The other day, a friend asked me what prompted my desire to work with eating disorders as a Dietitian (if I ever make it through college, that is!). I paused a moment before answering. Before telling the truth.
I don’t often tell people about my personal struggle with an eating disorder. It makes them uncomfortable and it is hard to explain all the emotions and pain that can be associated with food.
But it is an important part of my life that has shaped who I am and driven my goals for the future. I know I need to talk about it. To share what I’ve learned. To be honest with myself and acknowledge that this battle may never go away.
I tell myself it’s gone. After all, my weight isn’t dropping, I don’t measure salsa or count my carrots, and I don’t keep a meticulous food journal any more.
But it isn’t gone.
Everyday, I battle thoughts and habits of disordered eating. I think about everything that goes into my mouth. One day, I might feel free to eat what I want, but then I lie in bed condemning myself for “over-indulging”. I still categorize foods as “good” or “bad”, acceptable and taboo.
Eating in public stresses me out. People will see and judge what I eat, there will be no control over how things are made, there will be pressure to eat for social’s sake.
Everyday it is a fight. And I’m tempted to be discouraged, to throw up my arms and give up in the face of negative thoughts and the blunt reality of my weakness. I just want it to be over. Once and for all.
But, lately, I’ve come to realize that may never happen. This fight may be here to stay.
We all have that struggle that, wish as we might, won’t leave. It may be anger, depression, finance trouble, painful relationships, communication problems, and the list goes on. It overwhelms us, binds our thoughts and exhausts our emotions. We experience victories but for there are also moments of defeat.
The truth is — painful as it may seem at times — there is life in the fight.
In the fight there is life.
When I’m tempted to rely on old restrictive habits, I need to exercise my mind to combat wrong thoughts and ideals that lead me to those habits. I can’t be passive — I’ll either cave in or I will meet the challenge head on to be stretched and grow stronger.
Instead of running, let’s embrace the fight. We can even learn to fight with joy.
Another vital thing I’m learning is to never ever fight on your own. Reaching out for the support of family and friends is one of the major pillars of my healing. Most importantly, it’s my faith in Jesus and His power that enables me to stop trusting in food, or exercise, or a thin body to make me happy. He takes away those desires by filling my heart with a desire for Him. He says, “he who believes in me shall never thirst” (John 6:35) and His Word gives me hope.
The powers of darkness and lies have been broken. So even though my daily battles with food may seem so strong, I won’t be overcome.
I don’t plan to sit back and let this battle knock me down. I plan to face each new day relying the strength of my mighty God, breathing deeply the freedom of truth, and prepare to fight.
And in that fight, I will live.
*read My Nourishing Story for more on my journey