Beauty, Issue 47, Mental Health

I Never Thought I Could Eat Without Guilt

I Never Thought I Could Eat Without Guilt

When I became a Christian at 19, I was not sure who God was and what I was seeking. At the same time, I was struggling with my weight and had problems eating proper meals. I became lost and depressed as I struggled with my body image, and was also not doing well in school. All this led me to have a sense of inferiority, and being able to control my weight was something that gave me satisfaction.

Even though I did not get medically diagnosed with an eating disorder, I was aware that I had one. My period had stopped for several months, and I was losing a lot of hair daily due to the lack of nutrients. I knew I needed to recover, but re-learning how to eat was arduous. For some time after deciding that I needed to recover, I still wanted to be in control — I only wanted to gain a certain amount of weight. Even while seeking recovery, I continued to feel sure that I would have to live with this eating disorder for my entire life, unable to enjoy a proper meal without feeling guilt.

Despite such feelings, I attended church services and cell group occasionally. The sermons and sharing during the cell group were helpful and worship was especially powerful for me. Many of the songs we sang resonated with me and unexpectedly brought me to tears.

At this point, I took time almost every day to write down a prayer to the Lord. Folding the prayers into neat little envelopes, I prayed that He would take away my feelings of guilt every time I ate, and the urge to vomit out what I had already eaten. Slowly, I let go of my desire to control my weight, and let God carry out His plans for me.

It was not easy, as I struggled whenever I weighed myself and saw the number rising. I gained back a total of 12 kg, which brought me back to a healthy weight. Eventually, I found myself not planning my meals in advance and willingly going on supper runs with the cell group! It was a lightbulb moment, as if God had turned on a switch in my brain that made me realise that life is so much more than what I eat and how I looked. Miraculously, I was enjoying eating again. Even more miraculously, the weight I gained was the exact number I wanted to gain at the start of my recovery journey, and it happened without me needing to obsess over the numbers. I thought to myself, if God didn’t have a hand in this, what else could it be?

Being free of my eating disorder after about four years has given me a new lease of life. I am able to focus on God and others around me instead of worrying about my weight or how much I am eating. God has healed me of the insecurity of needing validation from society. As my identity in Christ deepens, I feel assured of the love He has for me and that He is sufficient.

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