Who we are:
The Christeenianity Foundation is a non-profit 501 (c)(3), Christianbased, outreach program designed as a resource for both teens in shelters and teens in the community at large. By incorporating a biblical foundation and principles in everything we do, we strive to minister the message of God to everyone involved with our organization.
What we do:
We organize, coordinate and support groups of teens from throughout the community, to participate in outreach projects and events designed to benefit abused and neglected teens who are currently in the care of shelters throughout our community. These outreach projects and events include everything from, taking sheltered teens out to movies, parks, Christian concerts, etc., with our community teens participating as chaperones, guides and general helpers. In cases where the sheltered residents are restricted from leaving the facilities, we implement “inshelter” events in order to maximize our outreach.
Why we do it:
There is a huge number of severely abused and neglected children in our community. They are residents of shelters across the city. In some cases, they are being “rehabilitated” to the point of just being able to enter the state system. Most of these children have been rejected or displaced and can’t comprehend that they are loved, and most have no hope for the future. There are NONE in our community that need to be shown the love of God, and provided with hope, more than these lost children. By incorporating and facilitating the participation of teens in the community for these outreach events we are providing them an opportunity for service work and charity directly supporting their disadvantaged peers. Our hope is that we instill, in both groups of teens, an overwhelming basis of understanding God’s existence, love and compassion.
christeenianityfoundation.org christeenianity.org To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
Table of Contents Featured Articles
Redeemed From the Pit of Bulimia
What is Anorexia?
What is Bulimia
The Lie in the Middle
In Every Issue
Local Youth Groups Dear Christeen
Non-Profit Highlight EDO Eating Disorders Anonymous A Note From... Ben Schultz Craft
5 11 13 22 29 30
Publisher Christeenianity, LLC - Audra Hughes Contributing Writers - Ezrah Khan, Elisa Nodine, Robbie Bridges, Audra Hughes Graphic Designer - Ezrah Khan, Audra Hughes â€˘ Sales - Audra Hughes Editors - Audra Hughes, Robert Hughes
You may submit articles or your letter to Dear Christeen either by mail at 5321 FM 311 #1, New Braunfels, TX, 78132, or via email at Info@Christeenianity.com. If you would like to receive a Free copy of the NLT New Testament Bible, please email your name and address to info@Christeenianity.com, or call us at 1-888-932-3552 National Runaway Switchboard 800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) National Teen Dating Abuse 866-331-9474 Connections Crisis Hotline 800-532-8192 TX Abuse Hotline 800-252-5400 Teen Pregnancy 866-942-6466 Alanon/Alateen (SA) 888-829-1312
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Ingredients • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced • 8 ounces raspberries, chopped • 1 pound strawberries, chopped • 3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas • butter flavored cooking spray • 2 cups cinnamon sugar Directions 1. In a large bowl mix all fruit thoroughly, then add fruit preserves. Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes. 2. Preheat oven to 350o F (175o C). 3. Lightly coat one side of each flour tortilla with butter flavored cooking spray. 4. Sprinkle with desired amount of cinnamon sugar. 5. Cut and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet. 6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. The longer they are in the crispier they will be. Allow to cool. Serve with chilled fruit mixture. To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
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Baptist Catho lic of God s ie l b m e Ass Inter deno mina tional rist Church of Ch Lutheran Methodist BUL Bulverde e Non Denominational CL Canyon Lakels NB New Braunf UC Universal City SA San Antonio Presbyterian SB Spring Branch
First Assembly of God 13435 West Ave, SA Awaken Youth Church Derek Johnsen – YP | 210-496-9977
Bulverde Baptist Church 1331 Bulverde Rd., BUL BBC Student Ministry Paul Brand - YP | 830-980-7577
Cranes Mill Baptist 10215 Fm-2673, CL Higher Ground Youth Ministry Ben Hollan - YP | 830-899-7936
First Baptist Church 733 Cross St., NB Cross Street Ministries Ricky Gobert - YP | 830-625-9124
First Baptist Church 32445 Us Highway 281 N., BUL First Baptist Bulverde Youth Group Terry McCown - YP | 830-438-3754
First Baptist Church 1401 Pat Booker Rd., UC Vertical 220 Jim Lokey - YP | 210-658-6394
Oakwood Baptist Church 2154 Loop 337 N., NB OSM; Brent Isbill - HS YP Brandon Best - MS YP | 830-625-0267
Shearer Hills Baptist Church 12615 San Pedro Ave., SA CORE Student Ministry Rev. Jeff Martin-YP | 210-545-2300
Southeast Baptist Church 2414 S. WW White Rd., SA The Warriors Linda Willeford - YP | 210-333-6304
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church 386 N. Castell Ave. NB, TX Life Teen Julie Krug - YP | 830- 625-4531 ext. 202
Northside Church of Christ 16318 San Pedro, SA Ignite Andy Glenn - YP | 210-494-1907
Community Bible Church – Brooks City 314 Galway SA, at Rogers Middle School F.Y.I Faithful Youth Ignite-Chris & Alissa Bozeman | YP email@example.com & firstname.lastname@example.org
Community Bible Church - Main 2477 North Loop 1604 East, SA Next + Gen Students Robbin Goslin - YP | 210-477-5209
Community Bible Church - Bulverde 7100 Hwy 281 North, SB Pursuit Johnny Hernandez - YP | 210-669-6436
Living Word Church 5800 Culebra Dr., SA Amped Youth Robert Garza - YP | 210-461-7452
Abiding Presence Lutheran Church 14700 San Pedro Ave., SA Youth Group Mike Ceyanas - YP | 210-494-8884
Concordia Lutheran Church 16801 Huebner Rd., SA Fusion Bill Tucker - YP | 210-479-1477
St Paul Lutheran Church of Bulverde 29797 US Hwy 281 North, Bulverde Life 180 Meredith Price – YM | 830-980-2813
Bulverde United Methodist Church 28300 Hwy 281 North, SA Bulverde United Youth Group Bethany Graham - YP | 830-980-7745
Coker United Methodist Church 231 E. North Loop Rd., SA Catalyst Student Ministries Mary Anne Waldrip/Wes Jones - YP 210-494-3455
First United Methodist Church 572 W. San Antonio St., NB Methodist Youth Fellowship Terri Hartman - YP | 830-625-4513
Gruene United Methodist Church 2629 E. Common St., NB Gruene United Methodist Youth Jake LeBlanc - YP | 830-625-7200
Hope Arise United Methodist Church 23203 Bulverde Rd. (Johnson HS), SA Hope Arise Youth Ashleigh Pepper - YP | 210-646-1164
Northern Hills United Methodist Church 3703 N. Loop 1604 E., SA R U In John Kublank - YP | 830-708-8705
Believers Christian Fellowship of S.V. 36200 FM 3159, NB Believers Chrisitian Fellowship Youth Jenni Taylor - YP | 830-885-2224
Cowboys for Jesus 8499 FM 32, Fischer BullZI Jerry Hoyt - Pastor | 210-389-6235
Crossbridge Community Church 19000 Ronald Reagan (Reagan HS) Ablaze Chris Dillashaw - YP | 210-496-0158
Journey Fellowship Church 16847 IH 35 North (Exit 174B), Selma Journey Fellowship Youth Group David Littleton - YP | 210-651-1463
Oak Hills Church 6929 Camp Bullis Rd., SA Oak Hills Church Student Ministries Brett Bishop - HS Dir | 210-807-5208
Life Hurts God Heals Denise Whistler | 210-289-1682
Riverside Community Church 20475 Hwy 46 W STE 180, PMB 417, SB Young Life John Hinkebein - YP | 830-980-4600
Summit Christian Center 2575 Marshall Rd., SA Emerge Mark Treiber - YP | 210-402-0565
Tree of Life Church 5513 IH 35 S., NB Remnant Dustin Martin - YP | 830-625-6375
Trinity Church 5415 N 1604 E., SA 412 Philip Shelley - YP | 210-653-0003
River City Community Church 16875 Jones Maltsberger, SA Real Life Student Ministries Nick Fox – YP | 210-490-5262
San Pedro Presbyterian Church 14900 San Pedro Ave., SA Youth Ministries Ben Schultz - YP | 210-488-6217
From the Pit of Bulimia–After 17 Years by Marie Notcheva
Through Him all things truly are possible. This is my story of how Jesus Christ broke the chains of a 17-year bondage to bulimia when I truly repented and turned from this idol. The same hope and freedom is available to you if you know Him as Savior and Lord.
delight – at last, a daughter in whom she could be proud! In 10th grade, I went on a lettuce & diet coke regimen for a while; then became bulimic. My menstrual period disappeared soon afterward; and my dentist began noticing symmetrical cavities on each of my previously perfect molars. My mother’s suspicion grew. By the time my teachers and mother figured out I had bulimia, I desperately wanted to be free of this addiction but couldn’t stop purging. My weight dropped at one point to just below 90 lbs. When I saw pictures of myself from this period, I was shocked and embarrassed by my emaciated appearance, but could not bring myself to keep food down. The feeling of anything in my stomach repulsed me. At the same time, my physical hunger and cravings (I suppose survival instinct kicked in at this time) would not allow me to “control” myself when confronted with the smell and sight of food.
I am currently a happy, well-adjusted married mom of four children. Although I have been a Christian since age 19, I struggled for many years to grasp what full “surrender” really meant – and that God won’t work with a 90% commitment to change. I was not always as secure as I am today in my identity in Christ. Bulimia consumed me for 17 years, and I want to relate how God broke those chains and restored my health. It is my hope that my testimony will help someone else who is struggling with this bondage. I was raised in a fairly dysfunctional, legalistic but non-Christian church-going family. My mother was very image-conscious and appearance oriented; in her eyes, my being a chubby youngster was a sign of weakness and embarrassed her. She, my father and grandparents consistently put me down and humiliated me over my weight – especially at holidays, which were observed with calorie-laden food. I often felt alone and outcast from my own family; like I was an ugly duckling who was just not good enough to be accepted. As early as age seven, I remember praying fervently to God that He would make me thinner, so that my mother would love me more.
It became a daily battle to enter and leave the school cafeteria without binging on everything in sight. One solution I used was to bring a diet shake to school and drink it in the student lounge at lunchtime in the guise of studying. Sometimes, I would take appetite suppressants to “help keep it in check”, but these pills had the unfortunate side effect of making me fall asleep in class. My exhaustion, even without diet pills, was painfully apparent to my teachers, who took turns confronting me and calling the school director. I was assigned to weekly sessions with the school guidance counselor, to whom I expertly lied, and was given a referral to see a psychiatrist.
In junior high, I had slimmed down some through a sensible diet and exercise, as I had taken up gymnastics at an early age. Inspired by a movie about Nadia Comaneci, my diet became increasingly Spartan and my workouts more intense. I idolized Nadia; thinking she was the epitome of discipline and perfection. Years later, I found out she had hidden an eating disorder during her competitive days as well.
Although I never had inpatient treatment, there were a few counselors here and there. Of course, as soon as I went to college, I convinced myself, the bondage I was in would go away. (I was still about 90 lbs. at this point.) I still did not see the bulimia as a stronghold that was controlling me; I still believed I was in control but simply chose not to give it up. After about 2 weeks in college, the dormitory’s Resident Advisor confronted me, and I was slammed into counseling so fast my head spun. I basically had no friends, as I looked like a freak and was rejected by everyone. I remember crying out to God one
By the beginning of high school, I resolved to be thinner, like a “real” dancer or gymnast, as my mother said I was still overweight (at 5’5” and 130 lbs.). As the pounds and my dress size dropped, my mother could barely conceal her To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
night from the floor of my dorm room (my roommate had moved in with someone else,) asking why He had created me. I just wanted to die so badly; but could not bring myself to consider suicide, which I had been brought up to believe was a one-way ticket to hell. I was convinced I was on my way there anyway, but had no idea how to turn around.
thought that if I had pursued Christian counseling while in college, my battle and long road to freedom would have been shorter. At the time, however, I kept promising I would make it go away on my own. What I did not realize was that being thin had become my idol. An idol is anything in our life that we want badly enough that we are willing to sin in order to obtain it.
After a semester of nutritional and psychological counseling, as well as group therapy, my weight was up to about 110-112 lbs., so
While I realized full well that bulimia was a sin, I did not see the root problem as idolatry – and idols must be torn down in Christ’s power. After graduating from college, I moved to Bulgaria to work in international business. It was here that I picked up a drinking habit; a more “socially-acceptable” vice (or so I told myself.) The alcohol served for a time as anesthesia to ease the pain and shame of purging; but no number of bottles was ever enough to fill the aching emptiness inside. I also began smoking. At age 24 I got married to a wonderful man, who knew nothing about eating disorders or the fact that his American wife had had one for nearly a decade at that point. At 115-120 lbs., I had become really good at hiding it. Inside, I was still in a lot of pain, though – and my new husband would not tolerate my excessive drinking, so I no longer had that as a “crutch”. I hated myself, and naturally drifted further away from God. I had stopped going to church because I felt like a hypocrite. How could I have that close, intimate relationship with God they always talked about, with such a filthy secret? Each time I heard a Christian give his or her glowing, “happily ever after” testimony about how Jesus changed their life from the inside out, I would feel depressed and frustrated. I even began to doubt my salvation.
“One subject you will rarely hear addressed in church is that Christians can, and often do, suffer from addictions.” obviously I was keeping SOME food down - but mostly it just made the purging easier to hide. The world outside my broken heart and confused head thought I was “recovered”. In September of my sophomore year, intrigued by the name, I joined a group called Campus Crusade for Christ. I had loved Jesus since childhood; the hatefulness I experienced from my religious parents and the nuns in grade school had never been able to change that. In a funny sort of way, the rejection seemed to push me CLOSER to Him, although at the same time I was a little afraid of God the Father. I was so ashamed of my eating disorder behavior; surely God was disgusted and had given up on me. How could He possibly want someone as disgusting as me around? When a young staff woman shared the Gospel with me, and I listened to the testimonies and speaking of some staff members and students, I decided to trust that God loved me unconditionally and would forgive all my sins. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior, but it was more an intellectual acceptance of Him in my life than a total giving of my life to Him – a true surrender of my will. Deep down, I was frightened that I would never be able to completely submit this ugly secret that controlled my life to His authority. I did not tell anyone, including the woman discipling me, about my bulimia. I was still too ashamed, even to talk about or ask help from God. Often, I have
Soon after our wedding, we moved back to the States. I could not even stop purging during pregnancy, although thankfully the babies were all healthy and normal weight. I maintained a normal weight and no-one, even my husband, knew the dark secret I was terrified to tell. While appearing “recovered”, I still could not kick the bulimia. During this time, I was so hungry spiritually; I was trying so hard to come back to God. I wanted Him in my life so badly. While I knew intellectually that He loved me, it is just so hard to receive that unconditional love when you are literally a slave to sin. Obedience may be the key to freedom, but when you feel hopeless to obey? 7
We attended church and many times I tried desperately to turn away from this sin, only to find myself inexplicably drawn back in. One Christmas Eve years ago, I remember sitting in the evening service – surrounded by hushed holy music and flickering candles– and felt like such a failure. I had resolved that year to quit drinking and bingeing/purging as my “birthday present” to Jesus. Needless to say, Advent had barely begun before I had given up.
that assurance of love – unconditional and unchanging – was far better and more satisfying than any “buzz” from drinking. I wish I could say that the bulimia disappeared so quickly as well, but I’d be fibbing. While I DO believe that God set me free the first time we prayed together for deliverance, as with overcoming all sin that is a stronghold, it took me a while (about 5 months) to fully walk in it. In other words, on the “high” of that first prayer session, I went several days without binge/purging. Over the course of the next few months, I would regularly go about six days on average without an episode (prior to
One subject you will rarely hear addressed in church is that Christians can, and often do, suffer from addictions. Bulimia is a spiritual disease masquerading as a physical one. I had this insight, but it didn’t stop me from binging when the uncontrollable urge kicked in. One day, I passed a new “Spirit-filled” church that went up next to a chain store that I often frequent, and noticed their sign for a Healing Room on Saturday mornings. A small ad in the newspaper for it had also caught my eye when I was flipping through, promising “Confidential prayer for physical, emotional and spiritual healing”. I was so desperate; I thought what could it hurt?
“...no one knew the dark secret I was terrified to tell.”
One morning I walked in timidly, almost in tears; not knowing what to expect. Three very compassionate, mature Christian women put their hands on me, and prayed earnestly that God would break this bondage in my life; that I would know His forgiveness and healing; even that He would “re-wire” the chemicals in my brain to help break down this stronghold of sin. One of them told me that God longs for me to know Him better - that I knew a lot about Him, but didn’t really know Him. They prayed earnestly for a while longer, and I really felt better, cleaner – not different, in that sense I didn’t feel anything supernatural; but I had such a strong faith that God had heard their prayer that I resolved to try to again. I went back and received prayer several more times over the next few months.
this I had been purging once or twice on average each day).
After my first visit, I stopped drinking completely - all desire left me and I was not overly tempted. One of the women had told me that Jesus had been watching me for a long time, and had had His arm around my shoulder while I was unaware of His presence. I kept that image in my mind whenever I was tempted to seek solace in alcohol, and it worked! The warmth of To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
Now, I do believe we have to co-operate with God in overcoming sin - He frees us, but not by waving a magic wand over us, which oftentimes is what we want. My desire for Him grew - for prayer, for the Bible, just for fellowship with Him. Little by little, my idol of ultimate thinness crumbled and was replaced by the joy of knowing I was a daughter of the King. Sometimes, out of habit, I’d still be tempted to binge - like if I were eating lunch just to keep going and going - and I would mentally say: “No; Lord, you know how I feel right now. You know this unhealthy temptation that threatens to overcome me. I turn to You; I am spiritually hungry; I want
to spend time with You; this food will never satisfy; only Your holy presence will fill me” or something like that. Then, I would leave the kitchen, as removing one’s self physically from temptation is key, especially in the beginning stages of deliverance; and spend an hour or so in my room with my Bible and a favorite study (at the time I was doing Max Lucado’s “Experiencing the Heart of Jesus”.) This is not a distraction tactic - this is allowing God to help you, and fill you. Repentance and self-control (which is a fruit of the Spirit) were the ultimate keys in my finally surrendering this sin to God once and
of the eating disorder no matter what it took, I accepted that I would gain some weight - but it was not as much as I feared. A person will not get fat from just eating as her body needs. God helped me to overcome that mindset too, once I allowed Him to renew my mind with His Word. This is where “full surrender” comes in – surrendering our preconceived notions about weight and beauty to the God Who made our bodies and knows exactly how they work. Just as we can trust His plan for every aspect of our lives, I realized I could trust Him with His plan for my weight. Now secure in my identity in Christ, I no longer need constant compliments on my figure to feel good about myself. Another area in which I needed to allow God to heal me was in forgiving my mother. Once I was able to come to terms with what true forgiveness is, I realized that I would have to “let her go” in my heart and stop blaming her for my poor decisions. While certainly things in our past can affect and influence us, both for better and for worse, blaming another person for our sin is not biblical and will hamper spiritual growth. I needed to learn to accept personal responsibility for my actions and the years of choosing a lie over the Truth. Also, God has taught me that sometimes forgiving means repeatedly making that decision – each and every day – to keep on forgiving her, regardless of how I may be feeling. This is also an area in which I need His supernatural strength, as I am powerless to overcome my natural bitterness and resentment on my own.
for all. Yes, there were some failures. Yes, I got discouraged sometimes. But, I never gave up (which is what Satan would have wanted) and yes; I was truly victorious through Christ who strengthens me in the end. Psalm 40 became my lifeline – I saw bulimia as the “miry pit” from which He saved me. Finally, after so many fruitless years, I was beginning to feel solid Rock under me!
In September 2004, fourteen years after trusting Christ, I made the decision to be baptized. This was a personal symbol between God and me that there was no turning back. I was finally allowing Christ to live through me, and being baptized was a joyful yet intensely personal celebration of that fact – the depth of victory over sin known only to myself and my Savior.
Over the course of those months when I allowed God to restore me, yes, I did gain weight - about 10 lbs. - but I plateued after a couple of months and neither restricted, worked out, nor got fat. (Later, the additional pounds melted away on their own and I remain a size 4-5 to this day). When I decided I wanted to get free
I thank God for the freedom He has given me! If I can take any credit for anything in my own recovery, it is for tenacity - refusing to give up, no matter how many times I fell and had to get back up and try again. I also joined a Christian Moms’ Group of women for fellowship at the church where I went for interces9
sion. This was a great source of support in my ongoing journey – we held each other up in our faith walks, not just in serious struggles like eating disorders. I do not refer to myself as “recovered” or “recovering”, which would indicate a state I have achieved on my own; but rather as “delivered” or “healed”. I am living proof of the unending faithfulness of God. I have been able to counsel several women struggling with the same twin bondage of anorexia and bulimia that held me for so long. Through e-mail, I encourage, counsel and pray for these who are
still in this pit to reach a point of full surrender, and as I study more about biblical counseling, I hope someday to write a book about freedom in Christ. The depth of your need does not intimidate God. He can heal the most shattered of lives, but you must give him all the pieces.
UPDAT Octob E
While it is tempting to think we can overcome this battle on our own, we cannot. God longs for us to turn to Him with each and every burden and even the darkest of secrets. A book, program or hypnotist will not heal you, but all things are possible with the God Who is on our side.
It ha nearly s now been since 4 years testimoI wrote this can s ny, and I to Go till testify f a i t h d’s great Someti f u l n e s s . I feel d mes, when or de iscouraged anothe feated in my life r area of and re , I go back remem ad this to valleys ber the walked He has through with me there is and that in s u r m nothing so ounta that have ne my L b le c a v n e n r ot tr ord relapse what I iu bondagcan bear, and d, never beenin my sinful limph n e foo fe te Marie has a book being released by Calvary d and aever looked b mpted beyo . I Howevto Press later this year titled, “Redeemed from ing/rec er, it is te lcohol I use ack at the li nd o fe m d v to live. in the Pit: Biblical Repentance and Restoration overco ering from pting for will [alwme this sin, I an addictionsomeone rep from the Bondage of Eating Disorders.”. Be w e to a n il y tl s think “ have no ] live a Lord!” sure to get your copy! Once I v T m ic h o to e re ri tr ous, Ch gives y uth is proble “I absolutely LOVE Redeemed From The thing imou complete that while Goristian life fo ms! I Pit! I wish I had had something like this to read are hom peding you ly, there will d heals and r the r a fo rwhen I was going through my [own] struggle. if anyth e in Heave intimacy w lways be s you ha ing, you aren. Satan will nith Him untilomeI started taking notes of pages and quotes v m o e y t o o o u let up o re of a vercom in your from your book that I just kept saying, “This is n th e y re in li o fe a u a . t ; God is to him particu but you so good”... “Oh, I need to remember that”.... g la o lo w n rl ri c y il e fi l b e a e tend w d by y lways settin “Wow, that’s so right on”... sanctifiith. Do not be have your sinour redeemedg sin fu cation, d Every chapter I read I was just more and and doniscouraged in l nature to colife, n ’t ever more blown away. Thank you again for the give upyour pursuit o . f privilege of reading it early! It truly is my honor.”
Laura Wilkinson, Olympic Gold Medalist redeemedfromthepit.blogspot.com (Platform Diving)
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Christeen Dear Christeen, Dear Christeen,–I am really worried about my friend “Tanya.” We just met a couple months ago through mutual friends, and we hit it off really well. Okay, here’s the problem. My friends and I always talk about how Tanya can eat and eat and eat and never gain a pound. Well, it’s not because she has a fast metabolism. She told me that she throws up after she eats. She says it’s no big deal, that some of her friends do it, and that’s it’s just a way for her to keep her weight down. I am really worried about her, and I’m not sure what I should do. Can you give me some advice?–Fretting in Fredericksburg
his friend can help him up,” Ecclesiastes 4:10. P.S. Here is the full link for the page on eating disorders from the NIMH: www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/ eating-disorders/complete-index.shtml– Love, Christeen
Dear Fretting,–Thank you for writing in with this question. There are so many young women, and young men, who are going through a scenario similar to that of your friend, “Tanya”. What Tanya is experiencing sounds like an eating disorder called bulimia nervosa. According to the website for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) (www.nimh. nih.gov), bulimia nervosa usually involves a person eating a lot of food (or binging), and then compensating for it somehow. Some ways people compensate are by purging (or throwing up / using laxatives), not eating at all after the binging, or exercising too much to lose the weight. From what you described, your friend eats a lot, and then throws it up, which sounds like the binging and purging of bulimia nervosa. Even though Tanya may think it’s no big deal, this is a very serious disorder with some very serious side effects. The same website says that people who suffer from bulimia nervosa may have problems with everything from their kidneys to their intestines to their teeth. So here is my suggestion. Educate yourself about the problems associated with bulimia and then talk to your friend. Make sure to be sensitive and caring while trying to show her the different ways that she is damaging her body, mind, and soul. Finally, try to convince her to seek help. If she doesn’t want to stop, or she becomes angry with you for trying to help, then I suggest you tell someone, like your parents or her parents, who can either, help her or get her the help she may need. “If one falls down,
Dear Christeen,–I have recently been going through some hard times. For instance, I didn’t pass all my classes last year so I’m going to have to go to summer school, and my parents are pretty upset about the whole thing. That’s just one thing out of a bunch of things. But I have noticed that I’ve been eating more than normal. It’s just like, whenever I get depressed, I reach for the chips or something. What should I do?–Feeling Blue in Bexar
Dear Blue,–Many people respond to their emotions with food. For example, some people overeat when they get upset, like you, and some people lose their appetite completely. Everyone is different, but there are ways that we can deal with these things. If you feel like you are upset and reaching for food, try to think of other ways you can deal with your emotions. Maybe you could go play some basketball, read a book, roller skate, play a video game, talk on the phone to a friend, watch some TV. The main point is to do something that will allow you to release that negative energy, and that doesn’t involve overeating. If you ever feel like your overeating becomes a problem, I suggest that you talk to a counselor or psychologist to see what deeper issues may be underlying your desire to overeat, besides the obvious stuff like troubles in school. Another healthy solution could be to exercise when you feel like overeating. That way, instead of taking in extra calories, you would be burning them off and making yourself much healthier in the process. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?” Matthew 6:25.Love,–Christeen
Do you have an opinion on this or a question to ask me? Write to me at www.christeenianity.com. Just click “Dear Christeen” under the “Discussion” tab, and tell me what YOU think!
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o an ? Wh a t i s
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What is Anorexia Nervosa?
Anorexia nervosa is a complex eating disorder with three key features: • Refusal to maintain a healthy body weight • An intense fear of gaining weight • A distorted body image
Because of your dread of becoming fat or disgust with how your body looks, eating and mealtimes may be very stressful. And yet, what you can and can’t eat is practically all you can think about. Thoughts about dieting, food, and your body may take up most of your day—leaving little time for friends, family, and other activities you used to enjoy. Life becomes a relentless pursuit of thinness and going to extremes to lose weight.
But no matter how skinny you become, for you, it’s never enough. To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
While people with anorexia often deny having a problem, the truth is that anorexia is a serious and potentially deadly eating disorder. Fortunately, recovery is possible. With proper treatment and support, you or someone you care about can break anorexia’s self-destructive pattern and regain health and selfconfidence.
Types of Anorexia Nervosa There are two types of anorexia. In the restricting type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by restricting calories (following drastic diets, fasting, and exercising to excess). In the purging type of anorexia, weight loss is achieved by vomiting or using laxatives and diuretics.
Are you anorexic? o you feel fat even though D people tell you you’re not? Are you terrified of gaining weight? Do you lie about how much you eat or hide your eating habits from others? Are your friends or family concerned about your weight loss, eating habits, or appearance? Do you diet, compulsively exercise, or purge when you’re feeling overwhelmed or bad about yourself? Do you feel powerful or in control when you go without food, over-exercise, or purge? Do you base your self-worth on your weight or body size?
A n o r e x i a is not about weight or food. 15
Believe it or not, anorexia isn’t really about food and weight—at least not at its core. Eating disorders are much more complicated than that. The food and weight-related issues are symptoms of something deeper: things like depression, loneliness, insecurity, pressure to be perfect, or feeling out of control. Things that no amount of dieting or weight loss can cure.
What need does anorexia meet in your life? It’s important to understand that anorexia meets a need in your life. For example, you may feel powerless in many parts of your life, but you can control what you eat. Saying “no” to food, getting the best of hunger, and controlling the number on the scale may make you feel strong and successful—at least for a short while. You may even come to enjoy your hunger pangs as reminders of a “special talent” that most people can’t achieve. Anorexia may also be a way of distracting yourself from difficult emotions. When you spend most of your time thinking about food, dieting, and weight loss, you don’t have to face other problems in your life or deal with complicated emotions. Unfortunately, any boost you get from starving yourself or shedding pounds is extremely shortlived. Dieting and weight loss can’t repair the negative self-image at the heart of anorexia. The only way to do that is to identify the emotional need that self-starvation fulfills and find other ways to meet it.
T h e Difference B e tween Dietin g & A n ore x i a Healthy Dieting Healthy dieting is an attempt to control weight Your self-esteem is based on more than just weight and body image. You view weight loss as a way to improve your health and appearance. Your goal is to lose weight in a healthy way
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o o o o 16
Anorexia Anorexia is an attempt to control your life and emotions.
Your self-esteem is based entirely on how much you weigh and how thin you are You view weight loss as a way to achieve happiness. Becoming thin is all that matters; health is not a concern
Sig ns & symptoms of an orex ia Living with anorexia means you’re constantly hiding your habits. This makes it hard at first for friends and family to spot the warning signs. When confronted, you might try to explain away your disordered eating and wave away concerns. But as anorexia progresses, people close
to you won’t be able to deny their instincts that something is wrong—and neither should you. As anorexia develops, you become increasingly preoccupied with the number on the scale, how you look in the mirror, and what you can and can’t eat.
A n o re xic food be h a vio r s igns & s ympt oms
Dieting despite being thin Following a severely restricted diet. Eating only certain low-calorie foods. Banning “bad” foods such as carbohydrates and fats.
Obsession with calories, fat grams, and nutrition Reading food labels, measuring and weighing portions, keeping a food diary, reading diet books.
Preoccupation with food Constantly thinking about food. Cooking for others, collecting recipes, reading food magazines, or making meal plans while eating very little.
Strange or secretive food rituals Refusing to eat around others or in public places. Eating in rigid, ritualistic ways (e.g. cutting food “just so”, chewing food and spitting it out, using a specific plate).
Pretending to eat or lying about eating Hiding, playing with, or throwing away food to avoid eating. Making excuses to get out of meals (“I had a huge lunch” or “My stomach isn’t feeling good.”).
A nor e xic appear an ce & b o d y im ag e s igns & sy m pt o m s
Dramatic weight loss
Rapid, drastic weight loss with no medical cause.
Feeling fat, despite being underweight
You may feel overweight in general or just “too fat” in certain places such as the stomach, hips, or thighs.
Fixation on body image
Obsessed with weight, body shape, or clothing size. Frequent weigh-ins and concern over tiny fluctuations in weight.
Harshly critical of appearance
Spending a lot of time in front of the mirror checking for flaws. There’s always something to criticize. You’re never thin enough.
Denial that you’re too thin
You may deny that your low body weight is a problem, while trying to conceal it (drinking a lot of water before being weighed, wearing baggy or oversized clothes). 17
Purgin g s ig ns a nd s y mpt o m s Major Risk Factors For Anorexia Nervosa
Using diet pills, laxatives, or diuretics
Abusing water pills, herbal appetite suppressants, prescription stimulants, ipecac syrup, and other drugs for weight loss.
Throwing up after eating
Frequently disappearing after meals or going to the bathroom. May run the water to disguise sounds of vomiting or reappear smelling like mouthwash or mints.
• Perfectionism • Troubled
Following a punishing exercise regimen aimed at burning calories. Exercising through injuries, illness, and bad weather. Working out extra hard after bingeing or eating something “bad.”
• History • Family
of physical or sexual abuse
history of eating disorders
Ano rexia n er vo sa cau se s an d r i s k f a c t o r s There are no simple answers to the causes of anorexia and other eating disorders. Anorexia is a complex condition that arises from a combination of many social, emotional, and biological factors. Although our culture’s idealization
of thinness plays a powerful role, there are many other contributing factors, including your family environment, emotional difficulties, low selfesteem, and traumatic experiences you may have gone through in the past.
Psychological causes and risk factors for anorexia People with anorexia are often perfectionists and overachievers. They’re the “good” daughters and sons who do what they’re told, excel in everything they do, and focus on pleasing
others. But while they may appear to have it all together, inside they feel helpless, inadequate, and worthless. Through their harshly critical lens, if they’re not perfect, they’re a total failure.
Family and social pressures In addition to the cultural pressure to be thin, there are other family and social pressures that can contribute to anorexia. This includes participation in an activity that demands slenderness, such as ballet, gymnastics, or modeling. It also includes having parents who
are overly controlling, put a lot of emphasis on looks, diet themselves, or criticize their children’s bodies and appearance. Stressful life events—such as the onset of puberty, a breakup, or going away to school—can also trigger anorexia.
Biological causes of anorexia Research suggests that a genetic predisposition to anorexia may run in families. If a girl has a sibling with anorexia, she is 10 to 20 times more likely than the general population to develop anorexia herself. Brain chemistry also plays a To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
significant role. People with anorexia tend to have high levels of cortisol, the brain hormone most related to stress, and decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are associated with feelings of well-being. 18
E ffe c t s o f a n o r e xia One thing is certain about anorexia. Severe calorie restriction has dire physical effects. When your body doesn’t get the fuel it needs to function normally, it goes into starvation mode and slows down to conserve energy. Essentially, your body begins to consume itself. If self-starvation continues and more body fat is lost, medical complications pile up and your body and mind pay the price.
Some Of The Physical Effects Of Anorexia Include: •
Severe mood swings; depression
Constipation and bloating
Lack of energy and weakness
Tooth decay and gum damage
Slowed thinking; poor memory
Dizziness, fainting, and headaches
Dry, yellowish skin and brittle nails
Growth of fine hair all over the body and face
G et t i n g he l p f o r a n ore xia
Deciding to get help for anorexia is not an easy choice to make. It’s not uncommon to feel like anorexia is part of your identity—or even your “friend.”
You may think that anorexia has such a powerful hold over you that you’ll never be able to overcome it. But while change is hard, it is possible.
If you or a loved one has anorexia... Call the National Eating Disorders Association’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-931-2237 or visit online for free referrals, information, and advice.
Steps to anorexia recovery Admit you have a problem. Up until now, you’ve been invested in the idea that life will be better—that you’ll finally feel good—if you lose more weight. The first step in anorexia recovery is admitting that your relentless pursuit of thinness is out of your control and acknowledging the physical and emotional damage that you’ve suffered because of it.
Stay away from people, places, and activities that trigger your obsession with being thin. You may need to avoid looking at fashion or fitness magazines, spend less time with friends who constantly diet and talk about losing weight, and stay away from weight loss web sites and “pro-ana” sites that promote anorexia.
Talk to someone. It can be hard to talk about what you’re going through, especially if you’ve kept your anorexia a secret for a long time. You may be ashamed, ambivalent, or afraid. But it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Find a good listener—someone who will support you as you try to get better
Seek professional help. The advice and support of trained eating disorder professionals can help you regain your health, learn to eat normally again, and develop healthier attitudes about food and your body.
Overcoming anorexia It may seem like there’s no escape from your eating disorder, but recovery is within your reach. With treatment, support from others, and smart self-help strategies, you can overcome bulimia and gain true self-confidence.
To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
Help in g a n a n o r e x i c pe rs on her that she wasn’t going to be allowed at easy to talk to him and decided that I wasn’t home, that she is so messed up not even going leave his side for the duration of my she could help. Her mom felt that the only stay. I did just that. I followed him everywhere right thing to do wasfriend to send to House ofyourand become close him.listen We had some Encouraging an anorexic or her family loved one isquite willing to to talk, without Hope get the proper treatment. very good conversations. he the became member to get to treatment is the most caringShe wasjudgment, no matter how outInoffact, touch leaving in 2 days and she had one day to tell my counselor and introduced me to the one and supportive thing you can do. But because person sounds. everyone at school, and pack her stuff. man that I found I loved even more than him, of the defensiveness and denial involved in deeply know that The next day at school the girl charged into It’s God. The distressing relationship to between me your and God anorexia, you’ll need to tread lightly. WavMrs. Paisley room so angry at her for whatchildbecame the one me strong. or someone youthing love that maykept be struggling ing around articles aboutShe the dire effects of she had done. realized it wasn’t Mrs.withI anorexia. spent days in a book thattowas completely There’s no way solve the anorexia Paisley or declaring if you fault “You’ll but shedie felt she don’t had just lost.problem aboutyourself, God, andbut spent talking heremany are anights few ideas forto eat!” probably won’t work. A better approach Mrs. Paisley explained that her intention waswhat Him. was Dad, my Savior I found youHe can domy now to help make and a difference is to gently and let the to express have theyour girls’concerns mom better that although I couldn’t quite for someone you love. person know that you’re understand her available so that to thelisten. If quit cutting, I could fall back on girl could hopefully stop her my God and He would be there destructive cutting and get to catch me. Before I knew it, help. I was smiling more and found Tips for a person with anorexia Fridayhelping came sooner than a little more meaning in life. expected and she was on her The year and a half came Think way of yourself asthat an she “outsider.” fromquickly anorexia. to a place would in other words, someone not andsuffering went very andInI this position, there isn’t a lot youyear canand do to “solve” loved one’s anorexia. It is the at call home for the next a half. Sheyourwas surprised to nd that myultimately cutting was individual’s choice to decide when they ready. arrived at the home around 8:00are p.m. where its all time low. Graduation day came and I she was greeted by a tall gentlemen named feared that when I left, I would lose the Father Be a role for healthy exercising, body image. Don’t makesonegative Mr. model Faust. He showed eating, her and her momandthat I had gotten to know well. Oncommy last where sheown would be staying andelse’s. then the girl session with Mr. Faust I brought this worry ments about your body or anyone said goodbye to her mom and watched her up to him, and he assured me that the one pull away. It would be theadvice last shefrom would see professional, man that would never leavefriend me would be God Take care of yourself. Seek a health even if your or family of her until andparents—into even when I the wascircle out of program it member won’t. Andshe youwas cannearly bring 14. others—from peers to of the support. Mr. Faust brought her into his ofce and would be God that I could count on. During herfood papers which read: Name: Graduation, I looked to the opposite side Don’t registered act like the police. A person with anorexia needs compassion and support, notof Nicole Age: 12 ½ Sex: Birth date: 5/25/94 stage and I saw my Mom, Amy and Mrs. an authority figure standing overFthe table with a caloriethe counter. Problem: Self Harmer (Cutting). He looked me Paisley standing there. Mr. Faust read off my the eyesscare and told me to go up tooutbursts, my room, and name and I beganBear to walk across theanorexia stage. Avoid in threats, tactics, angry put-downs. in mind that my to stuff and heemotional would be and up shortly The only thing remember hearing was him is often aunpack symptom extreme stress and develops outI of an attempt to manage look stress, throughand/or the room for unsafe objects. say “Nicole,will Congratulations! May you now emotionaltopain, self-hate. Negative communication only make it worse. Forty minutes later Mr. Faust walked into the see clearly through Gods eyes and no longer room and began looking through my stuff, he be blinded by the fogged glass window.” talked to me and surprisingly I found it very
Reprinted with permission from Helpguide.org © 2001-2010. All rights reserved. For more information, visit www.Helpguide.org.
A note from Ben
Director of Yo
uth & Youth
ies @ San P edro Presbyt
erian Church In my youth, I ha d a ve ry and someone w close friend na Adam had madeho you could count on to be thermeed Adam. Adam was a good lo up losing his driva bad choice related to the spee for you when things got rough. oking guy, he had to rely on er’s license. When he lost it, hed limit and a Ninja sport bike However, ride wherever he others for transportation. As hi was told he could not drive ; he ended help. He insisted needed, work, home etc. But hes friends, our group offered to anymore so of driving without on driving himself, and was ca was too proud; he would not give him a ught and wound a license and of up in jail . . . thace cept our his pride. Because of situat penalty We see the damag ions like my friend Adam, w on us. We see th e it does to our friends, the ef e often as followers of Christ You said in your at in Isaiah 14 the King of Babfect that a proud and boastful avoid pride. heart, “I will asce pe of God”. nd to the heavenylon fell in part because he got rson has pr s; I will raise my throne above theideful; Often in light of stars down upon oursel all these things we decide th to God, or so we ves, if we keep ourselves down, at the Godliest course of action think. we avoid the sin of Pride and walis to look But when we do k closer do that, we place that, we short change oursel ou ve s. rs elves in a position We put ourselves have been create of judg down a position of selfd in the image of God and redeing ourselves as inadequate, evenand when we is to condemn? C condemnation that even God doemed by Christ. We also place though we at the right hand hrist Jesus is the one who died es not as we see in Romans 8:ours(ESelV)ves in — 34 of God, who inde ed is intercedingmore than that, who was raised— Who Looking down on fo who is r us .” ourselves is not that remains that a go od op can choose to see is neither thinking too much of tion either. However there is God as we see in ourselves as God sees us. Valu ourselves, nor too little of ou one option we choose to see Genesis 1:26. We are also valu able because we are made in thrselves. We from seeing ours ourselves as valuable because G able because we are redeemed by e image of see us, we are merelves as other people see us. Nod sees us as valuable, we divorc Christ. If This way of seeing ely choosing to see the way Godot that we are not unaware of e ourselves humility. It is es ourselves is called self-differe sees us as the more valuable how others to serve in a part sentially being confident in yourntiation now, a long time ago itperspective. to your youth pa icular capacity. If you want to self as a child of God that God was called than a final destinstor or leader. Remember humiliknow more about it I encourage has called yo ty is a direction ation. you are heading u to talk The Lord bless yo in, more upon you with fa u and keep you, the Lord be vor, and give you kind and gracious peace. to you. The Lord look
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What is Bulimia? Bulimia Nervosa–An eating disorder characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating, followed by frantic efforts to avoid gaining weight.
Signs & Symptoms of Bulimia If you’ve been living with bulimia for a while, you’ve probably “done it all” to conceal your binging and purging habits. It’s only human to feel ashamed about having a hard time controlling yourself with food, so you most likely binge alone. If you eat a box of doughnuts, then you’ll replace them so your friends or family won’t notice. When buying food for a binge, you might shop at four separate markets so the checker won’t guess. But despite your secret life, those closest to you probably have a sense that something is not right.
When you’re struggling with bulimia, life is a constant battle between the desire to lose weight or stay thin and the overwhelming compulsion to binge eat.
Binge Eating Signs & Symptoms
You don’t want to binge—you know you’ll feel guilty and ashamed afterwards—but time and again you give in. During an average binge, you may consume from 3,000 to 5,000 calories in one short hour.
• Lack of control over eating – Inability to stop eating. Eating until the point of physical discomfort and pain.
• Secrecy surrounding eating – Going to the kitchen after everyone else has gone to bed. Going out alone on unexpected food runs. Wanting to eat in privacy.
After it ends, panic sets in and you turn to drastic measures to “undo” the binge, such as taking ex-lax, inducing vomiting, or going for a ten-mile run. And all the while, you feel increasingly out of control.
• Eating unusually large amounts of food with no obvious change in weight.
• Disappearance of food, numerous empty wrappers or food containers in the garbage, or hidden stashes of junk food.
It’s important to note that bulimia doesn’t necessarily involve purging—physically eliminating the food from your body by throwing up or using laxatives, enemas, or diuretics. If you make up for your binges by fasting, exercising to excess, or going on crash diets, this also qualifies as bulimia.
• Alternating between overeating and fasting – Rarely eats normal meals. It’s all-or-nothing when it comes to food.
Purging Signs & Symptoms
• Going to the bathroom after meals – Frequently disappears after meals or takes a trip to the bathroom to throw up. May run the water to disguise sounds of vomiting.
Am I Bulimic?
Ask yourself the following questions. The more “yes” answers, the more likely you are suffering from bulimia or another eating disorder.
• Using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas after eating. May also take diet pills to curb appetite or use the sauna to “sweat out” water weight.
• Are you obsessed with your body and your weight?
• Does food and dieting dominate your life?
• Smell of vomit – The bathroom or the person may smell like vomit. They may try to cover up the smell with mouthwash, perfume, air freshener, gum, or mints.
• Are you afraid that when you start eating, you won’t be able to stop? • Do you ever eat until you feel sick?
• Do you feel guilty, ashamed, or depressed after you eat?
• Excessive exercising – Works out strenuously, especially after eating. Typical activities include high-intensity calorie burners such as running or aerobics.
• Do you vomit or take laxatives to control your weight? To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
B ulimia should never be ignored. Physical Signs & Symptoms of Bulimia • Calluses or scars on the knuckles or hands from sticking fingers down the throat to induce vomiting. • Puffy “chipmunk” cheeks caused by repeated vomiting. • Discolored teeth from exposure to stomach acid when throwing up. May look yellow, ragged, or clear. • Not underweight – Men and women with bulimia are usually normal weight or slightly overweight. Being underweight while purging might indicate a purging type of anorexia
• Frequent fluctuations in weight – Weight may fluctuate by 10 pounds or more due to alternating episodes of bingeing and purging.
Effects of Bulimia
When you are living with bulimia, you are putting your body—and even your life—at risk. The most dangerous side effect of bulimia is dehydration due to purging. Vomiting, laxatives, and diuretics can cause electrolyte imbalances in the body, most commonly in the form of low potassium levels. Low potassium levels trigger a wide range of symptoms ranging from lethargy and cloudy thinking to irregular heartbeat and death. Chronically low levels of potassium can also result in kidney failure.
Other Common Medical Complications & Adverse Effects of Bulimia Include: • Weight gain
• Abdominal pain, bloating
• Swelling of the hands and feet
• Chronic sore throat, hoarseness
A bulimic person’s physical and emotional health is at stake.
• Broken blood vessels in the eyes
• Swollen cheeks and salivary glands • Weakness and dizziness
• Tooth decay and mouth sores • Acid reflux or ulcers
• Ruptured stomach or esophagus • Loss of menstrual periods
Bulimia Causes & Risk Factors
• Chronic constipation from laxtive abuse
There is no single cause of bulimia. While low self-esteem and concerns about weight and body image play major roles, there are many other contributing causes. In most cases, people suffering with bulimia—and eating disorders in general—have trouble managing emotions in a healthy way. Eating can be an emotional release so it’s not surprising that people binge and purge when feeling angry, depressed, stressed, or anxious. 25
One thing is certain. Bulimia is a complex emotional issue. Major causes and risk factors for bulimia include:
If you or a loved one has bulimia… Call the National Eating Disorders Association’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-931-2237 or click here for free referrals, information, and advice.
• Poor body image: Our culture’s emphasis on thinness and beauty can lead to body dissatisfaction, particularly in young women bombarded with media images of an unrealistic physical ideal.
• Low self-esteem: People who think of themselves as useless, worthless, and unattractive are at risk for bulimia. Things that can contribute to low selfesteem include depression, perfectionism, childhood abuse, and a critical home environment. •History of trauma or abuse: Women with bulimia appear to have a higher incidence of sexual abuse. People with bulimia are also more likely than average to have parents with a substance abuse problem or psychological disorder. • Major life changes: Bulimia is often triggered by stressful changes or transitions, such as the physical changes of puberty, going away to college, or the breakup of a relationship. Binging and purging may be a negative way to cope with the stress.
• Appearance-oriented professions or activities: People who face tremendous image pressure are vulnerable to developing bulimia. Those at risk include ballet dancers, models, gymnasts, wrestlers, runners, and actors.
Getting Help For Bulimia
If you are living with bulimia, you know how scary it feels to be so out of control. Knowing that you are harming your body just adds to the fear. But take heart: change is possible. Regardless of how long you’ve struggled with bulimia, you can learn to break the binge and purge cycle and develop a healthier attitude toward food and your body. Taking steps toward recovery is tough. It’s common to feel ambivalent about giving up your binging and purging, even though it’s harmful. If you are even thinking of getting help for bulimia, you are taking a big step forward. To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
Steps To Bulimia Recovery • Admit you have a problem. Up until now, you’ve been invested in the idea that life will be better—that you’ll finally feel good—if you lose more weight and control what you eat. The first step in bulimia recovery is admitting that your relationship to food is distorted and out of control. • Talk to someone. It can be hard to talk about what you’re going through, especially if you’ve kept your bulimia a secret for a long time. You may be ashamed, ambivalent, or afraid of what others will think. But it’s important to understand that you’re not alone. Find a good listener— someone who will support you as you try to get better. • Stay away from people, places, and activities that trigger the temptation to binge or purge.
If Your Loved One Has Bulimia
You may need to avoid looking at fashion or fitness magazines, spend less time with friends who constantly diet and talk about losing weight, and stay away from weight loss web sites and “pro-mia” sites that promote bulimia. You may also need to be careful when it comes to meal planning and cooking magazines and shows.
• Offer compassion and support. Keep in mind that the person may get defensive or angry. But if he or she does open up, listen without judgment and make sure the person knows you care. • Avoid insults, scare tactics, guilt trips, and patronizing comments. Since bulimia is often a caused and exacerbated by stress, low self-esteem, and shame, negativity will only make it worse.
• Seek professional help. The advice and support of trained eating disorder professionals can help you regain your health, learn to eat normally again, and develop healthier attitudes about food and your body.
The Importance of Deciding Not To Diet
Treatment for bulimia is much more likely to succeed when you stop dieting. Once you stop trying to restrict calories and follow strict dietary rules, you will no longer be overwhelmed with cravings and thoughts of foods. By eating normally, you can break the bingeand-purge cycle and still reach a healthy, attractive weight.
Helping a Person With Bulimia
If you suspect that your friend or family member has bulimia, talk to the person about your concerns. Your loved one may deny bingeing and purging, but there’s a chance that he or she will welcome the opportunity to open up about the struggle. Either way, bulimia should never be ignored. The person’s physical and emotional health is at stake. It’s painful to know your child or someone you love may be binging and purging. You can’t force a person with an eating disorder to change and you can’t do the work of recovery for your loved one. But you can help by offering your compassion, encouragement, and support throughout the treatment process.
• Set a good example for healthy eating, exercising, and body image. Don’t make negative comments about your own body or anyone else’s. • Accept your limits. As a parent or friend, there isn’t a lot you can do to “fix” your loved one’s bulimia. The person with builmia must make the decision to move forward.
• Take care of yourself. Know when to seek advice for yourself from a counselor or health professional. Dealing with an eating disorder is stressful, and it will help if you have your own support system in place.
It may seem like there’s no escape from your eating disorder, but recovery is within your reach. With treatment, support from others, and smart self-help strategies, you can overcome bulimia and gain true self-confidence. Reprinted with permission from Helpguide.org © 20012010. All rights reserved. For more information, visit zwww.Helpguide.org.
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Cor. 10:13
The Lie In The Middle
My name is Stephanie. I am twenty-nine years old and I struggled with anorexia form the age of twelve until about two years ago. I struggled growing up, trying to fit in as part of a small community where most people strove to look perfect, thin, and to “have it all together.“ I also believe the anorexia was affected by abuse I’d suffered in the past.
blessed to have some amazing Christian women come alongside me and help me search the Scriptures for truth that was lasting truth-God’s truth. I’d believed in Jesus for a long time…I did grow up in a church, but I didn’t fully understand God or God’s character…..I didn’t KNOW him as my Savior, my Provider, my Protector, and someone who LOVED me more than I could ever understand. I saw God as just having another set of rules I could never perfectly follow.
I don’t want to go into any details about my particular eating disordered behaviors except to say that they completely dominated my existence. I had no time, energy, or love for anything or anyone else. My life was me, me, me. Starving and losing weight was my way of life. If the scale read a low number, or I could fit into a certain size of jeans, it meant I was okay, I was accepted, and I was safe. It meant that I could control my life and keep myself from getting hurt in any way. Of course, I had to isolate myself so much in the lies I was living that by the time I was full-blown into the eating disorder, I had no true friends. I was hospitalized several times and told, “Stephanie, you may as well get used to dealing with this--anorexia is a lifelong struggle, something you’ll never fully overcome.” Even my Christian friends would tell me that.
What I’m learning now is this: My life is not just mine to live. I have a purpose--and it is to bring glory to God and enjoy Him forever! I have a Savior who has done what all those doctors told me could never be done--He set me free from anorexia and showed me a new way to live. He loves me SO much--way too much to let me stay far from Him and in a life consumed with lies. I can choose to obey what my sinful mind tells me is okay….I can skip this meal….. or lie about that one…..OR I can choose to follow God’s Word, which tells me, “Do you not know that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).” Do you get that? God bought you with a price! You are of value to Him. You are worth too much to Him for Him to let you continue in a sin that could ultimately destroy your body, your mind, and your relationships with God and others. God also wants me to love and serve others, even those who have hurt me (Luke 6:2736). I cannot truly and fully love others if I am spending all my time obsessing about food, my weight, and looking a certain way. And I certainly cannot really love others and serve them when my body is broken down and unhealthy.
What a hopeless way to think! I knew there had to be a better way, and I knew I needed to find the truth about all of this. I was To Advertise Call 1-888-932-3552
I realized that the main lie in the middle of my anorexia was that it would keep me safe. Safe physically, safe from disapproval, safe from abuse. And lies, they are! The eating disorder did not keep me safe from any of these things. In fact, it put my life in danger. It gave me more anxiety. It alienated me from every28
one around me. And it kept me from serving the Lord with my whole heart. I was too busy serving myself, though I didn’t see it that way at that time. I was living in life-dominating sin.
If you’re struggling with any kind of eating disorder, please remember these things. God merciful. He is love. help you through this. tence. There is TRUE disorders.
God is slowly teaching me more and more about who He is, and I’m realizing that I want to love and obey Him--and not like a “set of rules I have to follow perfectly“--but obedience out of a heart that loves Him and values Him more than anything else in this temporary life. I am purposefully studying God’s character--His love, His goodness, His sovereignty. I want to be able to obey him in all areas of my life--not just in the way I care for the body He’s given me, but the way I reach out to love and serve others, and the way I live every minute of my life.
is good. He is He stands ready to And it is not a life senFREEDOM from eating
How to make a pull tab
You will need: • 30 about Soda Pop Can Tabs (more for bigger wrists) • 2 Yarn pieces, each about 15 in. long • Scissors
b r a c el e t 1.String the two strings through the pop tab, one through the bottom and one through the top (the smaller hole being the top). You should string this one from the bottom up through the hole. Then, set it on a table or the ground and flip the tab upside down. 2.Then, take another tab (right-side up) and string it on starting at the top and down through the holes. Pull it down the string until half of it is resting on top of the first tab. String the yarn back through the first tab. 3.Take a third tab, flip it upside down, and string it on from the bottom up. Then, string the yarn back through the second tab, also from the bottom up. 4.It should look like this. Keep repeating steps 2-3 until the bracelet comfortably fits around your wrist (but not too long because it does stretch a little). 5.When you are done, take the two strings on either end and tie them together in a knot to tie the bracelet off. To wear, simply tie together the end strings. You can also criss-cross the yarn to make neat little x’s in between the tabs, use shiny elastic string, and/or paint the tabs to make each bracelet different and personalized and fun!
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June, 2011 issue of Christeenianity magazine