Have you heard of the eating disorder anorexia? Are you concerned that you may have it yourself? There is a lot of information available these days about this troubling and sometimes life-threatening eating disorder. But I will share with you not only some common personal issues, symptoms and health problems with anorexia, I will also provide you with some encouragement for recovery if you are dealing with this difficult eating disorder.
Some common personal issues associated with anorexia include feeling afraid of food, carrying past hurtful unresolved events, struggling to get something in one's life under control and feeling guilty before God for mistreating one's body. While only a professional can diagnose you, if any of these things are true for you, please read further. It is possible you may have anorexia or the precursors to anorexia.
Although this is not a comprehensive list, here are some common signs and symptoms of anorexia.
Obsession with weight and body image
Restricting food intake
Taking diet pills
Denial of hunger
Unusual food rituals
Feeling fat when underweight
You need not have every sign and symptom to have anorexia. Any combination of these signs and symptoms can result in serious consequences. As with any eating disorder, health damage is a concern. Here are some health problems that can occur as a result of anorexia.
Lack of menstrual periods
Heart and blood pressure problems
Weakness, fatigue and dizziness
Anorexia can even be fatal. Get help if you have this eating disorder. Your life could depend on it.
If you have anorexia, know that God has a better life waiting for you. Please also understand that the food-related behaviors of this eating disorder are a symptom of deeper issues. With God at your side and with the help you need, you can work through whatever it is that draws you to anorexic behaviors. Here are some things to consider as you endeavor to break free of anorexia.
God loves you beyond your comprehension and nothing will ever change that. "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" ( Rom. 8:38-39).
Freedom from anorexia is possible. You may feel hopeless at times, but with the Lord's help, you can conquer it. "No, in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:37).
He is strong when and where you are weak. "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (II Cor. 12:9-10).
Keep God at the center of your recovery. You may be amazed at His power, His love and His grace. To invite Him to lead your recovery, perhaps you would like to say this prayer or one like it in your own words.
Will you forgive me for depriving my body of needed nourishment? I can see that I can't overcome anorexia alone, and I ask that You lead me to the support and accountability I need. Please give me strength to say no to the urges to mistreat my body, courage to face and work through underlying issues, and perseverance when I'm tempted to give up on recovery. Thank You for loving me and for all You're going to do in me as we face this battle together.
In Jesus' name,
Laurie Glass has a Master of Ministry degree in Christian Counseling and is the author of Journey to Freedom from Eating Disorders. She is a recovered anorexic who offers online Christian counseling services to adult women with eating disorders. See her website at http://freedomfromed.com/.