We’ve all stepped on a scale and thought “Whoa…ok maybe I shouldn’t have had that last donut” Those are normal thoughts. We are our harshest critics and are far more likely to look at our bodies and see those 5 pounds that we need to lose where no one else sees anything. It’s ok to want to diet to maintain a healthy weight and to recognize that part of being healthy is exercising. The concern comes when you start to obsess and over-do things. We all know that a balanced diet and exercise are part of being healthy, but when you have an eating disorder you are absolutely convinced, no matter how skinny you are, or how your clothes fit, you are convinced that you need to watch your weight and you lose all semblance of that balance. Some common eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating. Signs and symptoms vary based on the disorder. An anorexic may obsess over food, exercise, and weigh constantly. They’ll worry over their weight and feel fat despite the fact they are actually a bit underweight. Over time they can actually cause a great deal of harm to their heart, their hair and nails will be brittle, and they’ll have dry and yellow skin and that is just a few side effects. Someone who is bulimic can be observed eating large amounts of food at a time but then they might force vomit, utilize laxatives, fast, or exercise excessively. They would likely have a chronic sore throat, worn and sensitive teeth, acid reflex, stomach problems, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances that can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Someone with binge eating disorder would likely over-eat in a specified amount of time. They’ll eat when they’re sad, happy, stressed, full. They will eat alone and in secret and they will often eat quickly. God knew we would struggle with our appearance, so he reminds us we are wonderfully made in Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 He tells us our bodies are His temple “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” He also reminds us that He has set us free from these struggles in Psalm 118:5- “Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” God created us and He declared His creation wonderful, that’s you and me! We are wonderfully made. So, while we worry about our weight, our “trouble” areas, God doesn’t. He just sees beautiful you. Not only that but our bodies are a temple for God, He dwells in us. For that reason, we should strive to eat well balanced meals so we can live out the purpose He has for us as He states in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” It’s ok to put a little extra effort into achieving your goals for weight. Managing your portions, exercising regularly, and limiting your trouble snacks (you know the ones, sweet, salty, sugary carbs…). The key is moderation, balance. Working to not over-do in any one area so that you can maintain that healthy in between. God promises in Ephesians 3:20 to help us, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Not just help us achieve our goals (eat better, lose weight, exercise more), but if we commit to allowing Him to work in our lives, He can do more than we ever imagined possible. So now you’re wondering, what do I do if I think I (or a loved one) has an eating disorder? Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Nutritional Management, and medication are just a handful of treatments you could utilize. Often, they work better when you utilize a combination of treatments. You should connect with your Health Professional and a Mental Health Professional and explain your concerns so they can help you get your mental and physical health back on track. Eating disorders are dangerous and life threatening. If you feel out of control call 1-800-273-8255 or 911 you can also text Start to 741-741. You can also go to Christiantherapistod.com and sign up to speak to a licensed therapist in your state today.