Tag Archives: confessions

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?

Idolatry.

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.

 

 

Confession of my anorexic mind…

I want to preface this post by saying I didn’t want to write about this today, but for some reason I feel compelled to write about it. So I am stepping out in faith with trepidation.

Sometimes I wonder if I really have an eating disorder. Like maybe I only have an “eating issue.” I mean, I am over 100 pounds. Many anorexic people are much thinner. My vitamin levels are all good; my lady systems are all a-go and normal; my gums are healthy. When you look at me, I don’t show the obvious physical signs of anorexia. So maybe I don’t really have the disorder; I look fine. At least I think I do.

I realize these pangs of doubt, however, are a kind of denial.

Yesterday I ate Lara bar before I worked out. It contains 200 calories and is made of dates, peanuts, and sea salt. I did a 45-minute weight circuit and was starving when I was done. I knew I wanted to do 30 minutes on the treadmill, but I’d likely feel lightheaded and not be able to finish my run. I would have to eat something; I needed carbs and probably protein.

I wrestled over my two gluten-free options at the snack bar: a peanut butter bar (200 calories) or an apricot granola bar (180 calories). Since I wasn’t sure if I had completely burned off the Lara bar during weight training, I went with the apricot bar. If picked the peanut butter bar, that would have been 400 calories in bars for the morning. Way too many calories.

Hopefully I could burn off the 180-calorie apricot bar in my run.

I ran for 35 minutes, tracking the calorie burn, which I don’t normally do. Yesterday it mattered. I don’t know why. It just did. I burned 250 calories, which didn’t seem like very much,  but the number soothed my mind about whether or not I had  burned off the Lara bar. 200 calories minus 250 leaves me at negative 50; add in the 180-calorie apricot bar I was at 130 calories when I left the gym. Breakfast was 170 calories, so by lunch hour I had net 300 calories for the day.

I felt at peace. And hungry.

I ate lunch when I got home.  I didn’t want to ruin my workout, so I had a sweet potato with ham on top. A little bit of carb with a little bit of protein… and of course, not too many calories.

Maybe I shouldn’t work out until I get my eating under control. Except when I am not working out, I skip eating all together. I wouldn’t want the calories just hanging out, adding weight… making my clothes feel tighter.

My body looks okay.

My mind, however, is a mess. Consumed with what I have consumed. I stay a IMG_20140106_195915little bit hungry all day long, so I am certain I haven’t over eaten. If I eat with you, then I’ve planned ahead for the calories, skipping or skimping on calories somewhere else.  I’ll eat in front of you so you don’t wonder… ask me questions. I worry about what others think. So I do what I need to keep the disorder hidden and compensate later.

This post is a tiny peek inside my mind. The organized yet disordered mind of someone with anorexia.

This post is a confession to myself. A reflection of what my mind looks like, looking back at me through honesty. I have more than an eating issue. I have an eating disorder.

Anorexia is not about food. It is not about numbers. Anorexia is about a distorted frame of thinking… and a broken heart.

Somewhere beneath the layers of happiness, contentment, confidence, and gratitude I feel in my life is a broken layer. I don’t feel hopeless, though. God has me on a journey; He’s walking beside me as I search for what is broken. I learn something every time I sit down to write… probably because that is when I am the most honest.

Related post: Ashamed