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Overcome an Eating Disorder

  • Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
  • 2002 18 Jul
Overcome an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can weaken and even destroy your body. Overcoming them requires more than just choosing healthier eating habits. It means seeking healing for underlying emotional wounds that shape your relationship to food.

Here are some ways you can overcome an eating disorder:

  • Ask God to reveal the emotional needs that motivate you to eat in unhealthy ways. Think about your past experiences and ask the Holy Spirit to show you how they affected you.

  • Find a professional therapist, a support group, a clergy person, or a friend to help coach you through your healing process. Meet regularly with those who are helping you to thoroughly explore the reasons why you feel compelled to eat the way you do and to work toward emotional and spiritual healing.

  • Visit a medical doctor for a physical exam and blood tests to determine the extent of the current damage to your body. Ask the doctor recommend ways you can reverse that damage in ways such as correcting vitamin and mineral deficiencies and stopping nonprescription drug use. If you are suicidal, severely depressed, or suffering from a major metabolic crisis, check into a hospital for treatment. If your insurance permits, enter a healing program at a clinic for people with eating disorders.

  • Realize that the sense of control an eating disorder can give you is false. Face up to the fact that the disorder is only hurting you, and get mad at how it's doing so. Decide that you will do whatever it takes to overcome the disorder.

  • Strive to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings. Know that an eating disorder can numb the genuine experience of thoughts and feelings, helping you avoid them by focusing on food instead. Keep a journal in which you regularly record your what you think and feel. Then go back and read your entries to study them.

  • Forgive others who have hurt you. Talk with family members and others from your past about situations that wounded you to open and improve channels of communication. Then, with God's help, forgive.

  • Be courageous! Know that, while it's difficult to process anger, fear, and sadness, the work is ultimately very worthwhile. Ask God to let you sense His presence with you, and to give you grace for every step of the healing process.

  • Accept and embrace God's strong, unconditional love for you. Don't expect imperfect people to love you perfectly, and don't try to earn their love by being thin or by anything else you can do. Look to God alone for the love you need and know that He will not disappoint you.

  • Ask God to show you how He sees you, and to replace any distorted images you have of yourself with His accurate perspective. Try illustrating yourself through an art project to help you express your current feelings about yourself throughout different stages of your healing process.

  • Eagerly anticipate a better future. Set goals for yourself, and look forward to fulfilling them.

Adapted from The Monster Within: Facing an Eating Disorder, copyright 1984, 2002 by Cynthia Rowland McClure. Published by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Book House Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com, 1-800-877-2665.

Cynthia Rowland McClure suffered from bulimia for years. She is a spokesperson for those who suffer from eating disorders and a speaker through her organization "Hope for the Hungry Heart" in California.

Are you struggling with an eating disorder right now? If so, how does your condition affect your life, and how would you like others to pray for you? Have you overcome an eating disorder? If so, share your story to encourage others. Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic by clicking on the link below.

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