It's not about the food!
What has helped you, or someone that you know, through an eating disorder? Share your resources below!
A common misconception about eating disorders is that the problem is the food - the lack of it, the surplus of it, the methods of getting rid of it. It is true that people, like myself, who have an eating disorder, have, or have had, disturbed eating patterns. However, just like many other addictive behaviors, the substance, which is food in this case, is not the core issue.
I can be following a healthy eating regime, where my body is getting everything it needs and I'm not avoiding anything, but my eating disorder can be alive and well through engaging in obsessiveness (constantly thinking about whether or not I'm enough), making decisions based on lies (I won't be loved unless I look like HER so let me try to look like her) and specific behaviors (body checking).
What I'm saying here is that the eating, or lack thereof, is the tip of the iceberg. The disordered eating rituals that you see on the outside are an image of what you cannot see, that is happening on the inside. On the inside, there is very likely a hurting heart.
For me, eating disorders are about self-hatred. Self-hatred severely limits my ability to have a healthy relationship with myself (my body included), God, and the world. Coupled with fear, self-hatred leads to misery, hopelessness, and despair.
That's why eating disorder recovery, or recovery from any long-term compulsive behaviors, is not simple. Compulsive behaviors are (unsurprisingly) confusing and illogical to many people. That's because these baffling behaviors are aimed at trying to accomplish something that they were not designed to accomplish.
And that is why I say they are the tip of the iceberg. Even though the behaviors are not logical, they still serve a purpose, and so to understand we must take a look at the entire iceberg.
For those of us who love someone with an eating disorder, remember that it is about so much more than food. If the person you care for is willing to share their experience with you, this may help you understand what is really going on. Sometimes, however, they're not really sure why they're doing what they're doing just yet. Eating disorders distance us from our feelings (this is part of the reason I continued in bulimia). If this is the case you can also read more online, or get support of your own.
When supporting someone with an eating disorder, don't forget to take care of yourself. I'm sure you want to arrive as the best version of yourself and if you forget your needs and arrive with an empty cup, you may do more damage than good. Also, you deserve to be cared for as well.
With all of this in mind, if you, or others, think that you may have an eating disorder, don't wait. Life is too short to wait, and every day that we are captive to an eating disorder, we stay in hell and settle for a tiny percentage of the joy that awaits us.
You can start by looking for eating disorder treatment programs online, which might actually be available at a hospital in your area. In addition to, or alternatively, you can search for a therapist that is specialized in eating disorders, interview her, and see if she'll challenge you enough. There are also blogs (1) and support groups (2) that could also be beneficial for you. Take some time to compile eating disorder recovery quotes (3) and bible verses so that you can be ready to fight lies with truth (3).
Do not forget the most important thing on this journey: Jesus. Keep going to Him. Allow yourself to be comforted by His presence in your life.
"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear" George Addair
I'm with you,