I wrote to you a few months ago when I was trying to get some help with my eating after years of restricting and using exercise inappropriately. My doctor was dismissive but your validating response that I did indeed have eating issues helped me to keep looking for support and I was fortunate enough to work with a dietitian that specializes in eating disorders. At the start of working with her I said I was scared that if I gained the weight she wanted me to gain she would stop seeing me as she would think I no longer needed help and she reassured me that she understood that it was more complicated than that. Yet as soon as I gained weight she discharged me. I was distraught at the thought of going it alone again after finally getting some support and felt very invalidated as if she considered my eating problems to not be that big a deal. I have taken some big steps the last few months like getting rid of my scales and stopping my gym (so I can’t get the scales there either!) but I am very uncomfortable in my body and am appalled when I see myself in the mirror despite knowing my weight is in a healthy range. I know I need to keep going but don’t feel confident that I can and right now I feel I have swapped one misery for another – the misery of restricting for the misery of seeing what I look like in the mirror each day and feeling out of control and “fat.” I have to find a way to keep going by myself but I don’t know what to do.
Yay! Congratulations on the big steps you have taken recently. Discontinuing your gym membership and throwing away the scales are HUGE steps. Good job. Believe it or not, what you are describing as “swapping one misery for another” is actually a very common experience for those with eating issues. That’s why it is so critical to maintain helpful support as you navigate all the different phases and changes of recovery (such as a changing body).
First, if you have faith in the Lord, Jesus himself did not walk this earth alone nor did He intend for us to do so. Throughout the Bible, He calls us to seek community and help each other along this road of life. You definitely don’t need to walk the recovery road alone. Keep seeking out the resources to help. Stay connected with FINDINGbalance and consider joining one of our Lasting Freedom Online Support programs; check out local ED support chapters such as the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals, EDrefferal.com, and ED Hope, etc. You may even find supportive friends in a church group or support group run by local therapists or a local university.
Secondly, keep asking yourself just how “big a deal” you want your weight and body to be in your life. Do you always want to be miserable in your body, avoiding every mirror/reflective surface, avoiding shopping and social gatherings because you feel so fat? Of course not. You are right in the thick of the battle. The devil wants to deceive you into thinking that your outward appearance, your weight, your body size/shape define you…this is absolutely FALSE. Don’t believe the lies. Keep catching those negative, degrading thoughts such as: “You’re disgusting, fat, ugly, overweight, lazy, unlovable, etc.” Challenge whether the thoughts are true; then change them to that which is noble, lovely, pure, upright and TRUE.
You are so much more than just what you look like (see True Campaign music artist, JJ Heller’s “True Things.” What else would you like to do with your passions, energy, devotion, interest, time and talent? I bet you’re tired of putting those things into eating disorder thoughts. Allow God to reveal His truth and His beauty to you…then go for it! Stay in the truth and run with Him. You can do this!
Juliet N. Zuercher, RD