Renewing the mind, replacing lies with the truth, is vital in eating disorder recovery. The lies and negative self-talk fuel the eating disorder, so it’s important to get to the root of those thoughts so you can change them. Renewing the mind starts with examining your self-talk.
It may seem odd to explore your thoughts: it may seem all you do is think and you wish you could shut off your brain sometimes. But consider the thousands of thoughts you have in a day. Imagine how much they must affect you. They’re constantly running, so they continually have the opportunity to influence you. It’s important to examine those thoughts and get to the root of them.(1)
If you pay close attention, you’ll notice how many of these thoughts are negative and that many of them are downright lies. And these are the thoughts that guide your emotions and your behaviors. That’s why it’s so important to change them so you can have positive, truthful, live-giving thoughts leading you.
Do thoughts like these sound familiar?
• I’m ugly.
• I don’t have a purpose in life.
• I should stuff my feelings. Emotions aren’t important anyway.
• My eating disorder is my way to cope.
• I’m beyond help. I’ve messed up so much that God won’t want to help me.
• If I try to recover, I’ll just relapse again.
You may have these exact thoughts or ones that are similar, but I give these examples to help you recognize some of the specific lies you may believe. I used to believe some of these lies myself. They affected my emotions and made me feel badly about myself, and they affected my behaviors. In other words, these lies fueled the eating disorder, keeping me bound to a life of self-destruction.
When I finally came to the point that I wanted to recover, I asked the Lord to lead my journey. And he did! He led me to the truth in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” I took this verse literally and wrote verses, quotes, and other truthful statements on note cards. I didn’t trust myself to recall the truth when I needed it most. These note cards were a helpful tool. This was not the only key, but it was one of many keys in my recovery.
When you think of the influence your thoughts have had on you, the doubts and damage they’ve caused as they’ve torn you down emotionally and driven you to destructive behaviors, consider this: positive, truthful thoughts can have every bit as much an effect on you, but in a nurturing and life-giving way, as they fill your mind, filter through your emotions, and lead you to practice healthy behaviors. Remember the portion of Romans 12:2 that says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And, yes, this can happen for you.
Imagine living a transformed life, a life where you:
• Act according to the truth instead of lies
• Aren’t buried in guilt and shame
• Believe what God says about you
• Can eat without fear or guilt
• Process your emotions in healthy ways
• Can enjoy and experience life in a new way
An eating disorder can be all consuming, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Start today by taking one step toward building your recovery voice to fight the eating disorder voice. With the Lord’s strength, that’s a fight you can win!(2)
To help you in this area of renewing your mind, changing your thoughts, I have created some resources for you.
Christian Eating Disorder Recovery Course, Change Your Thoughts lesson – The principle of renewing the mind is interwoven into this course, and there’s one lesson dedicated to this topic alone. It’s designed to help you recognize the thoughts and lies that are controlling and hurting you. There is an extensive homework assignment to help you get to the root of the lies and negative thoughts and replace them with the truth once and for all. Use this lesson to help you in this vital area of recovery and move toward freedom from your eating disorder.
Eating Disorder Recovery Note Cards – Cards you can download and print to help you let go of guilt and shame, face your fears, see your identity in Christ, let go of control, and trust God and stay on track in your recovery
(1)Laurie Glass, Christian Eating Disorder Recovery Course, Change Your Thoughts, 2015.
(2)Laurie Glass, Gain Victory over the Eating Disorder Voice, 2015.