Eating disorders, which can be identified by either an insufficient or an excessive food intake, is experienced by nearly 5 percent of women worldwide. Research shows that more than 90 percent of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 15-25. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating are the three most common eating disorders.
Anorexia is characterized by a fear of becoming overweight. An anorexic woman who is at an average body weight for her height feels compelled to become thinner in order to feel good about herself. She is intensely driven towards her weight goal, and it is manifested in food refusal. To her it is not only about the body image but also about control. Statistics show anorexia often plagues women who have had a history of their lives being out of control. Interestingly, this condition reveals wonderful strengths when it is properly directed by the Lord. To be able to set a goal and stay on task to achieve that goal shows great leadership quality. But until these leadership qualities are redirected in a spiritually healthy manner, these positive character traits will cause negative mental and physical breakdown.
Bulimia also can be characterized by an exaggerated fear of becoming overweight. However, it differs from Anorexia in that the sufferer lacks self control. The Anorexic takes total control, while the Bulimic loses control and then tries to regain it by vomiting -- this is the binging and purging cycle. Statistics have shown that women who struggle with bulimia have a history of stress and addictive behavioral patterns. Another key factor is the "double-life syndrome." The bulimic woman displays herself as healthy to the watching world -- yet secretly resorts to an unhealthy habit. Bulimics are in desperate need of the Lord’s help in bringing about a life of balance.
The anorexic and the bulimic typically come from similar backgrounds. They differentiate in that one takes extreme control (which is unhealthy) and the other finds herself out of control.
There is hope in the Lord if you are a girl or a woman who finds herself in the midst of one of these struggles. Only with God’s help can a woman find true beauty that won’t fade and that will shape and balance her life. It is an inner beauty that will divinely manifest itself outwardly as well.
Understanding Eating Disorders