There are several eating disorders people face today. Anorexia is a very serious eating disorder in which people skip meals or significantly reduce their food intake due to strong feelings of one being overweight, unattractive, or other reasons. Bulimia is a similar disorder in which the individual will often binge eat and then later attempt to purge the food from their bodies via vomiting or taking laxatives.
Eating disorders are real, and individuals suffering from them often struggle daily. Any eating disorder (whether it be anorexia or bulimia) is very dangerous to the individual’s health and can have lasting negative consequences, or even lead to premature death.
Eating disorders also affect the families of those suffering, and it can cause much hurt to all involved.
Does the Bible Say Anything About Eating Disorders (Anorexia or Bulimia)?
The Bible does not specifically address the condition of anorexia or bulimia. It does, however indicate that we are to care for our bodies. We do not own our bodies, God does. Therefore, we should glorify Him with our bodies:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The Bible clearly teaches us that God created food for our well-being and nourishment:
And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
God is not concerned with our physical appearance. God is a judge of the heart, not the body, mind, or anything else. He is concerned with our goodness, our decisions, our choices of good or evil.
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
It is important to keep in mind that God can be with you in your struggle, but you may also need the help of your church, a doctor, counselor or other individual with special training to help you overcome your eating disorder. God gave us these people to help us preserve and protect our life. So please do not hesitate to get help immediately if you suffer with an eating disorder. We all have problems and we all need help at some point.
It’s also worth mentioning that people who struggle with eating disorders have very real thoughts which can be hard to overcome. Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that we can conquer challenges through the power of Christ:
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Also, even though the negative or sinful thoughts that come into our minds are very real, we have an obligation to capture those thoughts and make them obedient to Christ:
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
A child molester may have very real thoughts of sexual attraction to children, but just because the thoughts are real and intense, it does not negate the fact that they are sinful. In the same way, people with an eating disorder often have thoughts of being unattractive, being overweight, and so forth. These thoughts must be made captive and obedient to Jesus Christ, who can deliver you from the bondage of sin and eating disorders.
I Am Anorexic or Bulimic and a Christian, How Can I Stop This Condition?
Here are some suggestions of how to overcome this: First, pray to God to help you overcome this disorder. We often can’t overcome sin in our own strength, but rather, we must rely on the strength of God.
Next, try sit down and think of a list of healthy foods you would feel comfortable eating. Try to pick lots of veggies and fruits, and some lean meat also if possible.
Set a goal, and write it down secretly on a piece of paper. Say to yourself something like: “Okay, I will eat 3 times per day.” Make a meal plan out (think about portions, and a good blend of food that will give you the proper nutrition–you can see a food pyramid or nutrition site for more information).
Getting it down on paper is important, because it will help you commit to it. Then just tell yourself, ‘Okay, I have to do this.’ Try to force yourself to just sit down and briefly eat a nutritious meal. Soon, you will get in the habit of eating.
If you think you are overweight, and have mental thoughts telling yourself that, you must push those thoughts out of your head. Make them obedient to Christ. Even memorize some of the scriptures above, and begin to repeat them to yourself when those thoughts enter your mind.
I can personally tell you that I used to be so self conscious about myself. I used to look in the mirror and think I was ugly. I hated my looks. But then I met the woman of my dreams, and we got married. I have never thought those things, because she loves me for who I am, not how I look. And now, I can look back and see that I was blowing my looks out of proportion (majorly). I feel so much happier now, and I do not have those issues anymore.
Pray to God for strength, read the Bible for guidance, make good positive friends and hang around positive family members. Brush off those negative ideas that pop into your head. If you feel down about yourself, look at someone with a deformity or defect, and you will realize you are very blessed (I do this sometimes).
Also, remember that this life is not about “you,” it is about “Christ.” The Bible clearly teaches that we are to “die to self.”
Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
Jesus clearly taught that we must die to self to live for Christ. To die to self means we put away our own desires, and instead seek God’s will for our lives. God does not will that we struggle with any sins, and He wills that we overcome whatever challenges we face.
If you cannot overcome this on your own, then please find appropriate help with a good counselor, doctor, or help group. Sometimes we need help from others or even medical intervention to help us to stay safe.
God loves you, but your heart is what He is concerned about, not your appearance. Do you love God with all of your heart? Have you trusted Christ to save you from your sins?