Today’s post is super simple: it’s an excerpt from my new book Real Recovery: What Eating Disorder Recovery Actually Looks Like. Before you groan and think, “Why should I bother buying that book? I’ve never had an eating disorder,” let me just say that this book isn’t just for young women who are recovering from an eating disorder. This book is also for young women who are pre-recovery and post-recovery—and for their family members, friends, church leaders, and teachers.
By the way, this book will be released on February 22, 2022, which is only three months away! I hope you enjoy reading this snippet from the Introduction. To continue reading, click here to sign up for the pre-order list!
I don’t know if I should share this secret with you, but before you dive into the first chapter, I think I should tell you that I’m not fully recovered from anorexia—at least not in the sense that you might think.
You might expect that gaining weight is a miniscule concern in my life right now, that food doesn’t scare me anymore, and that I work out because I find it enjoyable. Or perhaps you expect that I think that my recovered body feels like a great fit, that I don’t hear lies about my body anymore, that I love my body as much as I love anyone else’s, or that guys are captivated by my body. Or maybe you expect that my relationship with God is practically perfect, that I no longer care to control anything in my life, or that I’m truly “all better” from anorexia.
None of that is me.
The real me still feels anxious about stepping on the scale, still has fears about the nutrition labels she sees (or can’t see), and still is adamant about exercising daily. She still wants to hide the waist that she can’t change, still wishes that Satan would leave her alone, still wants the body that her friend has, and still wonders why a guy has never told her that she’s beautiful. She still feels like spiritual freedom is abstract, still attempts to control her life and others’ lives, and still struggles to call herself “recovered.”
All of that is me.
The reason that I tell you so soon that I’m not fully recovered from anorexia—at least not in the sense of forgetful bliss—is that I don’t want you to have the wrong idea about this book. This book doesn’t have a happily ever after, though many other eating disorder stories, memoirs, and self-help books do. I hope that fact actually makes you feel better so that you won’t think that you’re abnormal if you never fully recover from your eating disorder in the way that those authors describe recovery.
I may never fully recover from my eating disorder if it means forgetting what a scale, a nutrition label, and a workout are. You may never fully recover that way either. But that doesn’t mean that you have to stay stuck where you are right now. The goal of this book is to show you that, in reality, recovery from an eating disorder means being able to take one step forward at a time—not necessarily being able to run away at top speed.
I want you to know what I didn’t know when I started recovering from an eating disorder. And if we were to meet in person (which would be pretty amazing), I would want you to see me as someone who’s passionate about the truth because that’s who I am. I’m passionate about being real in our churches, friendships, and families. I’m also passionate about fighting Satan’s lies, which, as I personally discovered, make it very difficult to recover from an eating disorder. Thus, I’m very anti-fakeness and pro-authenticity. Authenticity makes all the difference, especially for individuals who are recovering from an eating disorder.
That’s why each chapter is titled with a False Expectation, which you may have gained by hearing or reading about eating disorders in the past, but incorporates a Real Recovery Expectation, which is a realistic but still hopeful expectation that I’ve gained during my experience as a recovering anorexic.
As a side note, when I mention the name “Ed,” know that it stands for the phrase “eating disorder.” This phrase was used by Jenni Schaefer and Thom Rutledge to personify Jenni’s eating disorder in their book, Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too. From a Christian perspective, Ed is comparable to Satan, whom John described as “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). Ed’s voice can’t be audibly heard, but it’s definitely loud.
Here’s something else that you need to know before you dive into this book: nothing in these pages is a scientific formula. The pages that follow simply include my thoughts and experiences, plus a few passages of Scripture and a few pieces of advice that contribute to the discussion. Please don’t think that your recovery will look just like mine because it probably won’t.
Everyone with an eating disorder has a unique DNA, a unique experience with Ed, and a unique path to recovery. Thus, you may not need to read every chapter in this book. Or you may not be able to relate to every word that I’ve written. That’s okay and completely normal.
That being said, I believe that no recovery is possible without God. He is our ultimate Healer, and He sustains us as we recover from our eating disorders. He doesn’t want us to stay trapped in Satan’s lies.
To continue reading the Introduction, just click here to sign up for my pre-order list!