2014

I pray that 2014 would be the best year of your life so far. May you be blessed beyond measure. May you seize each day, making the most of every opportunity and relishing every moment more than the last.

May you never forget His steadfast love. May His light shine on you, and through you.

I pray that you would be bold, daring to do great things with no fear of the unknown.

Open your hands, and give 2014 to God. Let go of your plans, your goals, your resolutions, and allow the Lord to make His desires, your desires. Listen to His voice, and follow the path that He has laid out for you. For on it, lay greater things than you can imagine.

“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

-Philippians 3:13

Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013 was one of the best yet. Here’s a little recap of our day:

Before we opened presents, we read some verses from Revelation about the coming of Jesus.

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God…On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of Lords. 

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I made everyone get their picture taken. They’ll thank me later.

IMG_9114 Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

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We relaxed, watched movies, cooked, and then enjoyed an amazing (mostly gluten-free) Christmas dinner.

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We finished the evening with warm apple-crisp and fun conversation.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)
You’d never know it’s gluten free.

This Christmas, I’m thankful for my health. I’m thankful that I was able to enjoy the day free from anxiety and stress. I’m thankful for my family, who never gave up on me even in the worst of times. I’m thankful for this season of peace and restoration, and I pray that there is more to come.

Merry Christmas.

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago), salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember His holy covenant, the oath He swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Luke 1:67-79

Christmas Survival Guide

Tomorrow is Christmas.

The fire crackles, music plays, and family gathers around a Christmas dinner worthy of Martha Stewart. At least that’s how it looks on TV. Real-life Christmas, however…burnt turkey, argumentative in-laws, finding yet another pair of socks under the Christmas tree…can easily crash the holiday spirit.

But for someone battling an eating disorder, this time of year creates anxiety that can be unbearable. I know that when I was sick, I just wanted to go into hiding until the threat of sweet potato casserole and apple pie was gone. I wanted everyone to stop offering me hot-chocolate and sugar cookies. I wanted nothing more than to return to my usual routine.

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I understand that holidays are difficult. So, from someone who has experienced the stress of Christmas with an eating disorder several times, here is your holiday survival guide!

1. Plan ahead. I’m not saying that you should know exactly what’s on the menu and calculate the calories of every dish. But knowing what time you’re going to eat, what your family’s plans are for the day, and what foods you are going to challenge yourself with, can help you cope with anxiety and ensure that you don’t restrict or binge. Prepare your mind to face new challenges. Talk through it: “I will have pie for dessert tonight. It is healthy for me. It will help me recover. Eating dessert is normal. My ED doesn’t like dessert, but I do. I’m going to listen to myself, not to ED.”

2. Don’t restrict throughout the day. Skipping your regular meals and snacks to compensate for a big dinner will entertain your eating disorder and lead to binging later in the day. Restricting doesn’t ever have a place in recovery, even on holidays. 

3. Give yourself permission to eat and feel full. Christmas is one day out of the year. You know that eating one small meal won’t magically make you lose weight, so why would you expect to gain weight from one big meal? It’s okay to eat more than you would on a normal day. It’s healthy for you to go back for seconds and eat dessert.

4. Don’t isolate yourself. Being alone with your thoughts is never a good idea. Socialize. Play games. Distract yourself from any guilty or anxious thoughts instead of dwelling on them. 

5. Don’t engage in fat-talk. Christmas is a prime time for family members to discuss how much weight they’ve gained and how they really shouldn’t be eating dessert. People love to talk about their diets and their New Year’s resolutions to exercise more and eat less. You can’t control what other people say, but your own words are just as powerful. If someone wants to complain about their own weight or talk about how much they’re eating, tell them they are perfect just the way they are and they should just enjoy the meal! If someone comments on your body or how much is on your plate, politely say that you prefer not to discuss it.

6. Make Christmas about more than food. Yes, traditional dinners and desserts are part of it, but it isn’t hamandpieuntilyoudie day. It’s CHRISTmas day. It’s about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and the gift of salvation that He brought to mankind. It’s a reminder of the depth of God’s love for us, and an opportunity to share that love with others. Relax. Spend time with family and friends. Give generously and receive graciously. Christmas is about so much more than what’s for dinner.

My most important piece of advice is this: remember what truly matters. In five years, ten years, twenty years, are you going to care how much you ate on December 25, 2013? Are you going to wish that you had weighed 5 pounds less? Are you going to regret eating that extra roll?

No. You’re not. 

You’re going to remember the people you spent the day with. The gifts given. The laughs shared. The stories exchanged.

My family and I are so grateful for this Christmas. I have no anxiety about tomorrow’s festivities. I’m looking forward to cooking and eating and spending time with people I love. Recovery IS possible. You don’t have to spend every Christmas with ED shouting in your ear. If you haven’t yet embarked on your recovery journey, don’t wait. Let tomorrow be the most joyful Christmas yet.

Our deepest fear…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

-Marianne Williamson

Shhhh…you’re beautiful.

“I feel so fat today.”

“I just ate way too much….I’m disgusting.”

“Do these jeans make me look big?”

This is fat-talk. And I’m sick of it.

Do you really think these types of comments are helpful? Useful? Uplifting in any way? Do you think your daughter doesn’t pick up on your subtle remarks? Your shameful countenance when you try on a pair of jeans? Your expressions of guilt over eating too much for dinner?

We wonder why young girls are so insecure, why eating disorders are rampant and confidence is rare. Fat-talk is damaging. 

A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit a college in Tennessee. I ate lunch in the cafeteria with about 8 other rising freshman, and guess what the topic of conversation was.

I’m eating too much. I need to lose weight. I want dessert…but I shouldn’t. 

It made me realize that this is an epidemic. Women everywhere–of all ages–are engaging in self-destructive bullying. But why? Why do we fat-talk?

  • Because we have the wrong idea that speaking negatively about ourselves is an indication of humility. We think that any positive remark towards our body will make people think that we are full of vanity and conceit.
  • Because we are seeking approval. We want to hear that we look great, that we look skinny, that we should have dessert. Are we that insecure, that we need to go fishing for compliments and approval?
  • Because, for some ridiculous reason, eating has become something that we feel needs to be justified. You can’t eat ice-cream simply because you want it. You can’t go back for seconds just because you are still hungry. Women feel that eating always has to be justified with “I haven’t eaten all day” or “I feel so guilty about this” or “I’m breaking my diet just this once.”
  • Because the truth has been concealed by the habit of comparison. We only see other’s strengths and our own faults, and it drives us to criticize our appearance and our actions.

These are the reasons we engage in fat-talk, and every one of them is founded on a lie. 

Here’s a fantastic quote by Kate Winslet:

“As a child, I never heard one woman say to me, “I love my body”. Not my mother, my elder sister, my best friend. No one woman has ever said, “I am proud of my body.” So I make sure to say it to Mia [her daughter], because a positive physical outlook has to start at an early age.”

Amen.

The next time you are tempted to say something negative about yourself, ask “Would I say this to a friend?” “Would I want my daughter to think this about herself?”

The comments that we so freely make about our bodies don’t just effect us. They effect everyone around us. They tear down your friends and family. They contribute to the cycle that perpetuates insecurity and the need for affirmation from others. Fat-talk affirms the notion that the size of our bodies and the number on the scale determine our worth.

I encourage you to commit to putting a stop to this kind of speech by neither instigating nor engaging in fat-talk. The next time a friend apologizes or makes excuses for eating something “bad” or missing the gym, don’t respond with the typical “well you should see what I ate yesterday” or “well look how big my legs are.” You should instead tell them that their value, as well as your opinion of them, isn’t wrapped up in what they eat or how much they weigh.

It’s time to shut down fat talk. 

Shhhh. You’re beautiful.

Disclaimers:

*That being said, if your child or friend has an eating disorder, you didn’t “give” them their illness by fat-talking in front of them. My mom never spoke negatively about her body or mine or allowed fat-talk in our home, yet I still had an eating disorder.

*Also, health is a separate issue. I do not believe in forgoing nutritious food or exercise, but it should be done with health in mind, not appearance.