Monday, November 26, 2012

Twelve Ideas...

Twelve Ideas to Help People with Eating Disorders Negotiate the Holidays Courtesy of: Center for Change / Compiled by: Michael E. Berrett, PhD Eat regularly and in some kind of reasonable pattern. Avoid “preparing for the last supper.” Don’t skip meals and starve in an attempt to make up for what you recently ate or are about to eat. Keep a regular and moderate pattern. 2. Worry more about the size of your heart than the size of your hips! It is the holiday season, a great time to reflect, enjoy relationships with loved ones, and most importantly, a time to feel gratitude for blessings received and to give back through loving service to others. 3. Discuss your anticipation of the holidays with your therapist, physician, dietitian, or other members of your treatment team so that they can help you predict, prepare for, and get through any uncomfortable family interactions without self-destructive coping attempts. 4. Have a well-thought-out game plan before you go home or invite others into your home. Know “where the exits are,” where your support people are, and how you’ll recognize when it’s time to make a quick exit and get connected with needed support. 5. Talk with loved ones about important issues: decisions, victories, challenges, fears, concerns, dreams, goals, special moments, spirituality, relationships and your feelings about them. Allow important themes to be present. Allow yourself to have fun rather than rigidly focusing on food or body concerns. 6. Think of someone to call if you are struggling with addictive behaviors, or with negative thoughts or difficult emotions. Alert them ahead of time; let them know of your concerns, needs, and the possibility of you calling them for emotional support. 7. Consider choosing one loved one to be your “reality check” with food, to either help fix a plate for you or to give you sound feedback on the food portion sizes you make for yourself. 8. Write down your vision of where you would like your mind and heart to be during this holiday time with loved ones. Take time, several times per day, to find a quiet place to get in tune with your vision, to remember, to nurture, and to center yourself in the thoughts, feelings, and actions that match your vision for yourself. Twelve Ideas to Help People with Eating Disorders Negotiate the Holidays Courtesy of: Center for Change / Compiled by: Michael E. Berrett, PhD Eating Disorders Information (continued) © 2011 National Eating Disorders Association. Permission is granted to copy and reprint materials for educational purposes only. National Eating Disorders Association must be cited and web address listed. 9. Focus your personal goals for your time with loved ones during the holidays. Make them about “doing something” rather than about trying to prevent something. It’s fine to have food goals, but make sure you add personal, emotional, spiritual, and relationship goals as well. 10. Work on being flexible in your thoughts. Learn to be flexible when setting guidelines for yourself and expectations of yourself and others. Strive to be flexible in what you can eat during the holidays. Take a holiday from self-imposed criticism, rigidity, and perfectionism. 11. Stay active in your support group, or join one if you are not currently involved. Many support groups can be helpful: 12-step groups, co-dependency groups, eating disorder therapy groups, book clubs, neighborhood game groups, and religious- or spiritually oriented groups are examples of groups that may give real support. Isolation and withdrawal from positive support are not the way to get through trying times. 12. Avoid “overstressing” and “overbooking” yourself. A lower sense of stress can decrease the perceived need to turn to eating-disordered behaviors or other unhelpful coping strategies. Cut down on unnecessary events and obligations and leave time for relaxation, contemplation, reflection, spiritual renewal, simple service, and enjoying the small yet most important things in life. This will help you experience and enjoy a sense of gratitude and peace.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Shining Thanksgiving?

Don’t go all “Shining” on your loved ones this Thanksgiving. Breathe, pray, be thankful. You will get through this! Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Given to Appetite

“When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.” Proverbs 23:1-3 We’re on the brink of the overindulgence holidays. We’re polishing off the last of the Halloween candy; now we’re preparing for Thanksgiving. And then there’s Christmas and Hanukkah, followed by the reinvention promise of New Year’s. Who is groaning out there already? It’s insane. Yes, we’re entering the valley of the shadow of the appetite holidays; if there’s anything to overdo, we will find it, won’t we? Feasts, eggnog, holiday candy, flowing alcohol and overspending are just a few tasty options, which, one way or another, usually leave us filled with regret later on, as we deal with some form of hangover. Yep, happy holidays, pass the Ibuprofen, Alka-Seltzer and a pillow to scream into! The joy of the season, huh? Admit it, these holidays have a way of tapping into our appetites, cleverly masked as celebrating and family togetherness. Those of you out there who are entertaining fantasies of shoving the holiday turkey, stuffing included, over a relative’s head in the hopes of getting them to shut up know what I’m talking about. Those of us entertaining such fantasies opt out, not because of nobility and loving Godly natures; it’s more about wasting good food. So, we concentrate on drowning our sorrows in our appetites of choice. Bring on the carbs, the booze and the credit cards; let’s get through this somehow! We believe the lie of the satisfied appetite. Being this long in the game with my own issues, I’m learning that, when it comes to our tricky carnal natures, there’s no such thing. When it comes to matter of the appetite, the name of the game is more, more, more! And then some more piled on top of that! There! That’ll fix everything! That’ll make everything all better! So, we consume whatever, however and in whatever amounts we desire. But it’s all deceptive; the appetite we struggle with seems to act as a spiritual barometer. It registers as our chosen God substitute. And, because it is only a substitute, a counterfeit attempt, at best, it never fulfills us. So, what’s the answer we choose if we’re not careful? Gimme more! More booze, pills, mashed potatoes, candy, shopping! We may say things like, “I want to forget how unhappy I am! And I can’t shove the holiday turkey on my loved one’s head.” We’re never fulfilled, but our souls (our minds, wills and emotions) are still starving! “Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them.” Psalms 107:5 You know that aftermath feeling from a family get together or a holiday party? You know that feeling of trying to summon up the will and courage to clean the trashed house, medicating that industrial size headache (and stomach ache) and squinting at the credit card bills? Well, imagine that’s the reality of your souls when substitute after substitute still seem to fail to create peace, comfort and relief. And why is it like this? Because, for all of our planning, shopping, feasting, drinking, attempting to be merry, numb or obliterated, we fail to keep the main thing the main thing: our fulfillment is connected to God. Period. “When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.” Proverbs 23:1-3 Proverbs 23:1-3, indeed, may sound extreme and grizzly when we deal with our appetites. It’s by no means, an endorsement to slit our throats. More accurately, it follows the modern day advice you may have heard around the way: “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Whatever appetites we are challenged by, this holiday season and beyond, let’s get real with God about them- and go to God with them! He has promised to satisfy and fill us. “For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalms 107:9 We have tried everything else, right? Let’s give God a try! There is, after all, no hangover with God. Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

No Normal

Surviving the Holidays: A Primer For Family and Friends of Those Struggling With an Eating Disorder

We are coming up on the holidays. For families this is a time meant for joy, festivities and socializing. These are times meant for us to draw closer together and to re-affirm what it is to be a family, a time to catch up on what has been going on and share with one another the prospects for the New Year. To the individual suffering from an eating disorder, or in the throes of recovery, these occasions can be overwhelming and threatening. We want to be helpful and supportive, but nothing seems to come out right. What do we say? How can we let them know that we care and are there for them, without being so awkward about it? Those patients who are struggling are often at a loss during the holidays. They, too, have expectations for the holidays; and, oftentimes being perfectionists, they don’t want to let down their loved ones who are worried about them. Not only do they have to deal with the normal stresses of the holidays, they worry that they will fail—either their families by engaging in their eating disorder; or, conversely, their eating disorder by losing control and gaining weight. Surely, everyone is looking at them, wondering if they are eating enough, eating the right things, getting enough rest. Surely, everyone knows that they just got out of treatment and are talking about them. They smile and put on a brave face. They wonder if people are avoiding talking to them. Maybe it’s for the best. Some family members ask innocuously: “How are you doing?” Well, they think, before they respond with an obligatory, “Fine, thanks,” they feel…pretty much like a failure. Some of them have had to drop out of school, leave jobs, see their friends move on with their lives as they stay stuck. What happened to the person who was an honor student, track star, the one voted most likely to success? You’re at home with your parents? That’s great. Maybe you can use this time to get closer together. There’s always a silver lining to our struggles. Even worse: “You’re looking really good. You look…healthy.” Great, they think, I look fat. This dress is making me look fat. My face is all puffy. Everyone is talking about how fat I am. Maybe I need to stop eating right now. No wonder they sometimes hide in corners, avoiding eye contact. Their body language is closed, forbidding. Don’t talk to me. Don’t tell me that things will get better. Don’t ask me how I’m doing or if I’m going back to school or if I’d done with treatment. Don’t ask me anything. The best approach is not to ignore the eating disorder individual’s presence, but to approach them with kindness and sensitivity. Let them know you are glad to see them. Instead of commenting on their clothing; praise their shoes, jewelry or hairstyle if appropriate. Did they have a hand in decorating the tree or preparing a dish? Maybe you have a happy memory that you want to share with them to let them know that they are an important part of your life. Maybe you want to share something interesting that happen to you to help take the perceived focus off of them. To engage in conversation is important and a positive optimistic twist such as talking about their pets, new people in their lives, or television shows will go a long way to make the holidays brighter. The holidays are, ideally, a time to connect—a time to let each one of us know that we are not alone, that we are part of something greater than ourselves, that we are part of a family. You can count on us. We’ll be there for you. Call 1-800-445-1900 or visit us at For more information, please call 1-800-445-1900 or visit


Madonna’s current MDNA Tour has her nightly featuring an ever changing back tattoo, making a political or social statement, as only Madonna can do. One such tattoo is this image here:
Simple, universal and to the point, isn’t it? Required by each one of us and challenging? Oh, you bet! Forgiveness: it seems to be a part of our daily lives. We’re either choosing not to forgive, struggling to forgive, need forgiveness or have come to a place in our lives where forgiveness has been reached. But it is, nevertheless, a part of our life’s landscape. Sooner or later, we will come up against the issue. And it’s a spiritual issue, directly affecting our relationship with God. "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." Matthew 6:14-15 Could it be that our struggling and pain is connected to that forgiveness issue? Where do we stand on it? Look at your life today. Where does forgiveness come into play? Do you need to forgive yourself concerning something? Choose it today; it’s a choice, not a feeling. But forgiveness is worth it!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Help For the Holidays

My eating problems always seem to be worse during holidays or special occasions. What can I do? Holidays and special occasions are often very stressful periods for individuals with food and weight problems. The emphasis on spending time with family and on celebrating with food can be very difficult. Based on past experience, and an understanding of yourself and of the people close to you, you may be able to avoid, or cope constructively with, uncomfortable situations. For example: ■Predict high stress times and places; decide which events you will and won't attend, and plan to have some time to yourself to restore yourself and take care of your own needs. ■Predict which people might make you most uncomfortable and plan appropriate ways of excusing yourself from their company. ■If at all possible, allow yourself to enjoy a moderate amount of "special occasion foods." ■Predict what people might say that would lead you to feel uncomfortable. Plan and practice responses. Ask people not to comment on your body, appearance, or eating habits. ■Predict negative thoughts that you might have during the holidays, and practice thinking differently. ■Carry with you a list of phone numbers of friends and crisis lines, and a list of self-soothing activities. It may be helpful to realize that the "picture-book" holiday sense is not a reality for many people. Some cannot afford it, there are many single people who are not close to their families or do not have a family, and there are many families that do not fit into the dominant cultural model of "family". Do not blame yourself for family or friendship conflicts. People are not different during the holidays than any other time of the year. Remember that you are responsible only for your own actions and for taking care of yourself. For more info:NEDIC Bulletin: Vol. 7, Coping With the Holidays National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) 200 Elizabeth Street 7ES-421 Toronto, ON MSG2C4 Ph: (416) 340-4156 (888-633-4220)

Friday, November 16, 2012

What is in you


Amen to "I knew I could!"

When working out is too much of a good thing

Came across this recently... NEW YORK (Reuters) - Constantly thinking about the next workout? Upset about missing a exercise class? Fitness experts say more is not always better and overworking a workout can sap strength and invite injury. "We have fit people and deconditioned people who overdo it," said Geralyn Coopersmith, national director of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute. "Exercise is like a drug, if you don't have enough, you get no benefits, if you have too much, you have problems," she said. Shin splints, heel spurs, tendonitis are among the common overuse injuries that Coopersmith, who oversees the training of personal trainers for Equinox fitness centers, sees. "Some days should be intense, some days not so intense," she said. "Exercise is a stressor. If it's too much, the body can break down." Extreme fatigue, irritability, moodiness, an elevated resting heart rate, fever, and an inability to work your earlier level are among the signs that you've overdone it, she said. California-based group fitness instructor Amy Dixon has broached the subject of overtraining with her clients, she said, but delicately, and only when they are ready to listen. "I had a woman come in before my (indoor) cycling class," said Dixon, creator of the "Give Me 10" DVD series. "I'd see her on the treadmill for an hour, then she'd take my class, then after she would ride longer or go on the elliptical (trainer) for another 40 minutes." Poke an exercise addiction, Dixon believes, and you'll often uncover another addiction. "Maybe they're a binge eater, or they really party on the weekend," she said. "If you're working out morning and night, you're over-trained. Your body's getting beaten up." For Dixon and her colleagues, overtraining is an occupational hazard. "A lot of group fitness instructors and trainers fall into that category because it's our job," she said. "I know instructors who teach over 30 classes a week." Connecticut-based exercise physiologist Tom Holland, who has coached people in everything from climbing mountains to running marathons, has actually dropped clients who wanted him to push them too hard. "I have a lot of types that think they're Lance Armstrongs," said Holland, author of "Beat the Gym: Personal Trainer Secrets Without the Personal Trainer Price Tag," said, referring to the seven-time Tour de France winner. He said a lot of his job involves telling clients what not to do. "I try to keep them from getting hurt," he said. "I design programs on a case-by-case basis but there's always a rest day. When clients want to eliminate it I try to explain that you don't get healthier during the workouts, but during the rest days." Jessica Matthews, an exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise, said she has referred several over-trained clients to psychologists. "It's great to work with other professionals to help them (clients) recognize that they might have a problem," said Matthews, who is based in San Diego, California. She said symptoms of overtraining can include constant headaches, sleeplessness and severe muscle soreness, as well as diminished performance. "There are so many benefits to exercise, but if they're exercising excessively even the greatest benefits, like positive mood and better sleep, start to fall away," she said. Coopersmith puts in another way: "We are a supersized society," she said, "but we shouldn't be supersizing exercise." (Reporting by Dorene Internicola; editing by Patricia Reaney)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Most challenging times

Progress is Progress

Beauty of a Woman

Anxiety May Hinder Your Sense of Danger

Saw this recently...interesting. Worrywarts, beware: all that fretting may be for naught. Anxiety has long been interpreted as a symptom of hyperawareness and sensitivity to danger, but a study published last December in Biological Psychology turns that logic on its head. Tahl Frenkel, a graduate student in psychology at Tel Aviv University, asked 17 students who had anxious per¬sonalities and 22 students who were more mellow to identify when they detected fear in a series of increasingly frightened faces. As expected, the anxious group spoke up before their calmer counterparts. The twist, however, came from the volunteers’ brain activity, recorded with electrodes on each student’s scalp. The brains of anxious subjects barely responded to the images until the frightened face had reached a certain obvious threshold, at which point their brains leapt into action as though caught off guard. Meanwhile nonanxious respondents showed increasing brain activity earlier in the exercise, which built up subtly with each increasingly fearful face. Although their behavioral response was slower, their brain activity suggests that the mellow subjects picked up on subtle differences in the images more quickly. The result implies that worriers are less aware of potential danger—challeng¬ing the common theory that anxious individuals are hypervigilant. Frenkel be¬lieves that worrywarts’ low sensitivity to external warning signs causes them to be startled frequently by the seemingly sudden appearance of threats, which leaves them in a state of chronic stress. The brain activity in nonanxious subjects, Frenkel explains, may be evidence of an “early subconscious warning mechanism,” which keeps them cool, calm and collected. [For more on how to ease chronic worrying, see “Why We Worry,” by Victoria Stern; Scientific American Mind, November/December 2009.] This article was published in print as "The Fallacy of Fretting."

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Apple View

Since the beginning of this whole thing, we've had the wrong idea of the apple, haven't we? We only need to read Genesis to see what a mess came from believing the wrong thing about what the apple represents to us. Centuries later, we still get it wrong, as effectively depicted in this image:
We don't see things as God sees them when we view ourselves. We see things as we believe the worst about ourselves and our bodies. We may even become emaciated. Still, the relection we see is that self-defined, unacceptable apple. Do we, however, even look to God's mirror? Check out what that true reflection says about us: “O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14 “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.” Song of Solomon 4:1 “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” Song of Solomon 4:7 Which mirror do we choose for ourselves? We are the apple of God's eye, no matter what. See that, not an apple inaccuracy!

Human Barbie

I just saw this in the news; a woman , Valeria Lukyanova has been called a "human Barbie."
That’s right, the human Barbie. Apparently, Lukyanova spends her days primping, working out, cooking, tending to her Internet image and traveling "in her astral body." And her response to the commotion about her Barbie doll focus? "Many people say bad things about people who want to perfect themselves. It's hard work, but they dismiss it … This is how they justify not wanting to strive for self-improvement." Barbie? Perfection? Self-improvement? Eh…. Again, I cannot help but go back to what God has to say about idolatry… “What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it.” Habakkuk 2:18-19 Nothing against Barbie; she’s harmless, in and of herself. But the power we can subscribe to her- or to any image, for that matter, well, that’s another story. How much money, time and effort should we put toward an image that is not directly of God when, inherently, we are, indeed, already made in His Image? “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God...” Genesis 1:27 We are told not to conform ourselves to the world; there is no true answer, nor transformation there. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2 We will not find what our souls desperately long for in anything apart from God. It’s time to stop going after the look of an inanimate image and truly embrace our incredible, God-given value already abounding! Let’s focus on and celebrate that!

Advice For Family/Friends Concerning the Holidays.

A reprint of some helpful advice for those whose loved ones are touched by eating disorders. The holidays can be an extremely stressful time. Wishing everyone a blessed, happy and healthy holiday season! God bless you all!!! ADVICE FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS For individuals struggling with an eating disorder, the holidays can evoke feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Although the media promotes holidays as a time of celebration, for someone with an eating disorder the holidays can be a reminder of an ongoing struggle to make peace with food. Providing support during the season and ensuring that the home is a place where they will not be judged is essential to the healing process. Here are some helpful tips as to how to create a positive environment. :: When friends and/or family have not seen each other in a long time, they may be tempted to comment on changes in weight or appearance. Be a friend and help dissolve conversations or comments about food, weight, or overall appearance. You will be creating a more positive atmosphere for people to enjoy each other’s company and to remember the experience as a wonderful time. :: Perhaps sitting down to one meal as a family would help someone struggling with an eating disorder feel more comfortable, instead of “grazing” on food throughout the day. Do not forget to discuss these options with your family and welcome all input. :: Try to avoid emotionally charged discussions before or during mealtimes. The energy of a charged discussion can lead to feelings of anxiety. Often holidays are the only times people are able to catch up on experiences, political issues, sports, etc., but it is helpful to try and limit these types of electric conversations for after meals. :: Indulging is a natural part of the holiday season. People eat foods they normally wouldn’t eat and often they end the day feeling very full and sometimes very regretful. For some people it is common to make comments like, “I feel so fat” or “I shouldn’t have eaten that much.” These comments can have a devastating effect on someone struggling with an eating disorder. Do not support or encourage these types of remarks. :: Try to be a good role model for your loved one with an eating disorder. It is important for your loved one to witness your healthy eating as a way to connect with their feelings and priorities. Remember, eating disorders are about emotions and not about food. :: It is not uncommon for eating disorder symptoms to increase during the holiday season. Try to avoid getting into power struggles over food and do not ever force someone to eat. Be positive and maintain a healthy, nonjudgmental attitude toward her behavior. :: If your loved one is withdrawn or isolating herself from mealtime and other holiday activities, gently try to bring her into discussions or activities. If she rejects your efforts, do not take it personally and try to understand this behavior as part of her eating disorder. Always remember to take care of your own needs and to enjoy yourself, your family, and your friends. :: Attempt to spend time connecting with your loved one struggling with an eating disorder in non-food related ways. Set time aside to take part in an activity of her choosing. Taking walks, playing games, or watching a movie together can help decrease anxiety by taking the focus off food and eating. :: Do not forget to communicate with concerned members of the household. What feelings are emerging? Do they feel that they are handling the situation well? Seeking support and learning how to communicate feelings in a positive way is essential to understanding your role in the process of the recovery. Information compiled by the Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association, Inc. 2002 Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association (MEDA) 92 Pearl Street Newton, MA 02458

Monday, November 12, 2012

FEAR (False Evidence Appearing real) Versus Faith

Faith is big when we speak of all things God; it’s a key element. And we may nod our heads in assent to that reality. Or maybe, we can feel intimidated, discouraged or baffled about the issue. I know I’ve gone around and about it myself, questioning if, indeed, I had the right kind of faith or enough of it. I discuss it in my book: “As I plowed through the Bible, I found a Scripture that summed up who I was and what I was going through. 'Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!' Mark 9:24: That was me! I knew I couldn’t be enough, love enough, believe enough, and have faith enough unless God helped me. When I began to feel that I wasn’t hell-bound after all, I experienced an opposing tug in this battle. Another thought popped up: “How do you know you even believe in God, or want to believe in God?” This scared me. My life showed me repeatedly that I couldn’t trust my own heart. Maybe this desperation for God was a new lie. I decided to fight as hard as I could, not because I was nobly seeking after God, but because I was scared to death of my life without Him. I had to find this story of Jairus’s daughter, but more than that, I had to find God Himself. The guilt and shame over my past took a backseat to my new urgency in finding God. Some days, I felt like I was saved and on my way to a wonderful life with God. Other days, I left the lights on and slept clutching my Bible for dear life, like a child clutches a teddy bear. I cried. I laughed. I shouted. I cowered. I whispered and whimpered. But through it all, I kept praying, 'God, be real to me, be real.' And I kept reading the Bible.” Indeed, as cliché as it sounds, actually reading God’s Word has helped me come to terms with my faith. And part of that process was recognizing that having perfect, problem and question free issues regarding the matter was not the same as having faith in the first place. Indeed, again, according to scripture... "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3 You have faith; I have faith. And, it’s a living organism, constantly being developed in some way. That may mean it is going through some awkward stages. But we’re never to fear, including the tricky process of our faith development: "Don't be afraid; just believe." Mark 5:36 “Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.” Proverbs 3:25 So, I guess we’re back to the close connection between the presence of faith as the antidote, however imperfect, dwelling in us, to the fear issue. “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 Our fears, running amuck, do nothing good for us. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Proverbs 29:25 Yes, the world can be a scary place. But again, that’s where faith in God comes in: "Don't be afraid; just believe." Mark 5:36 Ultimately, is the world, in all of its threats, lies and arguments, subject to God’s Power or not? Check out Matthew 8:26: “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Are you intimidated by the faith issue, feeling only your fears are calling the shots? Remember an acronym to the word, “fear:” “false evidence appearing real.” Fear appears real, but God IS real- and He is really there, helping you now! “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10 Challenge your fears and what you perceive to be your weak, less than, faith- With God’s gift of Jesus Who, indeed, is… “…the author and the finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2 Have your faith, believe in its development and live, more and more free of any fear!!! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse


“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Albert Einstein I love this quote by Mr. Einstein. How true it is! When we think of the word, “coincidence,” we tend to think along the standard definition’s description: “a chance happening: something that happens by chance in a surprising or remarkable way; happening without planning.” Ever had one of those experiences like that definition? You know, those weird, in sync, “hmm” kinds of moments which just seem to be too timely/helpful to be believed? If you call yourself a human being, more than likely, at one time or another, you probably have had a few. Meet God, being anonymous. I myself have had a number of those weird in sync moments. Back at the height of my anorexia when I was nineteen, I had come across a girl who went to my high school, post high school. In the cliché line of thought, “it takes one to know one,” she, a recovering anorexic herself, had first approached me in a college history class we shared during the spring quarter of my freshman year, calling me out on my already too thin frame. Of course, I lied and denied, spooked by her allegation, desperately believing I could talk myself out of the uncomfortable encounter. At that point and time, she left it at that. Whew! Dodged a bullet there! I thought I was home free. After all, beyond sharing the same high school, the two of us had no real contact with one another. We weren’t in the same circle of friends. So, I thought I was in the clear. Not so fast, Sheryle! Just three months later, during my summer break, I ran into her, yet again, seemingly “out of nowhere.” I was at the mall, nothing earth shattering. But the store, of all stores, to run into her, was a bid odd. Because of my already intense eating disorder behaviors, I was trying to occupy my mind with anything I could think of. One of my latest “answers” was crafting. Yes, that’s right. I said crafting. I guess I believed pipe cleaners and cross stitch kits could save me. So, I was a regular at the mall’s hobby store. How many college kids honestly frequent that place, right? I remember I was close to my lowest weight, attempting to keep from passing out, while looking at a dollhouse miniature section (really?), just trying to occupy my highly disturbed mind when, low and behold, once again, out of seemingly nowhere, appeared this same girl. Talk about feeling busted! We had the initial nervous chitchat, but, c’mon, we both knew the score. She was gentle as she could be, but eventually, came the moment of getting real. She again, brought up the dreaded curse words of “eating disorder” to my attention. And I had no where I had to be. I had no class I needed to escape to, nothing pressing I had to do. I just had to stand there in front of the dollhouse miniatures and converse with her. The coincidence of this situation was that I was at a point in which I fully believed and argued with God that I was the only one who was grappling with my struggle, especially in this relatively small town rural area. No one else would get it; no one else would understand. It’s such a cunning and cliché lie, isn’t it? So, that was an awakening to the reality that no, I was not the only one. There were others. I was nowhere near healthy or in recovery mode, but this “coincidence” was a timely event which was relevantly needed by me. It was God. And then there was the time when, after missing my bus, I was privy to a conversation between two strangers about a recent change to the bus schedule starting the next week. There would have been no other way I could have found out that information, other than to miss my connection at that time. Really? God’s involved in a bus schedule? Isn’t that too unimportant for God’s attention? No, God tells us about His thoughts for us… “I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.” Job 42:2 “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalms 40:5 “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.” Psalms 139:2 And that leads me to a third coincidence. A few years ago, which attending a church Christmas raffle, one of the winning prizes was mentioned: two tickets to a ballet performance of “The Nutcracker.” Being a theatre fan (heck, I was a theatre graduate from college), I have always loved the arts: drawing, painting, film, stage productions and dance. So, this was right up there in my “heart’s desire” alley. I remember quietly talking to God in my mind, saying, “It sure would be great to win something like that.” “But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time...” Psalm 69:13 So, do I need to tell you what happened next? Uh-huh. Guess who’s name was called for that particular prize? Coincidence? Not noteworthy? Not important enough? Or God at work? “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” Psalms 119:59 It’s a question worth pondering in the circumstances of our lives, whatever they may be, don’t you think? God is a relevant God, not just a loving God. Scripture, in fact, tells us… “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek); for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.” Matthew 6:31-32 But God encourages us to start with Him, by being in connection with Him first, in prioritizing Him… “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33 And part of that means recognizing and respecting that God is not just a thing or an irrelevant coincidence. He is a very loving involved God and Father to each one of us. Which way do we choose to see Him though? Is God timely with you? I’m sure you’ve heard the famous passage from Ecclesiastes. It’s often used at funerals: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 Indeed, seasons, “coincidences” and time impact every single one of us… “…time and chance happeneth to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 But what’s more important than that is that God happens to each of us, in myriads of ways every day, whether or not we recognize or accept it. So, what will we do with the reality of both coincidence and God? Are they the same thing or is it, indeed, all God? Ancient Hebrew teachings reveals there is no such word for “coincidence” in their vocabulary. Does coincidence exist for you? Or is it all God, working intricately and relevantly on your behalf? Are you focused on God whenever something in your life syncs up? What if God is touching your life and connecting with you right now? What will you do with that? A loving, connected and involved Heavenly Father to us all? “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 Hmmm… I think so! Coincidence? I think not! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

God hears!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Commemorating an anniversary

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 Today is our 17th wedding anniversary. God has blessed my wonderful husband, Russell and I in so many ways over these years. And one of those incredible blessings for me personally has been the acceptance and the freedom from my eating disorder secrecy. Each wedding anniversary, I’m still reminded of how I wasn’t able to tell Russell about my struggles, for fear of his rejection. And, each anniversary, as well as on a daily basis, I’m reminded just how loving, kind and accepting Russell has been. The truth does set you free. Confessing the eating disorder truth doesn’t make everything perfect, but it does release you from the prison of deceit and the worst case scenario of being “found out.” I’m including an excerpt from my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder” in honor of my wonderful husband and the freedom God has given over these wonderful years together. “Although I was craving love, I was determined to avoid it. I’d seen unhealthy relationships galore. I’d focused my life on achievement, convincing myself that the goals, awards and prizes would be more than enough for me. And besides, college was demanding enough; I didn’t need any more hassle. Still, I couldn’t deny, I did want that hassle. In college, I was pursuing a theatre degree. My best performances weren’t on the stage, but in my everyday life, protecting my secrets. Acting, lying: what’s the difference, anyway? It was through theatre that I met Russell, the first guy that I couldn’t push away. He was there for me. I met Russell when I transferred schools. We were both theatre students and met in the college drama department when I was a junior. We stayed on friendly, acquaintance-level terms through my graduation. He was sweet to me, and possessed a dry sense of humor. It made for supportive, interesting and funny conversations. Still, I looked at him the way I looked at other guys: a nice friend, but still someone who must never know all of my ugly weaknesses. Even though we didn’t start dating until after I graduated, our friendship was gradually changing while I was still in school. During my senior year of college, he was very thoughtful. For example, on Valentine’s Day, he stopped by my dorm room. Of course, I had been on my stair stepper for hours and wouldn’t come to the door. I kept yelling over the music, “I’m not done yet!” He waited as long as he could, but eventually he had to leave for work. When I finally finished my routine, I got my stuff together and headed for the dorm showers. When I opened my door, there was an overwhelmingly huge bouquet of balloons and a card. He had waited for at least a half-hour for me, just to give me this sweet gift. All I said to him was “I’m not done yet.” I felt like the biggest jerk in the world. When we did fall in love and start to date, I added new fears to my already long list. The prospect of someone being close enough to truly know me was scary. I knew that, sooner or later, I would have to tell him the ugly truth about myself. Moving from dating to engagement was difficult for me. I had yet to tell him any of what I’d experienced, and I felt more and more guilty about lying to him. Every time we went out to eat, I’d pretend not to have issues with food and weight. I hated feeling like a liar, but I was scared that he’d reject me if he knew the truth. What man, in his right mind, looks for all of this mess in a mate? I knew when I told him that he wouldn’t want me anymore. It bothered me constantly. He sensed something was wrong, of course, asked me about it. What do I tell him? As we prepared for our wedding, I finally mentioned to him that I had a secret I wasn’t ready to share with him yet. Of course, he was curious and wanted to know right then and there, but he displayed patient understanding. He told me that he loved me and that it didn’t matter what it was. He didn’t pressure me to tell him. He knew there was a secret and left it at that. Even though his response helped me feel freer and safer, I still felt guilt pulling at me. I began wanting to tell him. After all, he’d been so incredible with everything else I’d told him. He knew about my family secrets. He knew all about my weaknesses aside from the eating disorders. He knew about all that yet still chose to love me. But I kept thinking, “don’t press your luck.” Remember the bridesmaid dress story from my cousin’s wedding? Well, when it was my own wedding, multiply those insecurities and feelings by a thousand. The wedding dress alone was enough of a challenge. However, this time I wasn’t able to go to extremes to lose weight for the wedding. Physically, there wasn’t any way that I could reach that low weight from years earlier. It was a gift, though, that for the first time in a long time, I weighed a relatively “normal,” 125 pounds on my wedding day. I was thankful for that. I don’t endorse my secrecy from my husband. I believe it is vital any young woman suffering from eating disorders be honest and forthcoming with her future husband. Marriage is a holy covenant and a serious commitment, and I believe you need to share all of the truth. Even now, I now look back and often wonder how many tears, how many problems, and how much pain I could have avoided if I just simply told him. The truth really does set you free. And in telling him, once again, I discovered, the worst did not happen. The time for truth came a couple of weeks after we were married. It was our first Thanksgiving together, and we had been married for only twelve days. I was still feeling relieved that I made it through the nuptials. Russ and I did the cutesy newlywed couple “this is the first mashed potatoes we’ve made together” and “this is our first stuffing and cranberry sauce” thing. We both ate our holiday feast, and I had tried not to think about all of the calories. True to form, however, I proceeded to exercise after the meal, trying to burn off “the damage.” Russell thought this was strange and unnecessary; it was a holiday, after all. He told me to just relax and enjoy the day. I, of course, repeatedly told him that I couldn’t until I’d exercised. The conversation continued while I was on the stair stepper for two hours. But I saw a new look on his face: hurt. I was forfeiting my time with him, my brand new husband, to climb steps that weren’t going anywhere? I was so tired of keeping this secret, and I wanted to explain myself so badly to him. The only way I could explain it was to tell him the whole story from the beginning. First, I played an alternative rock song, an anthem, a coping mechanism for me to deal with the eating disorders. It was an angry loud song of rage, and I thought that it would tell him clearly what I’d been through. It didn’t. He didn’t understand it. I took a deep breath, realizing, “No, Sheryle, the song isn’t going to tell him. You are.” And so I did. And the worst didn’t happen. He didn’t leave me, throw me out in the street, call me worthless and tell me how much he hated me. No. He looked at me, asked me, “This is the big secret?” He hugged me, told me he loved me, and told me I was beautiful. I didn’t have to lie, hide, and pretend anymore in front of the man I loved. I felt a little freer. Since then, Russell has been an incredible support to me as I’ve continued my path in dealing with my food, weight, and body issues. It sounds so cliché, but it’s true: he loves me just as I am.” “The truth does set you free” (John 8:32). And “love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8). Never be afraid or ashamed to tell your loved ones the truthful reality of your struggles. The freedom from the secrecy is incredible! Free yourself today!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Look Forward

“Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” Proverbs 4:25 When we’re on the road to recovery, we can often feel anxious about our steps. We want to move forward, we want to improve and we want to distance ourselves from pain. So, we choose lots of different paths, including disorders, addictions, compulsions and a wide array of less than healthy choices. And, by doing so, we can lose sight of where we’re going all too quickly. And forget about that infamous lil’ bugger called our pasts! It’s even more difficult and painful to move forward if we’re always looking over our shoulders, tormented by haunting past situations.
But it is not hopeless for any of us. We are not left to fend for ourselves; God is always there, always leading and guiding: “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:21 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 And there’s always renewal, in spite of our histories: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 Do we see it though? Well, are we looking for it? The past is in the past; it’s never too much for God to handle. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 Regardless of how terrible things were for you way back when, even if it was as recent as a few minutes ago, dare to see God at work, creating something incredible and hopeful in your life NOW!!! “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 We are going from glory to glory! Keep looking to God when you look ahead! Your greatness and future are not limited by what has been; rather, they are both in the Hands of the most high God Who will do beyond what you could ever believe or dream for. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20 So, look, look ahead today!!!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Eagle Prays

"He said to them, 'When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.’" Luke 11:2

Not an umbrella

The freeing apology (You never get): Encore

(For my own edification today.)
“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never get.” I don’t know who said that, but it’s some challenging advice. The issue of forgiveness is tricky- and a certainty in each one of our lives. Things like abuse, neglect, betrayal are some of the major themes that force us, like it or not (and really, how many of us like it?) to confront forgiveness for ourselves personally. Tricky. And no one can get around the forgiveness issue, as far as God is concerned, anyway: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." Mark 11:25 Who is feeling all sunny about that piece of information? Yeah. More often than not, our response to the forgiveness matter falls along the lines of Peter’s questioning… “Then came Peter to him, and said, ‘Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?’” Matthew 18:21 Can’t you just hear him grappling for some kind of loop hole or “good enough” rule? Peter thought, like I would think, seven times is certainly more than good enough. But Jesus comes back with His response… “… Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.’” Matthew 18:22 Here is where you and I groan. This is not the answer we want. We want permission to smite, to avenge, to kill and to destroy. But God operates His Kingdom differently. “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.” Matthew 18:23 And, guess what? He expects us to emulate Him in our behavior. That includes when others not only hurt us, but never apologize to us either. “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29 Not fun stuff. Not easy stuff. But it’s still necessary, all the same. We may be stamping our feet in a temper tantrum, shrieking, “It’s not fair!” (Or is that just me? )And logically and emotionally, it isn’t. There have been instances when childhood bullies and even my own abusive dad have hurt me and have never bothered to apologize for their words and actions. It’s painful, difficult, infuriating and, if left unchecked, all consuming. But there’s a verse before Romans 8:29 which we need to pay attention to: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 Translation? God will make it right; God will make it up to us. He will avenge the wrongs done to us… “…‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ saith the Lord.” Romans 12:19 That includes betrayals, spiteful deeds and injustices. You and I may never get the apologies owed to us. And that’s not fair. But, a reality check we need to keep in mind is the parable of the unforgiving servant, further detailed in Jesus’ response to Peter about the forgiveness quota: “…‘Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But because he couldn't pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down and knelt before him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will repay you all!' The lord of that servant, being moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. "But that servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, who owed him one hundred denarii, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!' "So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay you!' He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry, and came and told to their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?' His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors, until he should pay all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive your brother from your hearts for his misdeeds." Matthew 18:23-35 Like I said, reality check. For as many apologies which have been owed to us, how many apologies do we owe to others, God included, as well? Ouch! It’s sobering, but something to remember the next time we feel like smiting someone. Plus, there is the cliché response of forgiveness setting ourselves free. Something further to consider, isn’t it? And God does consider everything about us, everything which happens to us. In short, God knows. How much power and freedom could we experience it we allowed that to trump any bitter unforgiving thought? It’s worth considering and living. Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Monday, November 5, 2012

God’s Word Versus Human Standards

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 Temporary versus eternal. In today’s fashion and image-based society, how much thought do we give to that measurement? I recently came across this chart of sizes through the decades:
It’s quite drastic, isn’t it? We’ve gone from size 8 in the 1950’s all the way to Size 00 in our current day culture. But who dictated any of these fashion/beauty terms? What authority, really, did any of them have to say this is how it should be. But God has the final say. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 “but the word of the Lord stands forever." 1 Peter 1:25 All things will change, including image standards. But God- and His Truth- remain. You don’t need to agree with it or like it. It simply is. What will next year’s size standard be? Negative forty-five? It’s ridiculous! What if we applied the same relevance and importance to what God says about us? What would that look and sound like? “O my dove…let me see your form…for your form is lovely.” Song of Solomon 2:14 “Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair..." Song of Solomon 4:1 “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.” Song of Solomon 4:7 “Thou art beautiful, O my love, Song of Solomon 6:4 It’s a better deal, isn’t it? If God has already made up His Mind about who we are, about our value, then why do we look to any other standard? It will change. And who’s to say it was accurate in the first place? After all, doesn’t size 00 exalt itself against God’s Word? “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5 So, let’s look to God for our Image instead of any other standard! It’s Truth and it lasts! “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8 Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

God: Necessity

You are never... God is always...


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hold and Trust

God knows exactly what He's doing concerning your life; He's never out of control!!!
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” —Psalm 32:8

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Power of Halt

November 2012 Issue of Serene Scene Magazine...

November's Serene Scene Magazine features my article, "What Do You Sa-a-a-ay?"

To Steward Your Temple…

“Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 In today’s world, there’s increasing emphasis on personal care. There’s now more ways to groom ourselves; the term, “metrosexual” even describes men who pay attention to this level of detailed grooming. All manner of waxing, shaving, manicures and pedicures now exists between both sexes. 1 Corinthians 3:16, in the name of this all important personal care issue, has been paraphrased as we are repeatedly told our bodies are temples.
Yes, they are. And we are told the benefit of being good stewards: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” Luke 16:10 When it comes to our bodies, the benefit of that stewardship is good health, strength and, of course, feeling good. So, yes, fitness and nutrition are important. That involves regular exercise and healthy eating. But even those good practices can be overdone. When it becomes obsessive or compulsive behavior and thought, hallmarks of disordered eating, it then goes from healthy to harmful. There are a wide variety of eating disorders out there; anorexia and bulimia are the mostly widely known and reported. However, one of the more recently discovered of these disorders is that of “orthorexia.” Orthorexia Symptoms and Effects What are the Signs and Symptoms of Orthorexia? Orthorexia is the term for a condition that includes symptoms of obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet. Orthorexia sufferers often display signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders that frequently co-occur with anorexia nervosa or other eating disorders. A person with orthorexia will be obsessed with defining and maintaining the perfect diet, rather than an ideal weight. She will fixate on eating foods that give her a feeling of being pure and healthy. An orthorexic may avoid numerous foods, including those made with: • Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives • Pesticides or genetic modification • Fat, sugar or salt • Animal or dairy products • Other ingredients considered to be unhealthy Common behavior changes that may be signs of orthorexia may include: • Obsessive concern over the relationship between food choices and health concerns such as asthma, digestive problems, low mood, anxiety or allergies • Increasing avoidance of foods because of food allergies, without medical advice • Noticeable increase in consumption of supplements, herbal remedies or probiotics / macrobiotics • Drastic reduction in opinions of acceptable food choices, such that the sufferer may eventually consume fewer than 10 foods • Irrational concern over food preparation techniques, especially washing of food or sterilization of utensils Similar to a woman suffering with bulimia or anorexia, a woman with orthorexia may find that her food obsessions begin to hinder everyday activities. Her strict rules and beliefs about food may lead her to become socially isolated, and result in anxiety or panic attacks in extreme cases. Worsening emotional symptoms can indicate the disease may be progressing into a serious eating disorder: • Feelings of guilt when deviating from strict diet guidelines • Increase in amount of time spent thinking about food • Regular advance planning of meals for the next day • Feelings of satisfaction, esteem, or spiritual fulfillment from eating "healthy" • Thinking critical thoughts about others who do not adhere to rigorous diets • Fear that eating away from home will make it impossible to comply with diet • Distancing from friends or family members who do not share similar views about food • Avoiding eating food bought or prepared by others • Worsening depression, mood swings or anxiety What are the Effects of Orthorexia? Orthorexia symptoms are serious, chronic, and go beyond a lifestyle choice. Obsession with healthy food can progress to the point where it crowds out other activities and interests, impairs relationships, and even becomes physically dangerous. When this happens, orthorexia takes on the dimensions of a true eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. One effect of this drive to eat only the right foods (and perhaps only in the right ways) is that it can give a person with orthorexia a sense of superiority to others. This can put a strain on relationships with family and friends, as relationships become less important than holding to dietary patterns. Maintaining an obsession with health food may cause a restriction of calories merely because available food isn't considered to be good enough. The person with orthorexia may lose enough weight to give her a body mass index consistent with someone with anorexia (i.e., less than 18.5). If the dietary restrictions are too severe, malnutrition can result. In rare cases, particularly in the case of women with unaddressed co-occurring disorders or another addiction, orthorexia may result in severe malnutrition and weight loss, which can cause cardiac complications or even death. How are Anorexia Nervosa and Orthorexia Similar? Orthorexia is a term with varying levels of acceptance in the eating disorder treatment community. Some eating disorder specialists regard orthorexia as a discrete diagnosis like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Others, however, believe that patients with orthorexia symptoms are actually suffering from anorexia. Sufferers of orthorexia and anorexia may show similarities such as: • Desire to achieve control over their lives through control of food intake • Seeking self-esteem and spiritual fulfillment through controlling food intake • Citing undiagnosed food allergies as rationale for avoiding food • Co-occurring disorders such as OCD or obsessive compulsive personality disorder • Elaborate rituals about food that may result in social isolation How are Orthorexia and Anorexia Nervosa Different? Obsession with weight is one of the primary signs of anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders, but is not a symptom of orthorexia. Instead, the object of the orthorexic's obsession is with the health implications of their dietary choices. While a person with anorexia restricts food intake in order to lose weight, a person with orthorexia wants to feel pure, healthy and natural. The focus is on quality of foods consumed rather than quantity. Signs and symptoms of eating disorders must be evaluated in the context of a person's feelings, emotions, and self esteem. It's crucial to seek appropriate clinical advice from a professional with experience treating orthorexia, anorexia and other psychiatric conditions. The obsessive tendencies associated with orthorexia can indicate a co-occurring disorder that should be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist. See yourself here? If anything is consuming your thoughts, energy, time and resources, to the point of causing negative results which impact your life, it has crossed the line. Think about this scripture: “Let all things be done decently and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 Now think of the word eating disorder. If the behaviors and habits are extreme and causing anxiety, it is disordered. God can help us; He tells us He will: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 And, we need to realize our lives, our habits and behaviors will never be 100% perfect. Yes, there will be junk food and other less than healthy choices out there. But we’re not to be ruled by them, to be anxious about them. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 1 Corinthians 10:23 “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 Remember that as you focus on caring for your temple. Stewardship does not require perfection; I believe it requires looking for God’s guidance, wisdom and help. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Friday, November 2, 2012

Skinny Minnie

Unbelievable! You know, I thought Minnie Mouse was safe. Yes, it’s true that Disney princesses have gotten criticism for not having the best body image message out there; just check out Ariel or Jasmine, for instance, to see the exaggerated, unrealistic body of a teenage girl. But recently, the department store, Barney’s announced that their 2012 holiday display window would feature an altered Minnie Mouse: one who is 5’11 and extremely elongated and thin.
She is certainly not the Minnie we’ve come to know and love from our childhoods.
Of, course, there’s controversy regarding her depiction; the alarm is raised for how this especially impacts little girls. And, you know what, it should. I was a little girl, influenced by the princess and Barbie forms, which, again, for a typical young girl, are not realistically attainable. No teen girl has the voluptuous bust line, contrasted with the teeny tiny waist. It doesn’t happen. And it is even less likely to occur with Minnie’s altered elongated physique for Barney’s holiday window. The reality? Check out these statistics: “The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of the American females.” The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders: A Summary of Issues, Statistics, and Resources” “The #1 wish of girls 11-17 years old is to lose weight.” “Body Wars: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies,” by Margo Maine, Ph.D. This Minnie Mouse will certainly not help that situation. Children mimic. Do we really want them mimicking a harmful image in something which is supposed to be a children’s character? Eyes are always watching. How many little girls will pass that window during the holiday season? How many little girls will look at Minnie and say, “That’s what I want to look like when I grow up?” And, in an article about this window display, clinical psychologist Jeffrey Gardere of the Touro School of Medicine agreed about this Skinny Minnie message. “This can affect how young children, especially young girls, view body image, and try to live up to an impossible body image of size 0.” It’s not cute, clever, fashionable or creative; it’s promoting harmful messages and body rejection. It certainly is not the holiday spirit! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse