How’s Your Relationship with Food?
By Courtney McArthur –
Are you an emotional eater? When you’ve had a hard day, nothing sounds better than a brownie loaded with ice cream, right?
That was me! Whether it was stuffing my face when I had a bad day or starving myself because I had splurged the day before, I never had a good relationship with food.
In high school I was surrounded by my gorgeous stick-figured friends. They could eat whatever they wanted and not gain a pound. I was an athlete and I tried to stay on a strict diet in order to keep in shape for swimming, but I got tired of having muscles and broad shoulders. I wanted to be a size 0 and be a good swimmer too. That was pretty unrealistic, but in my mind, I envisioned myself being “perfect” by losing an unthinkable amount of weight. I started starving myself in order to lose the weight faster. One time, I made it three days without eating while doing two practices a day. After the third day, I felt sick and couldn’t stand it anymore so I ate everything I could find in my kitchen until I was literally stuffed!
That’s when I knew I had a problem and I couldn’t keep torturing myself. I didn’t want to tell my parents or anyone else for that matter, so I turned to God.
I had forgotten that God is there for us every second of every day. No matter how small the problem, God wants us to turn to Him for guidance. I was horribly mistreating my body that He created in His image. I didn’t talk to Him about my problem at first because I was embarrassed. I guess I wanted Him to think I was perfect. One day I was talking to my friends who were non-believers, telling them about how God is everywhere and sees everything. Something clicked in my mind that seems obvious to me now: God already knew I was starving myself and then bingeing. I didn’t need to hide it from Him; instead, I needed to ask Him for help. I needed God to be my crutch, not food!
When I turned to Him, I discovered that He will meet me in the dark. Without His purifying work on the inside, I will be miserable when problems and weaknesses bombard me. As soon as I told God about how upset I was, He showed me how to start handling my problems without starving myself or overeating.
One thing that helped me tremendously was looking at the world through God’s eyes. I started looking for one thing that was beautiful about everyone who walked by me. And I tried to look at every person with the love and compassion that God has for us. Once I saw the beauty in others, I began seeing the beauty in myself.
I learned the hard way that my relationship with food could turn into an eating disorder if I didn’t put a stop to it. Even though I am nowhere near where I used to be with this disease, I still struggle with it. It is a daily battle for me not to fall into my old habits. However, God is now with me, helping me fight it. His Word encourages me to treat my body as His temple, and I’m doing better at that. I still work out daily and eat well-balanced and healthy meals most of the time. And I pray for my relationship with food—that God will give me the willingness and ability to make healthy choices.
How is your relationship with food? If it’s not good, I hope that you can learn from my mistakes, and ask God every day to help you to make it better.
Courtney McArthur is the newest member of our Health and Fitness Team at TCP. She is a junior at Auburn University and a work-out enthusiast who is interested in sharing her testimony in order to help others who are struggling.