Everyone’s story is a little different, just as each person who struggles with disordered eating has a unique journey. While some experiences, like the way food and weight consume one’s thoughts, can be pretty universal for anyone walking through disordered eating, other experiences vary depending on the person. Though I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, my friend Rachel was. She was diagnosed with and hospitalized for anorexia. Her recovery involved treatment programs, therapy, and lots of very hard work. But in the end? It was so worth it! Hear it for yourself – she is free from her eating disorder and loves living life fully!! I hope her story gives you hope.
Songs: Listen to a clip of my awesomely angry song “Get Out of My Head.” When I was struggling with hating my reflection in the mirror, I would often bust out “Mirror” by Barlow Girl. I would shout out the lyrics, sometimes with tears streaming down my face, as I reminded myself that my reflection wasn’t what mattered and the mirror didn’t get to define me! Check it out for yourself – I love this song!
Here are some other songs I love on this topic: “Courage” by Superchick (amazing!!), “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus, “Survivor” by Destiny’s Child, “Stand in the Rain” by Superchick, and “In Your Freedom” by Hillsong.
Books: Okay, you DEFINITELY want to read these two books by Jenni Schaefer: “Life Without Ed” and “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me.” They are SO GOOD!!! I read them recently and was blown away by her honesty, the easiness of the read, and the insights she had along her journey. Especially if you are struggling with Ed (Eating Disorder), check out these books! “Life Without Ed” gives a lot of the nitty, gritty, practical tips, and “Goodbye Ed, Hello Me” shows the fullness of her recovery.
Websites: “The National Eating Disorders Association” has a website with lots of helpful information and resources, both for people struggling with eating disorders and for those who want to help a loved one who is struggling. “Eating Disorders Anonymous” has a list of support groups for people with eating disorders. You can check it out to see if there is one in your area! “Finding Balance” is a wonderful website from a Christian-counseling perspective specifically focused on eating disorders, disordered eating, and unhealthy body image perceptions. And one more for you – check out Jenni Schaefer’s website – she’s an author, musician, and speaker recovered from an eating disorder (she’s the one who wrote the books I mentioned above)!
Other Awesome Resources: A few years ago I met with the Assistant Director of Counseling Services here at Nazareth College and asked her for resources for people with eating disorders. One of the things she gave me was a hand out on what “Normal Eating” looks like. I think you’ll find it really helpful! In addition, here is a list of “Healthy Coping Skills” that you can read through. Feel free to try some of these as news ways to cope (like we talked about in the chapter), and then add to the list the healthy coping skills that help you! And then check out this video – it is so inspiring, I just love it!
And when it comes to re-framing our thinking to be more positive than negative… man, we could learn from this girl! What if we started off each morning with something like this, instead of thinking about all the things we don’t like?
Bible Reading: 1 Samuel 16:7 talks about how God looks at the heart, rather than at our physical appearance. A counselor at Houghton College once told me, “Jesus never judged anyone based on their physical appearance.” Yet we can judge ourselves so harshly based on what we look like. Ultimately, these bodies are temporary. We won’t have them forever. They are imperfectly perfect. And most importantly, God is much, much, much more concerned with having a heart set on Him than with culture’s idea of a good-looking body.
Lastly, I know taking our thoughts captive is much easier said than done. Here’s something that helps me re-set my mind from the beginning of the day: