Contributor: Sarah, valued Eating Disorder Hope community member
Working out used to be something I felt like I “needed” to do. Something I could control. At the time it was the only thing I could control. I couldn’t control the things going on around me in my life, so I found comfort in working out.
All I wanted to be was stick thin and accepted by my peers. I only cared what they thought about how I LOOKED and somehow if I looked good they would like me. Wow, 10 years later I can really see how wrong I was!
Focusing On Appearance and Social Acceptance
Social acceptance and our appearance is something our society continues to focus on. I had to learn to change my view on this. Do I really want to be accepted by the way I look or what is on the inside? I found to learn to fix my eyes on the Lord through my recovery process. I have learned to fix my eyes on my inner heart and defining myself as who I am and not how I look.
Today, so much is judged by the amount of money in the bank, job we have, or cars we drive instead of who we really are. This all goes back to appearance. My eating disorder has not always been about just how I look in the mirror but also about my feelings and things going on in my life.
Through life ups and downs I have tended to rely on the addiction of wanting to be in control of my appearance and the food going in my mouth instead of the things I cannot control in my life. This is when I began to focus on reading scriptures.
Focusing On Unconditional Love
Through the journey the Lord has taken me on I have relied on his abounding grace and unconditional love for his children. One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 1:11, “It is in Christ we find out who we are and what we are living for.” I focus on the part what we are living for. Am I living for how I look on the outside or who I am on the inside? Am I worried about how I treat others or how I appear to them?
I have decided to also turn exercise into something positive. I, for the past couple of years have been attending spin class about 4 times a week, and met a wonderful group of people. We support each other and encourage each other. Through this, I have found moderation and happiness with exercise. I have been there to push others and shared my story with them.
I recently have purchased a road bike. This was a whole new adventure where at first I could not ride 5 miles without needing to come home. I began to fuel my body for each ride. Over time 5 miles turned into 10 and 10 into 15 and finally I reached my 25 mile goal mark. I hope to be competing in my first road race this summer. I did this through determination, not giving up, and fueling my body to help me reach that goal. I have learned to find a positive relationship with food.
My husband is a fabulous cook who spends some nights traveling so our meals at home do not happen as often as some. The nights that he is home I can’t wait to get home to walk in to the smell of his delicious meal waiting for me and the time to spend together. Through my husband’s continuous support, I have learned to find myself again.
Focusing On Happiness and Who I Am
I have learned to find joy from good food and the joy of eating a meal together. I have found through my struggles to find happiness with my life and who I am. Yes my hips or my pants may be a little bigger than your average super model but to me that’s okay.
I have found I don’t need to look onto a scale to find joy. I no longer look in the mirror and care about my outward appearance. I have found I have a Lord above who loves me and accepts me for who I am and a husband who encourages me and sees only inner beauty.
My message today is to all of you out there who are struggling I have been there. For all of you who are hurting and feel like, “How will I EVER get through this?” My encouragement to you today is to keep fighting and rely on those who love you the most.
We all have special gifts to share with the world and we need strong bodies to do that!! Every day towards recovery is a day in the right direction.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Have you or your loved one struggled with an eating disorder, and now found a healthy balance in exercise? What type of exercise are you enjoying?
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 3, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com