Monthly Archives: April 2012

Live a little!

This Easter season, we are celebrating Jesus’ life and resurrection. Today in church my pastor (who happens to be Filipino) said something along the lines of, “You Americans don’t know how to celebrate! For your birthday you get cake and pizza and around 8:00 you say it’s time to go home. But we Asians celebrate family differently. We have lots and lots of food… and we drink beer…. and we stay together the whole night celebrating and talking and just being together.” (I’m just quoting him and not going to go into a complex conversation about race or alcohol and all that, though I could if you wanted me to.)

Of course, my mind selfishly retorts, “Yeah but you don’t know how hard it is for some of us to celebrate with food!!”

Then I came home and baked some brownies for my friends. I realize the irony that I have a history of anorexic tendencies, yet baking is stress relieving for me. I love trying out new creations and baking new recipes, though not necessarily eating a lot of them.

In the spirit of celebrating food and trying to break food-related chains, I thought I’d post one of the best cake recipes I’ve ever tried. I made this for a friend’s birthday party and they told me this is one of the top 3 best things I’ve ever baked them. It’s also really sugary and unhealthy… consider yourself warned.

Here’s my baking tip for people who struggle with food-related issues: bake for a group big enough to eat your whole creation. Then you don’t have to worry about being tempted to binge, and you can just have a healthy portion and take in the joy your friends get from your badass cake.

Nutella Gooey Butter Cake

Cake:

1 box Devil’s Food cake mix

1 egg

8 Tbsp butter, melted

Filling:

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup Nutella

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

8 Tbsp butter, melted

4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the cake mix, egg and melted butter. This can be done with just a spoon if you’d like, no electric mixer needed. Pat half of cake mixture into greased 9 x 13 inch cake pan. In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer combine the cream cheese and Nutella until smooth. Add eggs, vanilla and melted butter, then add powdered sugar. Pour over cake layer and spread evenly. Then pour in second half of cake mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. The center should still be gooey, do not overbake!

Recipe taken from www.bakingjunkie.com

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Thoughts on Scripture

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

-Genesis 1:27

… Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked, so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves… and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

-Genesis 3:7-8

They were ashamed of their bodies! I’ve never realized this aspect of the creation story before. This is not something new or unique to people with eating disorders in the 21st century… this was one of the very first struggles that human beings experienced after the fall.

Therefore since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.

-2 Corinthians 4:1-2

For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven – God-made, not hand-made – and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. 

-2 Corinthians 5:1 (Message version)

I love chapters 4 & 5 of 2 Corinthians. And look! Other people struggle because they don’t feel fully at home in their earthly bodies. This experience of not feeling fully “shalom” (or well, or fully at peace) in the fleshly body is not something new. It goes even deeper into the human experience. For me, it’s comforting to know that people have experienced these same feelings about their bodies since the very beginning. I recognize that those feelings haven’t manifested themselves into eating disorders for all people, but I still see a connection. I don’t think that God wants us to have eating disorders, but perhaps He isn’t calling us to be entirely “at home” here either. I don’t think we’ll fully comprehend these things until we get our resurrection bodies and the Kingdom comes completely. And I am so looking forward to that day!! (Jesus, if you’re reading this, come back soon!)

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Tips for helping a friend

I recently came across a great non-profit called The Joy Project. They have many resources for helping people overcome eating disorders and they have posted a great do/don’t list of ways to support a loved one:

Don’t…

  • Blame
  • Threaten
  • Criticize
  • Complain about the size of your own thighs
  • Ask them for diet advice
  • Stare at them while they’re eating
  • Play food police, monitor everything they eat
  • Comment on the size or shape of their body
  • Minimize their feelings
  • Talk about the calorie content in foods
  • Force them to eat everything they’re afraid of all at once. Instead, encourage them to add a few new foods back onto their “safe” list* every week.
  • Force them to eat large amounts of food all at once. Doing so will likely cause them tremendous anxiety which will trigger them into compensating through purging, exercising, abusing laxatives, or skipping their next meals.
  • Punish them for not eating. They don’t eat because they truly believe that they DO deserve to be punished. They’re already punishing themselves. Adding additional punishment only reinforces the negative thoughts they have about themselves.
  • Discuss eating disorders, weight, calories, stressful topics, or health issues at meal times. Keep the focus on enjoyable social interaction.
  • Deny that there is a problem. Denial will result in a relatively small problem getting progressively bigger and more problematic until it is impossible to deny it any longer. It’s better to address it right away.
  • Follow them every time they go into the kitchen. They may start avoiding the kitchen if you keep making it into a big event that requires spectators. Many eating disordered people feel that they are not ALLOWED to eat (regardless of how often they are told to). It is common for them to feel uncomfortable when other people know they are eating.
  • Ask how much they weigh. If they’re too thin, too large, or just generally unhealthy-looking, that’s all you need to know. There is no need to add more focus to the issue of “numbers.” A balanced diet should eventually lead to a balanced weight. Leave numbers out of the conversation.
  • Discuss other people’s weight, eating habits, or appearance.
  • Make judgments about any person based on their physical appearance.
  • Compare them to other famous people who have had eating disorders.
  • Assume that if they’re not seriously underweight, they’re ok. Even a clinically obese person can be malnourished, and anyone can die at any time from electrolyte imbalance. Not only that, but a person can be in serious emotional and psychological pain no matter what size they are.
  • Dismiss their fears about food and weight as “crazy talk.” Many eating disordered thoughts are based on real facts, but are greatly magnified and distorted to the point where they are no longer rational. Instead of just saying “that’s the eating disorder talking,” help them to CONFRONT those thoughts. Encourage them to find facts to dispute their thoughts. Encourage them to question their fears.

*”safe list” – a list of foods, usually with very low calories, that someone deems safe to eat (a safe list may include carrots, egg whites, apples, lettuce, black coffee, gum, cucumbers etc.)

Do…

  • Listen
  • Speak non-judgmentally
  • Encourage them to participate in activities completely unrelated to food issues
  • Encourage them to continue socializing and avoid isolation (not always easy)
  • Give positive feedback about personality traits and unique qualities unrelated to appearance
  • Encourage them to learn about balanced diets (note: NOT “dieting,” as in losing weight)
  • Gently let them know if they look sick, unhealthy, tired, or sad
  • Validate their feelings. Even if you disagree, let them know that they have the right to see things through their own point of view.
  • Eat with them, or eat in front of them and offer to share. Many eating disordered people find it easier to eat with others (don’t be forceful though, this is not always easy for them. Make it a safe situation, not a stressful or confrontational one).
  • Keep plenty of their safe foods in the house
  • Minimize the amount of binge foods in the house, or in plain sight
  • Encourage them to eat a combination of protein, carbohydrates, and fat at every meal
  • Educate yourself on the psychology behind eating disorders
  • Take care of your own emotional needs. Caring for someone with an eating disorder can be extremely stressful. If you neglect your own emotional well-being, there is a good chance you’ll end up lashing out at the eating disordered person, which will cause them to withdraw and you to feel guilty. Don’t be afraid to seek therapy of your own, or to take time out to focus on something other than the eating disorder.
  • Examine your own thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors related to food and body image. You cannot effectively encourage someone to confront their own issues with food if you are very obviously ignoring your own.
  • Let them know if you have noticed a change in their personality or overall energy level. Again, be clear, but non-judgmental.
  • Talk to them about plain, everyday things. Remember that they’re normal human beings who just happen to be incredibly focused on one small aspect of life. Remind them that there is more to who they are than simply food and their weight.
  • Remind them of their strengths and long-term goals (or, encourage them to start thinking about what it is that they want to accomplish in life and what kind of a life they will look back on and feel proud of) Again, be gentle and encouraging, not judgmental.

The original list can be found HERE.

Adios Barbie blog

I was bopping around the internet this morning mining various eating disorder related sites and articles. I came across this blog and wanted to share! As I have many other things to do today (you know, praying, eating breakfast, saving the world etc.), I haven’t been able to explore the site in depth, but so far it looks great. The site doesn’t just focus on body image & eating disorders, but also on issues regarding aging, gender roles, LGBTQ, race & culture, sexuality, and other things. So great!

Or maybe I just like the name: Adios Barbie

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The exciting first post

Hello world of blogging!

To be quite honest, I’m actually not the biggest fan of blogs. I feel like there are too many out there. Information overload, anyone? People just ramble on and on about who knows what with a bunch of unchecked facts and bad grammar. (No offense, I’m sure YOUR blog is not like this.) But enough with the blog bitterness. 

Last weekend I spent a good amount of time listening to the Lord and He (She?) gave me an idea. I don’t plan to share tons of details about my personal life here, but I will tell you a couple things. First, I have actively struggled with eating disorders since I was very young. Second, I love the Lord and believe that He wants to redeem and transform these struggles. Third, I think there are a lot of people out there in the same boat as me, and there aren’t a lot of resources in the midst of all the “pro-eating disorder” sites on the net. 

So my hope (and dare I say, calling) is to share resources, insights, and encouragement to those who are struggling with eating disorders or have loved ones going through this. Stay tuned for more stuff!

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