Recovery from an eating disorder is complex to define. It looks and feels different to everyone. However, the stamp on my recovery came in July of 2010 as I began to discover my infinite worth in Christ. As a little girl, feelings of shame, embarrassment, and unworthiness consumed my heart. I craved to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. In an attempt to fit in, I sacrificed my core values which left me feeling torn and regretful. The eating disorder was a master manipulator in that it filled my mind with empty promises; “If you lose this much weight you will be pretty.” “If you don’t eat past this amount of calories you will feel good about yourself.” Lies. They were all lies. The truth is, there is no magic number that signifies self-love. Although, the eating disorder will fight till the end to convince you otherwise.
Treatment centers became a revolving door in an attempt to keep me alive; 10? 11? 12? I lost count. I remember asking myself, “Why is it that others are choosing recovery from the eating disorder yet, I continue to be imprisoned by the obsessions and compulsions of Anorexia?” The amount of hopelessness I felt was suffocating at times. In early 2010, I hit the bottom of rock bottoms. I began experiencing something I had never felt before; my body deteriorating. It was screaming for love, for nourishment, for rest. The truth was, I didn’t know how to give it those things. For the first time in my life, I feared for my life.
What happened next is nothing short of … well, God. I remember very clearly getting ready for bed one evening in January when God spoke loud and clear to me. He said, “If you don’t seek help, you will die.” I prayed. I called out to Jesus. He heard me. I firmly believe God guided my footsteps from that day forward. He led me to the Kirsten Haglund Foundation who provided a treatment scholarship where I not only found recovery, but God. I found my worth in Him and in Him alone. Today, almost 8 years later, I can honestly say that I love myself. I appreciate my body. I enjoy nourishing my body with satisfying food. Through recovery, God blessed my husband and me with our son on July 5, 2016. July 5th was the day I said goodbye to the eating disorder and hello to life. Redemption is sweet.
Written By: Kaylin Boni, Survivor
Emily Estes lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her Goldendoodle pup, Miss Adley Mae. Recovery from her own struggle with an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression has led Emily to create community and resources to empower others on the journey. Emily owns Sage Nutrition, LLC where she serves as a Registered Dietitian. Her work revolves around her motto that "food is meant to nourish our bodies, not nurture us."