Okay, I'm about to share a little bit of my testimony with you, oh blog friends of mine!! We're going to call it, "My Eating Journey" because it's STILL a journey for me. It's not over, I still struggle with this and I know it's not going away any time soon.
So, let's start at the beginning of this journey...
Growing up, I was always the cute chubby girl with blond ringlets. Seriously guys, I was chub-eeee!!! (I'll spare you the pictures because the late 80's/early 90's + the chubs were not nice to me!) Through elementary and middle school, I could eat!! I really didn't care what others thought of me. Food tasted good so I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
In the 6th grade, I realized that I had a natural ability in gymnastics. One day in gym glass I did a backhandspring out of no where.. never was taught, just saw someone else do one so I tried.. and I could do it instantly. I competed in gymnastics in middle school and at a club.. I remember being so embarrassed to take off my warm up to reveal my big build in a leo.
My freshman year in high school, I weighed 160lbs. Late in the season we were watching film. I was on the screen and an upper classman walked into the room. She asked if we were watching old film because the person on the screen reminded her of a past (rather large) gymnast. At that instant, I knew I needed to loose weight. Not only to be a better gymnast, but to never have someone mistake me with a "big" girl again. So, I strictly reduced my diet and lost 20-25 lbs. Even at this weight, I was in no way petite or small.. I had a very muscular build helped me to be successful in gymnastics throughout my HS years.
Fall of 1998.. it's time to go to Purdue!!! I remember everyone telling me that it's SO hard not to gain the freshman 15. So from day one, I decided to not gain the freshman 15, but loose it. I didn't need my muscular build anymore.. maybe I should try to slim down? My dorm so conveneintly had every fat gram and calorie posted.. on every piece of food they served. A typical day my freshman year would consist of an hour and a half of cardio and of course I walked a couple of miles to class a few times a day. My diet consisted of oatmeal for breakfast and a salad for lunch and dinner. I would limit the # of pieces of gum I would have each day because I knew my sugar free gum had 5 calories in it... calories I worked WAY to hard to burn. On Sunday's our dorm had a ice cream sunday bar. I would only "treat" myself on that one day... even though the ice cream was fat free and sugar free. One day my obsessiveness led me to journal my exercise and diet for that particular day. I only consumed 500 calories and burned 700. In a few months, I got down to 105 pounds. Despite my hair falling out, fatigue, loosing my period for an entire year and uncontrollable tears, I thought I looked pretty good... but could afford to loose a few pounds. From the outside everyone thought I looked perfect.. I was getting tons of attention from guys and girls envied me. On the inside I was very depressed and unintentionally pushing God so far away from my life so that my looks and obsessiveness could be the center of it.
Some of the reasons that my family and friends thought I struggled with this eating disorder was because I tended to be obsessive compulsive. When I put my heart into ANYTHING, I do it 100%. I also loved to be in control and "show people" that I to could be tiny and gorgeous. I also didn't have sports to consume my life now that I was in college... I had to consume my life with something, right? As I look back at the situation now, I realize that I was making my body an idol and worshiping it. I was "wearing" my sin and trying to achieve perfection in the world's eyes. I know now that this was totally a lie from Satan.. he knew where I was weak, tempted me and I completely believed him.
During the worst part of my eating disorder we learned of my mom's cancer... Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the bone, cancer in stage-4. At this point, I didn't accept that I did, in fact, have an eating disorder. Eating disorders where the girls that ran to the bathroom after they ate or were completely anorexic.. I was eating, right? God used the diagnosis of mom's illness by making me examine my OWN illness. I was harming my body INTENTIONALLY and mom couldn't help what was happening to hers. God's timing was so perfect... I needed to be healthier to divert the attention OFF MYSELF and to mom's health. I knew she could not worry about me when she was literally fighting for her life.
I will not lie to you and tell you that right now I'm 100% "cured" of my eating disorder. I'm human.. sadly I fall back into my sin quite often. I'm positive that I will struggle with my obsessive thoughts my entire life.
-I *still* know how many calories every food I eat has in it.
-If my dinner at a restaurant comes with fries, I count the number of fries I allow myself to have.
-I still eat oatmeal everyday for breakfast.
-I now exercise to be healthy, not to watch the calorie counter on my cardio machine increase in number.
-I do not judge my happiness by the size of clothing I wear.
-I *still* look in the mirror and think of things I would like to change about my body.. but every day God is teaching me how to look at the me through HIS eyes. I am His gorgeous daughter.. inside and out.
Many times in my life I have put a human, my self-image, and "things" on a pedestal that I have placed above God. When I do this, I am disappointed every time. Only God deserves to be on that pedestal because He is the only One that is worthy of holding my future, worries, hopes, desires, trust.. big things and small things.. in the palm of His hand.
I am at a point in my life that I am thankful for the lessons that God taught me through all of my horrible decisions... my eating journey is something I've had the priveldge of sharing with young teens, peers with similar struggles and now with you. All of these experiences have sharpened my character, given me this little part of my testimony, and made me who I am in Christ today.
1 Peter 5:10 (New Living Translation)
“In His kindness God called you to his eternal glory by means of Jesus Christ. After you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.”