Whether a person suffers from bulimia, anorexia, or compulsive overeating, eventually the secret does manifest itself. Our bodies are able to tolerate enormous amounts of abuse, but sooner or later they begin to break down. Weight drops dramatically, teeth rapidly decay, the throat bleeds, and the heart beats erratically, or stops altogether. Twenty percent of anorexics eventually die as a direct result of their anorexia, and many more suffer irreparable physical damage. The stress of bingeing and purging also take its toll. There comes a point when certain vital organs and glands begin to break down.
Eating disorders are emotional time bombs because all emotions are put on hold so that the person can concentrate solely on food. They also act as time bombs in our relationships. Other people cease to be as important as the relationship with food. Food becomes a secret friend or a hated enemy that no one else can understand. Feelings of alienation separate the person with an eating disorder from those who would help if they only knew.
Eating disorders also cause serious damage to your spirit and soul. The shame you feel about yourself and the way you eat, as well as the constant secrecy and deception, gnaw away at your inner being. The guilt and frustration of the disorder also hinder a person’s ability to connect with God. The more you turn to a physical comfort like food, the less likely you are to turn to God for spiritual comfort.
Whether food is your bitter enemy, to be approached only with the greatest suspicion and caution, or your secret friend, eagerly awaited and constantly thought about, you need to put it back in its proper place, as neither enemy nor friend.
It doesn’t take being diagnosed with an eating disorder to realize something is wrong with the way you eat or the way you feel about food. You may not starve yourself continually. You may never have vomited up your dinner on cue. The thought of eating five thousand calories in a single sitting may never have occurred to you. But you may still view food as either a friend or an enemy. You may eat, not for nutrition, but for a host of other reasons, certain ones you barely recognize. Some people suffer from a diagnosed eating disorder and some suffer from a debilitating pattern of disordered eating. The disordered eating may never end up in a diagnostic and statistical manual, but that really isn’t relevant to you. What is relevant is pain. When food ceases to be nutrition and fuel the body and warps into something else, whether eating disorder or disordered eating, you suffer.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 30 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others. For more information about eating disorder treatment, fill out this form or call 1-888-747-5592 to speak confidentially with a specialist today.