3 Reasons Eating Disorders Do Not Define You

By: Kaley Thompson Up to 24 million people suffer from an eating disorder (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder) in the U.S. and 50 percent of those people meet the criteria for depression.*

So, I spent the later part of my high school years and on into my college career thinking I was a statistic. Anorexic. Depressed. Anxiety prone. These were things that affected me. Yet there was so much more to my character.

I had a disorder but that is not all I had. Like any other kid, I dreamed, set goals, and pursued ambitions. I wanted to travel the world and make a positive impact on it. I desired to go on dates and be seen at parties. While I hated some of the things that were occurring in my body, I still loved life.

And years later, I still do.  While my weight has changed, I have not.  Disorder or no disorder, I am me.  And you are you.

No matter what you may be categorized as, here are 3 reasons eating disorders do not define you:

1. You Are A Name Not A Number. The moment you were born, someone looked at you and saw an entire life ahead so they gave you a name. Those did not feature “Anna with Anorexia” or “Bobby the Bulimic.” No matter what you may have done to your body, you cannot starve away who you are.  Feed your soul with the knowledge that you are loved, you are not alone, and your life matters.

2. You Have a Disorder.  The Disorder Does Not Have You. When diagnosed with an eating disorder, no one ever says, “Hey Binge Eating, you have a Josh.  Here’s how to deal with that.”  Instead they say, "Hey Josh, you have..." You have been given ownership over this problem. Are you just going to take it?  Like something you accidentally checked out of your Amazon cart, call the right people and cancel the order on your disorder.  Get support from friends and family. Take steps toward freedom by discovering what it means to be physically, spiritually, and mentally healthy.  Do what you can and trust that it will either be returned or exchanged for something better.

3. What Bothers You Does Not Have To Break You. Eating disorders are hard to overcome because they seem constant or recurring. Instead of beating yourself up for not taking care of your body or relapsing into bad habits, give yourself grace. Each time you cut yourself down you’re taking away the resources you need to build yourself back up.  Keep an arsenal of positive quotes, Bible verses, and self-made goals and fire them at every bad thought that comes your way. What bothers cannot break you when you’re bold enough to fight back.  

People always talk about a battle for souls, but the battle for bodies is just as real.  While dealing with an eating disorder, don’t let it define you by defeating you. Relabel your problem by taking on a new perspective.  You are not a disorder you are a soul, a fighter, and an overcomer.

*http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

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kaley thompson