To Whom it May Concern

Hello beautiful.

I know what you’re going through. I know how hard it was to get out of bed this morning and face the day. I know how loud the voices are and how unbearable the anxiety is when you don’t obey them. I know you want to fight, but it’s so much easier to lie in surrender. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless, worthless, defeated. But I have to tell you something. 

You don’t have to live like this. 

You don’t have to let the number on the scale control you. You don’t have to feel guilty about nourishing your body. You don’t have to isolate yourself because you’re afraid to let the world see you. You don’t have to hide your body behind those baggy clothes. You don’t have to throw up everything you eat. You don’t have to look in the mirror every day and hate what you see.

Recovery is possible. Freedom from your eating disorder is possible. 

I know the face of anorexia all too well, but I also know what it’s like to live a free life. And you can too.

Recovery is not easy, but it’s worth it. Every meal you eat is a victory. Every pound you gain is another battle won. Every day you ignore the voices in your head is another step towards total freedom.

This is a fight for your life, so put on your boxing gloves and get ready. You’re going to fall, but you can stand back up. You’re going to take some blows, but you will be okay. You’re going to feel weak, but you’re stronger than you believe. You’re going to be afraid, but you’re braver than you think.

You are worth more than anything this eating disorder has to offer. You are a living, breathing, feeling, human being, and you were created for so much more than this. You are a child of God. He calls you beautiful, righteous, blessed, pure, worthy, lovely, wonderful. Start making decisions based on who you truly are, not who the eating disorder tells you that you are.

Chin up, my dear. You can do this. I promise you won’t regret it.

Love,

Sarah Elaine

Sit.

There are 24 hours in a day.

60 minutes in an hour.

That’s one thousand, four-hundred and forty minutes. And sometimes I get way too caught up in trying to squeeze as much activity into those minutes as possible.

Do. Move. Make. Plan. Repeat.

This week has been a whirlwind. Sure, I’ve accomplished a lot. I attended a scholarship competition. I spent the day in Dahlonega with friends. I worked twenty hours, took two tests, and managed to hit the gym a few times. I went to church. I went to prayer night. I made progress in planning an upcoming ministry event. And tonight I’m hosting a party at my house for my middle-school girls small group.

Looking back, it’s been a productive week. But it’s left me dizzy and breathless.

I kept saying yes. I kept doing more. And in all the doing and the moving and the busyness I forgot to feed my soul. I forgot that a cup can only pour out for so long before it is left empty and dry. And it wasn’t until I completely dried up that I realized the importance of slowing down and taking time to allow the Lord to fill up my cup.

Like Martha I’ve been distracted. I’ve been doing “good” things, but I’ve been missing out on the best thing of all: sitting at the feet of Jesus. There’s no point in serving unless you know the One you serve, or in leading unless you know the One you lead people to. And the only way to know Him, is to spend time with Him. To sit at His feet and hear His voice. To read His word. To ask Him questions and listen to His answers.

This morning I did something I haven’t done all week: I sat without thinking or planning or worrying about all the things I need to do. I just sat and let the Lord fill my cup. I read the Word, journaled, sipped my coffee and let Him speak to me.

My mentor told me this; Be brave to put Him first.

It’s easy to believe that if we take time away from our schedules things will fall apart. But the truth is that there is great reward to be found in sitting quietly at His feet and trusting that if we put Him first, everything else will fall into place. Schedules will change, deadlines will come and go, and this season of life will pass. But time spent with Jesus is eternal.

Oh yeah, I used to be anorexic too

“Oh yeah, I used to be anorexic too”

I’m sorry, but no. You didn’t.

I’m not trying to be mean. I’m not ignoring the prevalence, severity, and potential danger of extreme dieting and disordered eating habits. But society seems to have a huge misunderstanding of what an eating disorder actually is. I’ve had people say things to me like “I used to be anorexic, but then I realized how unhealthy I was and I turned it around.” Or “I had an eating disorder for a couple months, but then I decided to stop.” I realize that comments like these are said with the intent to inspire and encourage, but honestly, it’s insulting. It’s like telling someone with brain cancer that you understand what they’re going through because you had a concussion once.

I could show you numbers and statistics. I could show you the research and argue my point. But that’s boring and I’m not a scientist or a psychologist. (If you’re interested, just head over to edbites.com). I can just say from my own experience and research, that eating disorders are a lot more uncommon and a lot more serious than people think.

First of all, there’s disordered-eating, which is actually very different from an eating disorder. Disordered eating can be a reaction to trauma, an attempt to control stressful circumstances, or the result of poor self-confidence and body image. It’s widespread in today’s culture. It’s why girls start dieting at 8 years old. It’s why people skip meals in order to keep their weight in check. Disordered eating can and often does include fasting, binging, purging, and obsession with body image…all the symptoms of anorexia and bulimia…but it doesn’t mean the person has an eating disorder.

Eating disorders look a bit different. An eating disorder is a mental illness that causes serious physical harm and is potentially fatal. Unlike disordered eating, someone with anorexia or bulimia does not choose to engage in such behaviors. Eating disorders aren’t about control, or family issues, or whatever else Dr. Phil has told you. Eating disorders are about trying to silence the noise in one’s head that gets increasingly louder in reaction to food.  In order to keep anxiety at bay, the patient will withdraw from social activities, hide food, and develop rigid “food rules.”

Here’s another way to look at it: many people drink alcohol. But not everyone who drinks is an alcoholic.

Similarly, not everyone with disordered eating habits has an eating disorder.

However, it’s not always easy to distinguish between the two; disordered eating can look a lot like an eating disorder. In the end, I know an eating disorder when I see one.

Both issues are important. Both issues deserve attention and action. But it’s well, hurtful, when someone believes that their extreme diet plan is equivalent to my best friend’s 6-year long battle with this illness. Preventing disordered eating, particularly in young girls, is something I am seriously passionate about. But I’m also passionate about shedding light on the world of eating disorders and giving sufferers the treatment they deserve.

Adventures with Stephanie

Last Saturday, I flew  to Gainesville, Florida to visit my best friend. While Atlanta was facing the great snow storm of 2014, I was enjoying the Florida weather with my favorite Stephanie. Not to brag or anything…

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We went to Universal Studios and rode roller-coasters, won an elephant, and visited Harry Potter World.

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We went out for ice-cream.

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We went to the pet store and found the funniest looking dog I’ve ever seen. His name is Duncan. 

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Look at those feet….

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And after having 3 flights cancelled because of the snow and ice, I made it back home.

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And that’s my week in a nutshell! Now it’s back to normal life 😛 I miss you Stephanie!