Alexis was a young lady from the state of Iowa. She grew up in a good home. Some might say that she had a perfect upbringing because she was not subjected to drugs, alcohol or any other harmful influences. Alexis suffered from anorexia for approximately 5 years before she was brought to Reformers Unanimous. The anorexia had taken away all her happiness and hurt those who loved her the most. She told me that she began to study health magazines and compare herself to her two sisters who were both petite. Alexis thought that her two sisters were prettier than her. She thought that if she was as skinny as they were she would have as many friends. If she was thin then she would be more attractive and that she would be loved more by her family. She was definitely wrong. She had a distorted self-image because she was blind and could not see herself as others saw her. She could not clearly see how much her family and friends cared for and loved her. Her addiction became so bad that she went from a healthy 131 pounds to a 98 pound unhealthy individual. At times Alexis would weigh even less. She was hospitalized in an eating disorder unit for approximately one month. She tried several secular treatment programs but felt they were a waste of time. “I did not realize that there was a God who knew me better than I knew myself, and he wanted to enjoy a personal relationship with me.” Alexis found this relationship with Jesus Christ after coming to Reformers Unanimous. Alexis now says that God has changed my whole life completely.
Alexis experienced the effects of having an eating disorder. An individual with an eating disorder feels as if they are trapped in an overweight body. To escape this feeling, she or he may go on radical diets and exercise regimes. Many people with eating disorders fail to recognize the seriousness of their disorder. They do not really see what the mirror tells them. A person with an eating disorder may resist help because they cannot believe the truth others tell them. Remember: maintaining a healthy weight is important; obsessing over every pound is not. Eating disorders usually start in the teens but can begin as early as the age of eight. Though eating disorders occur more often in women, men also suffer from trying to attain the media image of the perfect male body. Alexis’ perception of her body image was drastically inaccurate. When she looked into the mirror she saw a seriously overweight individual when the truth was, she was severely malnourished. We look at these individuals and feel that they are making these gross exaggerations to get attention or looking for some kind of reassurance. But, Alexis truly perceived herself as overweight.
Please join me tomorrow as we will look at the two major types of Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.