Food Rules and To-Do Lists

 

One of my go-to coping mechanisms is rules. As my daughter has been in recovery, I’ve learned all about food rules and how many I still follow, despite my own “recovery” years ago at age 14. 

Even though I’ve come a long way with food rules, as I was doing my devotions the other day, I was struck by something else. My brain made a connection, and it said to me, “WAIT A MINUTE. I’ve seen this pattern before and it didn’t have to do with food. Where else are there unnecessary rules in my life?” 

And I thought about when I first got married; how obsessed I was with making our small basement apartment neat and tidy. One of the habits I tried to develop was to finish every little bit of laundry (even ironing napkins!) EVERY WEEK. I felt I had to keep up the ritual of being tidy so I could consider myself a competent wife (I have a lifelong habit of being messy). I wanted to erase my feeling of inadequacy by turning over a...

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Seasons of Struggle

 

Several years ago, my son made the travel baseball team. It was a dream of his to be on this team. He tried out three different times before he finally got accepted.  Baseball quickly became everything to him. He went to every practice, every game, and took private lessons. He gave it all he had, plus some. A year later, he was cut from the team after the coach promised there would be no cuts made. I remember the night we had to tell him, and how he crumbled to the floor in tears. His world had been shattered after he had given everything to it.

That night, I crawled in bed with him. I held him close to me and felt his warm tears run down my arm. I thought about the evening and the events that led up to it.  Were there lessons to be learned? Sure. But at that moment, in bed with him, only one thing mattered- I needed him to feel my arms around him, I needed him to know he was loved and to know I wasn’t going anywhere until I knew he was OK.  

Friends, in...

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Bodies Never Lose Their Wisdom

 

Diet culture boggles my mind.

Over the months of her first year of life, I experienced some very negative comments and lies about my daughter's beautiful baby chub. She has a lovely, wise body, which stored away as much chub as it knew it needed to support her growth and development.

As a baby who was exclusively breastfed up to 6 months, and continued to be breastfed alongside solids beyond that point, I know my child's body has been given ample support to grow strong and healthy.

This isn't a criticism of people who feed their children differently, it's just a fact that you can trust your child is getting exactly the amount they need when they have been breastfed like mine - at least, that is what professionals have told me.

I find it very sad that I already find myself needing to defend a body's wisdom in a child who was not even a year old. We live in a culture fixated on controlling bodies in a way that is simply not healthy or good.

I know this is a complex and nuanced...

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Being Seen & Known

 

I sit in the rolling chair at Sadie’s nail station and get myself comfortable. I always look forward to this bi-monthly treat! Sadie comes out from the break room and sits down, throws out a “hi” and we exchange pleasantries- about how it’s been seven weeks since I last saw her, and since that was just before Valentine's Day, I ask if she did anything special. She doesn’t answer me, and then I realize she’s got one side of her earphones in and she might be listening to something; unfortunately, this is the usual routine, so I just let her do her work. Why do I hope this will change?

Several minutes pass. I ask, “Do you think of yourself as an artist?“ No response. I do think Sadie is an artist because she makes my hands look pretty and my nails neat, fresh, and colorful. My hands have always been a part of my body that I don’t like. Maybe this is why I used to walk with my hands balled in a fist- hiding my fingers &...

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What Occupies Your Thoughts?

 

My recovery journey started in early 2004 when I met Constance Rhodes, founder of FINDINGbalance, at a public speaking event. Through her talk, I learned that my eating and body image issues didn’t have to be any worse in order to be valid and worthy of getting help. A year or two later, she asked a question that truly stumped me: "What would occupy your thoughts if you didn't think about food (or body image)?" 

Well, 18-ish years later, I’m excited to report I have an answer! Here it goes… these are some of the things that occupy my thoughts:

  •  Procuring coffee with my favorite creamer;
  •  When/if I can fit in a nap;
  •  Work stuff, time management, and managing my energy;
  •  Memories of past events, whether trauma, shame, grief, loss, etc., and then releasing that to Jesus; 
  •  Who I can connect with today;
  •  What snarky, funny memes do I want to send, and to whom;
  •  Plans for the weekend- whether I need to rest, do...
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The Gift of Enjoyment

 

This journey of recovery is full of hills and valleys. It's one step forward and two steps back repeatedly. In this emotional roller coaster where we long to be free, it's so easy to lose sight of our progress. Last night was hard…the last couple of months were hard. Some days I wondered if I had fallen all the way back to the beginning of this journey. Reality is that I can’t go back to “square one”. I am a different person than the one who started this journey; I feel more, I give myself more grace, I listen to my body more, and I am equipped with the truth. Yet I still grow weary and that’s why it’s important to acknowledge the victories.

Today was one those victories. I was at Costco and my favorite yogurt-covered pretzels were on sale (mmm...sweet and salty together). These pretzels only come out once a year. Last year’s version of myself would see them and say "Resist. It is only one month. You can do it", or she would...

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"Phone-A-Friend"

 

I’m going to date myself here, but early in my marriage, we used to watch an evening game show called “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”. The contestants were asked questions, and with each correct answer, they earned more money in hopes of reaching the million. The more questions you got correct, the harder they got. If the question was too hard, or they found themselves doubting the answer, there was help. Fortunately, they could turn to one of three ‘lifelines’ for assistance, and more times than not they turned to the “phone-a-friend” option. If chosen, they could call a friend and ask them what the answer was.  

How often have you been faced with a moment in your day or week when you didn’t have the answer? Maybe you were sitting under the weight of overwhelm from circumstances beyond your control, needing to make a big decision, or your mind was wanting to do what you knew was the right thing but your spirit felt...

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Special Event - Eating Disorders Day Of Prayer - Feb. 28, 2024

 

Eating Disorders Day of Prayer: Comfort Received and Given

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” -2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 NIV

Broken But Not Helpless

I was on my knees, face on the floor, sobbing; a loved one was in the throes of an eating disorder, and I felt helpless to do anything about it. I cried out to the Lord, “What can I do about this?”, and the clear answer was, “You can pray.” I wanted to fix it, just make the problem go away. But I couldn’t, and I believe this was the Lord’s way of making me totally trust in Him. So, during this time of “helplessness”, I realized I wasn’t truly helpless, but instead, I had some of the most powerful tools available to me: prayer and God’s Word.

God Uses Our Trials...

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Hurting and Healing

 

As you feel, you heal, and to heal, you must feel.

Many times, eating disorders, or disordered eating, stem from a desperate grasp for control. Parts of our lives are so painful that we numb our hearts and then look to control other areas of our lives. The result is the inability to feel coupled with hope; feeling that security is out of reach. 

Healing comes with feeling. Opening our hearts to feeling again can be scary. I feel more deeply now than I did last year, last month. Sometimes the things we feel can catch us off guard. A casual comment from a friend that she forgot our plans led me to gut-wrenching sobs. The pain from my childhood of feeling overlooked, and the lies that came with it, gripped my soul and threatened to tear it apart. Feelings from the past of hurt, anger, and shame resurface with unparalleled intensity. Yet, I must go there. As much as my heart aches and longs to go numb, I need to feel that pain. More than that, I need to grieve for that...

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Are You Ready to Come Home?

 

Moving your body and eating can be worshipful when motivated by freedom, not shame. And living in freedom isn’t about ignoring or neglecting our bodies but shepherding them with grace and love.

Instead of moving and eating to become someone new, what if you move and eat to come home to yourself?

Consider the story of the prodigal son. He left home and spent his inheritance on things that didn't satisfy or last, only to be let down, experiencing a new level of hunger, and feeling remorseful about his choices. Then, a severe famine hit the entire country, and he was in desperate need.

He found a job feeding pigs and hit a new low when his hunger became so great that he longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating. He dreamed of coming home, pleading for his father's forgiveness and acceptance.

One day, he headed home. When his father saw him coming, he was FILLED WITH LOVE AND COMPASSION, ran to him, threw his arms around his neck, and embraced him!...

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