Renewing My Struggle Against My Eating Disorder

  •  Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him and that He has the power to help me recover. (Step 2)
Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4


This season of my eating disorder started 4 years ago when I finally dealt with the physical trauma from my past. I was finally able to deal with my eating disorder. For two years, I faced it, and clinging to the blue chip I had taken at Celebrate Recovery, I faced down donuts and birthday cake at work, family birthday dinners, and going Vegan without oil, salt and sugar.  I’ve mastered Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Juice fasts – I’ve tried every type of diet there is. And they work for a while, while its new and I have something to achieve, and I’m excited about a goal.

But what happens when you’ve tried them all and then the excitement wears off?  Or you reach one of your goals, as I did, and your world didn’t change as you thought it would, and disappointment sets in? Or stress overwhelms you and you fall back onto your knee-jerk reactions?  Then it gets harder.

All my life, I have yo-yo dieted, never being able to keep it off for more than 2 – 3 years. It truly is the thorn in my flesh.  I have asked the Lord why can’t I conquer this once and for all?  His answer was, “You’ve been doing this for 40+ years – it doesn’t go away overnight and without remaining diligent.”  And I obviously have a problem with the “diligent” part.

So why am I able to do it for a few years and then I lose the desire? This is what I realized yesterday.  I’m a PROJECT person. I need something that has a beginning, middle, and END.  Eating in a healthy and weight-protecting way is unfortunately a LIFELONG  endeavor – a PROJECT WITHOUT END.  That prospect makes me feel sick to my stomach and very hopeless. Very, very, very, very hopeless. I mean REALLY, really, really hopeless.  (You get the picture?)

For me, food is a REWARD, it is a COMFORT, it is a PLEASURE.  Eating has also become a HABIT, to have something in my hand to put into my mouth.  But as I stop and FEEL in my body and my emotions my reactions to the thought of NOT eating as I do, I feel sick to my stomach, and I feel FEAR.  The thought that comes to mind is “How will I comfort myself now? Where will my pleasure come from now? How will I reward myself now?”

I wish I had a simple 5-step plan to deal with my addiction to food. I have to always be wary of my dangerous alter ego who becomes obsessed with every calorie digested, is afraid of food, tries to exercise every calorie away and generally uses health threatening techniques in the midst of panic over my weight.  I’ve overcome that part of my disorder and I’m afraid to re-awaken her in an attempt to undo what I consider to be the “damage” I have done to myself.

Instead, I am pushed back to the realization that there is only one answer – the 1-step program for every addiction, every hurt, habit, and hangup.  Trust in God’s love for me and power in me to help me overcome each and every struggle – moment by moment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. I have to acknowledge that this will be a lifelong project that I will NEVER be able to claim is finished.  But knowing it and LIVING IT are two different things.

It is no different than our struggle against sin. We are saved by His grace (His supernatural divine empowerment to obey Him) and we continue to be sanctified by His grace, moment by moment being changed into the image of Christ.  We surrender, listen and obey. It is the same way with our addictions and recovering from our hurts and hangups.

So here is to changing my mindset from project to lifelong. Here is to doing it simply because it is the healthy thing to do and not because it will finally make my earthly father proud of what I look like, or because I believe the fallacy that any other people will finally like me for my appearance. Here is to feeling better about how I look without obsessing over everything.  And here is doing it by God’s grace moment by moment.