May I pause to reassure you of a few things when fighting an eating disorder on the day after Christmas:
- You are not defined by the cookie you ate last night. Or the three.
- Christmas was made for family and friends. So if you spent the day sitting around talking and laughing, you spent it well. It’s okay to not move around all day to burn calories. Your body does that all on its own whether you are running, walking, standing, or sitting.
- Your eating disorder was not invited to your Christmas parties, so if he showed up, and now refuses to leave, stand up straight, stick out your chin, clench your fists, and ball up the courage to boot him out the door. He’s overstayed his welcome once again.
- If you stood in front of your mirror this morning scrutinizing how much weight you gained over the holiday, stop. This may very well be an act of God for you, but Walk. A. Way. Your mindset is completely skewing the reality your eyes are seeing. How you feel is clouding your clear judgment. Cover your mirror with a blanket or scribble over it with black dry erase marker or slide it under your bed. Your mirror is not a true representation of who you are. Period.
- Today is not a day for restricting your food. No matter what you ingested yesterday, your body still needs food today. Listen to your body cues. If it tells you that you are hungry, feed it. If it tells you that you are not, leave it alone. If you are sick of sugary foods, eat more veggies today if that helps. Make friends with your proteins. Mind your food groups. But feed your body when it needs to be fed. Yesterday is not today. God made your body to need nourishment every single day. Go figure. So don’t restrict. You aren’t made that way.
- Drink water. It’s good for you. God didn’t make you to restrict that need either. You’ll feel better.
- If ED won’t leave you alone today, here’s a few ideas:
- Scream at him out loud. Tell him to leave you the poop alone and tell him his a worthless piece of garbage who has no right to invade your brain space.
- Call out to God and ask him to fight for you because you are tired and can’t do it alone. Reach for the peace he gives. Even if you don’t believe God can help, try it. I dare you. Open yourself up to what God can do by asking him for his help. He’s listening.
- Find ways to distance your mind from ED’s voice. Lose yourself in a good movie. Binge a Netflix show. Color an intricate picture so your mind is occupied with what color comes next. Read a great book. Use your thinking on a crossword puzzle or some other mind-bending game.
- Surround yourself with people who love you. Do NOT be alone with ED’s voice. He just gets louder. Go out with friends. Call up your mom. Walk through the mall with your hubby. This might be the one reason he’s willing to drop everything and shop with you. People don’t hear ED with you, but if you help them understand, you know they’ll help you shut him up.
- Do mindless activities – clean your house, put the Christmas tree away, organize your junk drawer.
- Play a game with your kids. They don’t hear ED either, but they love you and crave time with you. Let them remind you that their voices speak more truth than ED’s any day of the week.
I often find that the day after Christmas is a let down. But maybe you are happy it’s over because you fear this day made for sweets and feasts. I pray that the day set aside to celebrate Christ’s birth hasn’t become a day you dread because of ED’s lies. Christmas is not your enemy. The lies ED tells you are. Instead of believing those lies, start questioning them.
Ask people you trust if what you believe to be true actually is.
Will one cookie make me fat?
Must I go for a walk after a big meal to keep myself from gaining weight?
Does everyone hear a voice in their head that speaks hate and makes them feel like a guilty failure for eating?
Is it normal to stare in the mirror naked and see weight come on?
Should I feel the need to punish myself for eating ham and mashed potatoes by not eating anything the entire next day?
This day after Christmas, allow me to reassure you of one very important fact:
The people that truly love you won’t lie to you.
ED is lying to you and his one main goal is to steal your joy, especially in a holiday that celebrates joy. On this day after, don’t feel guilty or letdown or like a failure. Fighting an eating disorder the day after Christmas means using your friends, your family – use me – as your mirror to reflect the love of Christ who came down as a baby to the ugliness of what this world has to offer too much of the time. But in his coming, joy lives loud and clear – as long as we don’t let the lies blur Jesus’ truth.
You might not feel the joy, but feeling has never equated to fact. Trust that it’s true, live like it’s true, and eventually, eventually, your heart will follow the facts.
Truth in community will blow ED’s lies clear out of the water.
Joy Today belongs to you too. And that’s a fact I’ll never stop reassuring you is truth.