Sinking Sand?

When I logged onto facebook this morning I had a “memory” pop up on my newsfeed that made me cringe… and then it made me jealous…then made me angry, at myself. I love the memories that come up in my notifications most of the time, but sometimes it brings back things I would rather just let go.

This picture was of a few years ago when most people would say I looked my best. I mean I was smiling, had my makeup done, was slim, trim and everything our society deems as beautiful, but I was miserable and nobody knew it.

I have a complicated relationship with my body and it is something that I will one day completely concur, but on particularly bad weeks, days, or even hours those old habits creep in so easily. Those negative thoughts come back with a vengeance. So when this picture popped up at first the thoughts that were coming to my mind were things like I am so glad I stopped running myself into the ground and depleting my body of nutrients to look like that and  how sad is it that I thought my problems would be solved with my body being a smaller size. The longer I looked at the picture the more those thoughts changed into you were so much prettier when you were thin, look at how much weight you have put back on since then, and it would be so easy to get back to that weight and the worst one, my family must think I am huge.

 

Um…no. Stop right there.

 

These thoughts are a black hole and will bring nothing but trouble. I got angry at myself for so quickly jumping back into the mentality of diet culture. Angry that we as a society put so much emphasis on the outer beauty of a person and do not emphasise the qualities and character of an individual. We get more concerned with looking good than doing good and trying to help others.  

What the world considers beautiful is always changing, but it is not the only thing that changes. New technology, new jobs, new houses, new clothes are always coming out. What is considered the “hot new item” is always changing. When we are continually focusing on what the new thing is and getting more more more I believe we are building our life on sinking sand. When we are focusing on making sure that our outside appearance is up to society standards instead of what is on people’s hearts, I believe there is cause for alarm. Chasing after the newest and brightest thing is like trying to climb out of a hole and the top is always jussst out of reach. It can be exhausting.

So what is the foundation on which we should be building ourselves on? It sure is not outer beauty I will tell you that much. It is not the things the world tells us will make us happy such as money, material things, a career, or the perfect figure.

 

It is Christ.

 

The giver of life to all. The one who never changes and never will. The one who loves us enough to give His own life on the cross to pay for our sin so that we may live with Him forever in eternity. That is our foundation friends. God is the only foundation that will never crack, break, or budge. He will never love us less because of our flaws, worries, or doubts. In fact, His love for us is more than any person could dream of loving another person. True joy and peace is knowing that His love will never change.

One of my favorite hymns of all time is My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less. The words tie into this topic so well.

 

My hope is built on nothing less

Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;

No merit of my own I claim

But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness veils His lovely face,

I rest on His unchanging grace;

In every high and stormy gale

My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand,

All other ground is sinking sand.

(Lutheran Service Book, Pg. 576)

 

It paints a beautiful picture of the solid foundation that Christ is for us. His grace is unchanging. He is the anchor in the storms of life. I wish I could go back and tell the lost girl in that picture that she was unhappy because she was chasing worldly standards and not focusing on her relationship with God. What a relief for us to know that we do not have to play keeping up the Jones’ to have that secure foundation. Christ and His work on the cross has done the work for us. His life giving work that brings pure joy and everlasting life in every sense of the word and in all circumstances.

 

Live in that joy.

 

Not the temporary worldly happiness that comes with material things that are always changing.  

 

Live your life full of joy because Christ is your strong foundation.

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Stop Waiting To Live

Raise your hand if you have ever bought into the lie that you would be happier when you were thinner? You cannot see me, but my hand is raised high in the air. If we are honest, we have believed some form of that lie at one time or another.

 

I will be happier once I get that job promotion.

I will be happier once I get married.

I will be happier when I move to a new city.

I will be happier when I own a house/car/business.

I will be happier once I have the latest technology.

I will be happier once I am thinner.

 

Honestly, the list goes on and on depending on what your interests are. Some of these things will no doubt make us happy, but happiness is a fleeting emotion. That is why we are always chasing it. It does not stay with us. Getting a job promotion is a great accomplishment, but with a better job comes more stress and more responsibilities. Getting married is a joyful, exciting, and life changing experience, but it is not sunshine and rainbows all the time. Moving to a new city to start fresh might seem like an exciting new adventure, but there are many stressors that come with it. Making new friends, finding a new job, finding a place to live, and figuring out how to navigate around the city are all things that can become overwhelming. Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases a person can make. However, things can go wrong and need fixing. Technology is always changing. When we think we have the latest and greatest gadget, a new product comes out and the feeling of happiness that was there is now gone and replaced with the longing for the next best thing. When is it enough?

While our culture is all about the next thing and getting more, more, more, women are constantly being sold the idea that we will be happier when we are thinner. We will be more outgoing, confident, successful,and intelligent all because we are a lesser weight. We see it all the time in commercials, magazine advertisements, TV shows, movies, etc.

 

Ugh. Give me a break.

 

I will say that research shows there is a small percentage of women who report being happier when they become thinner and that is all fine and dandy. However, there are women in my life who I have talked with and they have reported that they might feel happy for a while at their new weight, but then at some point that new low weight becomes the norm and they want to get smaller. How thin is thin enough? Body image issues are not skin deep. They are rooted deep down in the ground. Those issues are not going to go away just because your body gets smaller. Losing weight does NOT equal improved body image.

I believe that part of the problem is that we can end up putting our lives on hold until we reach this ideal goal weight we have in our head.

 

I will lose the weight and then I can have kids.

I will lose the weight and then I will go on a vacation.

I will lose the weight and then I will start dating.

I will lose the weight and then I will start _________.

 

Why are you not living your life right now? There are so many double standards out there. You need to be thin, but not TOO thin. Men like curves, but you cannot be TOO curvy. Blondes have more fun, but brunettes have the mysteriousness that is sexy. Can a woman catch a break?! (P.S. I am not saying men do not have double standards because they absolutely do.) Do not add one more thing to your plate to stop you from living life. If you want to start a family do it! You will never regret having more time with your kids, but you might regret waiting so long all because you wanted to be at a certain weight. If you are stressed out and in need of a vacation do not let the scale make that decision for you! If you want to start dating there is going to be someone who is attracted to you the way you are at this very moment.

You will not magically become a different person by losing weight so stop letting it have so much control over your life. The ideal body will not show others love, compassion, empathy,etc. Your heart does that. Your actions do that.

Again, I think this all comes back around to happiness. This trying to fill our soul with the things our society says will make us complete. While my experience with this comes from a body image and weight perspective, people put their lives on hold waiting for many different things. Some people wait to have a family until they have the ideal job with the ideal salary to support a family. Others believe that having a big house, having a fancy car or living in the right city will fill them with happiness.

When does it become enough? How much is enough? How thin is thin enough? Why is happiness always fleeting? And when do we stop and realize that what we are chasing is always changing? What is the foundation that is never going to change in our life? Do you have a foundation that is never changing? That is what I will be blogging about next time.

 

Here is a hint: Our foundation is not something materialistic.

 

Catch ya next time friends!

5 Things Running Has Taught Me About Life

This upcoming weekend is the weekend I am supposed to run my first marathon. But, I got hurt, could not run for a little over two months, and now am just getting back into the swing of things. To be completely honest I am heartbroken about not being able to run this race. As I looked down at my planner to make my to do list for the week I saw the word MARATHON plastered all over Saturday’s date with stars around it and I cried while scratching it out with my pen.

I have been pain free for a few weeks now and I have not pushed myself past 3 miles because I am terrified that the pain is going to come back. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop so to speak. If you have any tips for how to get over this fear please feel free to share your wisdom! As of now I have pulled back from running a little bit as my husband and I have really gotten into swimming. While I love swimming, and anyone who knew me growing up knows I live in the pool during summer time, it cannot take the place of running in my heart.

I started running around the time I turned 16. Since I am turning 26 this weekend I thought I would share 5 things I have learned about life from running in the last 10 years. Maybe this will cure my marathon blues.

 

  1. It is all mental.

 

Running can be a tougher mental sport than physical one at times. Do not get me wrong. Running is HARD physical work, but sometimes that mental game gets to you. I have had many runs where my body obviously could keep going, but my mind tells me no. It is frustrating, annoying, agitating, ________ (insert whatever word you feel here), etc. I think life can be the same at times. We all have days where we would rather jump back into bed all day rather than face whatever hard or scary thing we know we have to face that day. I have learned that it is easier to face the hard thing dead on rather than avoiding it and having to deal with the anxiety of avoiding said scary thing. Pushing past hard moments builds character. Embrace it just like you would on a hard run. The ups and downs are just part of the journey.

 

  1. Setting goals is important.

 

I will let you in on a little secret about me: I am a nerd. I love goals. I love lists. I love planning things out. This all ties into my Type A personality I am sure, but I truly think goals are important. Goals keep us striving forward out of our comfortable little nests we call a comfort zone. Well, they will if you set them that way. Then again, is it really a goal if it keeps where we always are? Food for thought. Anyway…back to the point. There are endless goals for running. Anything from distance, speed, qualifying for specific races, etc. The list goes on. Life is the same way. You can have goals for school, goals for work, goals for sports, goals for new activities you want to learn.

There are also different kinds of goals to set. Short term and long term. We set long term goals that are the big picture and then we can set the short term goals up for how to reach the long term. All you need to do is be S.M.A.R.T about your goal. Remember learning that in school?  Be specific. Make it measurable. Make it achievable. Think about what you want the results to be. Make a timeline for your goal.

My goal is still to run a marathon and I have two races I am debating between. However, I am not going to announce anything until I get the fear out of my head of getting injured again.

 

  1. Sometimes we need to slow down.

 

There are days when I am running and everything is clicking. My breathing is great, my legs feel weightless, the weather is perfect and so I kick up the speed until I realize that I sped up too fast too quickly and have to pull myself back to catch my breath. Life can be the same.

Being busy has become a symbol of success in our society. If you are busy you are important, needed, and good at what you do. Or so that is what many think. If you honestly reflect on your schedule do you think you could use a little pause here and there? We all could. If you do not take the time out to relax and slow down you will more than likely burn yourself out.

Take time to do things you enjoy that fill your soul. Read, run, walk, play golf, do whatever it is that refills your energy. Make it a priority to do those things on a regular basis.  

 

  1. Change up the scenery!

 

I have the same lake trail I love to run on every week, but sometimes I just need a change of location. If we run the same trails all the time it no longer becomes a challenge after a while. Different trails means different difficulties!

When we feel as if we are in a rut with life that might mean we just need a change of pace. Go to a different coffee shop, run in a different neighborhood, take your work out of the office and into a different location. It is amazing how the brain becomes creative in different settings.

 

  1. There is always room for improvement.

 

I know that I still have so much to learn with running and I am excited to do so. In life we are always to be learning. There is so much out there! In every career there is always room to grow. Even if you happen to be the top person in your field there is always more to learn. If you feel you have learned everything you can in one area move to another!

 

These are just 5 life lessons I have learned in the last ten years. Hopefully year 26 will be the year of 26.2 miles for me. If not, I will keep on trying!

 

Run. Sweat. Do something to achieve your goal!

 

Until next week my friends. Peace.

Obsession

Don’t focus on the food….oh, okay. I knew there had to be a simple solution.  

Why hadn’t I thought of that??

Now let me back up a few days.

It started innocently. It always does. You log on to Youtube thinking you will watch one video, then a few hours pass and you have gone down the rabbit hole. I was deep in the rabbit hole friends… like hunched over in a weird position on the couch kind of deep. I stumbled upon this video talking about the “easiest diet ever” and the more I thought about it the more annoyed I became.

The gist of this video is explaining the secret of our skinny friends is that they do not obsess about food like other people do. At first I did not think too much about it, but the more I thought about it the more I thought about how much food has consumed us as a society. How it dominates parts of our conversations and thoughts. It did not take me long to realize how often I think about food. It is an embarrassing amount of time. Not only food, but weight and outward appearance. It has become like a moral guideline.

Good foods and bad foods.

Clean foods and dirty foods.

Cleanses.

Paleo.

Keto.

Vegan and Vegetarian.

Can we just pause and think about this? Food has always been at the center of our lives. We celebrate with food and grieve with food. I mean think about it. We have large dinners to celebrate marriages, birthdays, job promotions, etc. When people die or are fighting through an illness people will often bring those who are suffering food. It is a comfort for many and it is a necessity to live. There is no getting around it.

Since around the early 1960s diet culture has really skyrocketed. Diets varying from things like the low fat diet, high protein and low carb diet, to now having this all natural clean eating diet. The talk around dieting has become a little overwhelming.

Almost daily I overhear conversations about weight and guilt associated with food consumed. I see judgements made on other people’s plates in restaurants. I hear people using weight descriptions to describe someone instead of using characteristics of their personality to describe them. I do not need to know whether or not someone is a “big” guy or girl. What does that tell me about them? Absolutely nothing. Tell me what they do for their career, what their hobbies are, what color eyes they have. Those descriptors tell me things. How aesthetically pleasing their body is to your mind does not tell me anything of value.

I hear kids after they scroll through Instagram say things like, “Well I guess I am not eating today” or “Now I feel guilty for having that donut for breakfast” after seeing a food blogger’s post. How are comments like that healthy? To be honest I have said things like that as well. As much as I know better I cannot sit here and lie and say that scrolling through Instagram does not affect how I view myself.

 

It absolutely does.  

 

I know that about myself, so I do not scroll through the pages that make me feel bad about myself.

 

It is not just social media that affects people though. It is not fair to place all the blame on social media. People’s expressions can say more than words or pictures on a post sometimes. In a blog post I wrote a couple months ago I talked about how I lost a lot of weight in college. I could no longer keep doing the things I was doing to my body in order to keep up that weight loss. In recent years I have put that weight back on. Guess what? I am a lot happier where I am now than I was back then. But, when I see people who knew me after that weight loss look at me now I see a look in their eyes that is almost like a look of pity. I do not believe that this is what they are thinking in real life, but when I see their faces I feel guilty for putting the weight back on. That is when the obsessions with food and weight come back into my mind. It is a daily fight in my brain. I know what is healthy and I want to eat like a “normal” person. But it is crazy how easy it is to justify and going back to those extreme behaviors with the diet culture we live in currently.

It might seem like there is no escape when food, weight, and appearance take up more than half of advertisements, social media posts, and personal conversations we hear and see on a daily basis. I have made it my mission to redirect conversations when it turns to these issues. Now, does this mean I think we should only eat chocolate, twinkies, and all the junk food?

No.

We should be taking care of our bodies and fueling it with things that make us function at our best. I do not think we need to obsess about eating only things that society deems “clean”. We need balance, and obsession is not balance. My worth and identity are not equal to my weight. What I choose to eat or not eat does not dictate if I am a good or bad person. I am a daughter of the most high king. I have been baptized into God’s family. Forgiven and redeemed. That is and always will be my identity. Not what I look like or how much I weigh. Here is what I want my diet to consist of: Love for Jesus and love for others. I love our mission statement at Epiphany. “Connecting people to Christ and to one another”. There is nothing more important than this. Sharing the Gospel. So I do not have time anymore to obsess about food when there are so many people I could be chatting about Jesus with. That is a hundred thousand times more important than discussing the food on my plate.

 

Until next week my friends, peace be with you.  

Even If You Are Scared…

Fear is the worst.

Worst of the worst.

Ugh. Heart pumpin, hands shakin, mind racin.

I’m cringing just thinking about it. . .but if I am going to be honest with myself fear has been frequently running in my my mind the past few weeks.

My old car bit the dust, so Phillip and I made the decision to buy a new car. This was the most nerve wracking purchase I personally have ever made. I signed so much paperwork that I felt as if I was actually signing away my soul. As before any large purchase we went over our budget multiple times. More times than necessary really, and knew that we were totally fine to make this purchase. With no fear I signed the paperwork and went home that night with a Ford Escape that I am in love with, named Garrett. (Yes, I name my cars.) A few days later all these fearful thoughts entered my brain. All this anxiety that something would happen and we wouldn’t be able to afford anything anymore.

I am sure I do not need to spell out all these thoughts for you, but it was like my brain was running around saying, “But the sky might fall! The sky might fall!”

 

Anxiety. It is the greatest… or the worst.

 

I picked that example, but it is not the only one. I have taken a break from writing because I am too afraid of what people might think, that they will not like it, that people will say, “She will never succeed in the writing world” or even worse, “She tries too hard to put herself out there.”

Not only writing, but things that have to do with my job. I would love to do certain events with my youth group, but I let fear and anxiety creep in and shut it down.

What if no one shows up?

What if no one relates to the topic I want to cover?   

Other people have done it better so you might as well just give it up now.

This morning in our Wednesday Morning Women’s Bible study we had a devotion that kind of smacked me in the face. Actually one line of the devotion did the smacking. In this devotion there was a line that said, “Do it afraid.”

 

Do. It. Afraid.

 

Well fine. I am here today to call myself out. I am going to do it, even if it is scary. I love writing. It makes me happy. Will I ever go anywhere with it? Who knows. The thing I do know is that I am not going to let fear stop me from writing anymore. This is the first time in weeks that I have not doubted what I am writing.

Do it! Even if whatever you want to do makes you scared. It is only scary for a while. I remember the first time I did a children’s message at the church I work at and I was TERRIFIED. Okay… let’s be honest, for about the first year I would pace my office in the morning going over the message a hundred times and then I would pace outside the sanctuary until it was my time to go up. My hands would be shaking and my heart would race the entire time I was giving the message. Now, I do not have that fear anymore. Do I like doing them? Not every time…mostly because I do not think it is a gift of mine, but hey, with more practice who knows. That is not the point. The point is, as I have done more and more of them I have come to fear them less.

I think the more I write the more confident I will become in it. For right now it is still a bit scary to put my writing out there, but I am going to do it anyway!

So thank you if you are still reading, but now I want you to go do something you are afraid of!

Worthy?

Where are we finding our worth?

 

The number of likes we get on Facebook?

The number of followers we have on Instagram?

The number of views we have on a post?

 

Why are we posting the things we are posting; whether that be pictures, articles, blogs, or statuses? Are we posting that picture because we want people to see a specific side of our life? Are we posting it to make someone else jealous? Are we sharing things because they are enjoyable to us or because we want people to hit the like, share, or follow button?

These thoughts have been flowing through my mind like crazy these past few weeks and I think for most of us the answer to these questions is most likely all of the above. We post because we are enjoying life and want to share whatever that moment is. We post because we want people to think we have it all together. We post because we want followers. We post to share encouragement. We post to share frustration.

Now do not get me wrong… I love Instagram as much as the next twenty something human being and the kind of post really isn’t my problem. It’s the motivation behind the post. When we find ourselves longing for more likes because it makes us feel as if our lives are valuable and worthy, that is the problem.

 

NEWS FLASH: YOU MATTER! YOU ARE VALUABLE!

 

No number of followers or likes makes some other person’s life more valuable or important than your own.

 

To me, I think when we get so focused on the number of likes or followers we have it is a bigger issue of feeling unfulfilled, lonely or unnoticed. We have this desire to be liked by everyone. Social media and technology has connected us in a way that we have never had before. People all across the world can know everything about our lives and follow us on different media outlets. This is both awesome and kind of daunting. On Instagram there are people who have millions of followers. Literally, millions. We want to have the most friends, have the latest styles, have this picture perfect life to show off to people and where does that get us? What does living to make others happy do for us? In most cases it leaves us feeling burnt out and unfulfilled. We are unfulfilled because we are trying to fill the void with things the world tells us will make us happy. Not surprising but, those things do not make us feel satisfied.

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The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10. Let me give you some background information on where Paul was coming from here. Paul has been with these people spreading the gospel of Christ that we are saved by grace through faith and not of good works. When Paul left there were certain people telling these new believers that they still needed to do some works of the law. They were also saying that Paul was watering down the gospel for them because they were gentiles and Paul was not being authentic. Paul was not having any of this. Paul was not spreading the Gospel to get people to like him, for him to be the center of attention, etc. No, he was sharing the good news of Jesus because God wanted him to do it.

Jesus tells us in the Gospel of John that he has come to give us life to the FULL. (John 10:10) The reason worldly things do not fulfill us is because there is something so much greater than those things that does! Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) That is right my friends, Jesus died on the cross and rose again for ALL. Not some. A L L. A little further on Jesus goes on to explain, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they know me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28).

No one can snatch them out of my hand… Jesus thinks your life is important and valuable. His love for you is what is fulfilling. There is no greater love than his.

What a  p o w e r f u l thing that is.

So when we get caught up in moments of people pleasing and not feeling good enough because we only got a few likes on our post, come back to the knowledge that those things are not going to fulfill you. Christ’s love, mercy, and grace for you will. Likes and followers are temporary. Live the full life in Jesus!

To the Bone – My thoughts

This blog is going to be a little different than usual. I want to talk about all the thoughts I had on Netflix’s new movie To The Bone. Before you read any further, if you have not watched the movie and do not want to spoil it for yourself DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT!

You have been warned.

The second thing I want to address is that there might be some material that could potentially be triggering to those who have suffered or are currently suffering from an eating disorder (ED). I am going to try my best not to talk about specific things such as weight or tactics that the patients used in the movie. However, for some individuals, just reading a generic article about EDs can be a trigger. I would suggest not reading on if this is the case for you.

If you have not caught on by some of my other blogs, EDs, body image, and self care are things I am extremely passionate about. There are so many people who suffer. I think that our society as a whole wants to sweep these topics under a rug and pretend that these issues are not a big deal. EDs are a huge deal and this movie brings up the perfect opportunity to talk about them. I will preface this by saying I am not a doctor and my opinions are not facts. I do not expect everyone who reads this article to agree with me. This blog is just my opinion on what the movie got me thinking about.

Let’s get into the movie shall we?

If you do not know or have not heard about this movie it follows a young woman named Ellen, played by Lily Collins, and her journey with anorexia nervosa. Ellen has been in and out of treatment 3 times before and it follows her into a 4th treatment center with a “less than traditional” doctor named Dr. William Beckham played by Keanu Reeves. This movie was written and directed by Marti Noxon. Marti, along with Lily Collins, suffered from an eating disorder in her younger life.

This movie has been a controversial topic of conversation since the trailer came out a few weeks ago. After Netflix released 13 Reasons Why it is no surprise To The Bone was put under a harsh light from the start. No matter how you feel about 13 Reasons Why, the Netflix series got the conversation rolling about suicide. I believe that To The Bone will do the same, but for EDs.

Before we get into the meat of the story I want to say that this movie is just one person’s take on what it was like having an ED. Everyone who suffers from an ED has a different experience. I think people are getting so defensive and critical about this movie partly because it matches some individuals’ experience and it is the opposite of others.

Lets open with the things the movie did well. It was honest. There was no holding back on showing the things an individual will do while they are suffering from an ED. Some people are going to say that it was too triggering and could potentially give someone else tips for their own ED. This may be true, however you cannot help people understand the levels of an ED if you are not willing to go all the way there. There is an element of responsibility when watching something like this. If you feel it might tempt you to dive back into those behaviors then you have to do the right thing for yourself and not watch it. If you really want to watch it, but think it could be too much,  I would suggest not watching it alone. Watch it with a friend, parent, spouse, or someone who can help you through those feelings while you are watching. You can always turn off the movie if those feelings become too much. I have heard viewers say that it exaggerates behaviors. These people might not have ever been around someone with an ED. The movie is pretty accurate with food rituals and things of that sort.

Another thing I love about this movie is that there is a character in treatment who is male! This is the first movie I have seen of this topic that has a male character with a large role. There were different genders, ages, and disorders. Not everyone in the treatment facility had anorexia.

Along with being honest about behaviors, it was honest in showing some of the consequences of having an ED. In the treatment center there is a girl named Megan who is pregnant. She was doing well, gaining weight she needed to keep the baby healthy. While she was struggling with the weight she was gaining, she was focusing on getting healthy for her baby. After she made it through the first trimester the group had a baby shower for her, however, later that evening Megan had a miscarriage and lost the baby. This is not uncommon for those who suffer with long term EDs because of the havoc it has on the body. These are hard things to hear, but I am so glad the movie was not afraid to go there with it.

The last thing I want to talk about that this movie did well was explaining the fact that EDs are not about the food. It is never about the food. It is not about being thin enough. Food is a way for a sufferer to either control something when they feel out of control or a way to numb or distract themselves from feelings they are not ready to deal with. Sometimes it is not that they are not ready to deal with feelings, but that they do not know how to deal with whatever is going on in their life. Food and weight are the symptoms of something much deeper happening with their brain. This comes up during one of the group therapy sessions toward the beginning and I was so happy that this movie addressed this fact, because so many people do not understand this at all.

Now, to move on to the things I thought could use some work.

The treatment center meal times were extremely unrealistic from what I have seen. In the movie the patients have the choice to eat or not eat during meal times. If they eat, they get points that affords them certain privileges and if they do not eat they earn no points. I get what they were trying to go for with the idea that people will not recover until they want to, but this is just not how it happens. From the centers that I have visited people in, eating at meal times is not optional. You have to eat. It did not show much of the actual treatment at all. There was some group discussions shown and one family therapy session, but other than that, not too much.

The movie did not speak to the fact that getting into a treatment center to begin with is extremely difficult. Insurance companies make it all but impossible to get help. Earlier I mention that EDs are not about the food, and the weight of a patient should not matter, but the parameters that the insurance companies put on people to be able to receive treatment are almost all about weight. It is easier for an underweight person to get help from insurance, but as soon as that person gets to an acceptable weight their insurance will stop paying. The problem with this is that food and weight are just the side effects of what is happening in their brain. If you do not take care of the problem going on in their life, you are not going to fix the food issue. Another thing working against patients is the cost of treatment. It is astronomical. Part of that is because of all the different aspects to treatment. A patient will have individual therapy with a psychologist, group therapy more than likely twice a day, daily meetings with nurses, meetings with their doctor, and meetings with a nutritionist/dietician. I hope one day insurance will make changes as to how they evaluate what it means to be recovered, but I do not see that happening anytime soon.

While the movie did show other kinds of EDs, this movie was another example of the extreme side of anorexia. A young white extremely underweight woman is what we have been shown for many years to be the picture of an ED. While this is an accurate description of some sufferers, the majority of eating disorder sufferers are of normal weight or in some cases even above average weight. This “ideal” of what an eating disorder body looks like is dangerous. If we ever want to make it easier for people to receive help, we need to get away from this thinking that individuals only need help when they reach a dangerously low weight. The earlier we can get people treatment the more likely they will fully recover, so this thinking really boggles my mind!

I do wish the movie would have gone into the mental side of the disease more. This is extremely hard for people to grasp who have never suffered or known someone who has suffered. However, I realize it is very difficult to portray the internal conflict of EDs.

The last thing I wish they would have done was provide resources at the end of the movie for people who are suffering, for people who have friends they think are suffering, or for parents. The National Eating Disorders Association has so many great resources at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org or just google NEDA.

Overall, I really thought the movie did a great job with the subject matter. There were a few moments at the end where I was thinking okay this is a little interesting, but not in a good way.  Other than that, I think it was worth the watch. The actors did a great job. I applaud Marti for putting part of her story out in the world. That takes major courage.

Again, however you feel about this movie it opened the door to have real honest conversation about eating disorders. It has given people the opportunity to share their own experiences. Remember while you watch that this is only one person’s story in a sea full of stories and you can only put so much into an hour and a half movie. Also… remember that it is a movie for entertainment, not a documentary for educational purposes.