My emotional journey with food and my body began when I was six. I was at Thanksgiving dinner with my family. We all got up to get seconds and when it was my turn my grandma wouldn't serve me any food. I come from a loving Christian home, but my parents were at a loss with what to do with their chubby child. They approached me about my stretch marks on my tummy when I was nine and proceeded to take me to a nutritionist who told me to eat fewer cookies. I was nine - cookies were my whole world.
At 13 puberty hit me with a wave of anxiety, depression, and misshapen boobs. I coped with these new feelings and body by turning to food, sex, and alcohol. My naturally chubby self-got even chubbier. At fifteen, a friend from youth group’s well-meaning mom dropped off a copy of “Overeaters Anonymous” at my front door, reinforcing the notion that I was simultaneously too much and not enough. Too fat, too loud, too broken, as well as not skinny enough and not Christian enough.
I prayed for God to make me skinny. I read books like “Thin Within” and begged my dad to pay for a weight watchers membership. I thought if I could just be skinny I could be the perfect Christian woman I was meant to be - surely “fearfully and wonderfully made” did not apply to this soft, stretched out body of mine.
At 19 I broke up with my body-shaming boyfriend and decided that this was MY time. I was going to be skinny. I ate 1200 calories a day and worked out with a trainer, losing almost 100 pounds in 6 months. I went back to church and was determined to get it right this time. I got countless compliments on how I looked. I even had a family friend whisper to me, “Can you tell my husband how you lost the weight?” so that he, too, could be as skinny as me. In reality, my anxiety and depression were worse than ever, sending me into a deep hole of shame and binging.
The cycle of shame, weight loss and gain continued until my senior year of college when I spiraled into a nervous breakdown. I immediately sought help for my mental illness but was then left with the brutal reality of my disordered eating.
Fighting the thought of being stuck in this body forever, I read Mark 3:1-6 with my bible study. This is the story of the man with the withered hand who comes to Jesus to be healed. All I could think was, “What happens when Jesus doesn’t heal your withered hand?” That night I started to realize that hating my body wasn't going to change the reality that God had given it to me. I had two choices – to continue to hate my body or to accept it. However, accepting my body meant grieving the perfect Christian woman with the perfect body that I thought I would be. It meant coming to terms with the fact that God thinks I am enough even if no one else ever does.
Katie is a recent transplant to north county, San Diego. She is currently getting her masters in social work at CSU San Marcos. Katie is working though disordered eating and mental illness and desires to use her vulnerability and experiences to help other women feel that they are not alone. Katie enjoys hiking surfing and being with her family.