I’m not saying I was ever anorexic. I’ve always been a healthy weight. But it doesn’t take an eating disorder for a girl to have disordered eating.
From my early twenties until I became pregnant with Caroline, I became increasingly obsessed with my weight and caloric intake. My college roommates were equally obsessive, and it felt normal. I’d meet friends for dinner and have only a Diet Coke, lying that I’d already eaten. My face tingled with anxiety at party invitations, because parties serve delicious calories. I searched for online “thinspiration,” (can I really admit this?), which is photo groups of beautiful, underfed, otherwise perfect girls — photos I hoped would stab me with an envy sharper than my hunger.
I felt pride — sickening, twisted pride — that I could exist the weeks leading up to a beach trip on scarce amounts of food, meticulously calculating just how little I must eat to reach target weight. I felt superior for the willpower to starve myself towards a goal. I felt “healthy” because I always stayed within one pound of the lowest healthy weight recommended for my height.
It wasn’t healthy thinking.
Beth Moore was right when she said pride is this strange and simultaneous mixture of both self-grandiosity and crushing insecurity.
How do ego and self-hatred dance so lustfully together?
|Me and newborn Caroline…
when God began to change my
In the past few years, though, things have changed.
The more I believe God’s love for me, the more unable I am to run an inner dialogue scathing enough to scare me from food. The bigger I realize God is, the more humbled I am to live for Him. And if I’m living for the Ultimate Purpose, how much energy can I waste worshiping all the ideal body could bring me?
It’s not about my personal body. I’m part of the body of Christ. And my spiritual health is far more crucial than my attractiveness.
Okay… so now I’m about to confuse you.
I’m about to seemingly contradict myself.
Yes, I’m thrilled that weight no longer consumes me. But I’m not happy with every single one of the fifteen pounds I gained. So I’m trying to lose some of them.
I don’t want to starve myself.
I don’t want to bow down to the scale.
But I’ve never successfully lost weight through healthy, moderate plans. Only through dramatic self-scathing.
Which brings me to my question:
How do you successfully lose weight without using self-hatred as a motivator?
Perhaps I’m discovering an answer.
See, the self-hatred, as well as the accompanying ironic arrogance… they’re all built on lies. Lies saying I was worthless, or that I was oh-so-important and therefore must look fabulous. Lies saying it’s worthwhile to spend every ounce of energy on personal appearance, at the expense of spiritual health, joy, relationships.
My new plan for weight loss is this: truth.
You’ll understand what I mean in a second.
Here’s the plan: I’m keeping record of all the things I eat each day.
If I gorge myself, I have to record how much I ate of every.stinking.thing, truthfully.
As long as I do that, I haven’t fallen off the plan… regardless of how much I overate.
Because what I want is to…
- Know the truth of what I’m eating. Have full awareness.
- Know the truth of God’s value for me. It’s not failure that I pigged out at a wedding this weekend. It was glorious fun. It’s not failure that my husband took me on a date Sunday night after I’d planned to eat lighter that evening. I should feel free to enjoy him. But at least I’ve recorded all that I’ve eaten, and if it was too rich, perhaps seeing it written out will cause me to snack less tomorrow.
I’m done with the lies that pull me from all God has for me.
So how’s this plan working?
Well, I’ve very slowly lost several pounds. And I may plateau soon. I’m okay with that.
The goal is no longer some unrealistic ideal.
It’s simply to eat more reasonably.
That’s a practical goal that doesn’t interfere with all God has for me.