Feasting on Ashes

stuffedContinued from here.

After awakening to the reality that I had an eating disorder, I tried many ways to break free from it with little success. I tried bizarre diets to “trick” my metabolism into speeding up. I tried not allowing certain foods in the house, refusing to buy “fat pants,” counting calories, and other forms of dieting that never worked for long.

After entering therapy for the child abuse, I felt more hopeful because my therapist was unconcerned about the eating disorder. He said that as I healed my emotional pain, I would have less of a need to “stuff down” my emotions, so the eating disorder would resolve itself. While he was correct that the severity of binges eased with therapy, I was still binge eating several times a week. I was a long way from going three months without binge eating.

I also tried behavior modification, which I had limited success with. I instituted “cooling off” periods in which I would delay succumbing to the urge to binge eat for five minutes … and then 10 … and then 15 … During the “cooling off” period, I would use a more constructive way to manage my emotional pain, such as journaling, watching a comedy on TV, or calling a friend. If I still felt the urge to binge eat at the end of the “cooling off” period, I then gave myself permission to binge eat with no guilt. I found that about half the time, I could resist the urge after the cooling off period ended, which was progress but still not a cure.

Gradually, God healed the eating disorder a little at a time. As I filled up more with Him, I relied less on food. I came to realize that food was an idol. This verse resonated deeply with me:

Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him;
he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” ~ Is. 44:20

The thought of feasting on ashes spoke to me. I came to realize that I was looking for food to meet a need that only God could heal. This was the catalyst to turning to God to meet my emotional needs rather than food.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace inside a turkey over the word, “Stuffed.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]