Food is one of my obsessions. I can still taste the garlicky, lemony, minty tang of the fattoush I savored (devoured?) a little while ago. When I was in high school, I would pride myself on eating a completely fat-free breakfast (Total cereal with skim milk and fruit) and lunch (school-lunch salad with fat-free dressing). Then, I'd gorge myself on the homemade meal that my mom would serve to our family for dinner. I'd eat so much that I would lay on the floor afterward moaning, "I ate too much." Somewhat dysfunctional, wouldn't you say?
Unfortunately, I continued this cycle of deprivation and overindulgence in the dorm cafeteria at college. Unfortunate, not because I gained a lot of weight, but unfortunate due to the emotional reliance on food I developed. Eventually, I became bulimic.
My freshman year of college, I ran track. I developed awesome muscular thighs. I also turned nineteen and grew hips out of my previously boyish frame. Not a problem until my eating continued on over-drive my sophomore year when I was no longer running on the team. Again, I didn't gain a lot of weight, but I felt self-conscious about my body and guilty when I ate too much. So, to me, throwing up my too-big dinner was a way of correcting it. And, I'd always gotten a lot of praise for my skinny body. I was no longer unique in this way but rather normal.
I knew that it was wrong and dangerous. I tried to stop my behaviors. I repeated confessed my sins. I couldn't stop. My struggle continued for a year and a half. I didn't throw up every day. It never caused me to lose weight- just kept my overeating under control. Well, my eating wasn't under control- I just undid a little of it.
Several things happened that allowed me to be victorious over this disease and regain wholeness with regard to my body image and food:
1. I dislocated my knee in tumbling class. It was the only injury I've ever had requiring medical attention. God's plan had a twist of irony. Because of my injury, I wasn't physically able to squat by the toilet to throw up. Also, I realized that as humans our bodies are so valuable and yet fragile. An injury can happen to easily. So, why was I purposely doing something that could harm my body?
2. I was involved in a Chiristian ministry. Slowly I began telling others about my struggle. I had heard that confessing a secret sin breaks its power. In my experience, this was quite true.
3. God renewed my mind through His word. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. Psalm 139:14 I also had to train myself to eat more reasonably. Sounds quirky, but before I reached for a snack in my dorm room, I made myself read a Proverb. I also wanted to make sure my true hunger was for the things of God.
4. I had to train my mind also to not study the bodies of other women. I would compare parts of my body to theirs to see how I measured up. I still longed to find my significance in my body. I had to remind myself that my friends valued me not for the shape of my body.
5. I became much less legalistic with my eating. I have learned to enjoy quality foods. I rarely reach for the fat-free option. I try to eat foods close to the way God made them.
Remarkably, I never had to seek professional help for my bulimia. It helps me to share my story with others and to practice healthy habits of mind, spirit, and body.
RARE! Peppa Pig Magazine: $12.99 per Year!
15 hours ago