Nothing is Easy When You Have an Eating Disorder

The Blame Game

Why do I have this problem? This simple question flooded my brain almost every day for eight years. I couldn't understand why I saw food differently than everyone else, why it had to be so paradoxical. I loved food so much that I hated it; it was as simple as that.

Just eat, or just stop when you're full. Everyone around me seemed to know how to make it go away. It all seemed so simple to them, but my routines, my beliefs, my truths knew them just as the sun knows when and where to rise and set. It doesn't just go away.

Blame. It has to go somewhere, right? I wanted to blame everybody and everything. I needed a reason, and I needed to know why. Why was my mind so messed up, so tainted, so weak?

As a teenager, life seemed so permanent. My day-to-day life, the way I was treated, the things that I was good at, interested in, and involved my mind those were all fixed and would never change. My life was what I saw in the mirror that day. I was a number, a lipstick tube, a brand on a shirt, a "You're not fat; you're just big" from a peer. My identity, bent and twisted, only truly existed when I stripped myself of the makeup, the brand names, the fake friends, and the belittling of others to make myself feel better. It was down there somewhere underneath it all; I just had to find it. I knew that much.

Life's biggest heartaches revolve around answers we don't have. We want to know why life isn't always fair and why we have to look, dress, and learn the way we do. We want someone or something to blame for how bad things are, for why we're grouped and classified the way we are, or why things had to happen the way they did. Sadly, life doesn't always provide us with these reasons. That would be too easy, wouldn't it?

I've learned that nothing is easy when you're growing up. Between whom our parents want us to be and who our friends think we should be, discovering our identities is a grueling, never-ending battle. Without that third factor...knowing God had a plan for my life, I can't even consider where I would be today. That underlying hope that there was more, that God had a deeper plan, that God would never forsake me, that is what kept me believing.

Proverbs 3:5 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." What peace comes from knowing that we don't have to have all the answers; God holds them all in the palm of his hand!
God's truth supersedes all of our made-up truths, and with this fact, we have a reason to live in freedom, not blame.

End the War with Food and our Bodies

Finding Balance, a partner of TheHopeLine, wants everyone to eat well and live free.  Their mission is to provide practical resources to help people live healthier, more balanced lives, FREE from eating and body image issues, all rooted in Biblically sound principles and truth

Finding Balance shares ways we can end the war with food and our bodies:

The statistics are alarming some researchers estimate that at least 10 million women and 1 million men are struggling with eating disorders. 25 million are binge eaters, and an estimated 34 million are chronic dieters. 81% of ten-year-olds are afraid of getting fat, and three out of four women of normal weight ranges think they are fat.

As alarming as these numbers are, they probably don't surprise most of us. Almost everyone can name at least one person they know who is currently afflicted or who has battled disordered eating in the past.

There are many complicated factors that can lead to eating disorders, including life experiences, personality type, societal pressures and even genetics. Still, obsessions with food, eating and weight are central to all disordered eating.

Listed below are the types of attitudes and practices you can adopt to help guard against eating disorders. Be aware, and pass this information on to people you care about.

Regarding Weight

  • Don't measure your worth by a number on the scale.
  • Aim for a healthy, realistic weight for your body type.

Regarding Bodies

  • Read magazines that promote a variety of body types and positive self-image.
  • Change the channel when watching TV programs that treat teen girls and women as sex objects.
  • Write letters to advertisers.
  • Marvel at the wonderful variety of bodies in the world each one unique.
  • Accept your body at its natural shape and size.
  • Be thankful for the amazing things your body does every day.
  • Focus on inner beauty in others and yourself.

Regarding Food

  • As a rule, eat three healthy, balanced meals a day, and snacks as needed.
  • Build in treats to enjoy in moderation.
  • Read food labels and check portion sizes as an occasional learning tool, not an everyday ritual.
  • Find alternatives to meet your emotional needs, instead of using food to do so.
  • Become aware of your hunger and fullness signals.

Regarding Exercise

  • Exercise regularly to stay healthy. Even just 20-30 minutes a day of low-impact walking gives you a huge health boost and can even prevent against depression and other ailments.
  • Choose activities that you can truly enjoy and make them part of your life.

Regarding Emotional Health

  • See a counselor if you are feeling down, anxious, fearful, or lonely.
  • Make time in your life to connect with others on a regular basis, outside of work, such as in a small group, at church, having friends over or other activities. Isolation is where any unhealthy behavior thrives so make relationships a priority and growth area on an ongoing basis.

Final Thought: The Power of Words

What we say out loud tends to be what we believe. Most eating issues are propelled in some way by lies and/or negative self-talk.

Choose not to be a part of it. Don't join in on conversations that focus on diets, body comparison and the like. Instead, make opportunities to say positive things, whether just to yourself, to friends, or especially to family members. Together we can help end our war with food and our bodies and live the life we were created for.

If you think you might be struggling with an eating disorder, take Finding Balance's Quiz to test yourself.

Eating Issues Test 1

Eating Issues Test 2

Mallory Hood, blogger for Finding Balance. Original article published here.

TheHopeLine Team
For over 30 years, TheHopeLine has been helping students and young adults in crisis. Our team is made up of writers and mental health professionals who care deeply about helping others.
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