Staying the Course when Things Get Tough

I’m going back to my roots on this post tonight. Because, thinking back to my early days of recovery from anorexia, January was always a really tough month.


Four Words: New Year, New Me.

Yep — it’s diet season.

It seems like everyone and their brother is soapbox preaching about Keto Season, or Dry January, or Veganuary, or whatever latest weight loss/fitness plan they are religiously adhering to at the start of the new year.

The gyms are packed. Weight loss advertisements are being hurled at us left and right. And it seems like the entire country is fixated on losing weight.

And for a person in recovery from an eating disorder, this can be a very challenging time to stay focused on recovery, and blocking out all the “diet talk” that, seemingly, the whole world is obsessing over.

Thankfully, being twelve years strong in recovery, I don’t have those feelings anymore, but boy — I can remember when January would roll around…it was as though I was yearning to partake in the hubbub. “I want to be on a diet, too.” ‘I want to join in the weight loss “fun.”

Because here’s the dangerous thing — this time of year, makes one wistfully remember the time in the eating disorder with rose colored glasses. There’s a reason why a person can fall into the trap of an eating disorder, and real talk: it’s because initially, they’re attractive. Alluring. Exciting.

But then, as with all things disordered, those false positives warp and become the suffocating, destructive force of evil that grips you and won’t let go.

So January — yeah, it can be incredibly triggering to see people enjoying those exciting benefits that drew us to the eating disorder in the first place.

So, knowing that many of my recovery warriors are probably experiencing something similar right now, I wanted to just share with you how I got through it.

Because — eating disorder or not — every single one of us faces challenging seasons. I mean, we’ve all heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going…”

But what does that really mean? What does it look like?

And, believe me, I’m no expert. But this is the mindset that helped save my life, and allowed me the strength to go from 78 pounds, at death’s door, enslaved to my anorexia — to a healthy, thriving young woman, free from the shackles of ED.

You need to become you own Champion.

Or rather, co-champion.

Right now — January — is probably the most blatantly obvious time, where life demonstrates for us, that no one can want your recovery more than you.

Me — myself alone — is the only one responsible for my recovery. I have to choose to make my own decisions. Think the thoughts I should be thinking. Resist the thoughts I should avoid. Follow through on the promises I’ve made to myself and to God.

You realize very quickly that you are the driver of your own ship.

The world is going to be preaching one thing — in January’s case, weight loss, an obsession with diet and fitness, etc. — but no matter the outside influence, I need to do what is right for me.

And I need to celebrate that. And champion my own needs, my own mental health, my own joy, my own recovery.

But here’s the thing that is the good news…

During these times where your strength is tested, it’s easy to think that we’re on an island, doing it alone.

But the fact is, we have a co-champion in Jesus.

Throughout my entire recovery, when the going would get tough — and believe me friends, it did — When things became so hard, and seemingly impossible, or I was discouraged or lost, or feeling myself slipping…I’d remember that I wasn’t in it alone.

Yes, my recovery was mine — but it was also Jesus’. He was in the ring with me. He was helping me fight. And when I couldn’t do it anymore, I’d tag Him in, and He’d take over.

And just knowing that I could cling to Him, helped me get though those moments of weakness and moments of desperation.

That’s exactly the Christian walk, isn’t it? Like in January, when a person in eating disorder recovery feels like they’re swimming upstream, walking the Christian life can feel that way every single day: battling against a culture and world that not only contradicts what we believe, but can make the believer feel close minded, antiquated, and foolish.

We’re not in it alone.

We have a co-champion, to help us in that battle.

And He is a victor: always has been, always will be.

What a secret weapon to have in our corner. 🙂

So EDwarriors, if this diet season has you discouraged or feeling tempted, like I was many years ago, remember why you adopted recovery in the first place. The allure can be strong, but remember the horrific and life-destructive, empty promises that is the reality of an eating disorder. Remember what it stole, the relationships it destroyed, the dreams it killed and the dead end it led you to. And celebrate your decision to beat that. Celebrate the fact that you’re winning.

And most importantly, celebrate with the Co-Champion that has been helping you get to where you are now, every victorious step of the way.

I believe in you. You got this.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.


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138 responses to “Staying the Course when Things Get Tough”

  1. The annoying thing is… sometimes I do need to rev up my diet and exercise goals again because I get lazy like everyone else. I just have to stop myself from going too far. It’s a fine line… 🙂

    • It really is a fine line! I feel you there! Thanks Paula for sharing your heart 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  2. I never had an ED. I was dieting pretty heavily in grad school and got below 150, which is light for my height. But it never turned ED. And part of it was to do with just not having enough money to get that many calories, part of it was seeing how I could affect my scale and health. Once I returned home and food was available, I got back to a healthier weight.

    But I like staying the recovery course being compared to staying the Jesus course. The world says that when you know the truth is this. Part of the success we have had here was cutting off our cable TV a few years ago. No more commercials telling us what to eat or not eat or to join a gym. It’s amazing how much your life can change without television!

    Social media. Gave that up too. I still have my Facebook account in case I need to look something up, but I go months in between logging on. I know that’s your lifeblood, but you’re stable. I think anyone who is still trying to secure their recovery needs to ditch all of it. Control what comes in to you. Don’t be a receptacle. Be a transmitter. For God.

    I hope this is useful.

    • I agree with you here Jeffrey. You are what you put into your mind, body and spirit. I don’t watch much television at all and we didn’t have cable growing up. I do utilize social media because it’s a useful tool for us writers to gather our audience. I do however feel it’s a harsh world for our young people to always be comparing, competing for likes, editing pictures and creating a false world. We know the love and solution there is when you allow God into your life. Great point of view!

      • Thank you for your comments here! Yeah, social media is a tough one – a sharp knife that’ll cut if you mishandle it. Comparing! What a horrible thing! God created variety, Embrace it. I’m glad you got something out of my comment. Blessings to you!

    • Staying the Jesus course – yes! Jeff this is such a great parallel. And I love that – ditching tv and social media — definitely something I should try to adopt. Even if it’s just drastically reducing my use. Be a transmitter! Jeff! You’re on fire tonight with the wisdom! Thank you!!! Hope you’re having a great week so far! Hugs to you and your girls xox

  3. Just as the three Hebrew children were not alone in Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace. Christ was in the midst of the fire with them, and they came out without even a singed hair or a smoky odor! Great message.

    • Amen to that! The nebuchadnezzar story is one of my favorites. God is amazing! Hugs and love xox

  4. every time I read your story I become even more impressed. And now you are helping so many others who are going through the same issues. keep doing what you are doing!

    • Oh gosh thank you Jim, what a kind thing to say. I really appreciate the encouragement! Hugs and love xox

  5. It is never an easy to recover. We are constantly engaged in a recovery from life. But it is in these trials that we find the courage, resolve, and the perseverance needed to solve any problems that we may face.

    I want to thank you about your honesty as it relates to Eating Disorders. It is a sadly under-spoken problem in the MH field. Food forms the basis of our life force, our energy, and when it becomes associated with our overall physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Without it, we perish. But it also forms the basis of family relationships, gathering, and the need we have to belong within a community of our choosing.

    I have been on a diet, but am looking at the psychology of it. I never did like the word DieT. The first three letters I don’t necessarily want to undertake at this time. Therefore, I am choosing to engage in a lifestyle change. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post, and I wish you well in your journey.

    • You’re right about that Thomas. Thank you for sharing your heart. Yes! food has such a important role in life in many many different aspects. Hugs and love xox

  6. 12 years! Wow! Yes, knowing you are never alone is certainly a very comforting feeling. Triggers are tough, but you’re tougher. I’ll keep you in my prayers, always.❤️You most certainly have got this!

    • Thank you Mary for your kind words and prayers! Yes! We’re tougher than the triggers! Hugs and love xox

  7. When I was abused as a child and often witness to overwhelming drama on a regular basis on top of that, Jesus would let me keep punching him off a cloud in Heaven. It never angered Him. He just let me keep taking him out, so to speak, and then He’d come back, and I’d pummel Him again. I had no idea what an awful environment I was trapped in, objectively. But I never bullied my younger siblings or anyone at school. (In fact, I secretly and very slyly got my crazy mom to direct all her anger onto me so I could protect my little brother.) We can probably thank Jesus for that!! <3

    • Hi Meg, thank you for sharing your story. Gosh, I am so sorry to hear that you had to endure that. I wish i could give you a big hug right now. You are an amazing sister. I am inspired by your story. Sending so much love, my friend. Xox

  8. I admit, I was a long time practitioner of the new year new me fad. And as one who only started things to have them slowly fade away, for the longest time all i did was gain weight and emotional damage.

    Two years ago, that changed. I took a hard look at my life, the things that worked, the things that didn’t, and created a list. The things that worked I determined I needed more of. More time alone doing things for my mental good. More time slowing myself down to cook or prepare food to eat versus some quick fix. More time doing physical things because they made me feel good. I also noted some irregularities with me that I couldn’t explain away, and took the time to talk with my doctors and therapists. I discovered I did have a hormone imbalance. Nothing life threatening, but having decreased Testosterone flowed into so many of my body and relation issues. So we got a plan and I am taking the meds for this, and I can say I feel a bit different now that I am a year away.

    My therapist and I spent many a visit together as well trying to label out why I have had so much psychological pain that I had hit a point where I honestly had forgotten what it felt to be happy. In that journey i learned i had drifted so far away from who i know in my heart to be, becoming almost a somewhat fake person, that I was in constant conflict with my own good. So I have taken the steps to shut out all the noise and listen deeply to what I have to say about me. I have slowly reconnected in being my own best friend, and honestly, it is one of the best things I have ever done. Now I still have days that I get sad, but I can be okay with that now. Everyone can have those times, it does NOT have to be our LIFE. The dark only gets its power when we choose to no longer feel the light.

    I’m sorry if I went a bit into my own tangent here, but I wanted you to know you are not alone in all this. Take it from this lil bit older guy who is building on every small victory day by day! We didn’t end up where we are overnight, so we can do it all in chunks to get to our better tomorrow.

    Peace and love my friend!

    • Thanks for sharing your heart. Wow there’s so much great advice here – you’re right – the dark only gets its power when we let it! Such profound wisdom. Thank you. Hugs and love xox

  9. As a fellow woman who has battled an eating disorder for most of my life, I relate a lot to your story. Mine was fueled by a dysfunctional childhood and studying dance at a professional level. Back in the 90s when I was growing up and Broadway bound there was an intensive scrutiny over body size. I’m happy to see an easing of this standars and it’s more and more acceptable to be whatever size you are focusing more on talent. I too struggled with the resolutions and bandwagon fad diets. Congratulations to you my dear for overcoming with the belief and love of God. Your title says it all, staying the course when things get tough. What an inspiration you are by sharing your story and giving hope to others so they don’t feel alone. You and I know we are not because we have our higher power to hold us and give us comfort against the storms that life creates around us at times. Great post, thank you for your bravery 💜😊

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. Performance based professions definitely have a huge focus on body. Thank you for the wonderful encouragement and kind words. Amen!!! Sending you big big hugs xox

  10. “Me — myself alone — is the only one responsible for my recovery. I have to choose to make my own decisions. Think the thoughts I should be thinking. Resist the thoughts I should avoid. Follow through on the promises I’ve made to myself and to God.”

    This is the same promise I made myself this year. I fully hold myself accountable for what happens for now on, and take responsibility for what happened last year. I am no longer playing victim. I must let go of the negative thoughts, and believe that things will work out in the end. Even though the future is uncertain, we must have faith that everything is going to work out in the end.

    You made it this far for a reason. Keep going. 🙏🏻💕

  11. Love it, it was Jesus’ recovery too! He always deserves our praise. Awesome you recognize that. We are often sculpted through pain toward our divine destiny. Prayers you stay tough this January 🙏🏼💪🏼 -Dustin

    • Thank you Lane!! Yes! We have the best champ in our corner 🙂 I so appreciate your encouragement and friendship!! Hugs and love xox

  12. Thank you <3!!, I am slowly learning that he already has the victory and there is no reson for me to feel defeated in this, because with his help I can do all things. It feels good, to get even the smallest of victories simpliy by doing the next right thing. And the timing once again, is impeccable.

  13. What’s really sad is the “change” people are so desperate for this time of year isn’t going to be found in a new workout regimen or the latest diet craze. The transformation in their life will only come when they turn to Jesus Christ for salvation and God’s Holy Word for practical guidance. Go where the real power is.

    • You’re so right about that Rollie! The change needs to be turning to Jesus!! Amen! Hugs and love xox

  14. Love and grief sharpens our understanding of the bond we have with one another. We all have a special bond.with Jesus We need to listen to Jesus within us all to truly understand Christ’s message to us.

    • You’re right about that. Thanks so much for sharing your heart. Amen to that – we need to listen to Him! Hugs and love xox

  15. Wow! Twelve years! That’s awesome! Absolutely love your insights here! I may have not been through the same sort of recovery, yet I know well many of these feelings as I have fought my own mental health battles. Only through Jesus have I made it this far, and only through him do I keep going. Thank you for your transparency here. It is so important. Blessings and prayers to you.

    • Thank you friend for your kind words and prayers! Yes! I am so grateful for His healing power! Only through Jesus! Cheering for you on your journey!! Hugs and love xox

    • You’re right about that. We’ve got to remember the reality!! Thanks for stopping by 💛 Hugs and love xox

  16. Love this! I think one of the greatest ways we can press forward is by glancing backward. Taking a moment to remember all the ways Jesus has proven Himself as our champion in the past. <3

    • Thanks so much Megan. You’re right – we’ve got to remember His goodness so we can move forward with gratitude!! Hugs and love xox

  17. Great post. You’re so right about the pressure we put on ourselves and the damage that can occur as an off spin. Roll on February when we n all return to eating donuts with no feeling of guilt!

  18. You are beautiful in this post. Thank you for the follow and for the content. Stay Strong!

    give you a feedback – > and you give me. Do you have an instagram account? Mine new Music Project, connected with @cucinanuda is called @Filingmusic and this is my instagram account there – > I hope that You follow it.

  19. Another good one. More pointing toward your (the only) true power source in recovery and life especially when we may think “I got this!” What a wonderful recovery and life God has given you through his love and your being compelled by that love to live out a witness. You are such an inspiration to all. Thanks for sharing your life. John

  20. Well Caralyn, looking at the picture, all I can say is what Brosnan said to Halle Berry in “Die Another Day” – “Magnificent View”.. 😛

    Now that’s been said, reading your article, there is one point that keeps popping into my mind; other than the fact that you are truly God Given Gorgeous.
    And that point or should I say ‘word’ is ‘Discipline’. You’ll notice that much of our issues and problems in our life comes from discipline; or rather the lack thereof.
    Forget Christian principles and circles, even among the non-believers, you notice that one of the biggest secrets of success in anything is truly cultivating Discipline.

    If at all the Christian community should be best examples of a disciplined lifestyle. But frankly when you look at many of us and you compare with those of other faiths, we’re trailing behind. Not a good testimony I think.

    I think that as much as those who work getting into the shape God intended for them, they should work to reflect a lifestyle of discipline in all areas of their life. #MyselfIncluded

    • Oh my gosh you’re too kind to say that. Thank you. Amen – discipline is definitely important! Good thing we have the Holy Spirit! Hugs and love xox

  21. James, a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes dispersed abroad, greetings. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith, produces endurance, and let endurance, have it’s perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (Each day, we are being perfected, but on day we will be perfect, and that gives me great hope)

  22. Diet season ends quickly down at the recenter where I warm up. It’s about over at this point.

    My own struggle this past year with a related issue, burnout, is written up in a post: Sunshine and Exercise

    I no longer do resolutions, but I do make new objectives. When I reviewed my blog readership on New Years Eve, I discovered two things that surprised me. First, my most popular post was a Bible study in Spanish. In fact, four out of ten of my top ten posts were Spanish bible studies. Second, more than half my readership is female, ages 25-34.

    These insights helped motivate my writing objectives for 2020. First, I am translating Life in Tension into Spanish. Second, I have started my first novel, a romantic suspense. I am psyched! Hopefully, my readers will be too.

    ¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

  23. Triple B,

    You’re such a resilient young lady and such an inspiration to read up on. You never lack for genuine content that speaks to who you are and what you believe in. Keep on keeping on.

  24. With me it was strange. I was drinking, then I tried to end it all, I survived and felt like I had changed. But still didn’t have the strength to stop drinking yet. It was another nine months(which is quite apt) before my rebirth was complete. My faith had returned, stronger, wiser, more rational, but faith. With that, with God On my side. I found the strength to stop drinking. And yes I was tempted. Still am now and again. But I have support like I never had before. And a belief, not only in myself but in God.

  25. Veganuary, a word one must be very careful with. You are really making this seem easy and as always, it is. Caralyn, I believe that when you strike out on your own you find out that you are totally supported. The support is your Faith. Without making decisions based on Faith, you will not make good choices. This is a great post. I look forward to what you have to share with us. The best to you young lady.

  26. Sometime ago I wrote a blog post titled I’m a short, fat, quilter. I’d gotten tired of a couple of well meaning individuals posting comments about my food, coffee, and wine posts. While I never hesitated to post said posts, the waiting for that comment got irritating to the point of unkind/uncharitable thoughts toward someone I know only online, and in a limited way. While I wanted to say something directly to her, there seemed a need to say something broader.
    The title has it’s origins years ago when I would say that out loud. much to the frustration of one of my coworkers. What I was saying and meaning, and what was received were two different things. Read I’m a short, fat, quilter with the comma’s and it makes sense. Hear it without the comma’s and it sounds like I’m being mean to and denigrating myself. I am short, I’ve been this height since I was 16 or 17 years old. I’m fat. Every single time I’ve worked on “losing weight”, and “getting healthier” the weight has come back on and more no matter how hard I work at keeping it off. I’m a quilter. I am that. So these are all true statements of acknowledgement of who I am, and my acceptance of my self as I am. This is hard won and counter cultural. Since this acceptance of self, how I’m made with whatever goes on with my person, my weight has stayed about the same.
    I firmly believe this acceptance is a gift from God.
    I’m not a resolution maker either. I gave that up a long time ago, instead choosing a word of intention. Setting resolutions is a neutral thing in and of itself. It can be good to set goals, and do the work to achieve them. It can also be terrible for some in deep, dark ways. In ways that you’ve shared here on BBB. Setting the intention allows me to live in this present moment, with whatever comes my way.
    Jesus bless you Caralyn. <3

  27. ♡ Sad really EveryOne, not one mention of those who supported her most; it’s Crystal Clear Clarity that 2020 is of A Year of Goddess, if it wasn’t for Mary Magdalena Jesus would be forgotten


  28. As with our faith, it is important to remember that we are all running our individual race. While I gain encouragement/inspiration from others, the comparison must be avoided because it opens the door for sin.

  29. I am really happy someone has gotten inspired about how to combine sports medicine & eating together. With me I had so much going on with a lot of motivation when I was growing up. It all turned a 180 when I had this accident with my Toyota truck I drove which changed my health & life. I am on disability pay from social security & have found ways to help use herbs & spices with boxed foods or even making meat & potatoes. I do believe in exercising & working out which takes away what your feelings do to your body in a negative way. I also pray & believe in God & read the Bible all the time. Taking the word of God & using it in any situation really works when there are a lot of people who have gone through a lot of heartache & despair. I thank you for being a follower to my blog & hoping that everything I put on will help you in bringing more positive ways to your blog. Have a great day & make the best of every day you can!

  30. What an inspiring story. When Jesus is on our side we can overcome and accomplish anything. He’s writing your story for his glory. it’s amazing how your determination, love for helping others, and your love forJesus just radiates from your words. God bless you and have an an amazing 2020.

    • oh my goodness what a kind thing to say! thank you Stephanie! I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to read it! hugs xo

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