“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NASB)
Glorify God in your body.
Did I do that as a teen? Nope. Do I do it as a grown woman? No again. I am definitely better at treating my body like the holy temple it is, that God has created. I tell myself often that I was given this one body and I am to take care of it. I have learned so much through the years and most definitely do a better job eating and watching what ingredients I am putting in my body than in the past. Now I know to avoid carrageenan, because it is a cancer-causing ingredient. I personally avoid “natural flavors” because that could still be a slew of chemically processed ingredients. For the most part I avoid things that are fake or processed. But do I do it all the time? No. But now that I am aware of these bad things, I slow down my consumption of them or avoid them all together.
That was not the case when I was younger.
I was naive.
I was more concerned with being thin. And to me, being thin meant I was fitting in and accepted.
I didn’t care that I was putting my body through hell. I didn’t think that there would be consequences to my actions.
Boy was I wrong.
Growing up, being “thin” was all there was to be. The household I grew up in was a very critical household, especially when it came to weight. I would like to give my parents grace here because I feel that they honestly didn’t know better and didn’t realize how often they judged others based on their weight…or how often I noticed it. I think when they were growing up, they witnessed the same thing and it just tricked down because that is all they knew. So I am trying to give grace. Does that change the perception I had of myself? Absolutely not. I did not know God like I know Him now. Don’t get me wrong, I went to church and was aware of Him, but I didn’t KNOW Him. My value was in other people. Not in Him. And to be totally honest, I still struggle a bit with this (I mean, I am a 2w3 on the Enneagram, y’all).
I have mentioned in previous posts about taking diet pills when I was a senior in high school. Well, it wasn’t enough. I started watching my calorie intake. And by watching, I mean severely limiting my calorie intake and writing down everything I ate. I was only consuming 1,000 calories a day and was always counting. I could still tell you how many calories a banana has. Or an apple. But thankfully not much more. I use to be able to count it in my head because it was all I saw in food. I didn’t see the value of food. I only saw calories.
One night, I exceeded my self-induced calorie allotment for that day and I felt guilty. I felt miserable and shameful. So I purged. I made myself throw up. I remember crying and feeling horrible for what I did, but at the same time I felt justified because I went over my calorie allotment so I needed to take care of it.
It is very hard to write that.
The girl I was at that time is not the same woman that is sitting here typing this today. She was insecure, lost, searching for worth in the wrong places and never feeling satisfied or content. I was miserable. Now, I know my worth cannot be found in men or in my body or how I look. My worth is found in God. I have a peace that is incredible. I am content. I am happy. Even though I am chasing after children and cooking and cleaning and keeping up our home, I feel at rest. I am not constantly chasing after something that cannot be obtained. I am loved by God. And more importantly, I am forgiven by God. I use to have shame for my sins and my old self. But I am free from that shame now. I still feel guilty occasionally, but I fell that that is good. It is the Holy Spirit nudging me letting me know that what I say or do is wrong and so I stop and repent. I am still a sinner. And I will always be a sinner. I will always fall short of the glory of God. But I am forgiven and loved and made new everyday. I get a fresh start everyday to be a better mother, a better wife, a better example of God’s love and grace and mercy.
Once I made myself throw up for the first time, that was all it took. Anytime I overate, or indulged in a “bad” food, I would just throw it up. Y’all, it was gross. Not going to lie. It was a very gross thing to do and it wrecked my body.
My mom was bulimic, too. I learned about her bulimia sometime in high school or right after college. I don’t know if that is how the idea was implanted in my head or what, but the first time I threw up I was missing my mom terribly and I remember feeling a connection to her, even though she was not here. It was a very odd and weird feeling. Like by throwing up, I was with her and felt her. I think part of me was longing for her and by throwing up I was like her and wanted her with me.
My bulimia continued for a few years and eventually told my soon-to-be husband, Stephen, about it. That was a very hard, emotional conversation for me. Here is this man that God has given me, who is handsome and strong and smart, and I felt very insecure and ashamed. What if I tell him this secret and he breaks up with me? What if he laughs at me? What if he now watches everything I eat and then pays attention to me going to the bathroom?
I didn’t want to worry him but I also knew that I needed to tell him and get help. Stephen was the sweetest, of course. Just talking to him helped me so much. It helped me to break free from the secrets and feel like I could move on. I brought the dark to the light and felt so much relief!
The last time I threw up was the night before my college graduation. I remember feeling like I needed to be “thin” for the next day and told myself that that would be the last time. I look at my college graduation pictures and can see the pain in my eyes. I look like a completely different person now. I had a college graduation party and the pictures just get me every time. I can see into my soul with those pictures and see how tortured I was by my weight, and my self-confidence was at a record low. I was determined after I graduated to never do it again.
And I haven’t since.
After a couple of months of healing and learning how to eat without thinking about calories and wanting to purge, I bought a book about eating clean. It was a game changer. I learned how to eat, what to eat, and how to live a healthy lifestyle. I don’t count calories. I don’t obsess over food. I eat fresh, organic foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. I don’t drink sodas or juice. When I want a treat, I make one and enjoy it! I want my boys to live a healthy life as well. I feed them the same good foods that I eat and I am cautious about my words. I don’t want my boys to grow up in a house that focuses on the body. I want our boys to know God. To know that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that they are perfect in God’s image.
Be kind to your body.
You get only one.
If you or someone you know is struggling with food issues, please help them! Find a Christian counselor, a pastor, a friend that can help them get the help that they need. Be kind and don’t negate their feelings. What they feel is real.
I am always here to lend a listening ear and I hope that my story helps heal those that are also suffering. Know that you are strong. You are worthy. God made YOU. And YOU are loved!