You Are Not Your Eating Disorder

Low fat. Low carb. Low calorie.

Paleo. Keto. Vegan.

Nutrition. Diet. Meal plan.

Scale. Lose weight. Gain weight.

Exercise. Workout. Aerobic.

Thighs. Abs. Hips. Butt. Stomach. Back. Arms.

Do any of these words or phrases cause an alarm to go off in your head? Maybe they hit too close to home because you had an eating disorder. You probably realize that it caused damage to your body and to your relationships. But you’re still tempted to give into eating disorder behaviors again. 

My life—and perhaps yours as well—has been forever changed because I chose to walk down the road of anorexia.

A Haunted Yesterday…

Perhaps the nightmares still haunt you. The nightmare where you’re lying in a hospital bed and can’t move because you’re too weak. The nightmare where you’re at a treatment facility in a faraway state with only a bowl of ice cream to keep you company. The nightmare where you’re standing on the scale for the first time after starting your recovery meal plan and all you see is the scary number staring back at you.

Or maybe the voices still haunt you. The voice that says you’ll always be too much yet never enough. The voice that says you were unsuccessful in achieving your goal to be skinny and that you’re just a fat failure. The voice that says everyone hates how you look and that your body will always be disgusting.

Or perhaps the questions still haunt you. The question that asks whether you would’ve been satisfied with your body if you had just lost five more pounds. The question that wonders whether your boyfriend would’ve married you if you’d been a teeny bit thinner. The question that ponders whether you would’ve looked like your best friend if you’d dropped one more size.

…But a Hopeful Today

Satan is also known as “the father of lies” (according to Jesus in John 8:44 ESV) and “the deceiver of the whole world” (according to John in Revelation 12:9 ESV). And he wants you to be haunted by your eating disorder. He wants you to doubt yourself, asking, “Should I go back there? I might actually obtain _____ if I do.”

I guarantee that you won’t obtain whatever it is you desire. Size-0 clothing won’t seem small enough. Firm abs won’t seem sexy enough. 100 pounds won’t seem low enough. A 90-minute workout won’t seem long enough. A 1200-calorie diet won’t seem light enough.

Because the deceiver of the world always demands more.

They [false teachers] promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:19-21 ESV)

If we apply this passage about false teachers to eating disorders, it’s clear that they promise freedom but don’t deliver. I know that I almost allowed anorexia nervosa to ruin my life. Thankfully, God intervened. Perhaps you also realize that your eating disorder could’ve ruined your life. But also realize this: you are not your eating disorder.

Friends, it is behind you now. It’s okay if you are still conscious of your size or if you still care about exercising (in moderation) or if you still have Meatless Mondays every now and then. But please leave the past in the past, and choose to live in the present. Let visions of the “perfect” body go because “perfect” describes nothing on this earth. Don’t let the father of lies deceive you any longer.

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