Do you cling to your eating disorder as if it’s your best friend? Does it seem impossible to live without practicing certain food-related behaviors? Are you ever afraid to imagine your life without your eating disorder “friend”?
Food-related behaviors become comfortable to us. They provide us with a distraction from what is truly troubling us inside. They give us something to do when our hearts or our lives feel empty. While other things are changing, food-related behaviors remain a constant companion. These are some reasons that an eating disorder often “feels” like a friend.
But let’s look at what kind of a “friend” the eating disorder really is. A true friend doesn’t lie to us, but the eating disorder does. Here are just some of its favorite lies.
1. It tells us that if we reach a certain weight, we will be happy. But when the scale gives us that coveted number, any happiness we feel is short-lived. There is usually a desire to lose even more weight.
2. The eating disorder uses its voice to tell us that we are fat when, in fact, we are not. It also distorts the image we see in the mirror which only increases its influence on us. This lie or trick drives us to practice food-related behaviors to lose weight.
3. It lies to us when it tells us to keep our feelings hidden inside. Then it draws us to food-related behaviors and we focus on them instead of on the multitude of feelings that we need to express and resolve.
4. This deceptive voice conveys to us that we don’t deserve any better than what it can give us. It convinces us that we aren’t worthy of getting needed help and support.
5. The eating disorder badgers us into believing that engaging in food-related behaviors puts us in control. In reality, though, we get so entangled with the behaviors that we feel powerless to stop them. Does that sound like we’re in control? No, that sounds like we’re in bondage, like we’re being held hostage, like we’re practicing self-destructive behaviors against our will.
6. This enemy causes us to doubt God’s love for us. It makes us feel so ashamed before Him that we are too uncomfortable to even pray in regard to the eating disorder.
See the eating disorder as the foe it really is. This enemy seeks to slowly destroy you both inside and out. It never has your best interests in mind. It doesn’t care about your health or your genuine happiness.
When you hear its lies, whether they’re the ones listed above or other ones, talk back to the eating disorder. Recognize the truth and focus on that as intensely as you can. Here are some things you can say back to the nasty old foe.
1. Eating disorder, you can’t deceive me anymore. You promise I’ll be happy at a certain weight, but I’m not. Stop making promises that you can’t keep.
2. Foe, keep your distortions to yourself. You can’t come with me to the mirror anymore.
3. You nasty old enemy, I refuse to bury my feelings for your sake any longer. I resolve to get the help and support I need to learn healthy ways to express myself. You can’t deprive me of healthy coping mechanisms any longer.
4. You lying foe, there is no legitimate reason that I can’t get the help and support I need. I have a place and a purpose in this world and I’m going to fulfill it without you.
5. Control freak, you can’t be in charge of me anymore. You’ve tried to convince me that I’m in control when in reality, you were controlling me. Now I see you for what you are, and I won’t let you control me anymore.
6. Mean old eating disorder, God loves me and I can go to Him anytime, even when I’m struggling. He wants to strengthen me. You have no right to prevent me from going to Him and I will no longer allow you to do so.
These are just some statements to get you started as you talk back to the one who has deceived you. Take some time to think about it and add some of your own statements that combat the lies the eating disorder voice tells you, some statements that really resonate with you personally and that will lead you toward health.
No matter how much you may feel to the contrary, the eating disorder is not your friend. It’s a foe that doesn’t deserve to harm you. Talk back to it and get the help and support you need to send it on its way. Do whatever it takes to leave it behind you and enjoy a life of freedom better than you’ve ever dreamed.
By Laurie Glass