Pastor’s Wife: Do I Need Help for Eating Issues?

By August 23, 2012

I am a pastor’s wife who is somewhat embarrassed to admit this… My question seems silly, since it is probably impossible to answer, but I’ll go for it anyway: if I vacillate so much between “I think I have a problem with eating,” and ,”No, there’s no problem here,” how will I know if I need some sort of help? I don’t want to be anorexic, yet I have so many tendencies and symptoms and obsessions and weird ideas about food. But I still have a period, and I haven’t lost 20 percent of my body weight in three months… Sometimes people say to me, “You look so good for having five kids.” Then others say, “Are you o.k.? You look so thin.” That confuses me even further. I struggle with a lack of energy much of the time, yet this could be because I’m chasing 5 kids aged 7 and under all day. I am constantly suffering from being too cold when everyone else is just fine. I long to eat what everyone else eats, but for me it is not allowed. This is the part that I know is a problem. But is it enough of a problem for me to consider it “A PROBLEM” to be addressed with an “expert”? I fill up on coffee much of the day and eat other low or nonfat items to stave off hunger. Sometimes I just like the feeling of hunger–deprivation. I guess I just need to hear an in-my-face answer from a professional. My mom thinks I should see my Dr., but every time I do, my blood work comes back normal and I think I must be fine (just like Constance in her book). But I’ve never actually told my Dr. how I eat or how my strange mind works. Anyway, this is my dilemma. More so the dilemma would be: this lifestyle has become so habitual that I am scared to death to move from what is so familiar into what would be scary–a lack of control. The better question might be: how can I even attempt to admit I need help if I don’t know that I’d be willing to GET help even if it’s needed? – j

Dear J:

Yes, you deserve to get help. Despite what our roles are, how much we weigh, and whether we fit the criteria for a clinical eating disorder, at times we could all use help. We don’t even have to be ready to change. Part of talking with someone involves exploring obstacles, including our resistance to change!

Perhaps the best way to determine if you need help is to ask these two questions: “Am I thinking about food and weight almost all the time?” and “Have I tried to change on my own to no avail?” If your answer to either is yes, you’re in need of assistance. Please be good to yourself and, at least give someone a call.