Can you help me deal with the starving, binging, and purging problem I've had ever since I was a teen? Thoughts of food rarely leave my mind. My body weight has become an idol. I feel guilty, shamed, and dirty. How can I change?
There's a reason you've found it so hard to break this pattern. The starve-binge cycle is a bio-psycho-social-spiritual disorder that actually changes body chemistry. It does this by interfering with normal serotonin and endorphin levels. Change can be difficult and slow under these circumstances. But it's not impossible. On the physical level, moderate exercise can be an important part of the reversal process. Dr. Archibald Hart's book The Anxiety Cure suggests a number of lifestyle alterations that can get you moving in the right direction.
Meanwhile, it's important to remember that there's a strong spiritual component to most eating disorders. If you are a Christian, you need to bear in mind that the battle is the Lord's. If you are not yet a believer, we want to encourage you to take this problem, together with all of your hopes, dreams, desires, fears, and heartaches, and lay them at the foot of the cross. The Bible declares that, through faith in Jesus Christ, you can become an entirely new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is no longer any condemnation for those who put their trust in Him (Romans 8:1). So cast aside the lies of the enemy and embrace the truth of God's Word. You'll find strength and hope for the journey in the words of Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Beth Moore's book Praying God's Word includes a chapter on "Overcoming Eating Disorders." This resource will help you arm yourself more effectively for the battle. Like Dr. Hart's The Anxiety Cure, Praying God's Word can be ordered via Focus on the Family's online store. We'd also strongly recommend that you contact one of our staff counselors for an over-the-phone consultation. Our counselors will be happy to discuss your situation with you. They can also supply you with a list of referrals to qualified therapists in your area.
Eating Disorders (resource list)
A Place of HOPE