Why I am afraid of "fat"

I’m still afraid of looking fat.

This is where the bulk of my shame lives as I continue my recovery from anorexia. Nearly six months into my treatment, I am happy to say:

1) that I am up to a healthy weight (though I don’t know what that weight is and don’t care to know).

2) my metabolism is healed (did you know dieting and starving destroy your metabolism? I didn’t.).

3) my body cues are functioning on their own (meaning I know–for real–when I am hungry and when I’m full; when something sounds good and when it doesn’t).

4) I am eating intuitively, which means I eat according to when and what my body tells me in terms of what it needs and what it wants. No rules; no invitation for others to have a say.

These are huge leaps of restorative progress that have happened in a relatively short amount of time, considering I have had anorexia for 13+ years.

Yet, I still have an eating disorder. If you have ever looked at a skinny girl and said, “Dang, she needs some meat on her bones. Give that girl a cheeseburger,” I am here to tell you this disease has nothing to do with food or weight–and please, I kindly request, do all of us “skinny” girls a solid and stay quiet because those words just feed our disorder.

All of my progress is in long-term danger because I still fear “looking fat.” This is perplexing to me because on December 6, 2014, I wrote the following in my journal:

“I fear being ugly and invalid; society says fat is invalid and ugly. Therefore I cannot be this way. I have fallen ill by playing into society’s definition of fat. I bet “fat” isn’t even in God’s dictionary. I can’t define “fat” on my own because I am stuck between two worlds–> God’s and this fallen earthly place. I know God sees people beyond their size. Size literally does not matter to God. The condition of my heart matters; right now my heart is infected. I see it now from God’s world. Yet,God still sees me as valuable and lovable.

IMG_20150419_082316In my fallen world, infected minds have determined that size does matter and it reflects how good or not good we are (“skinny” is beautiful which makes skinny marketable, profitable, desirable–valuable. If you’re not skinny, then you’re not valuable).

This completely contradicts God’s perspective. 

I must decide who I will trust. Will I continue trying to define a word that simply doesn’t exist in God’s world? Will I keep striving to appeal to a definition outlined by infected hearts and minds? Or, instead, will I throw this word away entirely and focus only on the things of which affect–grow, purify, honor–the condition of my heart?”

Well, given my progress in health, we can see what I chose, right? But I confess to you, dear reader, I still fear looking fat. I feel ashamed by this. And frustrated. Why can’t my eyes see beauty when I look in the mirror? Why can’t my spirit feel confidence when I dress in the morning? Why can’t I let go of “fat” and “skinny” when I know these ideas don’t exist in God’s kingdom?


God, the Father in Heaven, the Son in Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in my heart, is no doubt my God. Yet, He isn’t my only only god because I still idolize my body. Part of me still stands with the cultural ideal, IMG_20150419_105452worshiping beauty and perfection as defined by a society that places value on what we manufacture for our physical body. I can’t let go of “fat” and “skinny” because I still place more value on my body image rather than God’s image. This is a hard dose of humility to swallow today.

I am not manufactured. I am created. . . uniquely created by a perfect God who made me in His image. I believe this, but clearly not with all of my heart because I still worry about “looking fat” and thus having little to no value (interest,validity, etc.) to other people. This is a dark depth that still needs transformation. I surrender to this truth today.

I can’t fix this today. I can’t fix this, period. God has to. My own self-efforts for change lead to manufacturing something that doesn’t align with what God has already created in and for me. He will heal this broken part of me; I got down on my knees in tears asking for forgiveness and asking Him to take this part of me and change it. He will. And when He does, the danger of relapsing into anorexia will become less of a threat. Cheeseburger or no, my eating disorder does not hinge upon food but rather the belief and deep understanding of where my value lies.



10 thoughts on “Why I am afraid of "fat"

  1. nama

    I too struggle with this, for I know that despite physical recovery, my fear of feeling or looking fat still largely governs my decisions in life. It’s something society tells us is truth and we begin to believe it. I need to stop evaluating myself on how I look and start looking within; but we all know in this world especially it’s easier said than done. Thank you for being so honest in your writing, it’s great to read and relate.

  2. tonyroberts64

    Such profound and simple truth. I love the lines — “I am not manufactured. I am created.” Societal skinniness is a manufactured disease. Healthy bodies — yours and all of ours — are created in the image of our beautiful God.

    Keep up the faithful stewardship of your body, mind, and spirit, Leanne. You are an inspiration to many.

    1. Leanne Post author

      Thanks, Tony. It’s a tough disease to cure, but it’s not one that has to destroy me if can refine my spiritual sight to see what God sees.

  3. andreakine69

    I hear you. Oh I hear you. Only it isn’t just the ‘body’.. it is also the ‘disease’ that is placed under idolatry as well because at some level, there is an unwillingness to let it go completely, a fear of living with out it. There is a desire to be without it, to recover… but at the same time, a string attached. This is why relapse happens, why there is a constant fear of ‘fat’, of how the body will look, or does look. Why there are relapses. I just recently saw something that totally just blew me away…. it was from Beth Moore…. I broke into tears. She said that we ask God to take it away, we don’t want it. We want to be better from it ( it being anything we suffer from) yet at the same time, we have our hands behind our backs ( in her video, it was hilarious to see her do this as she was laying on her back). Then she got up, and got serious… said, not until we HATE it with our entire being and want to GIVE it to him will he take it. She said that we have to truly and completely want to be free of it and He will free us of it – all of it. Leanne, It was like she was talking about the anorexia….it was exactly like that. every time I would ask for help, for it to be gone; I have to admit, a place deep inside didn’t want it that way – what if I needed it? Now, years later… and in a much better place if I had heard her words THEN I could have saved my body so much turmoil and damage. Maybe not been in the place I am in now. Each has to want to GIVE it to GOD… not want Him to TAKE it. He can’t take what isn’t truly wanted to be taken.

    1. Leanne Post author

      You make a interested point here, Karen. Giving to God versus asking Him to take… this gives me a different perspective about which to ruminate. Thank you! *hugs*

  4. Andee Zomerman

    I know it is a struggle for you, I do. But I just can’t get over how dang good you look. We shouldn’t base anything on looks. We’ve been told that our whole lives. But when I saw you, I couldn’t stop staring. You just look so beautiful and healthy. The outside matches the inside.

    1. Leanne Post author

      Aw, you are so sweet! Thank you. It’s one thing to think someone looks awesome, but it’s quite another to think someone looks awesome AND believe in their heart… which takes time and effort to discover. You are a great friend for having taken that time and made that effort. For you I am SO grateful!


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