He Makes All Things New – Gracie Faith

My eating disorder is a secret no one knows but my family. I have been too embarrassed and ashamed to share it with anyone. Now I know sharing with others is a part of the healing process and we cannot be afraid of other people’s reactions. God knows our hearts and that is the only thing that matters.  Losing my dad in the first week of high school and not coming to terms with it made gain 30 pounds in the course of 6 months. Instead of dealing with the pain of losing my dad-, I did what I know to do best. I pretending like it never happened.  I never spoke of him and I did mention him- I would make a joke. I internalized my pain with food- it was my comfort and my obsession. When I first started to notice that my clothes no longer fit- I wanted to change that. I read every diet book and magazine out there. I bought all the exercise DVDs out there. Tae bo was the exercise fad at the time and I thought it was the answer to obtaining a fit body.  I tried and failed at every crash diet and I carried the extra weight well into the sophomore year of undergrad.  I was miserable and extremely obsessed with food and weight- it is all I thought about. It was the beginning of a torturous relationship with food.

In the summer of 2005, I was determined to change that.  I wanted to go into my Junior year of college super thin and I would do anything and everything to obtain that.  I started with cutting out all soda and juices. Then breakfast and snacking between meals.  I would walk for exercise because I was never athletic.  The weight was coming off fast and people’s comments about my weight loss fueled my fire.  I started counting calories- I limited them to about 900 calories a day. I don’t know how I kept up that up for the last two years of college, but I did.  My social life became non-existent. I was afraid to go everywhere because I wasn’t sure of how many calories would be in the food that would be served at the social gatherings or restaurants and if those events fell out of my eating schedule- I panicked. By God’s grace, I still managed to graduate college with honors- I still don’t know how I made it. My mind was tortured itself 24/7.   I was down to about 110 pounds, lost my period and I was growing hair all over my body. I come to know now, that it was my body’s way of protecting itself when it’s malnourished.  I would walk for 2 hours a day and drink black coffee to curb my appetite.  My family and friends were very concerned, heck, I was concerned, but I didn’t know how to crawl out of it.  My relationship with God suffered the most- I was saved at the time, but the voice of my eating disorder was louder than God.  I still served in church, read the bible and prayed, but God was so far away from me.

In 2008, I started bingeing because my body could not take the starvation anymore. I put on a lot of weight fast.  Of course, people started commenting on my weight gain. It left me crushed and I was determined to learn how to have a relationship with food and be at a healthy weight.  Again, I did not know how and I was too proud to get help. I thought there was nobody who would be able to help me with what I was going through and I felt isolated and strange.  I remained at this new weight for the next years until 2014, but I was living in torture. I was always confused with what to eat, how much to eat, and I avoided a laundry list of foods pretending that I didn’t like them just so I didn’t have to eat them. That backfired even more because the more you restrict, the more you binge.  2011 was my worst year in my eating disorder. I avoided all foods and then I would crash and binge on them. I was scared and alone. Slowly in 2012 I started reintroducing foods into my diet, I was tired of being scared, but I still had some ways to go. I was still obsessing and confused, but I was willing to take more chances. I prayed more earnestly, I sought God every morning and night, praying for healing. I still felt like he wasn’t there.  The following year I got reconnected with friends and made new ones: I also became a vegetarian because I never really liked the taste of meat. Thank God going vegetarian was never a decision based on weight loss- it was something I was passionate about, but little did I know, you could still unhealthy as a vegetarian.

In 2014 I reached my breaking point. I broke down.  Thoughts of food kept me up at night. I was always confused with what to eat and it tortured me- I was switching foods around and trying new things, but it consumed my mind and left me in a state of panic.  At that time, I also doubted my salvation. I went for a week without sleeping and it sent me to the hospital. I knew I needed help there- I was crying to God on the floor of the hospital to rescue me from the pit I was in. My sleep needed mending, my relationship with food-needed mending. Most of all, my relationship with Christ needed the most mending.  I took some time off work and I spent my days sobbing for no reason. My friends came to see me, but I never fully let them into my world. I was too ashamed.  My mom pushed me to get professional help and I thank her so much for it. God put someone in my life who knew what I was going through and I finally felt understood. Now, I had sleep to add to my list of problems, but this time I was willing to open up and let people and God in.

I felt the weight of my eating disorder finally lifted in a small group at my church. I was sharing what was going on in my week and then I just started sharing my experience. I sobbed like a baby, but I felt free. I went home with a lot of clarity and soon I felt God more nearer to me than ever.  Out of nowhere, I was no longer confused as I was before about food. I exercised in a healthy way that I loved and a beautiful friend prophesied to me that I am did God’s daughter. Which surprised me because she knew nothing about my struggle.

Today, I am new. I feel God’s presence more than ever. I can hear Him clearly speak to me more than I ever could before. Sometimes it is not instant, but I know the answer will come.  His deepest desire is for us to be one with Him. I still have my moments with food and weight, but I am not the person I was twelve years ago. I eat to nourish my body and no food is off limits. I just balance healthy food with indulgences. It is so freeing to live that way.  My sleep is still a work in progress, but I know healing for that will come with time.  If not, I will be healed in Heaven.  God works everything for our good and He makes all things new.

Gracie-Faith

STOP!

I hope you all enjoyed the blog post last week by my friend Mikkee. She is beautiful,  selfless, talented woman who loves people in whatever season they are in. If you didn’t have the opportunity to read it, you can find it here.

If you grew up in the 90’s then you may remember Susan Powter. If not, she was a fitness guru with platinum buzz cut hair who would yell “Stop the insanity”. I think her message was about stop treating your body bad (who knows, I was too young to know/care about what she was yelling about). As an adult, I think she has a point that it’s insane that we continue to do harm to oneself. I do believe this message goes beyond the food we ingest and I’ll explain how.

As some of you know one of my goals this year is to listen to my body more. This includes knowing what foods and products work for me. I will say, it is not easy to listen to your body after years of ignoring it, and it’s a work in progress. I do believe there is one thing more difficult than listening to ones body about food; it is listening to what our soul and spirit need for nourishment.  There are specific relationships, media, places, and situations that are toxic to our being, but insanely enough, we continue to allow it in.

A personal example would have to be the music I listen to while I drive. Now, I will begin with saying that living and commuting in the DC area will make anyone angry. Drivers here just have the special ability (especially on the 495 Beltway) to get on my laaaast nerve. As in the nerve that is holding the rest of me together, and these drivers are coming after it with a sharp pair of scissors, poking and cutting at it. THIS MY FRIENDS is what it is like driving in the DC region (even thinking about driving is irritating me). Anywho, back to my point! I used to listen to anything that was playing on the radio when I drove. I love music, and have to listen to it when I’m in the car. I began to notice that certain types of music were affecting my attitude and emotions while I drove (as a word of caution, listening to Ludacris’ Move song while driving is never a good idea). At first I ignored it because part of me has a love for super ratchet music (I don’t care who you are, there is a ratchet song that you love), but eventually I made the switch to listening to either WGTS 91.9 or the Christian music on my iPod (cause you can’t curse someone out while singing about Jesus… like, you can’t). I will not lie, this has changed my attitude towards DC and Maryland drivers (people from Virginia can’t drive, it’s a fact).

This only represents one example of how I’m trying to listen to my body and what it needs and doesn’t need. One positive lesson I’ve learned is when you take one thing out, you get to fill that space with something new and nourishing (goodbye cheddar, hello goat cheese).

Let me know if you’re on this journey too, and how you are listening to your body’s needs.

With love,

Tifa