This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. As a woman and as someone who has experienced disordered eating, I wanted to write a post on this topic.
I woke up and ate overnight oats for breakfast at 7:30am.
I sat in class for 75 minutes.
I came back home and contemplated going on a run or doing yoga, but I instead took a 45-minute nap instead.
I ate a super early lunch at 10:30am of avocado toast with two extra large eggs + veggies with hummus + a clementine.
I sat in class for another 75 minutes.
I ate another clementine before gross anatomy lab, which involved sitting and some standing.
I ate a granola bar + three cheese sandwich crackers after lab because I was hungry (apparently formaldehyde makes people hungry? weird).
I studied, went to a meeting, and went to Mass, all of which involved sitting.
I ate [white] pasta with meatballs, lots of parmesan cheese + salad for dinner at the Catholic Center. I also went back for a piece of garlic bread and another meatball.
I studied some more and sat some more for retreat reunion.
I sat some more to write this blog post.
Yesterday involved lots of sitting, little movement, and lots of food (much of which was processed and not “real”). But yesterday involved so much joy as well. First of all, that nap was much needed. Additionally, I had wonderful conversations with people I love. God made Himself present to us in the Mass. I had energy to focus and learn in class. I was satisfied.
Five years ago, or maybe even four, I would have been on the verge of tears if this day happened as it did. Actually, I would not have let it happen. No way in hell would I have eaten before a specific time, eaten white carbs, or eaten ice cream AND yogurt before going to sleep, especially if I didn’t work out to the point of exhaustion that day.
2013, the year I started this blog
No amount of exercise was enough.
No amount of calorie cutting was enough.
No number on the scale was enough.
No space between my thighs was enough.
No reassurance from a friend or family member was enough.
No truth about God’s Love for me was enough.
Nothing about me or the world around me was enough.
When food, exercise, and exterior features became the center of my life, every concept of my self-worth crumbled. The things we eat, the ways we move, and how we look all change every single day. It takes a great deal of energy just to keep those things constant, and even then, constancy is impossible. That is why it was so taxing for me to reach the point of “enough” fitness/thinness/muscularity/strength; once I reached a satisfactory point, I either wanted more, or I declined and became dissatisfied again.
My worth rested in fleeting and terribly exhausting things of the world. This disordered way of thinking caused me to close myself from the world, to look at what I didn’t have, and to chase endlessly after those things.
The truth that I knew but did not internalize until I started recovery is that there is no measure of our worth except that we are unique human beings who have been loved into creation by God. This makes each of us infinitely valuable and deeply, infinitely loved.
You are enough.
This a truth, and this is a truth that will set you free. Free to love, to serve, and to thrive.
However, although this is a truth that your loved ones and I can tell you over and over again, you may not believe it, no matter how much you want to believe it. An eating disorder attacks a person’s physiology and soul relentlessly, and it is not an issue that can be solved after reading one blog post. Eating disorders are a serious health issue that are prevalent in our society, and the healing process is a long and treacherous battle. But recovery is possible and it is worth it.
I Thirst for You. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you. I THIRST FOR YOU. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you – that is how precious you are to Me. I THIRST FOR YOU. Come to Me, and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds. I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials I THIRST FOR YOU. You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live My life in you. I THIRST FOR YOU. If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all. For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you. I THIRST FOR YOU. Open to Me, come to Me, thirst for Me, give me your life – and I will prove to you how important you are to My Heart.
-St. Teresa of Calcutta, I Thirst For You Meditation (written as if God is speaking to you)
If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please:
- Find professional help. Eating disorders are not to be taken lightly, and proper health care is necessary in order to fully recover.
- Find support. Having trustworthy people who you can talk to in person is essential. There is also an incredible community of bloggers who I know are more than willing to lend support and resources.
- Keep persevering every day, every hour, every minute. Every decision you make around food/fitness is an opportunity to triumph over that eating disorder. This does not mean that every decision will be a triumph, but just keep adding drops of water into that large bucket, and one day it will overflow.
On that note, today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the start of Lent. As always, if you observe Lent and have an eating disorder, please talk to a priest/religious sister and your doctor about what you can do besides fast from food.
Whereas restriction in eating disorders is often done out of self-loathing, fasting is (or at least should be) done out of love for God and certainty in God’s Love for us.
Never hesitate to contact me with questions, concerns, or prayer requests.
I love you.