Fighting an eating disorder can sometimes seem like you’re fighting yourself. Luckily, you’re not the only one in the ring.
In a world that advertises a strict standard of perfection, it’s easy to find ways you don’t fit the mold. This fault-finding attitude can have devastating effects on our mental health, leading to negative body image and, if left unchecked, eating disorders.
In her Ensign article “I Thank Thee for This Body,” Starla Awerkamp Butler addresses eating disorders in the context of the gospel. Butler shares the stories of Heidi, Hailey, and Megan—three women who have suffered from eating disorders. Each woman tells of her battles (and subsequent victories) with self-confidence, body image, and self-perception.
While their stories are not necessarily unique, these women offer a new, gospel-oriented tale of recovery. Although many people helped these women a great deal, each story outlines exactly how God stepped in and became the greatest coach of all.
As Megan says, “People have told me to tell myself I am beautiful every day, thinking that will help me through my anorexia. That has never worked for me. I chose something my brain doesn’t automatically dismiss: ‘I thank Thee, Heavenly Father, for giving me this wonderful body.’”
God’s love is universal and unwavering, and he doesn’t leave his children to battle their problems alone. He is a constant and perfect coach, companion, and confidante: his ways never fail. Sometimes, though, he works through other people, including the people closest to those suffering. The article concludes with a list of ways to recognize when you or someone you know has an eating disorder as well as advice about how to lovingly help those closest to you.
The battle for perfection in this life is real. However, sometimes it takes a heavenly coach to see what kind of perfection we should be fighting for.
Read “I Thank Thee for This Body” by Starla Awerkamp Butler to see how strong, gospel-centered women overcame their eating disorders.
—Jessica Palmer, Mormon Insights
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Find more insights
Read “My Battle with Anorexia,” by Katie May Hess and see how another woman has struggled with and overcome an eating disorder.
Watch violinist Lindsey Stirling discuss her eating disorder and how she found the strength to overcome it.
Read “Who Do You Think You Are?” and hear President James E. Faust’s thoughts about self-confidence and love.