Eating Disorders

Patience: Are we there yet?

Visualize this scenario. There's a car ride going on, containing one or two parents/adults and at least one child in the backseat. The child's view consists of the following: the back of the driver's and passenger side seat, perhaps, some toys, games or word puzzle books, strewn throughout. Maybe, depending upon the vehicle, there's even a Disney film being played on a television screen, just above Mommy or Daddy's head. We should be hearing the voice of an animated character or the chirp of an irritating child's song. But, instead, what do we hear?

"Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

Does this sound familiar?

If you have children or remember being one yourself, you're probably familiar with this nagging, repetitive question:

Are we there yet?

We want to get there already, wherever "there" is.

"Unto a land flowing with milk and honey..." Exodus 3:8; 33:3

It's the Promised Land, filled with conscientious manners, harmonious relationships, well-behaved children, realized dreams and no bad hair days.

Fear of Disapproval

I recently came across an image post on the internet. It was a female's body, in workout gear. And it was accompanied by this statement:

"For Every 'Comment', I'll do 10 sit ups, For Every 'Like', I'll do 5 squats. Go, go, go!"

Furthermore, this post was also followed by a series of emoticons to emphasize its message: three arm curled biceps and one gold trophy.

(Sigh... Here we go again...)

Exercise, goals, striving for improvement/perfection...This is where I squirm, faced with posts as these.

Indeed, there is much emphasis on fitness in today's culture. There are countless gyms, trainers, exercise equipment, programs, workout clothes and shoes, as well as a variety of athletic activities from which to choose. It's overwhelming.

Yet there's still a rise in eating disorders and in such health issues as

Mother's Day, Not Measuring Day

What's your reaction to this image? Can you relate? Did you and your mother actually participate in this activity together, treating it as a bonding thing, a game, a competition or a means of "self-improvement?"

Mother's Day. It is devoted to the remembrance and celebration of our mothers, those people who first loved us. And, perhaps, even, in the name of that love, diet and weight measurement were a part of that.

With my mom, I believe it was. She battled with her weight her entire life, certainly as long as I've known her. I discuss it in my book. Years later, I see how it wasn't intentionally done to harm me.

But, nevertheless, that focus on body image, weight and thinness did. It's not just my experience, not perhaps, not just yours, either. Studies have, indeed, shown its impact: I can relate.

"…The study, published this week in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found that when a teen-age girl develops an eating disorder 'the mother-daughter relationship appears to contribute significantly.'

Kathleen M. Pike and Judith Rodin, who wrote the study, say they concluded this after comparing the test results of girls with eating disorders with those of girls who did not.

'It appears that some of the mother's own dieting and eating behavior and especially her

Body Programming: The Disturbing Onesie

Negative body image, via merchandise and marketing, strikes again.

The Wry Baby, an apparel company, has sparked controversy for selling onesies which read "I Hate My Thighs."

Cue toxic body image before females even get out of diapers!

I know, I know, the intent was not to hurt or offend; it's about being funny, cute and whimsical.
What's the harm, right?

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he... Proverbs 23:7

It is difficult enough being female in a world which is largely hostile to the gender. Cultural and image expectations enforce many a harmful, unrealistic and rejecting message. Unless and until a female embodies a thin, aesthetically appealing and societally acceptable standard, she is deemed ugly, worthless, undesirable and irrelevant.

Who or What is Your Miracle Worker?

"Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?"
Jeremiah 32:27

I recently caught the 1960 Academy Award winning film, "The Miracle Worker." It portrays the relationship of Helen Keller and that of her groundbreaking teacher, Annie Sullivan.

Most of us know the basics to the story. Helen Keller was blind, deaf and mute and, before Sullivan's arrival, seemingly hopeless in her circumstances. If she could not see, hear or speak, how could she ever communicate, let alone, live in the world?

The situation looked bleak.

That was until Sullivan's arrival...

The Power of "No!"

A large part of my recovery process involves using the word "no." Indeed, saying "yes" gotten me into more trouble and disease than standing in my own okay-ness with stating it simply, but firmly.

My eating disorder experiences were driven by an insatiable need for perfection, approval and to be pleasing at all cost. So, "no" became a dirty little word. After all, a girl, filled with sugar and spice, should be completely fulfilled with making other people happy.

Right?

Wrong.

Clueless or Purposeful Recovery?

As we bump along in life, we often misunderstand things, especially concerning our recovery. I recently caught a cartoon which captures that reality.

In it, we see Jesus and His disciples on a fishing boat. One disciple is in a festive mood, complete with some castanet shaking. This prompts another disciple's response...

"You idiot. He said cast the nets."

Does this spotlight, once again, our human cluelessness?

Perhaps, rather, it taps into the purposeful recovery-from-addiction meaning in our lives, should we choose to embrace it.

Let's take a gander at the fishy verses...

Success Is... Grace

And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace." John 1:16

As someone recovering from disordered image, food and weight issues, I've long wrestled with the perfection issue. There was a mandate, both self-imposed and emanating from others, to be perfect in behavior, achievement and appearance.

However, this last goal was the most frustrating and demoralizing.

As a child, I was overweight, inheriting my mother's own negative body image perceptions. Later, throughout adolescence, I was bullied, teased and rejected.

And then, adding insult to injury, I felt I could never win when it came to my dad and his expectations.

Optical Illusion: Liar?

Recently, on social media, I saw a brain teaser trending. It was an image that, at first glance, looked like a face. It stated, "Share when you see a word," asking us to look beyond this face value.

And, upon doing so, at a certain angle, one can see a dotted "I" where the nose/nostril is, along with an "a" for the mouth and an "r" creating the chin and neck. And starting the entire face, there is an elaborate "L," making up the two eyes.

So, when we spell the face, what word do we get?

Answer: liar.

The face of addiction, right there, ladies and gentlemen.

The old joke asks:
How do you tell if an addict is lying?
Answer: His/her lips are moving.

Internalizing the Wrong Messages?

I'm a huge fan of classic cartoons. The Roadrunner, in particular, always makes me smile.

Recently, I stumbled across an image, featuring Wile. E. Coyote's "calling card," which read "Genius." And it immediately reminded me of a famous Albert Einstein quote:

Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

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