Food Controls Me
Q. It's seems like I've obsessed over food for as long as I can remember. My dissatisfaction with the way I look has caused me to try all kinds of things, like diet pills and even suicide. A year ago, I decided the best way to stay thin was to throw up after meals. I felt I could control my life. But now I wake up every morning worried about what I will eat and where the nearest bathroom is. I want Christ to be the center of my life, not food. Please help me!
A. At one time or another most all of us use food to comfort us when we are down. But it sounds like your obsessive-compulsive eating habits are at a dangerous level of physical, mental and spiritual health.
I urge you to get help now. Talk with a counselor who understands eating disorders and ask them for the help you truly need to work on this issue. I want to give you some information on eating disorders in the next few paragraphs, but again, I strongly recommend that you share your struggle with a counselor right away.
The term "eating disorder" is used by medical or mental-health professionals to describe a person's obsession with food and weight, or inappropriate eating behavior. Two common types of eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. From the sound of your letter, you may have bulimia and possibly anorexia as well. Let me define the terms. Anorexia is an emotional disorder involving self-starvation that produces an extremely thin body. Bulimia is a pattern of gorging and purging the food, usually through self-induced vomiting. Let me be very serious with you: Anorexia and bulimia can be fatal. Common side effects include damage to reproductive organs, abnormal heart and metabolic rates, and heart and kidney failure. In other words, an eating disorder can be very dangerous and needs immediate attention.
You mentioned that you want Christ to be the center of your life—not food. A small, close-knit support group can help you keep your commitment to Christ strong and help you with your eating temptations as well. I love the promise of God that says, "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20). Jesus Christ loves you and cares about your food issue even more than you do. Seek him first and allow him to help you replace your cravings for food and your struggle with body image with a healthy commitment to Christ.
The following are organizations you can contact to get the help you need:
National Eating Disorders Association
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders