Marie Notcheva's Battle With Bulimia
By Renelle Roberts
The 700 Club
“I was four-years-old and I came running downstairs without my pajama top on and my mother looked at my pot belly and said, ‘That’s disgusting. You’re going on a diet.’” Marie Notcheva recalls this scene from her childhood. “I remember feeling shame. My brother was laughing in the background.”
As a young child, Marie Notcheva was obsessed with her weight. Her mother told her that to be beautiful and desired, she had to be super thin. Her mother began strict diets before Marie even started school.
“I was put on this low carbohydrates diet, I learned to distinguish between fattening and nonfattening and that calories make you fat.”
Marie’s elementary school years were spent counting calories, and working out as a gymnast. She was fit and physically disciplined. By the time she hit high school she was 130lbs; perfectly normal according to her doctor, but not according to her family. She says, “I was really praying that God would make me thinner so that my mother would love me.”
A gymnastics coach set up a weight loss challenge between Marie and another team member.
“By the mid point of tenth grade I was already veering toward an eating disorder, and that sort of pushed me over the edge.”
Before long, diet soda and lettuce were a typical meal for Marie. But she soon discovered a way to eat what she wanted, and still control her weight.
“I wasn’t just starving myself, I was eating then throwing up.”
When Marie entered college, her bulimia got worse.
“I was driven by this morbid fear of gaining weight. Feeling food in my stomach, I associated it with weakness. It was something dirty.”
Marie’s resident advisor knew about her vomiting and sent her to the to the university health center for counseling. There, she was told she had a life-threatening potassium level of two.
“I wanted to kill myself. But I wasn’t seriously considering suicide because I was brought up to believe that if you kill yourself you’ll go to hell. And I kind of knew that I was on my way there anyway, but I felt helpless to change and turn around.”
After graduation, Marie met and married Ivaylo . They went to church together but her new husband had no clue that his bride was bulimic.
Marie says, “I felt like a real hypocrite. I had a huge disconnect between this secret, shameful part of my life, having an eating disorder, and how the gospel could impact that.”
Then, while shopping one day, Marie spotted a new church with a sign promoting a healing room for or with confidential prayer …she went in, figuring it couldn’t hurt.
“As they were praying, I was thinking about Luke chapter 15 with the prodigal son coming home and I was thinking, ‘Wow! Is He really going to let me?’ What God was revealing to me through His Word was that, ‘You have my Spirit in you. You can do what I’ve empowered you to do.’ Which is to obey Him and to walk away from this sinful bulimic behavior.”
After six months, Marie says she was free from bulimia.
“I never relapsed, I’ve never even really thought about it. Sitting here eight years after the fact, it doesn’t seem real that I’m talking about myself.”
Marie is now enjoying life with her busy family and counsels women who struggle with eating disorders. She say “I am living proof of the unending faithfulness of God. He was faithful to hold me up when I fell many times. God can restore anyone who’s willing to turn to Him and to really walk with Him and obey His Word.”
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