What a multi-faceted topic. I am so thankful that Emily is tackling this tough issue and is bringing more awareness to it. I am humbled that she asked me to write a guest post for her!
Have I suffered with an eating disorder? Thankfully, no. But I have seen the potential in me and it is scary.
Let me tell you a little about my story. Cliff notes version.
- Diagnosed with thyroid issues at age 10 (Graves disease) - struggled to keep weight on
- Radiation to kill thyroid at age 14 - while regulating things, I gained 40 pounds in just a few months.
- Kept extra weight on into college. Basic lifestyle changes allowed me to lose the weight. Got as low as 87 pounds in college despite eating normally - very physical job.
- After marriage, slowly put on weight over the years - stayed about 20 pounds over my goal weight.
- Had 2 babies. Highest weight pregnant was over 160 pounds (I'm only 4'11").
- Current weight - 110 - my goal weight. With breastfeeding and chasing 2 littles, I am struggling to keep the weight on at the moment.
Ok. It wasn't until after my first child and severe depression and anxiety issues (thank you, thyroid) that I started really having issues with my appearance. I hated how I looked and avoided pictures. I was tempted to do some more extreme dieting. The only thing that stopped me was breastfeeding. If I cut calories, my supply would drop. I am thankful for that connection! It kept me eating until I was in a more healthy mental state.
God doesn't want us to be struggling with eating disorders and with self image. God doesn't make junk. He created us all in His image. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. As we seek help to heal, we need to take steps toward our own healing. This goes for healing from eating disorders, depression, and many other issues.
1. Spend time each day thanking God for who He made us to be. It may sound empty and hollow at first, but thank Him anyway. He can change your heart. 2. Look in the mirror and say, "I am beautiful. God made me. He loves me. He knew me before the world began. He has numbered even the hairs on my head. He loves me. I am beautiful." 3. Start opening our hearts to receive love. Refusing to accept the love that God freely gives is offensive to Him. Refusing to receive the love our spouse, children, parents, friends, and family freely give is a slap in the face. Imagine telling someone you love them and having them refuse that love - by refusing to accept the love of others, we are telling them that they really don't know what they are talking about. That they are wrong. As uncomfortable as it can be to receive love from others, it is rude and hurtful to not receive it. It takes time. 4. Realize that we are setting an example for others. For our friends. For our family. For our CHILDREN. What do we want others to learn from us? Personally, I want my children to learn how much they are loved. How much they are worth. How fantastic they are. I don't want them to learn my insecurities. 5. Pray for a change of heart. Pray that God show you how HE sees you. There is an awesome movement happening - Operation Beautiful. The premise is simple. Leave an encouraging note somewhere that another woman may seem. We are bombarded in every direction with messages that tear us down. Let's start building each other up. Let another woman know she is beautiful. You never know now much she may need to hear it that day.
So, is healing a process? Most certainly. Does it take time? Sure does. Will there be bad days? Yup. Is it worth the pain and humiliation to seek help? More than you can possibly imagine.
Have you struggled with eating disorders? Do you know someone who is struggling?
Labels: Guest post, Healthy body image, My body God's temple, National Eating Disorder Awareness Week