Learning How to Eat – Guest post by Emily Wierenga

I never wanted to be known as the girl with the eating
disorder.

And now I’ve got a book with chapters and paragraphs
and sentences stating that I am that very girl, the one who starved herself
from the ages of nine until 13. And nine? People ask. Why so young?

But I tell them, I didn’t feel nine. I felt
very, very old.

And sometimes it’s hard to remember (as I put down
words like Hospital and Calories and Mirror), that I am more than that now.
That I have always been more. That we are all more than our reflection.

But you couldn’t have told that to the girl with the
mushroom cut and the big plastic glasses who stared into the long mirror in the
dim-lit hallway while Dad typed away in his office, the door that was always
closed because he was a pastor, and why do churches keep their entrances
locked?

And Mum in the kitchen cooking supper in her apron.

I really don’t think it had much at all to do with
eating, and does it ever? Do we sneak bags of chips or
cookies or bowls of ice cream because we love food? Or because we hate
ourselves?

And I think it’s because as women, as, mothers, we put
ourselves last so often, that we don’t believe we deserve goodness. We feel we don’t deserve beauty or gifts or to sit down and enjoy
a good long meal with a glass of wine because there are children
to be bathed and put to bed, and clothes to be folded and toys to be put away
and, and…

And this is what I saw stretched across my mother’s
face, as she stood weary by the stove in her apron. And she tried to love us
the only way she knew how: by homeschooling us and dishing up heaping plates of
food and sewing us clothes, but all I wanted was for her to hold me and tell me
I was beautiful.

But she’d never had anyone do that for her, not her
mother nor her father nor my father.

We all need someone to be
love, incarnate, so we can put our faith in it.

My husband leans in on the pillows and I ask him to
tell me, just one more time. “But why?” he says, this farm-boy that walked me
through my relapse when I was 23.

“Don’t you know?” I shake my head.

“Tell me again,” I say.

“I love you.” He pulls me close. “I’ve never stopped
loving you,” he says. “And I never will.”

I let him kiss me then.

And I’m learning to stand up for myself this way, to
treat my body with kindness. And I know it has nothing to do with me. I know it has everything to do with me being a product
of God’s genius. His hands molding dust into skin
into breath.

He’s the one who makes me beautiful. So I sit boldly
at the kitchen table in the afternoon light and eat a bowl of ice cream, my
sons beside me, eating theirs, because we need to do this together, this life. This learning to eat, this learning to be gentle with ourselves and
others.

Because lies can’t grow in the light.

And light is love.

***

I’m giving away a hard-cover
copy of my new book today, Mom in the
Mirror: Body Image, Beauty and Life After Pregnancy
, co-authored by Dr.
Dena Cabrera, and foreword by supermodel Emme.

Here’s an excerpt
from the book:

Giving birth produces
life in more than one sense. It’s the baby powder, milky-breathed spirit found
in the softest limbs you’ve ever felt, and it’s the respect a man feels for his
wife as he watches her give up her body for another.

And
it’s the deep-rooted soul satisfying feeling of knowing you were born for more
than the mirror. That you were born to see the face of God in your child, and
to know, you yourself are a miracle.

 I want you to have this book! Tell me ONE thing that you love about
yourself, and you’ll be entered into the draw!

Otherwise, you can order it through the
book’s website, here: www.mominthemirrorbook.com.

 

Emily
Wierenga is a mom to two beautiful boys, wife to a handsome math teacher, and
author of Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating
Disorder (
www.chasingsilhouettes.com) and Mom in the Mirror: Body Image,
Beauty and Life After Pregnancy (
www.mominthemirrorbook.com). To learn more, please visit www.emilywierenga.com.

 

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53 Comments

  1. Diggingmeup said:

    I love my patience when dealing with my children. I love that I’m loving them how I wish one of my parents loved me.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  2. sara sexton said:

    i love this !!

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  3. sara sexton said:

    I love my hair and eyes!!!

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  4. Candice said:

    I love that I can explain difficult concepts in a unique way that allows most people to understand.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  5. Melanie Long said:

    I love that I am able to love and be loved.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  6. Camille Jensen said:

    I love that I have discovered how strong I truly am through my journey to recovery. I can do hard things and I am finally able to believe that.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  7. Jill said:

    I love that through everything with ed including all the medical problems it has given me I van take them and possibly help someone someday with an eating disorder… I love my positivity through my total colectomy to not to give up but to keep eating each meal to beat ed even further into the ground so I can love my kids forever more

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  8. crissy said:

    i love myself as a mother.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  9. Ericka Gasper said:

    I love that I am brave enough to tell my story. It has held such shame for so long, but now other people are being helped because I started speaking my truth. 🙂

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  10. I love all of your comments. Thanks! Emily’s book is truly wonderful. I’m not even a mom, and I got A LOT out of it. (I am better prepared to be a mom one day!) The book is beautifully written, too.
    And one thing I love about me: I love my strong legs that pedal my bike!

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  11. Heather McCleery said:

    i choose to be recovered so i can be a healthy mom

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  12. Heather McCleery said:

    i love my intellect

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  13. Michelle Derryberry said:

    I love that even in the midst of my daily battle with ED, I have that hope and confidence that one say I will be able to look back knowing that I have recovered, because I and my family are without a doubt worth it.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  14. Jenah said:

    I love that I can forgive my “imperfections” because my “imperfect” body gave birth to perfection 8 years ago.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  15. Kristen said:

    I just graduated from pharmacy school as a doctor of pharmacy. I never thought Ed would let me! Greatest feeling in the world to not let it determine my dream. Gives me more motivation to finally recover.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  16. Christi said:

    I love that my body grew and gave birth to a perfect and healthy baby boy who is 2.5 years old now and that my body is doing it again (almost 9 weeks!)

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  17. Sharon Hupp said:

    I love the feeling of starting to recover…I love feeding my body and soul and watching my dreams come true. I love finally when I really concentrate on recovery being.able to feel love and know that I deserve it.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  18. Becky said:

    I love my hair. It is thick and wavy. And I love my eyelashes.

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  19. Amy said:

    I love that i’m beginning recovery! I love that I have an amazing husband and amazing inlaws! So blessed with them!

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  20. Kacie said:

    I love my caring heart 🙂 it only grows as my daughter get bigger!

    May 22, 2013
    Reply
  21. cindy larock said:

    Can I tell you instead what I love about my daughter? I love that she recovered from her eating disorder, married, has a wonderful 2 year old son and though I still sometimes see that look of self doubt in her eyes, I love that she is well, and I pray every day that He helps her to stay that way.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  22. Amy said:

    I love that I fight anorexia everyday…and I am winning! I would love to have this book as I look forward to my own pregnancy and motherhood…

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  23. Jenni Cazzola said:

    I love my husband and children. They are what have kept me fighting through my most recent relapse. I now realize life is more important than being thin. Having energy to spend time with my family is more important than what I look like.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  24. I love this! One thing about me….I will be celebrating going into my third year of ED recovery (Fighting ED EVERY SINGLE DAY) on Memorial Day. I started Memorial Day 2011. Carolyn

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  25. Diggingmeup, I love how you love your children. So beautiful. e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  26. Candice, what a unique trait! Thank you for sharing! e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  27. oh Camille, YES. strength is such a beautiful and valuable trait… i love that you are claiming victory! bless you. e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  28. Ericka, AMEN to your story and to there being NO SHAME in brokenness! Lies can’t grow in the light! Bless you friend.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  29. Crissy, Heather and Michelle? Applauding you on, ladies. You are beautiful. Your sacrificial, giving hearts are just plain radiant. Bless you. e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  30. Kristen? SO proud of you hon. And ED has no power over you that you don’t give it… so keep telling it NO. Keep remembering, you are LOVABLE. You deserve grace and truth and light. Simply because were created for a spiritual purpose. Bless you. e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  31. YES, Sharon! We’re not only feeding our bodies, but our SOULS. Yes!

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  32. oh Amy, amazing family makes ALL of the difference when it comes to recovery, doesn’t it? so very happy for you, that you have this support system. bless you. e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  33. oh Cindy, your love for your daughter is so tender and real. bless you friend. e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  34. Amy, just SO excited for you! Congratulations, friend! e.

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  35. YES Jenni! And your family thinks you’re STUNNING. Keep embracing life, one day, one mouthful, at a time! Cheering you on!

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  36. Deanne Manzella said:

    I love my hair!!!

    May 23, 2013
    Reply
  37. Sara said:

    I love that I’m brave enough to have finally gotten help kicking Ed to the curb so I can focus on my two beautiful kids and take my life back. It was a hard step, but I did it!

    May 24, 2013
    Reply
  38. Liz said:

    I love my undying passion for causes worth fighting for.

    May 24, 2013
    Reply
  39. Katrina said:

    I love that I am ME and that I am learning to accept myself.

    May 27, 2013
    Reply
  40. Rita said:

    I love that even though it hurts sometimes, I finally have the courage to allow myself to feel

    June 6, 2013
    Reply
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