back. It is one of the posts I started but let linger. I always found a reason to hold back. In fact, even now, I find myself grasping a reason to hold back.
Yet, I have thought about this blog post quite a bit recently. I find myself stumped and going back to this topic. I find God calling me to write this. I find Him calling me to share my heart and one of my biggest struggles to date.
So, here we are.
When it comes to eating food, I pride myself on having impeccable control. I can say no to almost any sweet. If I do crave a sweet, I give myself two hours and see if I still crave it then. If I do, I eat it. If I don’t crave it, I don’t eat it.
My self-control comes from a natural stubborn persistence I have always had. But, it also comes from my former struggle with anorexia.
I was anorexic for most of my high school years. It began to take root in middle school but really flourished in high school. It was an anchor in my life, though it took me nearly five years to see it as such.
Honestly, I use many unhealthy habits to cope with life’s messiness. I used my anorexia to feel better about my disability. In middle school, I really began to understand I was disabled and the physical challenges that came along with it.
Middle school also came with taunting and snickers. Middle school was my catapult of feeling ashamed for who I was and who God created me to be. So, I worked to gain control over other areas of my physical being. Thus, anorexia.
Anorexia is different for everyone, just like any struggle. But, from all the testimonies I have ever heard, the mindset of someone with anorexia is fairly common. In my mind, I believed there was something wrong with me. I believed I was fat, although I was barely 90 pounds and about five feet tall.
I believed that if I controlled my weight people would no longer notice me for my restrictions. I believed that if I controlled my weight people would no longer see my disability. Rather, they would notice me on a heart level.
I calorie counted. I ate only when I needed to, which usually meant just dinner at home. I reached for healthy foods. I practically lived off apples and pretzels. I constantly picked at my food. Usually, I only ate a couple bites of protein and carbs in my school lunches. I created this mental list of foods I was and was not allowed to eat and how much.
I freaked out whenever my family went to a restaurant because I knew it would be difficult to find a food that met the restrictions. Usually, I’d order a light dish and avoid any appetizer or chips. It also meant I usually had leftovers.
During this time, I ran about six miles each morning. I also studied up on a plethora of books on health and what to avoid at popular fast food chains. I constantly weighed myself. I did not seek counsel or tell anyone.
I hid this struggle. I was alone in this struggle.
I think the hardest part of it all was even when I did passive-aggressively hint at a struggle with anorexia, no one believed me since I was already a naturally skinny person. But, I knew what I dealt with was real. My thought attitude made this evident.
On a separate, yet related note, even before I was anorexic, I had people tell me I needed to gain weight, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that people did not notice my behaviors or weight change.
In fact, as I look back now, I think those comments only pushed me further in my spiral because I wanted to do anything but what people were telling me. I was tired of people telling me what I should or should not do about my weight.
Thankfully, I can say I am no longer anorexic. I haven’t been for nearly five years now. Honestly, there wasn’t any monumental moment that made me stop either. If anything, I think going to college saved me.
I was way too busy and stressed to skip out on meals. I simply came to the realization that if I did not stop, I wouldn’t be able to function properly. I did not go to a clinic, although I know a lot of people do.
But, those thought attitudes and lies still persist, occasionally. Part of the reason why I am sharing this includes those thoughts nearly came back in full swing about six months ago. I had a doctor tell me if I lost any more weight, I’d be an unhealthy weight. The doctor said I looked nearly ten pounds lighter than my appointment a year prior.
The observation caught me off guard because I wasn’t even trying to lose weight! I think my life had just been so stressful that I naturally lost the weight. Let me tell you, that one comment was all it took to replant the devil’s lies in my head. I found myself feeling like I needed to relive that portion of my life.
Thankfully, I was honest with my husband. I told him that I could feel those thoughts creeping back. I could feel myself wanting to check my weight, obsessively desiring to have a flat stomach. He knew I wouldn’t fully resort back to my anorexic days. But, he was aware the lies I once told myself found their way back.
In order to not slip back into my former ways, after the doctor appointment, I actively tried to gain weight. I didn’t necessarily change what I did as far as food consumption goes, for my diet isn’t the healthiest but it isn’t terrible either.
However, I did try to reduce my stress level. Six months later, I don’t think it’s really made a difference. But, that could be just because it’s my body. Nevertheless, I also think it’s because I have an extremely high metabolism due to my cerebral palsy.
Even after all this time, I still get comments about my skinniness and need to gain weight. I probably always will. But, those that know me well know that I love food. I don’t skip meals anymore.
In fact, my body won’t let me. I always tell my husband I think God gave me my hypoglycemia to ensure I wouldn’t be anorexic again. God knows me well enough to know it’s extremely easy for me to fall back into old habits.
I tell you this: It’s still hard. Even after all these years and knowing the truth about needing to care for my body, it is still hard.
My body naturally fluctuates between the same 10 pounds. I still find myself wanting to be skinnier some days, even though I am anywhere from a size 00 to a 1, depending on the brand and style.
I don’t struggle with it the way that I used to, but I do struggle. Now, I spend each day constantly trying to remind myself that my beauty is found in Christ. Some days, it is easier to remember than others.
Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where I am open to talking about it. I don’t think this will be the only time I will talk about it on this platform. Although, it’s still something I am learning more people should discuss freely, including myself. It seems like this is an area of my life I am ashamed of more than others, though I know it is a common struggle in society.
But, like most struggles, anorexia is often a silent, lonely experience, which is why it can be extremely hard to come to terms with and reach a point of positive, honest discussion. Please let me know if you would like to know more about this part of my life story and testimony.
Regardless, I hope this post is helpful for someone. If you can identify with any of the tendencies or lies I discussed, you are not alone. I hope and pray that you can confide in someone and bring your struggle to the light.
Satan is using your struggle in darkness to harm you more, brother and sister. Knock him off his feet. Blind him with the truth that you are not alone. Blind him with the truth that you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God.
Thank you dearly for taking time out of your lives to read my blog! Your support means the world to me. I praise God you found this blog, whether you stumbled upon it accidentally or sought it out intentionally.
I’d LOVE to hear from you all! Feel free to leave a comment or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I pray God would bless you and be with you always, no matter where you find yourselves in life.
He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification. – Romans 4:25 (NIV).