Redeemed After 17 Years in the Pit of an Eating Disorder
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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… (Read More at: http://www.vision61.com/redeemed-after-17-years-eating-disorder/ )
Get to know Marie a little better…
Marie Notcheva (B.A., Print Journalism, Syracuse University) is a writer and biblical counselor from Massachusetts who specializes in eating disorders. She is a graduate of Jay Adams’ Institute for Nouthetic Studies, and counsels at her home church, Heritage Bible Chapel, in Princeton, MA. She and her husband Ivaylo are the parents of four children. Following a 17-year battle with anorexia and bulimia, Marie began studying biblical counseling and realized the principles she had learned during her own recovery could be used to help others. “Redeemed from the Pit: Biblical Repentance and Restoration from the Bondage of Eating Disorders” was the project that came out of that mission. Marie is passionate about pointing other women to Jesus Christ, the Healer of their souls.
You can visit Marie at her blog: http://redeemedfromthepit.blogspot.com/