Numbers. They are one of the most obsessive things you will encounter in the face of an ED. They made me utterly miserable. In recovery, I have had to almost completely shut out many of those exercise and food related numbers because they are so unhelpful for me. I love numbers, a little too much, and this spilled over into the way I approached eating and exercise for a long time.
It started with 20 minutes on the bike. That was innocent. Then it became a good feeling that I depended on, and I kept going. It became more than a fun activity. It morphed into a binding obsession.
A bike wasn’t a fun way to spend an afternoon anymore. It was a means of burning calories, exercising off ‘food’, and becoming ‘fit.’
Then I started running… Now that I look back I began to see how big of an idol, a chain that exercise was in my life. Running wasn’t so much a way to explore as a way to run off any stress of a meal I had eaten or burn extra calories. I was glued to my watch or to mapping out my run just to make sure I had ‘run enough miles.’
I couldn’t and wouldn’t even stop on a run for fear of ‘losing some calorie burn.’ My mind was just so wrapped in the numbers, that I couldn’t even stop to throw snow in the air and smell the roses… If I was running with someone, and they had to stop, I wouldn’t just stop. I’d dance in place or keep running and turn around to come back them, just to keep the calorie burn going.
Food was more than just nutrition and fuel for my body. It was calories, numbers to be calculated in my head. I quickly found, that when you only think about food and how many calories you’re supposed to eat for the day, it is one of the most miserable states of mind that I have ever experienced. Food is not fulfilling. God gave me good food to eat, to fuel my body, to infuse my body with energy. I made it into a chain. I hated the thought of eating because it consumed my thoughts, and yet I couldn’t get away from it.
Yet, I think back, and I can truly say that my life today is the fruit of so many answered prayers. I remember sitting on my bed so many nights sobbing to myself and thinking, ‘I just can’t do this, but I can’t help it either.’ I cried so many tears over 4 numbers on a scale, over the numbers on the back of a cereal box.
I am so grateful that God has and is bringing me out of this day by day. Some days are harder than others. There were times when I thought to myself, ‘Will it always be this way?’ Four years later, I am reminded that God never forsakes His children. The journey to recovery, to healing was and has been in so many little steps, hour by hour. It was in:
My dad sitting me down and telling me that this food and exercise idol was taking over my life.
My sister asking me if I was worrying too much about what I ate.
That twinge of guilt when I told my sister I didn’t want to taste the cookie dough (even though I did)…
That realization that whatever the numbers were on the scale it never changed me. It didn’t change my personality, my gifts, and my passions for who God had created me to be.
Being miserable at a restaurant because all I could do was count calories in my head and not enjoy laughing with my family instead.
It’s the little things that bring about recovery. It’s the day to day. It’s the hour by hour shutting out the cries of the media to ‘be thin’ and the advertisements for a ‘bikini body.’ It’s shutting off that tab in your computer that just isn’t helpful. It’s turning that cereal box around so you can’t see the calorie count. These may seem so little, but these are what set me on the road, the road from which I’m never looking back. They are what are setting me on the road to freedom…
‘One day at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all that I’m asking from you…’ He is sufficient to carry all our burdens, for He has paid the price, that we might live in freedom to follow Him!
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Have a lovely Monday friends… <3 I would love to hear your thoughts on today’s post. You can either comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.