Warning: This post will include a few numbers and thoughts that may be triggering, so please do not continue if you don’t think it will be helpful. I hope that it will serve to encourage you as I talk through the things I’ve learned and am still learning.
Linking back to Julia today for her ‘How to Support Someone with an Eating Disorder’ post.
I had some thoughts that follow along with spotting eating issues in different people.
I used to have this eating disorder stereotype in my mind. I struggled with the fact, that often, I didn’t look like that, and so, did I really need to change the way I exercised and ate? The girl in my mind that needed help was REALLY skinny, on the brink of death, exercising for 3-4 hours a day, and eating only 200 calories a day.
I struggled with this for a long time, because my heart really bled and still does for girls who went through intense struggles like Julia @ Lord Still Loves me and Annie @ Be Vulnerable, Have Joy and other girls. It has been amazing and encouraging to watch their journeys to joy, fulfillment, and healing.
Yet, at the same time, I thought that something wasn’t really wrong with the way I looked at food. I wasn’t super skinny. I didn’t really exercise 3-4 hours a day, and I never ate less than probably 1500 calories. I did think about food often, and it was hard to eat dessert or lick off a spoon because of the extra calories I knew I was eating. It took a while for me to realize that something needed to change in the way I looked at exercise, eating, and health.
Yes, there are stereotypes associated with anorexia and bulimia, and there are young women who exhibit more of the symptoms, and it may be more obvious to you that they are struggling. However, as Julia and many other young women have pointed out, it starts with a wrong mindset. For it is from the heart of a man that a thing proceeds, not the outside.
I had a wrong mindset about exercise. I looked at it as a way to burn calories instead of enjoying exploring God’s World. Eating was an idol instead of a way to enjoy God’s amazing varieties of food with my family and friends. Health was a god that consumed my thoughts and my agitated actions.
It starts with that mindset. Eating and exercise are not things to consume you, but they are gifts to enjoy and be thankful for in light of God’s great love, wherewith He has loved us.