Tuesday, September 30, 2014

There's help coming

I'm worth it

Not A Lost Cause


“It’s hopeless.”

Most of us have uttered that statement. Our issues, addictions, disorders and problems drive it from our mouths. That’s probably why scripture warns against saying just any old thing which pops in our heads:

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

Luke 6:45

“Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”

Proverbs 4:23-24

Most of us would probably agree cussing or perverse words aren’t great choices. But the power of our words speaks to bigger matters than that.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Proverbs 18:21

And that, unfortunately, does include the statement, “It’s hopeless.”

It’s beyond positive thinking practices; it’s about faith- negative OR positive faith.

“…According to your faith be it unto you.”

Matthew 9:29

Now, before we fall into a deep pit of despair, let’s look at the big picture, the GOD Picture…

“Forever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”

Psalm 119:89

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever."

Isaiah 40:8

So, yes, there’s hope. God’s “big picture” is full of it.

"Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.…

Isaiah 46:9-11

Sounds comprehensive, doesn’t it? However, too often, we look at our lives, without God’s involvement in them. We often underestimate Him.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

We look at what we see and determine that’s how it is and always will be. But, what if it was a temporary situation instead?

“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

One of my favorite quotes is “don’t put a period where God puts a comma.” Why do we insist on the wrong punctuation? Are the things we’re saying- out of fear, frustration or hurt- really the things we’re wanting manifested in our lives? Do we really want our lives to be hopeless?

You aren’t hopeless, regardless of what you’ve done or what you are or aren’t seeing in your life currently. You’re more than your life right now; God has incredible things for you. You’re in process, again, in the middle of one of my favorite scriptures, 2 Corinthians 3:18

“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.”

Will you allow God’s powerful scriptures to trump any negative thing you feel tempted to utter?

You’re not a lost cause; you’re God’s child. Live it, speak it and believe it today!!!

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse




Back to School (An Eating Disorder Awareness Education)

This back to school season always strikes me with concern. Eating disorders are often triggered by the college experience. Statistics show some startling realities:

“As many as 10% of college women suffer from a clinical or nearly clinical eating disorder, including 5.1% who suffer from bulimia nervosa

Studies indicate that by their first year of college, 4.5 to 18% of women and 0.4% of men have a history of bulimia…”

(The National Institute of Mental Health, National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders)

 Indeed, it was my reality. As a child and a teenager who always struggled with her weight, I determined college to be my “reinvention.” If I could just be thin, I could be a new, better person. And so, oh, so slowly, I descended into eating disorders. I discuss it in my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder.”

It started as a diet. However, it didn’t stop there. Eventually I was engulfed in anorexia, culminating in an unhealthy low weight of eighty pounds, not to mention, weakness and dizziness just to name a couple of health issues I encountered. Furthermore, that anorexic condition eventually morphed into another dangerous disorder, bulimia; I gained one hundred plus pounds within a number of months. And, with that rapid weight gain, I experienced heart fluttering, shortness of breath and suicidal thoughts. Simply stated-I was miserable, unhealthy and out of control.

Eating disorders don’t happen overnight. Often, these behaviors have been developing for many young people for years prior. However, college, with the major lifestyle changes, stressors and pressuring expectations of young adulthood can lay the groundwork for disordered eating to thrive. Whether it’s the need to be perfect, compete in athletics, measure up to parental or peers’ expectations or cope with anxiety and major changes, many young men and women wrongly believe their chosen eating disorder is the desirable “answer” to their problems. And so, they learn the techniques, sometimes even teaching them to fellow roommates, practice the behavior and, before long, they have gone further in chaotic choices than they ever dreamed. Personal health, goals and life plans are all threatened, seemingly, “out of the blue.”

And, most damaging of all is the spiritual impact. The eating disorders’ lies often do an insidious and thorough job of convincing the young person of the ultimate lie: God hates you and will not/cannot save you; therefore, it’s hopeless. That’s where I found myself.

And, it’s taken me years to spiritually relearn God’s Truth.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”

Isaiah 41:9

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”

Jeremiah 32:27

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”

Psalm 32:8

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’”

                                                             Jeremiah 31:3             

But how much pain could have been avoided if I had been aware of that reassuring powerful Truth when I was in college? How much pain could I have avoided if I went in to college, fully knowing the dangers of the eating disorder path?

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

Hosea 4:6


This time of year, back to school emphasizes knowledge and learning. And, it’s at this time of year I encounter many frantic young people, with all manner of food, weight, body image and self-esteem issues, going off to college, fearful of what they’re facing.

 So, along with God’s Word, which never comes back without its intended purpose accomplished (Isaiah 55:11), I’ve provided some questions and things to look out for if you believe someone is struggling, or if you, yourself are suffering from eating disorder tendencies.

Eating Disorder Signs To Look Out For:

Perfectionistic about appearance and achievement

Obsessed with food, dieting, counting calories, etc.

Excessive exercising (hours at a time)

Isolation from family and friends and secretive behavior (in example: exercising in the middle of the night, binge and purge sessions when alone, constant weighing of oneself)

Drastic weight loss, weight gain, fluctuations, (may also have a puffy face, scraped knuckles and hair loss)

Possession of laxatives, diet pills, diuretics and “thinspo” material

Stealing roommates’ food and money

Self-critical, depressed and/or displaying erratic mood swings

Displaying cross addictive behavior: in example, alcohol/drug consumption, shopping, sexual activity, self-injury (like cutting oneself)

Wearing excessively baggy clothes

Frequent trips to the bathroom, especially after eating

Frequent absences from classes, work or other activities

Questions To Ask… Do I having an eating disorder?

Do I expect to be perfect?

God’s answer to that question…

“The Lord will perfect that which concerns me…”

Psalm 138:8

What’s my definition of beauty/performance?

God’s answer to that question…

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

Psalm 139:14

How do I view food?

God’s answer to that question…

“Is not life more than food?”

Jesus, in Matthew 6:25

How do I view exercise?

God’s answer to that question…

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

1 Timothy 4:8

How do I see myself right now?

God’s answer to that question…

“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”

Isaiah 43:4

If your answer to the eating disorder question is “yes,” it’s not hopeless. But it does require action, professional help and support from others.

If You Have Anorexia Nervosa…

Don’t diet. Never ever. Instead design a meal plan that gives your body all the nutrition it needs for health and growth. Also get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise or physical activity three to five days a week. More than that is too much.

Ask someone you trust for an honest, objective opinion of your weight. If they say you are normal weight or thin, believe them.

If You Have Bulimia Nervosa or Binge Eating Disorder…

Don’t let yourself get too hungry, too angry, too lonely, too tired, or too bored. All these states are powerful binge triggers. Watch for them, and when they first appear, deal with them in a healthy manner instead of letting the tension build until bingeing and purging become the release of choice.

Make sure that every day you touch base with friends and loved ones. Enjoy being with them. It sounds corny, but hugs really are healing.

Keep tabs on your feelings. Several times a day ask yourself how you feel. If you get off track, do whatever the situation requires to get back to your comfort zone.

ANRED: Self Help Tips.

And it requires looking at the real truth of the situation. After all, scripture tells us…

“The truth shall set you free.”

John 8:32

So, as the seasons and transitions change, learn the freedom God wants you to experience. It’s yours to claim! Educate yourself with true freedom, health, life and relationship with the True God behind it all! He’s waiting for you!

“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

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

3 John 1:2

“The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’”

Jeremiah 31:3

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse





Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prosper, Be In Health (The Mind-Body and God Connection)


Scripture tells us we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). Furthermore, God desires we “prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). So, the importance of the mind-body connection is right there from the start.

With that said, however, taking care of our souls and our temples, seems to be one of the greatest challenges, especially for those of us who struggle with food, weight, body image and exercise issues.

In my book, “Thin Enough: My Spiritual Journey Through the Living Death of an Eating Disorder,” I chronicle my struggles with disordered eating and harmful mindsets, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. I viewed food and exercise through dangerous extremes. I either ate nothing or everything; I either did no exercise whatsoever or I punished myself with six grueling hours of it every day. There was no moderation, no healthy approach, just torment, fear, guilt, desperation and hopelessness.

Years later, into my recovery, my challenge, therefore, has been to live a healthy lifestyle. So, besides my Christian faith and ongoing recovery, part of my process has been to study of the mind-body connection concerning the eating disorder issue. And that’s led me to research which indicates there may actually be an “eating disorder brain.”

Scientifically, eating disorders are classified as a mental illness. It’s not just about the physical body. There does seem to be a mind-body connection- or disruption- when it comes to disordered eating.

Recent studies show how, in some individuals, serotonin (the neurotransmitter which is vital in appetite regulation, mood and impulse control) cannot effectively bind to certain brain receptors, creating an environment for disordered eating patterns to thrive. (1)

In certain individuals, therefore, a predisposition to disordered eating could exist, perhaps, even resembling that of a predisposition to addictions, certain cancers or heart disease.

Furthermore, disordered eating issues are not a vanity or a teenage girl thing. In fact, statistics show both genders are affected.

“It is estimated that 8 million Americans have an eating disorder – seven million women and one million men.” (2)

That’s disturbing enough. But, again, looking at it from a mental illness vantage point, the stakes of eating disorders, left untreated, are life and death matters.

“Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.”

“20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.” (2)

Looking at the “eating disorder brain” is critical. But it’s only one aspect of mind-body health. Indeed, we also need to look at the body.

Recently, I met a vibrant personal trainer, DJ White. We had the chance to briefly speak about her approach to health, food and fitness. Since she operates from a Christian perspective in her training, I, therefore, thought her advice on this challenging body issue could be of tremendous benefit. No one, unfortunately, is immune from unhealthy self-image, food and exercise issues. We could all use some help here.

Therefore, I asked DJ a few questions. She was most gracious with her responses.

SC: What made you decide to become a personal trainer?

DJW: I originally went to college to become a physical therapist.  A severe allergic reaction to physics landed me in a computer class that was easy.  Long story short, after 8 years of corporate America, I realized that being active was something I loved! I became certified and left corporate America to support the health and wellness of those who chose or had to stay in that environment.

SC: What Christian faith principles do you incorporate with your clients concerning their fitness programs?

DJW: The name of my business is P & P Journey’s, LLC.  P & P stands for Personal and Professional Journey’s.  The logo has a diamond in the rough (soil) with three leaves representing mind, body, and spirit.  As spirit beings trying to master the human experience, I include nutrition, activity, and leisure in my training with my clients.  In connecting these areas the spirit gets the attention it needs to heal, grow, and contribute in the way God intended.

SC: What advice do you give to someone who wants a Godly, effective fitness regimen?

DJW: I encourage my clients to pray and/or meditate, with study in the morning along with their exercise routine and proper nutrition to energize the body.  Before they begin their day “in the world,” they have done the following:  1) given thanks and gratitude, 2) created a space for greater wisdom, 3) engaged their physical body in a manner that encourages and connects physical and mental strength and discipline, 4) and they have given it the nutrients to fuel them for the day.  They have succeeded in taking care of themselves so they can now fulfill their role and purpose in the world.

SC: What advice do you have for those of us who have struggled with disordered eating and/or food or exercise addictions?

DJW: In scripture when you read about your Temple, you gain the awareness, knowledge, wisdom, and peace that this earthly vessel is on loan for you to fulfill your purpose.  Holding tight to these scriptures can and will see you through these challenges.

SC: What motivates you in your own health/fitness choices?

DJW: The absence of dis-ease motivates me.  My family history of different cancers over three generations was a cycle I declared would end.  My practice is my commitment.

SC: What advice would you give to someone concerning the temptation issue?

DJW: Every time you are tempted 1) acknowledge it, 2) make a CONSCIOUS CHOICE to overcome it  3) acknowledge the benefits of your choice, 4) once that choice is made take swift action,      5) Celebrate the choice, be responsible and accountable for it. This is definitely more challenging acting on the temptation, yet if you REALLY REWARD YOUR SUCCESS, you can do it!

SC: What would you tell someone who wishes to embark upon a healthier lifestyle?

DJW: Practice breathing from you diaphragm and listen to your body.  Body awareness must be a priority for success.  Your body will tell you what it needs if you listen to it.  Use warm and cold or what feels good and not so good (I don’t use the word bad).  Your body (spirit) will ALWAYS TELL YOU.  I tell my clients, I am the expert on how the body works.  They are the experts of their body.

SC: What would you tell someone who has had setbacks in their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle?

DJW: Every day is a new day.  You are ALIVE!  Celebrate that and begin!  It’s not beginning again.  Just begin.  Have the best day today, then repeat that when you awaken.  It will become a habit sooner than you realize!

SC: What would you tell someone who believes it’s “too late?”

DJW: It’s never too late.  I became a personal trainer at 33 and did my first body building show at 35 years old!  My role model is 73 and she still competes and practices a healthy lifestyle.  Just BEGIN!
Indeed, beginning our awareness of the mind-body connection is critical concerning eating disorders, food, weight and body image issues. God, however, has not desired for us to merely stop there; He wants us to thrive as well.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

3 John 1:2

Therefore, let’s have respect and acceptance for that truth! Let’s prosper and be in health when it comes to both our minds and our bodies!

Citations Listed:

(1)   “Alterations In Brain Activity Linked To Bulimia” 4 Therapy, http://www.4therapy.com/news/also-news/alterations-brain-activity-linked-bulimia-2387)

(2)    South Carolina Department of Mental Health, www.state.sc.us/dmh


DJ White’s credentials listed as follows:

National Strength and Conditioning Certified Personal Training Certification, CHEK Corrective Exercise Specialist, CHEK Level 1 Practitioner, and CHEK Certified Golf Biomechanic.   Athletic Performance Inc. Caveman Training, TRX Suspension and Group Training Certification along with the Wellness Coaching Program with Wellcoaches and Level I Peak Pilates Instructor.


Professional recognition has included:


Ebony Magazines ‘Speaking of People’ feature in July, 1991; 1990-1991 Inaugural Mondale Policy Fellow at the Hubert Humphrey Institute; Hostess to Maya Angelou at the Honeywell Women’s Leadership Conference 1991; Chairperson of the Honeywell Women’s Council, 1990-1991; numerous Most Valuable Trainer Awards at Life Time Fitness and speaking/workshop engagements:


KARE 11, and FOX 9 NEWS  in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder and Black Twin Cities Magazine and closing speaker of Baraza! A Black Woman’s Health Gathering! October, 2012.


D J White
CEO, P & P Journeys, LLC
"Where fitness on the outside begins on the inside.  We make people feel good."

DJ White’s Blog:  http://debradjwhite.com

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Change The Conversation...

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."

Proverbs 18:21 

Apply Eye Roll As Needed


As I’ve written different book projects and prepared various presentations, I’ve become very accustomed to the submission process: book proposals, outlines, main points, objectives and relevant experience are just a few of the requirements involved.
And yes, they can be tedious. I’ve often felt they want to know everything, including my blood type. I feel like I’m jumping through endless hoops.

But that’s part of the process…like recovery…like life…
I wish things were poof-instantly ta-dah finished. It doesn’t happen like that.

“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

And let’s face it- we want it all accomplished now. We’re not too excited about patience, the process and jumping through our own necessary hoops. Nevertheless, it does not go away for us. So, we can either curse the inevitable process light or we can embrace the ongoing reality, make imperfect progress and get on with life. We can jump through hoops.
And God has told us He’ll help us.

 “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

Will we do our part? Each hoop is a step closer to us becoming fully who God has created us to be.
So, let’s tackle that next hoop in front of us.
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Not An Appropriate Conversation

Disordered eating and image issues have been with me since my childhood. However, I wasn’t the only one engaging in these the creation and flourishing of these mindsets.
 When I was in fifth grade, during recess, my third grade teacher struck up a conversation with me. We had just returned from summer vacation and, as children are prone to do, I had changed. Perhaps it was a growth spurt.
Regardless, my third grade teacher remarked, “Sheryle, you’ve slimmed down. Are you dieting?”
And we’re off and running again with wrong messages conveyed to young children.
By this time, at age ten, I’d already started my yo-yo dieting and rejection of myself behaviors. I knew something was “wrong” with me as long as I was overweight. So, hearing this validation from an adult, from one of my teachers, even, gave it extra firepower. Now it had credence. This feedback was from an objective “outsider,” after all. So, it must be true, right?
This time of year, kids are starting new school years. Whether it’s elementary, high school or college, young people are returning to classes having undergone some kind of change. And yes, there may be some startling transformations.
As someone in recovery, I get quite uneasy as people make comments about physical appearance, especially concerning weight. It’s tough enough to deal with as an adult.
But I get extremely nervous when an adult makes a comment about a child’s weight. Whether it’s an insult, a warning or high praise, there’s still danger at the mere mention of the issue. And there’s no defense against it from the child.
Don’t comment on a child’s appearance. Don’t criticize an overweight physical stature. Don’t praise the child for possessing a thin body. Don’t recommend dieting.
Please seek professional help if there is an impact to the child’s quality of life. There’s a vast difference between that, however and being “aesthetically pleasing.”
You may think you’re being helpful and encouraging. But, in some children, you may be lighting a damaging fuse. We never know who’s susceptible to an eating disorder. It could be the moody OR the sunny child, the popular kid or the outcast.
Diet/thin talk with a child is NEVER a conversation starter. But it could be the start of a lifelong eating disorder struggle.
Please talk about something else.

Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

The Blessing Of No

Good Enough...As Is...

Your Light's Not Supposed To Be Dimmed

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


With so much emphasis on body image and attractiveness, there’s often discussion about the word, “normal.” Supposedly, everyone wants to be the embodiment of that word. But we tend to possess a distorted definition of it. Its actual definition reads as follows:

 usual: conforming to the usual standard, type, or custom

healthy: physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy

It’s that second definition. Don’t we often get so caught up in the conforming and the “standard” that we bypass that healthy definition altogether?
I know I did.
Once I was heavily entrenched in my eating disorder behaviors, it became all about conforming to a standard. I wanted to be “normal,” to look like “everyone else.”
And then something changed. I wanted to be thinner than “normal.” Steadily, that became a moving target of lower and lower numbers on the scale. I wanted to become my own creature, a miniscule kind of pixie. I didn’t want to be “normal.” And I certainly didn’t want to be healthy. I wanted to be as thin as possible.
And that the crux of the problem, isn’t it? Thin is the goal, not health. Thin is “normal,” a/k/a “desirable,” “acceptable.” And so, many of us pursue that goal, gambling with our lives and health, never quite seeing how our bodies are created for good health, not unrealistic thinness.
I’m not a big fan of the word “normal” to begin with. But, it’s in our vocabulary, so, at the very least, we could shift our definition to focus on health: physical, mental, emotional –and spiritual health.
What if normal automatically represented this to us?

“…I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”
Psalm 139:14

Does it sound impossible? Abnormal, even? Why should it be so?
What if we made peace with the word or, even more powerful, lived beyond it, seeing ourselves as God sees us? Resemblance to God, after all, is our real image, right?

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:26-27

What if that self-image was, indeed, our normal? What if we agreed with God about our value?
Let’s live normal in that way!
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse

Monday, September 15, 2014

Good and Perfect Girl

Looking at this image, it’s hard not to let out a frustrated sigh. 

Here we go again- or STILL. Looking at this sweet little girl, it’s a painful reminder of the hostile reality she faces. 

According to statistics…

                    50% of girls between the ages of 11 and 13 see themselves as overweight.
According to Time magazine, 80% of all children have been on a diet by the time they've reached fourth grade.
86% of people with eating disorders report onset of an eating disorder by age 20.
10% report onset at ten years or younger.
(Mirasol: www.mirasol.net)

Eating disorders are not just affecting young adults and teenagers. Now, it’s children. Children!
They’re learning it somewhere, from someone, right?
All the more reason we need to remember and be vigilant about the following scripture:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

Are we placing such dire importance upon perfection, thinness and image? How do we address and discuss it with our children? They won’t be able to avoid the image issues.
And, with girls, especially, there seems to be an emphasis on pleasing, connected to personal appearance. We may not directly teach the lesson, “you’re a good girl if you’re thin/pretty,” but they learn it, nevertheless.
We can impact the voices, however. We can arm our children with the Truth of God’s Word: you’re already good, wonderful and valuable AS IS!

“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”
Isaiah 43:4

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”
Psalm 139:14

All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
John 1:3

Let’s tell our children, like this little girl here, they are worthwhile already!
Copyright © 2014 by Sheryle Cruse