Your ED Questions, Answered

I want to start out by saying something.

I nearly couldn’t go through with this post, because I felt, almost, phony answering these questions. Because the fact is, no recovery is perfect. There are things that I am still working on. There are things that I still can struggle with from time to time.

Recovery is a journey, and I don’t want to put on some false pretense that I’m some guru or some Oz-like short guy with a Napoleon complex, flashing smoke and mirrors behind a velvet curtain.

giphy.gif

Additionally, I’m not a doctor/therapist/dietician…I have no credentials other than a certified procrastinator, so please, my answers are just from the view point of a young woman, who battled a severe case of anorexia, and is now living abundantly in freedom.

That being said, I want to thank you all for the outpouring of love and feedback and questions since last week. I was so touched by the stories you shared with me. You all inspire me each and every day.

And so I’ve gathered up a lot of your questions – combined/grouped many themes, etc.

So buckle up, this is going to be a long one…

What provokes one to become anorexic? Is it natural or is it peer pressure? 

This is a really important question that honestly is different for every person.

Inside the mind of every girl or boy with an eating disorder is The Lie. – And it’s different for everyone. But it is a mental tape that plays over and over, and it feeds the disease.

It is usually developed or learned early on – maybe someone said something that scarred them. Perhaps they had a traumatizing experience. Or maybe it was a learned belief through situation or environment. But typically the lies are something along the lines of, “I’m not good enough.” “I’m a failure.” “I don’t deserve love.” “I’m a burden.”

Mine was, “I need to be perfect to be loved.”

Anywho. It sounds incredibly simple, and like — head shakingly basic — but she believes this Lie to her core. Enough to become enslaved to it. Enough to die for.

And the key to recovery is to figure out what that Lie is, and to replace it with the Truth – that she is a child of God and gets her worth from Jesus.

Anorexia is not something that you just decide to develop because you want to lose weight or become “pretty.” The weight loss is merely a symptom of a deep hurt – a wound that has become a belief system to her. That’s why they say, anorexia is not about the weight. Because even after inpatient and she gets the weight on, usually there is a relapse, because even though she may be physically “healed,” she is still mentally in her disease, and will revert right back to where she was. It’s all about The Lie.

What is the link between fasting for God and anorexia? And by embracing recovery, are we renouncing God because we’re refusing to fast? 

I have actually blogged about this very topic, as my anorexia began when I gave up sweets for Lent one year in high school. So to take my words from this post:

So. Lent. You can bet your bottom dollar that I won’t be giving up sweets any time soon.

And in fact, I won’t be doing any dietary fasting, period. It is detrimental to my recovery to fast, even for one day, even for religious reasons. I have vowed never to abuse my body and withhold nutrients from it ever again. I made that promise to Jesus and myself. And tbh, I think it gives Jesus more joy for me to eat and nourish myself for His glory, than to fast and flirt with the behaviors that nearly took my life ten years ago today.

I will instead fast from negative self talk. From thoughts and lies that erode my self worth. From comparing myself to others and setting the unattainable standard of perfection for my life/body/possessions. I will instead fill myself with His love for me. “Feast” on His words of truth and love. “Feast” on the joy that comes from His forgiveness and from His saving and healing hand in my life. This is Lent.”

How does a parent help her child work on her healthy eating (and even losing unhealthy weight) while not feeding into ED?

This is a tough one. For YEARS during the beginning of my recovery, food was just not talked about. My parents stayed away from the “other four-letter-‘F-Word” with a 10 foot pole. Which was both good and bad.

If your daughter is in recovery from anorexia, and has become unhealthy, it is definitely something that will take some finesse and delicacy. If she is still under your roof, you could simply make dinners healthy and light. You could suggest taking a walk together or taking a fun Zumba class together where you can move your bodies in a healthy way.

The key is that she’s already self conscious about her new body, and any even slight suggestion that she is “overweight” will scare the pants off of her.

I’ll tell you from my own experience that one’s relationship with food will go through many stages in recovery. But that is part of the journey. Going from one extreme pendulum swing to the other is quite common, and will eventually even out.

After having lived in a state of such restriction and starvation, she’s getting reacquainted to her “off-limits” foods, and that is a good thing.

Keep supporting her. Try not to make comments about her appearance, but rather, compliment her on her character and personality traits. “I like how you’re kind to others. Your heart is so beautiful…” things like that.

How do I follow such a restrictive diet (the Specific Carb Diet) without feeding ED?

This is a question I get all. the. time. Because you’re right, the way I have to eat (The Specific Carb Diet) for my Ulcerative Colitis is very restrictive. And I resisted adopting this diet for a long time for that very reason. — I was in recovery. I didn’t want to live restricted ever again.

But. I was on bed rest for 11 months and it was either try this diet and see if it would work, or get my intestines removed. I was in a dire situation, because my body was rejecting every medication to get me out of a debilitating flare.

You can read the whole kit’n’kaboodle here.

But I’m not going to lie, it is hard. But I’ve come to learn to eat-to-live, rather than live-to-eat. Food is necessary for life, and meant to be shared with people, and so I focus on the company rather than the meal. But I am diligent about keeping my calories up and keeping my exercise in check so I maintain a healthy weight.


How do you deal with extra weight during recovery if you go over your healthy weight range, and even potentially lose weight while still staying mentally healthy?

Again, your body will naturally find its set point. There often times will be a period of, shall I say, readjustment. It is pretty common. But it will even out. Your body is learning to trust itself again. It has been living in starvation mode, holding onto calories because it doesn’t know when it would be nourished again, so having that metabolism switch flipped back on can result in some body adjustment.

But staying mentally healthy, for me, honestly, I just had to keep reminding myself of the Truth. Reminding myself where my true worth came from – God.

On a nuts-and-bolts level, sticking with a meal plan is very helpful. Often times, if you’re working with a nutritionist, she/he will also “prescribe” some light physical exercise. But the body is an incredible processing machine, and so it will find its set point in due time.

The Truth about Bloating in Recovery

How do you keep your relationship with food and exercise healthy/how do you break exercise addiction? 

This is hard, because there will always be reminders of your eating disorder. For example, I will never eat canned tuna again. Or whole wheat low carb wraps. Or an Activia strawberry yogurt. Just too many horrible memories that take me back to a detrimental state of mind.

Exercise has definitely been a tough area for me. I had to give it up cold turkey for 11 months when I was on bed rest for an ulcerative colitis flare, and that’s honestly what “fixed” my addiction to it. Because addiction is absolutely what it was.

Now, I have a healthy relationship with it. I recognize that physical activity is important, and so I do it in moderation, when I feel like it. No more olympic caliber-workouts meant to punish myself to the point of collapse. I now take a gentle walk for a little under an hour most days. And that’s more for just the enjoyment of moving my body and being outside. I also pray during my walks. So it is mind/body/spirit exercise.

The Truth about Exercise in Recovery

How do you stop comparing yourself to other girls’ bodies? 

Comparison is tough. We all do it, no matter how hard we train ourselves not to. I recently wrote about an audition I just had for a beauty campaign where all the girls in the room were six foot, blond runway models…and then there’s me…haha

It’s nearly impossible not to compare.

But I’ve had to train myself to learn to see those girls I’m tempted to negatively compare myself to as children of God, just like me. My worth is not in my outward appearance, but in my heart that is occupied by Christ.

When I started seeing other girls the way that God sees them – as His children, with their own hurts and struggles and need for love and acceptance – it really helped.

That, and I just try to avoid situations that I know are unhealthy for me. I was asked two years in a row to attend a Fashion Week runway show in NYC, and I declined both times – because I knew that was a triggering situation for me where I’d just be comparing myself to unnaturally thin models. I’m staying away for my own good! Same with watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show…No ma’am!!

How did I get over the fear of weight gain and BMI? 

This is the million dollar question. Seriously.

I’m going to tell you a secret. I don’t own a scale. Haven’t for several years. I get weighed at the doctor, and I do it blind because I don’t want to know.

The fear of weight gain was real. My journal from inpatient is just filled with the fear and anxiety from that looming “weight range.”

And I honestly had to just give it over to Jesus. Which, I know sounds like the biggest bunch of “Bull” ever, but that’s how I got through it. I just clung to Him, because I was paralyzed in fear.

It helped me once I realized that my thinness — my scary thinness — was pushing people away. People didn’t want to be near someone whose appearance scared them or made them feel “icky.”

I was hungry for love and friendship, and I knew that being a skeletal spectacle wasn’t going to get me either.

What was my experience with body dysmorphia? How do you recognize and overcome those thoughts?

Bikinis and Body Dysmorphia

What is the best advice you have for not binge eating? – 

Binge eating, I’ve come to realize, is something that everybody does. Maybe it’s just on Thanksgiving and Halloween, but the fact is, food is meant to be enjoyed, and yes, sometimes we overdo it. But honestly, our bodies are incredible machines and can handle it every blue moon.

However binge eating — on a habitual basis, due to an emotional need, where it’s getting in the way of your life — that is a problem. And yes, I went through a binge period myself, and it filled me with so much shame, I still feel my chest tighten when I think back to that time.

You’d wake up in the morning and just feel so dirty and so shameful and disgraceful, and yet during the binge episode, it was fulfilling something that I needed.

And that’s the answer – the bingeing is you self-medicating for something you need in your life. Maybe you’re lonely? Or have anxiety about something? Maybe you’re grieving a loss? Whatever it is, the bingeing is your answer on how to exert “control” when you feel you have lost that ability elsewhere.

So this takes some serious self-reflection and prayer, to figure out the emotions that are causing the binge. Keep a journal and write down how you were feeling before/during/after a binge. See if you can see any patterns, and try some other coping mechanisms.

For me, being with people and being accountable really helped.

But what really helped was praying through it. I felt a “binge” coming on…I just started praying. I would think about Jesus on the Cross. Because honestly – this is going to be pretty dang blunt – thinking about Jesus literally hanging there with nails going through His hands and feet for me, dying…made that cookie or that pint of ice cream just seem…well…I lost my desire to binge on it.

*shrugs* I told you…blunt

If there is a person in my life that I feel has an ED, is there a good way to go about helping them? What are some things that someone who loves a person suffering from this disease can say that would be encouraging, loving, uplifting, and open the door to communication? 

This is such an important question. It’s vital, and it is incredibly delicate and tricky.

So here’s the thing. I never actually admitted to having an eating disorder until I was three days into inpatient, and that was only after all the doctors and therapists and dietitians and everyone basically drilled it into me until I admitted it. I was adamant that I didn’t have an eating disorder, and that my weight loss was because of my ulcerative colitis – which was true, to a point. 

And thinking back, I think the reason I was so adamant, was because of a) pride. But also because I felt there was so much shame associated with anorexia. I believed that having anorexia made me a horrible person, at my very core. That I was shallow, superficial, looks-obsessed, and someone that needed to be hidden away. I felt that I would be letting everyone down, and that I was some big failure as a human and would reflect poorly on my family because I had this “fear of eating complex.”

So I think the thing I would say is, be honest. Be open. And be nonjudgemental. 

Use the words, “eating disorder.” Don’t let there be a stigma or any shame around that phrase. Name it. Because your daughter will pick up on any inkling of “hush-hush-ness” attached to it, and that will deepen the shame that she already feels about her engagement in ED behaviors.

Here’s what I would say: “Hi honey, how are you? I want to have a conversation with you about something. I have always been your biggest fan, and I respect you and the beautiful life you’re creating for yourself. And so I want to talk with you about something that I’ve been noticing recently. I know you are capable of making healthy and positive decisions for yourself, but I’ve noticed that you’ve [been skipping meals, going to the bathroom after meals, working out in an extreme fashion, stopped eating a lot, etc.] And I just want to tell you that, you don’t need to feel ashamed of any feelings you might be having. And I want to talk with you about them. But let’s be open with each other. Because high school is hard, and there are so many difficult emotions and situations to navigate, but there are more positive ways to deal with the stress than taking it out on your body.”

And then, I would just listen. Let her speak. Most likely, you’ll get a grunt or a denial. But this opens up the conversation, and lets her know that there is no shame in coming to you when she is finally ready to talk.

If things are truly dire, and it is getting to a critical, life-or-death situation, then an inpatient facility is absolutely where she needs to be.

I’ll just leave this post here: For Parents 


How can parents best support a child in hospital? Is the best thing to distract her, read a book, do a drawing, etc? 

In hospital…hmmm. I think the biggest thing is to treat her like a person rather than her disease. It’s so hard, because there’s so much stress and it’s the big elephant in the room and so pressing, but what’s important to remember is that your daughter is hurting. Underneath the silent treatment and the anger and the lying and denying of food and all that crap that accompanies an eating disorder, is your precious daughter (or son) who is hurting right now. And the weight loss is just a cry for help, and her way of trying to cope  with what is giving her pain. So honestly, I would try and talk to her. If you want to do something mindless at the same time, like doing a puzzle or playing cards, sure – but I would just try to get her to open up and talk about it. Share your own vulnerabilities with her to set the stage. The more open and honest and vulnerable you can be about yourself, the more that will give her assurance to reciprocate.

I’ll leave this here: The Million Dollar Question

What would I say to the girl who has an uncommon recovery, with a highly unstable weight, bouncing from severely depleted, to medically obese several times? 

Weight fluctuations are definitely common during the “readjustment” period, because again, the body is rebooting its metabolism and learning to trust itself again. Starvation mode is literally that – your body’s way of trying to keep you alive.

That being said, I do think it is important to follow a meal plan, especially during the initial season of recovery, because your body needs to remember its hunger cues and what fullness feels like. One big thing for me, was that I never knew when to stop being “full.” And so for me, full meant being “stuffed.” And that became a very triggering feeling that would often lead to a binge.

Lastly, in this person’s email, they labeled exercise as harmful. Which, yes – if you are addicted to it, then absolutely, that level of extreme exercise is detrimental. However exercise itself is not bad, and in fact, I believe, part of a full recovery: when we can exercise appropriately with the proper motives behind it. It is often used as a form of self punishment, or as another way to “purge” calories. If that is how you’re feeling about exercise, then yes, you should not be participating just yet. But exercising out of love for your body, enjoying moving the body that God gave you – then yes, I think that exercise can be incorporated into recovery. (This is obviously if you’re at a healthy, and stable weight and are medically cleared by your doctor to engage in physical activity.)

If I find my daughter is secretly exercising or lying about what she eats, what should we do? 

Ok, so these are both definite red flags for an eating disorder. And I don’t mean to say that to scare you or anything, but these are the two things that I absolutely did.

I would definitely confront it, and just ask her why, in a nonjudgemental, safe-space sort of way. If she feels she should be ashamed, it will just delve her deeper into secrecy.

I would also be on the look out for other “Watch For Signs.” (See below)

What advice for parents do you have on what we can do to help our children with this disease? Some do’s and don’ts?

Do: Treat her as a person, not as a case to be “fixed.” Listen with compassion and be there for her. Tell her you’re concerned. Encourage her to get help, and provide her with options for care. Learn about the disease and be prepared to have a difficult conversation about the harmful effects. Pray for her. Express your love for her. Be prepared to stage an intervention if things get dire. Realize that your daughter is being manipulated by the eating disorder, and that the lying, angry, isolated shell of the girl you know is not who she is. She is fighting for her life against a force that is stronger than her right now and needs you – needs your love, compassion, concern, and help.

Don’t: Gossip about her or put her on public “prayer request lists.” — She needs to be able to trust you. It’s her story to tell, not yours. This is one of the biggest things my mother made sure not to do, and her keeping that trust intact was so so important and vital to our healing. Don’t scrutinize every calorie ingested, or weight. Don’t comment on her appearance. Don’t say things like, “You’re better than this. Or What will the neighbors think? Or how can our daughter have an eating disorder?” – or other things that send the message that there should be shame attached to her suffering. Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad.” Don’t engage in power struggles over food.

giphy-2

Here’s a little insight: Don’t Tell Me I’m Beautiful

How do you handle poor body image when it creeps back into your life?

Great question, because honestly, this is still an area that can trip me up. And so my advice: give the mirror a break. I know that may sounds pretty drastic, but if there’s a day where I’m not feeling that great about myself, I know that the best thing for me is to not stand there and scrutinize myself in the mirror with such negative self talk that would make a sailor blush.

I try and remember that I am more than a body. I am a soul…a heart and mind that love Christ, and that I have a beauty that goes beneath the skin.

Other simply practical things…on those bad body image days….don’t go clothes shopping. Not good. Also, avoid tight fitting clothes, and be with supportive people. Lastly, do something that takes the focus off of yourself – do something nice for others. And pray.

Body Positivity Week??img_4095

Can you give a parents’ “Watch For List”/early signs of things that they should be aware of that may be signs of ED in their son or daughter? 

Aside from weight loss… Withdrawal from activities and social engagements. Disinterest in things. Often having excuses for missing meals, or having “other plans” to eat with someone else (read: I already ate with Susie. I’ll get a hot dog at the football game. i.e: not with you.) Denying hunger. Dressing in layers. Being cold all the time. Obsession with food – talking about it, going shopping for it, watching the Food Network/reading Pinterest recipes/Tasty videos at an unhealthy level. Obsession with calories/exercise/diet/fat/body image. Overexercising. Talking about calories or the need to “burn off” what she eats. Denying dessert. Not wanting to go out to eat/eat in public. Having a rigid/strict regimen. Cooks meals for others without eating. Going to the bathroom directly after meals. Loss of period. Fatigue/increase of sleep. Conversely, a spike in hyperactivity — always needing to be moving, jittering, “going.” Refusing to eat certain food groups. Eating with food rituals, like patterns, cutting food up into teeny tiny pieces, lots of chewing, absurd amount of liquid with meals. Dry skin. Cold hands. Fine body hair. Struggles sleeping and going to the restroom. Loss of hair/falling out in clumps.

img_3474

So there you go. I pray that these offer some hope and answers for those who need it.

And this is actually a great time to announce that my first book is going to be released next month, and it will be talking about many of these topics and offering a hands on, work-through approach for those suffering, as well as insight for loved ones.

I’m really excited about it. I wish there would have been something around like it when I was suffering – it would have really expedited my healing process.

If you ever have any other questions, feel free to email me, beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com, and I’ll do another Q &A post 🙂

Want to listen to this post as a podcast? Click below! (Every post is offered as a podcast over on Patreon!)

________________________________________________________________
Stay Connected!
@beauty.beyond.bones – Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

A big thank you to my new sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.

Please check out my affiliate partners! Doing so helps you, and it helps me 🙂 AmazonReebokNatureBoxSunbasketWPengine WebhostingWarby ParkerMasterclass

patreon

Thank you for considering supporting BBB on Patreon! You make this blog possible 🙂

Published by

beautybeyondbones

BBB: Because we're all recovering from something. // For speaking/business inquiries: beautybeyondbones@yahoo.com

207 thoughts on “Your ED Questions, Answered

  1. You are so incredibly inspirational! I feel like if I left a huge comment I wouldn’t do your writing and journey and recovery any justice. At the same time, reading and liking don’t feel like enough. You have such an honest voice in every single one of your posts that I feel like I know you (or as much of you as you’ve shared via the blog) and you feel like a good friend. Please accept my gratitude for always sharing such raw memories and experiences. 💫❤️

    1. Gosh thank you so much!! I’m so glad this hit home with you 🙂 And thank you for being so supportive. I was pretty nervous about putting this post out, so thank you for your support! big hugs to you friend xox

      1. You are most welcome because you deserve it! I’m certain all your posts, perhaps even this one in particular, feel nerve wrecking to share. Just felt you needed to kudos for it. ☺️

  2. I enjoyed this post! I’m actually writing a post right now about my story of how I trust Christ with my weight, but I’m still debating on posting it. For me, I’m unable to gain weight, and a year to six months ago, I let this rule me. After I ate, I would weigh myself, and if I didn’t gain, I would eat more. I would weigh myself constantly all day, and it was as if the scale was ruling my life. I would look at other girls and then look at myself in the mirror and think of myself as “too thin” and “not like the other girls.” However back in November, my mom and I threw out the scale! Though I had a stumble last month, I didn’t let it define me and I’ve realized that my worth is in Christ, and that’s the most important thing! I learned that some things may be out of our control, but we have a Savior who has all things in control.

    I really liked this post and it is very inspiring! God bless you!! 🙂

    1. thanks so much for sharing this, Christina. Yes! our worth is in Christ. So glad this resonated with you. Thanks for taking the time to read! God is in control! know that I’ll be keeping you and your situation in my prayers. big big hugs xox

  3. This is excellent. I love the way you reach out and help people. And I love the concept of fasting off of negative thinking. Wishing you all the best!

  4. Ummmmm… Since I know you I know your title was for Eating Disorder, BUT, ED also is used for Erectile Dysfunction. I don’t think you realized that 🙂 Oh, and I don’t have either problem, but know about each. Needed to clear that up, lol…

    1. thanks so much Benjamin! I really appreciate your support! i haven’t watched it yet. debating watching it tonight. i feel i kinda need to be informed on it. Getting a lot of questions about it. big hugs xox

  5. Thank you for this post… I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I have struggled with body image because my knees are bent when I walk and to me, that is not beautiful. But whenever I got self conscious about it, I would pray. And this post just encouraged me and reminded me to always remember that I am His daughter! Please always remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and He loves you so much!

  6. Thank you for being yourself and sharing openly about all you’ve gone through. Truly inspirational! God continue to richly bless you and use you mightily as you make yourself available to those who are hurting and struggling.

  7. This post has me teared up. You are such an inspiring young woman. I so hope that many women will find inspiration to fight and be well again. I’m not a young lady of course but have been bothered with body image myself. That weight won’t go away! God bless you and your family. ❤️

    1. Thank you John. I’m so glad this hit home with you 🙂 I pray that this falls into the right hands too. So glad some of this resonated with you 🙂 sending big big hugs xox

  8. That’s the JD I’ve come to know and love. Great job. How do you ever manage to be so brutally honest about something and remain entertaining and lively at the same time? I know I don’t comment much these days, but so many do. Just know I am always in awe and am always inspired to be a better me because of the words you write so eloquently. Your reliance on, and trust in, Christ is unwavering and you always glorify and magnify God while teaching others and reaching others.

    With much love and admiration………………….

    1. Thanks Tony! 🙂 oh gosh I am just so grateful for you and your friendship 🙂 God is the one who got me through all this, and I can’t help but thank Him for His saving power in my life. So glad you stopped by. Thanks for reading! Hugs and love xox

  9. First of all, you are amazing and brave for putting this all out there. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. As a mother to a 19 month old girl, I am pretty ferocious when someone comments on her. She is small for her age because she had complications from a blood disorder that we are frankly still dealing with today. I will not allow anyone to say anything even remotely mean. I know she may not understand now, but Lord help me, we have done so much in the first year of her life, I feel like they are trying to make me feel bad too with out knowing what we went through.
    I have a friend who was anorexic because of something her dad said to her at like 10 years old. She has fought tooth and nail to get healthy again. She is amazing too. I worry about her because she is a young woman in her twenties and is dating and everything. I worry that someone will be insenstive to her. I am frequently talking to her, making sure she is okay.. but the truth is I live on the other side of the country and if something was wrong I would not know unless someone tells me. I pray for her several times a day, just as I pray for you now.

    1. Thank you so much Tawnya. Gosh I’m so sorry your daughter has had those health complications. I will definitely keep her in my prayers. And That’s so great that your friend has reclaimed her life. Yes, I will keep her in my prayers as well. Thanks for being so wonderful 🙂 big hugs xox

  10. you have put yourself online, and have therefore been open to questions, etc. you have written with such care

    yes of course, you have so many lovely, and internal qualities

    i was reading through, and the pictures – that’s so funny, Caralyn, the picture with the spacey fruit eyes

    i wish you nice rest…; on a difficult post to write

  11. Great post as usual — brutally honest, very inspirational and informative. Congratulations on the book coming out next month — that’s awesome! Praying it gets into the right hands. Continued blessings to you as you bring glory to Christ with your life.

  12. Amazing. I like your voice here. The book! That’s so cool. I’m really glad you um, do this. When ED hit a friend of mine I wished there was a book to give him, too. I don’t know why I’ve always been okay. I’d just hug him and…try to help I didn’t know what it was I was 19. You don’t have to be perfect I think you’re pretty great as you are. A huge task is knowing how to tell your story. The other parts fix themselves.

    1. Thanks so much Kenzie. Yeah I’m pretty excited. Yeah, hugs are always a good healing power. 🙂 I hope the book falls into the right hands. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  13. First, is this a recent picture? Wavy hair instead of straight. You look good with it!

    The “Crack” you may hear is the sound of you sending this one over the outfield fence…with a vapor trail behind it! To quote from the movie, “Major League,” – Anything that goes that far should have a stewardess on it! (PLEASE tell me you’ve seen this one?!?

    As always, the bulk of my comments are at Patreon…

    1. Thanks Jeff! Yeah – that was from the Fourth of July up north in Wisconsin. No hair straightener. Hah au naturale hehe. I have seen that movie! A loooong time ago. Thanks for the Jeff. So very kind. Sending massive hugs and continuing the prayers. Hugs and love xox

  14. That was powerful! Thank you for sharing. Truly can empathize. This topic is a struggle within my immediate family and extended family as well. Thank you for being a positive voice.

  15. I love your answers. As much as you’ve gone through, you stay humble and not to claim to know it all, but give your honest perspective yet helpful answers. Many parents would really appreciate them. You’re an encouragement to many!

      1. You’re very welcome! I appreciate your thorough and fun to read answers to all types of questions including spiritual questions. Your journey is an inspiration to many and no wonder your website is in the top 5. Blessings and love to you! xoxo

  16. Thank you so much for sharing your story and all of this information! As a mother of girls, this is so important and helpful for me to know. Congratulations on your book coming out soon!

  17. Your willingness to open up like this is so inspiring! I wish the people in my life would have read something like this when I was struggling with anorexia. Being non-judgemental is key. The way I was approached caused so much anger, even though I know my family was just afraid for me. I thank God every day for coming out stronger. I love reading your story!

  18. I just wanted to comment, I thought this was so brave of you to post this, and it was really inspiring. I really hope – scrap that – I’m certain that what you had to say is able to help someone else out through their road to recovery, or through dealing with a loved one with the same issues you have experienced. I only just this past week found out about someone close to me having had an eating disorder, and nobody ever suspected it because her occupation kept her so fit and ‘healthy’. The comments certain people have made to her since she came out with it have been shocking enough that if it were me, I do not think I would be strong enough to keep up the road to full recovery, so hearing what you had to say from the ‘afflicted’ (didn’t know what other word to use) person’s perspective is definitely coming at the right time for me as I try in all matters to be careful with my words and what impact they may have on others, and I have been stumbling to keep from saying all the wrong things. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. oh gosh, thank you so much 🙂 That is my deepest prayer – that it would help even one person. Thanks for that encouragement. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. i will definitely keep her in my prayers. you’re a good friend. hugs x

  19. Thank you for sharing all these helpful information… You’re really inspirational! I agree with you- some decisions and actions are difficult to do, sometimes even impossible- but with Christ, any thing is possible! So I believe your answer: “And I honestly had to just give it over to Jesus. Which, I know sounds like the biggest bunch of “Bull” ever, but that’s how I got through it. I just clung to Him, because I was paralyzed in fear.” 🙂

  20. Incredible, Sis!

    I’m looking forward to reading your book too (Congrats on it being completed!)

    Regarding Fasting… in agreement with what you wrote, a number of other health conditions make Fasting [food] an unsafe practice, such as diabetes. Your approach to Fasting non-food things (activities, etc.) is just as powerful in the Christian life. When Jesus said that mankind was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for mankind (Mark 2:23-28), He was reminding us of His priority: our healthy relationship with Him.

    You continue to amaze me… God is blessing you and using you in wonderful ways!

  21. Caralyn I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 3:1-5. You are a great comfort to so many! Thank you for sharing your journey and hope in Jesus with others. 💟✝️💟

  22. Dear Carolyn. I can’t even read this post or listen to the podcast. I say that out of respect for you. It’s a hard subject to deal with and I can’t bare the thought of you ever suffering like that. So without reading the blog. I just want to say. May God Love You, May God Bless You, May God Hug You Everyday.

  23. You are brave to be so honest. I’ve always had mixed feelings about Lent and dietary restrictions. One can find other ways to observe the spirit of Lent besides dietary restrictions.

    1. Thanks so much Kate. Yeah, lent is tricky for those in recovery. But there are other ways to practice fasting during that time 🙂 thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  24. I love how full of the truth you are. You have the heart of Jesus and that and you are truly beautiful!!! Makes me so happy to read. Love you, sweet friend. ❤

  25. Thank you so much for your honesty. God will continue to be the strength of your life as you inspire others by your kind and honest words. Smiles here.

  26. My dear friend

    I think, why it comes to become addicted to certain habits we have adopted: referring to our weight, to consum of alcohol, smoking cigaretts or falling into any “traps” that life offer us – maybe due to our sensibility to find something in our life that is worth to bring us “happiness”. When doing so, we fall into a kind of swamp: the more we struggle to come out of it, the more we are captured in it – it is something where we have to learn to let go with what our attention was dealing with and struggling with – it also reminds me on a swimmer swimming close at the shore – the waves automatically draw you in deeper water and this is what happens when once we have unnoticed transgressed a certain line in which the power beyond this line draws us in “deeper water”, in deeper troubles.But this whole process is so slow that we do not feel it… only then when our life is threatened – and maybe the hidden wish to find something in life that gives us more than what normal people want – to be prepared even to go to extremes maybe this is the hidden “trap” “waiting” for us, leaving us in a state of paying a price for such a challenge… However, when coming out of this “mud and swamp” – we come back stronger than before and we have learnt our lessions.

    Thanks for sharing – I still feel proud of you that you could escape such an awful disease.

    All good wishes
    Didi

    1. That is such a powerful thought, to be struggling to get out of a swamp. And you’re right – we emerge stronger and more powerful. Thanks Didi For this beautiful reflection. Hugs and love xox

  27. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – You are AMAZING. This post is so valuable and important! You are helping so many people by sharing your story and your experiences! Congratulations on your forthcoming book! You deserve all the accolades and praise. Keep doing what you’re doing – Your writing is so valuable and respected (at least by me).

  28. Heya, Caralyn. I’m struggling with some guilt myself and hope that maybe you can help me.

    So the big lie in Judaism and Christianity that women have to deal with (and maybe I shouldn’t feel guilty about this but I can’t help myself) is that they were responsible for the fall.

    It really breaks my heart when you say that your Lie was “I have to be perfect to be loved.”

    You know, we can’t be loved if we’re perfect, because if we were perfect we’d be God, and God is love, and love can’t love itself because that’s just circular.

    God looked at Adam and said: “He’s lonely. He needs someone,” and God gave him Eve and Adam DIDN’T PAY ATTENTION to her. He didn’t feel her slipping away. He was too busy being important doing GOD’S WORK in the world.

    Of course Eve felt bitter. God was taking her man away from her. When what Adam was supposed to do whenever he had a doubt about what he was doing was to come to Eve and say “See me, Eve. Am I OK? Am I doing a good job? Life moves in you, dear lover. Am I making it stronger or weaker in the world? Tell me, guide me. Because I wish to please God, but His creation reveals itself to me only through you.”

    Those words you wrote make me feel that we’ve broken the world so badly that the only way forward for a sensitive and loving spirit was to say “I’m not going to let this touch me. I’m going to build a wall and be by myself even if it kills me. Because the world is too broken and feeling it is going to hurt too much.”

    And what kills me is that you still yearn for us, that you still pray for a man to be given to you. That tenderness and vulnerability still works in you and seeks to see strength and goodness in us. And I am amazed and awed at the glory of God and the perfection of the gift he brought to Man through Woman.

    Brian

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Brian. That is such a powerful thought – that the only way to be perfect is to be God – boy that puts things into perspective! Thanks for such encouraging and kind words. i am truly touched. bit hugs xo

  29. Another valuable contribution to the information on recovery and survival.
    You got it right when you outlined that your answers come from your experience.
    Eating Disorders are the manifestation of an emotional or psychological need therefore many caring friends and family members are very concerned because they feel they will do more damage by saying or doing something to upset the suffer.
    Experience has taught me that acknowledging the obvious often encourages disclosure. If a friend breaks a leg and it is in a cast, by acknowledging the cast am I creating a trauma or giving them space to explain how it happened and the healing time. I suffer from heart disease, I choose to ignore it but when others remind me that I could be doing too much it isn’t because they want to stop me enjoying myself but a reminder they are there to help and support.
    So to parents and friend (I do speak from experience) be ready to talk, most of all listen and share the simple truth that the person living with the eating disorder is not defined by it.
    Strong answers to some interesting questions.

  30. I have a few thoughts about this. Firstly, I used to do a small fast on a weekly basis (not complete fast but only bread and water until 6 pm). I managed the fast for months and felt that it helped me focus on God. However, after a few months the partial fast became almost physical impossible. I got headaches, nausea and dizziness even though I drank lots of water and was still a healthy weight. What I didn’t realise at the time was that my daughter was beginning to have problems with an eating disorder and although I didn’t know it consciously, I think this was my body’s or God’s way of saying that fasting wasn’t appropriate anymore.
    Secondly, your thoughts on what to say to someone with severe ED are interesting. We have felt most close when talking about my own struggles with mental illness or just pointing out that other people in the family have also had their struggles (although I haven’t said too much about it since that is their story). I have been told to avoid talk about appearance or weight or food as this just feeds into the ED. I also know I can’t be her therapist and don’t want to be, but talking about goals or my own inner struggles and vulnerability does seem like a place to help her open up.
    This is so hard. Sometimes I almost lose hope and lose sight of my daughter. She pushes me away and tries to pretend everything is okay while still either avoiding food or trying to get rid of the food she eats. However, I hope and pray that there is a way through.

    1. I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is going through this. my heart and prayers are with her and you and your family. Keep opening up to her – the more she can talk about it and become open to getting help, the better. Hang in there. Sending so much love. xo

  31. Thanks for answering these questions. How valuable it was, especially for the sake of my daughter, to read your experience and advice on this issue. Also, I am someone that has Crohn’s disease and have to follow a very restrictive diet. I see some of the tendencies you have descibed here within my ownself. Thanks for providing me a better understanding and an awareness to a serious and life-threatening disorder. How beautiful that you learned to find your self-worth through Christ! Nothing will ever provide the comfort and peace He provides. With that confidence, may we both prayerfully push forward in our infirmities!

    1. Thanks so much. I’m so glad this was helpful for you. I will definitely keep you and your family in my prayers. 🙂 Thanks for your encouraging words. Big hugs to you xox

  32. Sorry I didn’t read all the way through this one but it’s good you trying to help others through your recovery and teaching others on what you learn from yourself and from others also, because theirs people that don’t like book smart collage grads that never been through experience of things and try to help other people out when they never been in the same spot themselves on it.

    1. Thanks Michael! ha, no worries, it’s a bit of a book! but i figured the people who needed to read it would read it 🙂 hehe Thanks for your encouraging words. big hugs xox

  33. I’ve been down my own road of addiction with a much different vice, but addiction all the same. I can never imagine it being from food or the lack there of. I am so thankful God brought you out of it and is using your story for His glory! So beautiful! These Q&A’s were an eye opener for someone like me who had no previous understanding of ED. Thanks for being willing to share!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Kristen. Yeah, the journey of recovery – no matter what from- has so many similar themes. Thanks for taking the time to read. And know that I’m cheering for you on your own journey! 🙂 so much love and hugs xox

      1. You’re welcome! I have strangely become so drawn to recovery ever since going through my own. Stories of other recovery are so encouraging and truly have a way of helping others when being shared. My own story has helped people in ways I would have never imagined in a million years, so I am learning to be more open about it for never knowing when or how God is going to use it. I appreciate that so much! Ditto 🙂

  34. Reblogged this on Jeffrey H. King's Blog and commented:
    My favorite blogger, Caralyn of BeautyBeyondBones, posted a fantastic entry last night; she had been prompted by the idea of answering people’s questions about Eating Disorders. Last night she answered those questions by category, and I found it to be a great perspective on dealing with ED’s. If you have an ED and are looking for some perspective from someone who has been there and back, here it is.

    Even more frustrating is knowing someone with an Eating Disorder and not having the faintest idea of how to talk to them, HELP them. Caralyn gives a lot of great information from the perspective of someone who, at 78 pounds, almost died her first night at in-patient. She knows whereof she speaks!

    She goes to lengths to point out that she is not a clinician, which is an important note, but her voice is authentic, and her perspective is a rare one from someone who sank so low and made it back to health.

    She doesn’t like to brag, so I’ll have to do it for her: she was recently named one of the 25 top bloggers on the entire worldwide web dealing with anorexia.

    So please read, or listen to her podcast at https://www.patreon.com/posts/your-ed-answered-13075410

    God bless!

  35. This is great help for everyone, thanks for taking the time to do it. 🙂 I never knew much about anorexia and now I am well informed about it in case it happens to anyone I know, so I can lend a hand and then point them to your blog.

    1. Thanks so much Milly. I really appreciate you taking the time to read! I pray that this finds its way into the hands of a person who needs it 🙂 Hugs and love xox

      1. I was wondering if you wrote a post in particular about how your faith helped you in your recovery? I know you always talk about your faith, but I imagine there was a break point. 🙂

      2. I googled it and found it! That’s amazing! Just as I expected, it was a ‘conversion’. 🙂

  36. What a powerful and empowering post, as a mother with a young girl, I feel it is so important to teach her from a very young age about healthy eating habits, loving your body and focusing on overall health and not a number on a scale or a certain size of clothing. I have so many body insecurities and tend to use food as a scapegoat for anything and everything. Recently I realized (with a shock), that my habit of constantly weighing myself and taking photos of my food (my food diary) rubbed off on her and she is not doing the same. I hope to take some your the advice from this blog and try even harder to ensure our daughter grows up loving her body.

  37. Beautifully well written and very informative. A sure go-to-guide and helpful resource if I should ever need it for my daughter. Thank you Caralyn!

  38. Wonderful post! I love that you’re this open because you’re inspiring so many people out here today. HUGS from this side of the world.

  39. Wow! I admire your courage and applaud your ability to write such heart-centered posts about an issue so many struggle with. It truly is inspirational, and beautifully written. Thanks for stopping by…again 😉 xo

  40. Thanks so much for your openness and perspective on your blog! It has inspired me to create a character, in my latest novel series, who is beginning to struggle with an eating disorder and, since I don’t know all that much about the subject, I know that I will turn to this post especially for how to handle it with both truth and sensitivity

  41. Recovery is a process. You are right. My wife is going through her own recovery – not for anorexia. It is a process. A journey

  42. Just want to say thank you. Not sure what stage of my daughter i in now。 Wish i can learned all this when i first found out she had eating disorder.

  43. Hi BBB,

    This is great. You have this Q& A. This is what we all want to ton really connect with our audience. Keep it up,

    Gary

    On Mon, Jul 17, 2017 at 3:59 PM, BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “I want to start out by saying something. I > nearly couldn’t go through with this post, because I felt, almost, phony > answering these questions. Because the fact is, no recovery is perfect. > There are things that I am still working on. There are things that” >

  44. […] https://beautybeyondbones.com/2017/07/17/your-ed-questions-answered/ Another serious post with lots of information and insight on anorexia and how you can help your kid if you think he/she has an eating disorder. It is also inspirational and I think she does an amazing job in spreading awareness and sharing her stories. I haven’t found a better blog regarding eating disorders yet. If you’re a Christian you will probably resonate with her as well. I’m not, but I’m happy for her  that her faith has saved her life and gives her courage and happiness. […]

  45. Thank you for this post. Way to go being authentic! This will help a lot of people – even therapists could learn from this🌻

  46. Courage, candor, caring, in the now. Your blog is your life journal. A combination of intellect and emotion. Diaries used to be private, secret, hidden thoughts. You seem to be able to expose yourself effortlessly, gracefully, eloquently, especially after your ED struggle. You are so easy to acknowledge.

  47. Well done! I can’t image the amount of questions you received, nor the time you invested in composing your post. But your effort, honesty, and true life advice, I believe, will continue to help people, and make them feel not alone. : )

    1. thank you so much TR, yeah this was a bit of a doosey, but so worth it. haha yeah i didn’t realize how long it was until the podcast took nearly 40 minutes to record! hahah thanks for stopping by 🙂 big hugs to you xo

      1. Aw, you are so sweet! Thanks for supporting my blog, ever since last year. It was a time I really didn’t believe in myself, at all. I still struggle, but God has guide me a lot through things. Thank you, for being a blessing to me. : )

  48. Thank you for your openness and honesty. I suffered from anorexia in high school and since then I’ve had an unhealthy relationship with food losing 100lns gaining it back losing, gaining. I’m a binger or withholder from my OCD. If I want to lose I have to follow an obsessively strict diet and then I get close to my goal and I can’t keep it up. Food is my enemy

    1. Thanks for sharing your journey. I can definitely feel your pain. Recovering from ED, in all forms it can morph into, is an evolving journey. Know that I believe in you 💛 Hugs and love xox

  49. It is exciting that your blog is an important influence in its field. Just as exciting is your announcement that you have written a book. While it won’t be easy, you are doing quite a bit to help round out fascinated bloggers who look up to you, and I will think what is around the corner in your endeavours is worth checking out.

Join the Conversation!