I developed an eating disorder when I was around ten or eleven years old. This battle lasted for about seven years until my addiction took over. I went between two different kinds of eating disorders and was always fluctuating in my weight.
When I got clean and sober I dropped a bunch of weight; the substances I was addicted to kept me bloated and so unhealthy. It was weird, though, so many people accused me of using again once I lost weight, which was really frustrating!
Anyway, I ended up being a certain weight and size three years ago that I currently still am today. There is a huge difference, between then and now, however. Three years ago I was not healthy. Three years ago I was still in such a bad mental place with my body. Everything changed with my relationship with God, which completely surprised me.
During a mentorship program I was in at my church, a huge chunk of material was devoted to finding my identity in Christ, not myself or others or jobs or things…. I read through Ephesians and was amazed to learn that my “horrible, ugly self” was a “co-heir” with Christ! I was secure in him, loved by him, forgiven, victorious, a conquerer.
My thoughts slowly began changing! Not that today I don’t ever have bad-body days, I still do. But another huge thing that has helped me to take care of myself is the truth that, as a Jesus follower, my body is a temple; the Holy Spirit lives inside me!
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and [given a fresh start by Jesus], our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.
Whoa. This whole chapter is incredible by the way.
I think that learning to see God for who he is, has helped me find my identity and purpose in him. When I have a purpose, I am going to do better, be more productive. I want to honor and glorify God with how I treat my body and view it, as it was created by him, as well as knowing that I house an incredible equipping power within me!
I have learned that eating and working out are about balance. I have prayed and prayed and prayed for balance and it seems that intuitive eating is the way to go for me! If I want kale several times a day, I go for it… same if I want pizza. I definitely avoid patterns where I could starve or binge. I have had people make comments about how much I eat (I get hungry ALOT), but I’ve worked through it with God and understand I’m not defined by what other people think!
Working out has always been harder for me. It’s a great stress-reliever, but in the past I have tended to be extreme about it and then would have to stop and break from it. Well, lately it has been amazing! I have a healthy timeframe almost everyday that I use for working out and I try new things and mix it up.
The benefits are amazing when I do it for my health instead of using it as an “escape” instead of going to Jesus. I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I wanted to share that there is hope for healthy living if you’ve struggled with an eating disorder or an unhealthy relationship with food/exercise.
Most importantly, everything changes with a relationship with God and knowledge about his characteristics and how He views his creation. I think seeing, or attempting to see, how God views me has completely changed my lifestyle and health. I know I am not guaranteed tomorrow, but I do want to be as healthy as I can be so that I can do the most for him.
1 Timothy 4:6-10
You’ve been raised on the Message of the faith and have followed sound teaching. Now pass on this counsel to the followers of Jesus there, and you’ll be a good servant of Jesus. Stay clear of silly stories that get dressed up as religion. Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please! Workouts in the gymnasium are useful, but a disciplined life in God is far more so, making you fit both today and forever. You can count on this. Take it to heart. This is why we’ve thrown ourselves into this venture so totally. We’re banking on the living God, Savior of all men and women, especially believers.