While this article addresses anorexics with feminine pronouns, the fact remains: Guys fight anorexia, too. So keep that in mind. Also, be willing to help and get help.
Warning Signs of Teen Anorexia
By Stacie Ruth Stoelting
Like usual, Krista, a 16-year-old track star, jogged out of her Iowa farm house. With her long chestnut hair pulled back, she expected a good run. Instead, her mother rushed to her side on the roadside.
What killed the teen? Anorexia.
Her aunt and my aunt are best friends. Her grief-stricken aunt called me immediately and I prayed with her. Krista’s family reels with pain and her high school mourns. Instead of looking forward to summer, they’re planning her funeral. And they are determined not to let Krista’s cause of death go unnoticed. They plan to promote awareness to prevent any more fatalities to the disease.
Yes, Krista is with Jesus. There’s no doubt about it. And she’d want you to know that. (Learn about Jesus and His unstoppable love for you.) But she’d also want you to know about how to help someone like her who has abnormal attitudes about food, exercise, and body image.
Of all psychiatric disorders, anorexia nervosa is the number one killer. It’s not just a baffling thing to trifle with. It weakens the heart and, as in the case with precious Krista, can kill even when it seems like you’re doing better. So get help today.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, anorexia nervosa has four primary symptoms:
- Resistance to maintaining body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height.
- Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat,” even though underweight.
- Disturbance in the experience of body weight or shape, undue influence of weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of low body weight.
- Loss of menstrual periods in girls and women post-puberty.
Are you a loved one or friend of someone in denial about her eating disorder?
Don't be afraid to speak up. You hurt anorexics most by saying nothing.
Scared you’ll hurt her feelings? Well, she’s already hurting deeply. She profoundly needs your love and care. So please, please lovingly intervene. Pray, ask God for His wisdom, and speak the truth in love. Read I Corinthians 13 and ask Jesus to love through you.
Jesus desires us to love people – even when it’s hard. Naturally, denial and auto-defeat can be the easy thing for families and individuals to do. But nothing is too hard for God!
Do you wonder (even just a little) whether you have an eating disorder?
Ask your trustworthy loved ones and your primary physician about it. Do you seek to control food (obsessively restrict eating) yet find it is controlling you? Or are you wrestling with an almost indescribable, unshakeable feeling you can’t get thin enough and yet…the scale reads less and less?
Be willing to receive medical help such as hospitalization, medication, etc. (i.e. Paxil has helped many anorexics to be able to improve. Seek counsel from your physician before trying any medications or therapies.) Accountability is also important. Here are some faith-based, Christian organizations reaching out to you with resources to help you recover:
Maybe you relate: Girls with related eating disorders typically are very sweet, kind, conscientious girls who seek to please parents and yet quietly suffer. So, if you even have the slightest feeling that you might need help, pay attention and get help now.
If you’re wrestling with this, it’s likely because of your hurting heart and people repeatedly letting you down. Great news! Unlike people, God will never disappoint you. Instead, He’ll appoint you!
- Romans 5:5 (NLT) proclaims it: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
- Learn about how to become God’s child.
Let Jesus be your perfection. Seek Him instead of only seeking perfection in yourself. Let Him be perfect for you and do things through you. Jesus loves you as you are and promises to complete a good work in your life as you obey Him out of love – not guilt!
Get medical help, and ask for prayer support from your church family. (You can even get extra prayer by joining my gossip-free prayer group on Facebook: Praying Pals.)
Worried that your parents will be ashamed if you tell them or get help? Hey, it’s nothing compared to their being shattered with grief over your illness or even death…
Krista’s family would want you to remember this: Don’t wait until tomorrow. Turn to Jesus today. Call the doctor. Contact an organization. Get help. Your Maker never makes mistakes; He wants you to want Him more than being thin.
He loves you. Heed His Words: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.” Open your heart to His. How He loves you! Come to Jesus.
CBN Prayer Counselors are available 24/7 to pray with you. Give them a call at (800) 759-0700. You also can email your prayer requests.
Going through a rough time? Join Stacie Ruth’s prayer group at www.prayingpals.org. After Stacie Ruth met Jesus, her life blossomed with true joy and purpose! Life’s blows hurt her, but Jesus heals and strengthens her. Now an author, actress, and recording artist, she laughs at the irony and praises God, who uses unlikely people...like herself. Discover why she's sung/spoken for the President, been pictured in major media (The New York Times and USA Today), written a book at age 15, and keynoted conferences since she was a teenager. Today, she offers a new conference for those hurting from job losses, financial troubles, depression, grief, diseases (like Alzheimer’s), and other heartaches through her national conference, The Heart Hospital. Her new album, Heavenly, recently released nationally. To watch video clips, listen to music, view and download photos for articles, and other features, visit www.brightlightministries.com.
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