Back sliding into an exercise disorder

Last weekend a group that performs music by the Carpenters did a concert in a town near us.  Both my Honorable Husband and I had enjoyed their music in our college days, so we went to the concert.  Indulge me in a trip down memory lane before I get to the point of this blog.

The first song I ever heard by the Carpenters was “Top of the World.”  It is a happy song about someone who is feeling great because they are in love.  I was taking a Radio/TV Production class at the time.  We had an assignment to do a multi media show.  If you are young, you have to imagine that this was before digital anything – no computers, no PowerPoints, no smart phones, no online image searches.  Everything was film, tape or vinyl.  One of the guys in the class synchronized slides of hills and mountains with the Carpenters’ “Top of the World” to illustrate his love for God.  The photography was breath taking.  I have often wondered what happened to that guy.  He was incredibly creative and talented – far ahead of anyone else in our class.

Then Carpenters fans learned that Karen was anorexic.  The damage she did to her organs took its toll, and she died way too young.

If you were reading my blog back in 2008 to 2011, you know that my Darling Daughter struggled with an exercise disorder her senior year of high school and her first two years of college.  In blogs I wrote at the time I credited the BTD with keeping her from doing greater harm to her body.  While she didn’t eat enough, everything she ate was beneficial.

She dealt with the spiritual issues that were at the heart of the disorder.  She made a full recovery. Her periods came back.  She got married.  She got pregnant.  While she was pregnant, something happened that I didn’t know about.  A friend made an innocent comment about the way pregnant women looked.  It was actually meant as a complement in a joking sort of way.  But the enemy of her soul used that comment to suck DD back into an unhealthy way of thinking about her body.

She continued to eat during her pregnancy, because she wanted a healthy baby.  But she was plotting what she would do to get thin again.  After BC was born, she ate lots of beneficial food, because she wanted to nurse him.  But as soon as her doctor released her to exercise, she began working out in the extreme.

We took a family vacation together about six months later.  I recognized symptoms of the disorder and confronted her.  She acknowledged that she had lost way too much weight.  She said she would get it under control.  She would not tell me how much she weighed. We finally agreed that she would email me every day how much her weight was up or down.

For months she was in denial.  It was 4 ounces up, two ounces back – and that only because she knew I was watching.  If she got off schedule, or went out of town, or walked the floor with a teething baby, she had the excuse to lose a pound.  She said she was sorry, and would begin the painfully slow weight gain again.  She was fooling herself, and she thought she was fooling me.  I hadn’t had much control when she was in high school and college.  I had no control of a married young adult.  But I could pray, and I did that continually.

I don’t remember what precipitated the spiritual crisis, but thankfully God got to her heart.  There came a time when she confessed with tears how she had let herself be deceived again.  Once she got serious about gaining weight, she really gained it.  She is back to a normal BMI. She weighs the same as she did when she got married.  Her period has not come back yet, but we are hopeful.

I am more convinced than ever that eating and exercise disorders are spiritual problems, not physical or psychological problems.  I had planned to copy in the text of a blog that helped DD in her recovery.  It has taken me too many words to lay the groundwork, so I will share the other blog in a couple of days.

At the Carpenters concert, the woman who sang Karen’s parts looked nothing like Karen.  But if you closed your eyes, their voices were just the same. It still makes me sad that Karen did not recover.  I am so thankful that God has been patient with DD and has given her another chance.

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