Becoming the woman you want to be can be difficult, I’m not sure if I will ever fully be that woman in this lifetime, but letting God change me through my life journey is what I want. I remember sitting on the rooftop of my dorm freshman year, praying that God would mould me into becoming more like Him. Asking for change, to be refined. I didn’t know the journey God would have for me that following year.
I had never been a dieter; I just ate what I wanted in moderation—most of the time. Body image and comparison had always been something that I struggled with from a young age. The fear of not being liked because of what I looked like was always lingering somewhere in my mind. Sometimes I was living in that fear, other times I was pushing past it living confidently. My sophomore year of college during Jan-term I took a physical education class—one of the mandatory classes—I remembered them talking about how if you wanted to lose weight you could just eat a little less, and it would work—I’m sure it was more extensive but that is what stuck with me. It seems like that concept wouldn’t be so new to me, I was in college after all, but I looked at it like a new challenge to be met.
I remember walking to the cafeteria after class, thinking, I’m going to do this, I’m going to eat less and lose weight. I can be strong-willed, which gave me an edge to become a disciplined eater. Over the next few weeks, to my surprise, the pounds began to slip away. As I restricted, exercise also became an unhealthy obsession. I had always loved working out and it was part of who I was but it became excessive, and my healthy relationship with food, exercise, and my body turned into a deep dark pit that I wasn’t going to get out of for a long time.
It all started with a simple diet, or so I thought, and it led me onto a path of darkness, loneliness, and pain. I thought I could keep my perfect diet together, but it all began to fall apart almost as quickly as it started. Because I was depriving myself and restricting I began to binge, and I began to hide. I isolated myself away from friends, as my anxiety grew. Eventually, some amazing friends who could see through my attempts to pretend I was ok, gently lead me to start counselling. It was the first step to healing, however, I spent many years struggling through my eating disorder, and my negative body image.
Today I can say that God has freed me from the chains of bondage that kept me from truly living.
I have stepped away from diet culture as I have learned to accept myself for who I am, flaws and all. I’m thankful for the struggles and brokenness that God allowed in my life. It was a journey to let others know that no matter what you are struggling with, there is freedom to be found! When we are broken God binds us back together even strong then we were before. Finding a path to self-acceptance isn’t easy but it is worth it to truly live life. For me, it is a daily decision to walk in freedom, and while it is not perfect, it is worth the fight.
- Keeping hope even while you are struggling is hard. Will this fight ever come to an end? I want to encourage you on your journey to keep the fight going. Here are some pieces of light, which kept me going even in the darkness, as I hope they will shine some light on your journey as well.
- Counsellor or Mentor. Finding a mentor and a counsellor was a first step I took towards healing. It was vital for me to have someone who I could trust, and to pour truth into my life. Someone who would provide safe counsel and I knew would be prayerful over me. Invite someone into your story, and let the healing begin.
- Seek Truth. The lies that the world tells us are that we need to be a certain shape or size to be loved. You do not have to change your body to find acceptance or love! Seeking God’s word while creating boundaries with people, and social media were stepping stones to find healing.
- Intuitive Eating. Intuitive eating is eating in a way where you are listening to your clever body as you learn to make peace with food, and your body. The ten principles are many pieces that I have put into practice over time, but bringing them altogether completed the path I needed to follow.
- Stepping away from Diet Culture. Rejecting the diet mentality is one of the first principles of Intuitive Eating and is a great first step away from diet culture. Diets don’t work, and they can also lead to eating disorders or disordered eating—which is what happened to me. Also setting boundaries with social media, magazines, or television to prevent the temptation that diet culture draws us towards, helped me to turn my back on diet culture. Developing a peaceful relationship with food and giving up the food battle, has given me life and balance with food and my body.
- Trusting God with my Body. I cannot control all the things that happen to my body, but I can trust God. Daily I surrender my worries, and fears about my body to Him, as I thank Him for the wonderful body He has given me. I choose to find my confidence in Him, instead of others or the world.
You can truly find freedom from food and negative body image. It is a process, but it is worth the time and effort to find healing from the “life thief” that diet culture is.
*The struggle is real, and if you are struggling with eating, I encourage you to step out and seek help. Take the first step to find a counsellor, nutrition counsellor, or mentor to help provide positive tools for your journey to recovery. It can be hard to take the first step, but it is so worth the freedom you will find!
About The Author
Driven by the inspiration to lead others to find freedom in Christ, Caitlin is the lady behind the blog, changemeministries.com. She is wife to a fun-loving, hubby, and a momma to two precious kiddos. She loves her sweet home in Birmingham, Alabama!
Hanging up her hat from teaching in the classroom, and into full-time mommying, she is currently a group exercise instructor, who likes a hard-core workout, a renewed intuitive eater, and a woman seeking after God’s heart! She is on her journey to love who Christ has created her to be and daily claiming her self-worth in Him. As she shares her stories about her eating disorder recovery, she hopes to encourage others to seek peace with food and freedom from diet culture.