My Struggle with Eating Disorders and Road to Healing

My dysfunction with food began in grade 11. I grew up in a difficult family environment which brought a lot of heart ache. My Dad was an alcoholic and my parents had a very unhappy marriage. This contributed to insecurity and struggle with my self-image. 

Common Causes of Eating Disorders:

  • Overly controlling parents
  • When eating becomes a way of expressing emotions, fears, desires, hurts and confusion
  • Post pregnancy and dissatisfaction with one’s body
  • Being a daughter of an alcoholic father

While much of my life felt out of control, food was one thing I had control over. I used food as a tool to either punish or reward myself with. The head games I played with myself surrounding food often left me feeling tired, alone, mentally exhausted and filled with shame.

Sometimes family history and beliefs influence us greatly on how we perceive ourselves. There is a lie that passed on from my Grandfather to his children that if you’re fat you’re not worthy of love. I believed the lie that if I was thinner, I would be more worthy of love.

I started a crash diet. I counted calories with a vengeance and limited myself to about 600-800 calories per day. I achieved my dieting goal as I lost 20 pounds in a very short amount of time. I was constantly hungry but  trying to convince myself that I shouldn’t eat.

Much to my disappointment, even after I lost the weight, I was not a happier person. I did get a bit more attention and people commented on how thin I looked, but inside I still felt unlovely and unlovable.

When starving myself didn’t bring me happiness, I started to fill the void in my soul with food. I gained back the 20 pounds I’d lost. This vicious cycle of overeating and guilt lasted for another 2 years.

I Thought I Was the Only One

One of the biggest lies Satan uses against us is that we are alone in our struggles. What I didn’t realize at the time I struggled with eating disorders, is that many others around me were also struggling.

Facts about Eating Disorders

  • 1 out of every 3 women is overweight
  • 1 out of every 10 women has an eating disorder
  • 8 out of every 10 women are either overeating or under eating
  • 9 out of every 10 women have poor body image

The above facts were taken from “Like Mother Like Daughter” by Debra Waterhouse.

My Journey to Healing

My journey to healing from eating disorders started in bible school. We had to memorize a passage of scripture from the Psalms. I had come upon Psalm 139 and the words of God’s love and acceptance for me jumped off the page. I began to understand that my self loathing was unwarranted, because God saw me in all my shame and hiding and that He loved me anyway. I learned that there was nowhere I could hide from Him and that He would go into the depths to find me. This passage of scripture was my road to healing and self acceptance.

Avoiding Trigger Points

While my battle with food was many years ago, I realize it would be easy for me to go back to unhealthy habits and obsessions with food and forget my healing. I have to be self aware of feelings and emotions so I don’t slip back into old habits.

I’ve identified possible  triggers that could lead to  unhealthy habits with food so to this day:

  • I avoid the scale. I don’t want to play mind games with myself over a number. If my clothes fit I’m satisfied.
  • I do not diet, no matter what, I don’t allow myself to go there.
  • I try to identify my emotions if it seems like I’m craving sweets for no reason.