The Chains of Worry: About a Skinny Girl Who Wrote an Eating Disorder Book


The following post is from one of the best writers you can read online, Emily Wierenga. I’m taking off with my boys for the next few days, headed to Alabama! I’m tapping out a bit, and it is beyond an honor to have powerful voices such as Emily’s in this space.

 

Maybe it’s one of the reasons I whisper hallelujah each time I find a boy in my womb growing long and limber, although I know eating disorders are just as real for them, 25 per cent real in fact, and we just don’t realize it…

That men sometimes hide in toilet bowls and candy wrappers and weigh scales, but 75 % of women struggle with disordered eating and I never really wanted to have a girl. I never really liked the color pink, and I still struggle with OCD and I joke that it’s like ADD only different acronyms but when the stress becomes high it’s truly debilitating.

Prayer is the only antidote and if I did have a girl, I fear I’d always be adjusting her pink ribbons. Or purple or whatever I would insist on her wearing, and I’m still thin. Too thin, my husband says, the one who saw me through my anorexic relapse. The one who prayed me through nights of insomnia, and days of only eating supper, the one who gave me the ultimatum on the side of the highway after I tried to drive us into traffic. It was him, or food, he said. He couldn’t do it anymore, and I chose him, and every day now, I choose him.

I have four boys now, two of my own, and I’m trying not to mess them up. I’m trying not to let my OCD or my dislike of cooking or my struggle with portion size affect them or their understanding of value. I’m trying to sit with them at mealtimes, and eat with them and place my hand lovingly on theirs and to remember that food is much simpler than it seems.

I’m 32, and I like a piece or two of dark chocolate just as much as the next person along with a glass of red wine (or two). But I catch myself looking in the mirror too long after I’ve had a shower, or sub-consciously feeling the bony parts of my arms.

I remind myself of my mum, in many ways, who’s re-teaching herself things like balance and moderation after eight years of brain cancer. I have to re-learn things too. I know I’m recovered in the same way that I’m being healed, in the same way that I’m saved even as I’m being perfected. And it’s all grace, they say, but I say it’s all God.

Because that’s what is growing inside of me now. God. All warm and dark and mysterious.

And I’m beginning to wear pink, because I’ve realized it brings out the blush in my cheeks. And I dream about her sometimes. A girl. With her chubby cheeks (yes, I said chubby, even though I still struggle with eating even though I just wrote a book on eating disorders) and her soft voice singing, as she toddles down the hall and her brothers laugh when they see her, laugh and dance with her to the music on the radio.

She’s wearing lots of ribbons. All kinds of colors. They look like freedom.

And I’m starting to believe the only kind of weight we need to fear is worry. It’s like chains, and it’s only in taking that first bite of chocolate or that first yoga class or that first step across that bridge that makes you shout the hallelujah, chains springing free and your skinny self, clapping for all the world to hear.

 
Emily Wierenga is giving away a free copy of her newly released book, today: Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battling an Eating Disorder, with Dr. Gregory Jantz (www.chasingsilhouettes.com). 
 
To WIN, please leave a comment talking about YOUR FAVORITE FOOD.To order a copy of the book, please visit here. You can find Emily at her website where she writes about her love affair with her family and her faith.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. I would love it if you would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom, A Study of Chains in 31 Days. You can follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader. {Thank you so much, by the way, for walking with me.} Are you ready to shirk these chains? 

original image here

amberhaines
About me

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

affa3d6f-b3de-4b9c-a7c7-bb3147f2a77c
Where Healing Begins: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Sarah Jo Burch
November 23, 2015
unnamed
When Home Is Within: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Mandy Mianecki
November 02, 2015
i-6b2SXHf-X2
Dear Seth: A Marriage Letter on Your Sobriety and What it Looks Like to Come Clean
October 27, 2015
unnamed-6
Learning to Bend: A Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Diana Trautwein
September 14, 2015
unnamed-1
What I Knew In My Dying Day: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post by Tara Owens
August 19, 2015
FullSizeRender-3-600x600
Condemnation on the Molehill
June 08, 2015
FullSizeRender-4-600x447
Tools for the Highly Sensitive Mother: An Introduction
April 27, 2015
IMG_1636-600x600
The Uncouth: The Hormonal
May 12, 2014
Smiling-600x450
What Mothers Me
April 01, 2014

79 Comments

r.elliott
Reply October 24, 2012

As always Em...just heartfelt beauty...and I have known that struggle with my girls...being oh so diligent not to model for them the ways of bondage...God’s love and grace did cover...I was honest with them...we had real conversations...no stuffing here...food or feelings. If you ever have that chubby face girl...you will be a beautiful mother indeed...both of you...wearing pink beautifully~xoxo

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    i love that you had real conversations with your children, friend. i think that's the only way. and i know no other way :) bless you.

Brenna
Reply October 24, 2012

So beautiful! Your heart, as always, shines through.

Breanne
Reply October 24, 2012

The tears sprang to my eyes halfway through....I could identify with this. A lot. I'm the mother of two little girls and sometimes the fear of what they face, of what I faced scares me. I want to walk through this journey unafraid and raise them to be confident and beautiful.

Thank-you. For your bravery. And for voicing what so many of us struggle with.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh breanne. thank YOU for helping me not to feel so alone. it's so good to know we're all scared, together. it strangely gives me courage. bless you. e.

emily wierenga
Reply October 24, 2012

oh amber, you are my word-hero, and you made my day letting me post here. have such a wonderful, rejuvenating break with your boys. love you girl.

Holly
Reply October 24, 2012

So much goodness here, Emily. I'm struck most with your honesty about where you are, at this very moment. Even though you've just written a book on eating disorders and things are stirring all over the place for you, you are still being open and honest about your struggles. Nothing encourages me more than to hear that a fellow pilgrim still needs to cling to God, every day, and that in response, God is growing in them, more and more, dark and mysterious and warm. I don't want to hear the stories of how someone has arrived. I want to hear the stories of those who are still asking for directions.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    thank you holly. it's been hard for me to admit that i still struggle, but then i remembered, God's power shines even brighter when we're weak. so may it all be about him, and his grace, and nothing about me. love you friend.

Brenna Kate, Living Unveiled
Reply October 24, 2012

Emily, I've been following your journey, and recommended your book (that I haven't read) to everyone who might benefit from it. And after my own 13+ year battle with disordered eating, and a decade of solid recovery, I can tell you it gets better. I never, ever linger in the mirror or care if I have cellulite, though I occasionally catch myself doing an unconscious bone check. True freedom is possible and available.

And my favorite food? But there's so many! One that comes to mind is buffalo chicken with real blue cheese dressing :)

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh wow brenna. your support is incredible. and wow, 13 years, and then a decade of recovery? friend... this is SUCH encouragement. thank you. thank you.

SimplyDarlene
Reply October 24, 2012

Yikes, that image is so disturbing, isn't it? Well, your words weave an image of beauty that gift us with a God-grande flavor. And that displaces any and all ugly lies.

Miss Amber and Miss Emily, you two shine His light. Thank you.

Blessings.

(please don't put my name in the drawing hat. i already have the book...)

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    isn't it a good image? all credit goes to amber for finding it... love you miss darlene.

Sandra Heska King
Reply October 24, 2012

If we ever stop simply clinging, we're simply lost.

The grandgirl is so very slim, beautiful, but sometimes she'll try to pop out her tummy and show how fat she is. And she always ties her baggy T's with a hair tie so she doesn't look "fat."

(But she'll also show me how "sunken in" her tummy is when she is so very hungry she needs a snack--now! Like BarBQue chips...)

She's 10 now. I'm so cautious of the words I use with her

(And your girl would look beautiful even in camo ribbons.)

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh man... the fact that she ties her baggy Ts with a hair tie so she doesn't look fat... oh, this breaks me friend.

Jen
Reply October 24, 2012

I have a daughter not yet a year old... and I look in her deep blue eyes and hope and pray that she always knows she is beautiful, but more than that, that she knows she is loved.
And, my favourite food is lemon Mediterranean yogurt.. under the brand name Liberty here in Canada. So creamy and smooth and delicious!

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh jen. i love that you look deep into her eyes and pray. that's really the only thing we can do. and i will have to try that yogurt, since i live in canada!! sounds divine. bless you.

Patricia (Pollywog Creek)
Reply October 24, 2012

Oh, Emily {and Amber}, I love you so. To bear your soul deeply, to drop what weighs heavy on your heart that you not drop what weighs well and beautiful on your face. You are a gift and I send love and prayers in your "perfecting" - in all our "perfecting". Thank You, Jesus, for grace, and for the treasure that is Emily.

Matthew Shedd
Reply October 24, 2012

I like turkey & noodles with yeast rolls. I haven't had this meal in probably 2 years, but it reminds me of home. It reminds me of mom, Mama, and grandma Jones cooking without recipes. It reminds me that joy is as simple as sitting with loved ones and sharing a meal.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oooh that sounds delicious. i love how certain dishes carry with them the aroma of loved ones. beautiful, matthew.

Beth
Reply October 24, 2012

I can hear and see the words of healing in your life and story, Emily. It's a story we never tire of hearing. And my favorite food is hard to choose--probably those raspberry chocolate squares from Ghiardelli, but I also love a good latte too. :)

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}
Reply October 24, 2012

they look like freedom indeed. xo

JennieLynn
Reply October 24, 2012

Thank you for this beautiful post. Thank you thank you - in tears at work. My own mother has struggled against anorexia for (at least) a decade now, and watching her pain and struggle has changed me in ways I don't even yet recognize. I love you for facing this torturous pain head on and working toward freedom - I know it's a daily fight but the battle is worth it, for you, for your boys, for your man.

JennieLynn
Reply October 24, 2012

Also, my favorite food is crusty, warm bread :)

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh jennielynn. my heart breaks for you. for all you've watched your mother go through. if you ever want to talk, my email is wierenga.emily@gmail.com. (and i love crusty, warm bread too.)

Jenn
Reply October 24, 2012

Beautiful and profound, as always.

Favorite food: I love a good lasagna.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    i love a good lasagna too :) in fact i think i'll make it for supper tonight. thank you jenn. love to you.

Amy Hunt
Reply October 24, 2012

Friend, I've feared ever having a daughter. Yet, He's working in me, and a big part of me hopes He's preparing me. I'm more ready now than I was eight years ago when I first became a mama, or two years before that when we lost our baby girl in my womb. I'm grateful for how I learn about love from my Boy-Man, and how he teaches me about acceptance and affection.

I stand too long in the mirror, too. And I consider what I've eaten, or what not to eat because of whatever thoughts ravage through my mind. I still struggle. And I think I always will, though I tell myself I shouldn't. He let me stay in this place of struggle; it's a fragile place where I need Him more than anything or anyone.

One of the best things I ever did was to play ice hockey. It taught me about strength and brought out my confidence. I played in the days before hockey became so crazy (we're living it with my son), and I started much later. Still, it was great for me. My grown-up hockey helmet that I wear to shoot pucks with my son has pink rhinestones on it (my son's gift to me) and my stick has "strong girl pink" tape (not the light, soft girly pink, but the bolder raspberry pink). [a little tid-bit about me.] I tell everyone that girls should play hockey and that it's one of the best things for them...and I wonder if I'll ever have that girl and if she'll play.

then, as I was thinking all of this...I had a really crazy thought...a vision of both of us pregnant with girls. Pregnant with grace.

xxx, friend.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh amy. that's not a crazy thought at all. that's pure beauty. "pregnant with grace." LOVE this. i'm not afraid of that at all.

Miranda
Reply October 24, 2012

My favorite food is chicken stir fry with fried rice. I desperately would love this book -- too many people around me obsess about weight and I need the tools to know what to say.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh friend. i desperately want you to have the book. just so you know, sample chapters etc. are at the book's website: www.chasingsilhouettes.com. also, if you ever want to talk, don't be afraid to email me: wierenga.emily@gmail.com. bless you. e.

JoANn
Reply October 24, 2012

Oh girls scare me too. I'm so glad to have three boys, but sometimes I think about hair ribbons and feel like I'm missing out. I'm so proud of you, of what God is doing with you Em. Miss you!
J

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh joann, thank you. and i know. i wonder if i'm missing out too. love you and miss you too. want to come over for tea?

Mattie
Reply October 24, 2012

Thank you for this.

Favorite food: dim sum.

Nacole
Reply October 24, 2012

Em, I love your bravery in sharing that you are still struggling. Wow. I know this is difficult. You are wise to keep it in the open. Always, always, keep it in the open. I have the same thoughts, same struggles with my girls, too. We have discussions about it--when I hear them even say the word "fat", I remind them that is not a word that is necessary in their vocabulary. We also read from the bible about beauty--I need to learn along with them. I have wanted to write about this, too, but it's hard. Very emotional. My heart goes out to the women here in the comments that are struggling, searching. I still struggle, too. I have a lot lately for some reason. But I'm still eating some, so that's wonderful. Love you, Em.
{Oh, my favorite food has always been since a child.... chicken 'n dumplins-- I'm guessing Amber knows exactly what I'm talking about. But now that I'm vegetarian/vegan, my fav veg. food is pad thai.}

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    i'm going to be praying lots for you sweet nacole. i understand what it is to struggle. have grace with your beautiful self, friend. you're an amazingly beautiful person, inside and out. xo

suzy
Reply October 24, 2012

Oh Emily, how I love how you write so honestly, bravely and true to your heart. I can see your little girl too, with all those freedom ribbons in her hair :)
I was anorexic and later bulimic as a teen, relapsing after my first daughter was born when I suffered from PPD, I'm also 32 btw :) and I like my dark chocolate and red wine , so we have some things in common :)
I also had OCD as a teen. Praise God I have been healed by Jesus. Although I know that I must not dwell on food or rituals even to this day, I have to avert myself from "going there". My life is so different now too, and like you it is because of Jesus.
My favourite foods... Mmmm, well you know about the dark chocolate and the red wine, but I'm just going to have to add steak to the list too. Yes I'm a heart attack on a plate kinds girl :)
Love You
xx

Angela
Reply October 24, 2012

Emily, I love how you are still talking about your struggle, in spite of your recent book. I get stuck too often in the "aren't I over this?" conversation in the areas where I've been healed and and am still healing.

I have my own *interesting* relationship with food because I was incapacitated by Crohn's disease for many years and though I LONGED for food, my body seemed to reject it. Digesting anything was a small victory, and for too long of a time the only victory was to be had with bananas, eggs and rice... and even then sometimes the sores in my gut won out and I just couldn't absorb that.

That said, I can eat now!!! And it's so, so hard to choose just one food that I love. But... the thing I never thought I would eat again? Potatoes. Not packed with any nutritional punch, but potato chips and french fries are a little slice of heaven for me right now.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh wow angela. i love this! thank you for sharing a bit about your story, and i'm loving that you can eat again. and that you LOVE food. i need to hang out with people like you. you're good for me :)

Courtney Osborn
Reply October 24, 2012

"She’s wearing lots of ribbons. All kinds of colors. They look like freedom."
For Christ has set us free!

Thankful for your vulnerability and honesty as you walk it out and learn to wrestle the weight of worry. Some of those fears sound a bit too familiar. As always, thankful for your words and encouraged.

The process is a lifetime, I think and one day Jesus will come and we will see Him in glory and with a piercing thud, we will hear the chains fall to the ground and maybe there will be rainbows of color but there will be freedom, eternal freedom. Cannot comprehend.

Praying for you.
Courtney

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh courtney this makes me want to cry. i cannot wait to see Jesus. thank you for this friend. there is FREEDOM in your words.

Elizabeth
Reply October 24, 2012

Em, I can hear your voice when you write. I hear it clear and strong in my imagination.

Keep leaning into Him and let the body of Christ these women who love you and applaud your brave beauty hold you as you keep on the path of wholeness.

After two sons, a daughter for us. And I keep a watchful eye. So far...so far.. this seems to have skipped a generation. Praying God' s grace.
Thanks for what you do tender one. thanks for all you do. xox e

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    elizabeth, you are so good to me. your words always strengthen me. i love your poetic heart. thank you for this. for you.

Bekah
Reply October 24, 2012

oh the honesty of this! its beauty gave me courage. thank you, emily!
as far as my favorite food... i love brownies and pad thai ...

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    i LOVE brownies and pad thai too :) thank you bekah! bless you. e.

Nancy Franson
Reply October 24, 2012

"And I’m starting to believe the only kind of weight we need to fear is worry." Dang, girl. Why couldn't you have said that to me about forty years ago? And, you are so right. Every step away from the worry is a kind of hallelujah.

And favorite food? Definitely guacamole. With a margarita (or two).

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh my goodness. ever since being pregnant with kasher, i've CRAVED guacamole. and i would do margaritas with you any day friend.

Jenn P.
Reply October 24, 2012

I love chocolate!

Mama Zen
Reply October 24, 2012

Thank you for this, Emily. I can't even begin to tell you how much I relate. As for favorite food . . . ice cream!

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh mama zen, i love you. and ice cream is one of my favorites. :)

Ashley @ Draw Near
Reply October 24, 2012

Emily, as always, your vulnerable, wise and tender writing moves me. Your words are like colorful ribbons, and you are bringing freedom with you. I relate to what you said about fearing having girls, and here I am now with three. :) I must say, I do love food. Today, my favorites would be crab with melted butter, a big salad and crusty bread. And chocolate, which almost goes without saying. Ask me another day, and I might say panang curry and spicy green beans. Bless you, Emily, for your faithfulness and courage...you are helping so many break free. Thank you, Emily.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh ashley. you are such an encouragement to me, friend. your words brought tears to my eyes. thank you. xo

Jenny
Reply October 24, 2012

Emily-
Thank you. I am currently in a relapse, and I have no desire to stop at the moment. There is so much chaos in my life at the moment, lately "it" has been my one constant. I have 4 kids, 3 daughters. I never wanted daughters out of fear that something would happen to them. That they would be victimized, they would be drawn into this disordered way of living. Yet, this is my strength right now. Knowing that I can control this one thing. Coffee for breakfast, lunch and a few bites of dinner so that my husband doesn't suspect. My side trips to the mirror. The strength I gain knowing I did it another day. This is such sin, but I need it.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 24, 2012

    oh jenny. i understand this, friend. i do. but i ache for you too. this is exactly the place i was in a few years ago with my husband, only i didn't have children then. and it almost killed me. i fear for you, and for your daughters, who are watching and wondering why mommy can't eat. but i get it. i do. i'm hoping you win my book, friend. please know you can email me anytime: wierenga.emily@gmail.com.

Sarah Bessey
Reply October 24, 2012

Beautiful and profound, as always. Love you so big, Em.

Amanda Adwar
Reply October 24, 2012

Oh Emily, you have such a way with words. Reading your posts truly encourages me in my recovery. I am continually reminded of that choice in choosing my own husband over my eating disorder. I relate with you in so many ways, and look forward to the day when I can be a mom :)

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 25, 2012

    amanda, this is so encouraging. thank you. and i love this: "i am continually reminded of that choice in choosing my own husband over my eating disorder." and i can't wait until you become a mom either :) it will change your world. bless you friend.

Yvonne
Reply October 24, 2012

Binge eating and the obesity which often accompanies it may have severe health consequences.

Nicole W.
Reply October 25, 2012

Thank you for this post and the book. I suffered from anorexia for a few years. I only ate on saturdays when I was home with my parents to keep the illusion
I loved food. I also exercised obsessively. Its been ten years without a relapse but it is a daily struggle. I do love to eat. I love chocolate. Most of all, I love being healthy. Thank you for your bravery and honesty. I pray for your continued success.

Nicole W.
Reply October 25, 2012

Thank you for this post and the book. I suffered from anorexia for a few years. I only ate on saturdays when I was home with my parents to keep the illusion
I loved food. I also exercised obsessively. Its been ten years without a relapse but it is a daily struggle. I do love to eat. I love chocolate. Most of all, I love being healthy. Thank you for your bravery and honesty. I pray for your continued success.

    emily wierenga
    Reply October 25, 2012

    wow nicole. what a testimony. i LOVE hearing that you love to be healthy. i do too. bless you friend.

Kathleen Jaeger
Reply October 25, 2012

Always love your thoughts, Emily, and they apply beyond an ED. They apply to all the ways we seek to fill ourselves outside of God and His love.

Hmmm. Favorite foods...chips & cheese & chocolate

Reagan Toldo
Reply October 25, 2012

Really excellent post of yours and interesting book too. I want to read this book because I am so interested about your book. I like your article very much because its importance. Thanks a lot.

Mrs. C
Reply October 31, 2012

I just found your book, your blog, and this blog this morning.

3 wks. ago, we discovered our daughter is bulimic. We are a Christian family, we do have the Lord's help and help through the body of Christ, in you here in your writing, your sharing, and I'm so very thankful for your honesty.

I'll be honest, I'm scared for my daughter. She says she wants help, & has been taking some active steps to help retrain her brain, but then there are times when I can see by her choices, that she is still in denial about how severe this really is. I promise, I've not been overbearing, she shares when she feels like it. When I approached her, I had already been watching videos from Shaye Boddington, on Youtube, from www.yourbulimiarecovery.com . Her openness, and gentleness helped prepare me to speak with my daughter about what we had discovered, so that I could speak to her in love and not in any condemnation.

What I'm afraid I see happening, is that she may be trading bulimia for anorexia. She is limiting her food intake and increasing her daily coffee amounts. This all started this past summer, and she admitted however, that she had a desire for a long time, to start purging just because she was so afraid of gaining weight. She entertained the idea long before actually giving in. She experienced two very stressful situations back to back, and that is when she said she finally gave in, that it actually started out as a stress reliever in her mind, and then developed into a way for her to binge and then get rid of food so she wouldn't gain weight.

I don't know how we missed the warning signs for so long. I THANK GOD that somehow she was sustained, through a very hot summer, when it's obvious now that she was dehydrating herself by what she was doing. I knew something was wrong, but never would have guessed this. I also am so thankful God allowed her to slip up, allowing us to find out about what she's been dealing with, before it went on any longer.

I just needed a safe place to share my heart. By her choosing, we have not shared with anyone else what we are dealing with, except with our Lord Jesus. I am praying for her mind to be delivered from the lies. And the fear. The fear of gaining weight is tormenting her right now. Please pray for her, I know you understand. I will be ordering your book, I need to know what's going on in her mind and how I can best help her. I believe I already know that answer, & that is trusting God to do His work in her heart. That He can help her to surrender this to Him and His ways.

Thank you for sharing your story. May God bless you dear one!

Rosella
Reply July 19, 2013

No matter if some one searches for his required thing, so he/she wants to be
available that in detail, so that thing is maintained over here.

Steve
Reply October 31, 2013

I am genuinely grateful to the holder of this site who has shared this great piece of writing at at
this time.

Pompei telecharger le film
Reply February 18, 2014

Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
say I truly enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that go over the same subjects?
Thank you so much!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *