This Is My Story
Hi, I am Eryn. This is part three of a 3-part series telling my story of how I overcame anorexia.
You can view the whole series here.
- My Battle With Anorexia, Part 1 ~ A Disease That Thrives On Secrets
- My Battle With Anorexia, Part 2 ~ Relinquishing My Secret
- My Battle With Anorexia, Part 3 ~ Moving From Fear To Passion
Thank you for letting me share my story with you!
Is There Hope for a “Normal” Life After Anorexia?
Just as anorexia cannot be diagnosed by numbers, neither can the recovery be measured by numbers. Recovery from anorexia cannot be calculated by meals consumed or numbers on a scale. Recovery like this is in the eye of the beholder.
Most anorexics never know if they are actually recovered. They live in the reality that relapse may always be lying just around the corner, triggered by an envious glance, or a judging one.
Instead, recovery is found when a young woman, or man, can wake up one day and say, “I am well”. In my case, each new dawn I can say with full confidence that by the grace of God, I am well.
I did not know what long-term affects my disease would reap upon my body. Most anorexics suffer from weak and brittle bone structure. Some cannot conceive children.
I am fortunate to have no ramifications, or reminders in my body of my former disease. I remember that one of my strongest motivations to heal was the desire in my heart to one day be a mother.
In July of 2011, that dream was realized when I held my precious son, Ezekiel, in my arms for the first time. At the end of May, I will hold my second son with just the same affection and gratitude. With healing comes incredible blessings.
Can Anorexia be Prevented?
There is much blame surrounding a diagnosis of anorexia. This was one reason I was so adamant to fight my battle silently; I did not want any blame to fall upon my parents, not after they had raised us with so much love and grace.
Whether the blame falls on parents, a child, an upbringing or lack there-of, a divorce, or any other circumstance life may throw at someone, everyone seems to ask, “How could this have been prevented?”
Every case of anorexia is unique. In some cases, a present father or a different circle of friends could have lessened the chances of a child developing an eating disorder. However, as a parent I have accepted that no matter what precautions we take, we cannot protect our child from everything. We do all that we can, and then we trust God with what we cannot control.
The Family Dinner Table is One of Our Greatest Defenses
Doing “whatever we can” may manifest itself in many ways. I want to address just one of these. I believe that one of our greatest defenses against anorexia is establishing family dinners.
- The dinner table is a place in which children come for consistency. They are reassured by it, met by parents who anticipate their arrival, and meet them where they are at.
- The dinner table is a safeguard against a private life apart from parents; against loneliness, against unhealthy eating habits, against busyness, and against eating disorders.
- The dinner table creates an oasis, a place where a child comes and embarks on culture; a meal made by hands that love them, prayer which protects them, and conversation which inspires them.
When we let the hectic pace of life steal this time away, we are in essence placing our families and the safety of our children as low priority.
I understand that life gets busy, but if we cannot make family dinner work for the majority of our week nights, we need to readdress what is important in life. Family is an incredible thing, one we often take for granted.
It is consecrated– a gift from God, with which in turn we glorify God. It is an avenue by which we grow. It is a refuge in which we restore. God gave it; let us preserve it, nourish it, and cherish it by coming together at the dinner table.
From Fear to Passion
When I first began to heal, there were certain ways in my mind of approaching food, and each was compartmentalized as an extreme.
- In one box there was anorexia and eating disorders; I had spent far too long inside of that box.
- In another box there were health nuts; those who gave far too much precise thought and time into eating beets and other paraphernalia.
- In another box were those who just didn’t care about food or its implications beyond a satisfying bite to fill their stomach.
I knew I could no longer occupy the box of anorexia. I was unwilling, however, to embrace a life of Bulgur wheat and veggie dogs. I desired to remain in some type of control over my body and health, and so the option of just not caring was also thrown out the window.
For years I would live an unbalanced life, trying to regain some sort of “normalcy” surrounding food, to establish some sort of care-free way of eating.
It would take me a long time until finally I would realize that we must establish for ourselves a personal way to approach food. Each person and each family is unique.
Of course there are over-riding principles and truths about food and nutrition, we all know an apple is a healthier choice than an oreo. I discovered, however, that I would find my “care-free” approach to food and eating in embracing a personal journey of health for my own family.
We’ve spent the past year learning, experimenting, and eating a whole-food diet. This is where I’ve found my home in eating well and appreciating food. You can follow our journey on my blog, From Famine to Foodie, at www.erynlynum.com
My aspirations have changed from my childhood desire to be thin. I now desire to be healthy. I want to able to take my children hiking when they are 3, or 30.
I desire to be used by God in His work to the fullest of my physical ability. I desire to have energy sufficient each day for the tasks at hand of raising two boys, and loving and supporting my husband. In our home we celebrate an abundance of food.
Our family time is often marked by shopping for, cooking, and eating delicious, nourishing foods. We are eating ourselves healthy. It seems ironic, this coming from a woman who used to be so consumed by a fear of food. My greatest fear, however, has turned out to be one of my greatest passions. Life is funny like that.
About Eryn Lynum
Eryn Lynum is the author of the book 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting. She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and four children, where they spend their time hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. She loves to travel and share at conferences, churches, and writers’ groups. But every opportunity she gets, she is out exploring God’s creation with her family, and sharing the journey at www.936Pennies.com