It was fire prevention week. My husband is a volunteer fireman in our community, and our family always participates in anything fire department related. We have 4 boys who adore their father, so that’s a given.
Every year during this week the fire department opens their doors to the community for a hot dog supper and a chance for kids to climb in the fire trucks.
Not much is funny about an eating disorder, but now that I’m separated from this moment, this is one that makes me roll my eyes and say, Really?
The Worst Meal Ever
Hot dogs were my worst nightmare. Pair a hot dog with chips and baked beans, and my particular ED screamed, “Most Unhealthy Meal Ever – Stay Away!” But what could I do – going to this supper was not an optional activity for me.
I’ll tell you what I did – what my eating disorder made me do – because I hardly want to admit to this.
I bought a package of fat free hot dogs because my ED did not allow me to eat anything with fat in it. And of course, a fat free hot dog is soooo much better than the real thing. (In case you can’t read my sarcasm – it’s dripping right there.) I microwaved my fat free hot dog at home, put it on a whole wheat bun because I only ate whole wheat as a rule, and I stuffed that wrapped-up fat free hot dog in my oversized purse.
Let me repeat – I smuggled a fat free hot dog on a whole wheat bun into the fire department in my purse.
I can’t make stuff like this up.
In the moment, I told myself I was being healthy. I knew that I had to hide what I was doing, but it never occurred to me that it was wrong. I never even considered that taking that fat free hot dog from home was a sign of something terribly wrong.
Fight for Logic Against a Fat Free Hot Dog
That was my life. I had lived it for so long that I was blind to the fact that my lifestyle didn’t make sense. Because in my mind, it made complete sense.
If you are reading this and can think of examples when you’ve smuggled food in or out, hidden food, played with food, manipulated food, been scared of food – then we need to talk about the lies ED feeds us. These are signs of an eating disorder, dear friend.
Too often we don’t see the signs ourselves. This is why we need people.
We need people in our lives for so many reasons, not the least of which is accountability. A second opinion. A new perspective. A clear set of eyes when our own are clouded by desires we can’t let go of, by lies we’ve told so many times we believe, and by a deep need for self-preservation.
If you feel a tingling in the back corner of your brain that something isn’t quite right, then find out why. Fear will tell you to ignore it, but that fear is ED trying to remain in control.
But ED does not deserve to be in control. Hear me – ED does not get to make you into a mindless follower. You are smarter than this. God created you with a logical mind. He gave you the ability to think and rationalize.
A fat free hot dog on a whole wheat bun smuggled in a purse is not rational. That’s about as far from rational as you can get.
Ask for Help
So I’m serious, friend. If reading my story is making you uncomfortable because it’s hitting too close to home, then seriously consider that maybe you need a second set of eyes on your actions.
Find your person. Trust that person. Do NOT trust ED. You need people because ED loves isolation. Find out if your belief that eating three M&Ms mid afternoon will make you fat is logical. Find out if your ability to feel your body gain a pound is normal. Find out if exercising for four hours a day is actually healthy. Find out if smuggling a fat free hot dog in your purse is really a good idea.
If you are scared to ask your person about the logic of your actions, that may be a clear indication that you are scared of what they are going to tell you. That is ED making you scared to find out the truth. Because the truth will set you free from ED’s control.
God gave you a powerful brain, a heart longing for connection, and a soul searching for Him.
Grab His hand and let him guide you through the fog of illogic until the clouds break and you see His light.
It’s beautiful in His light. In His light, you are free.
And being free from a fat free hot dog is well worth the fight. Trust me, I know.