Food, glorious food…

So, today I was out jogging and I came to a realisation… for once in my life I am not excercising because I want to lose weight or because I feel insecure in myself… I’m actually exercising because it makes me feel good… and makes me feel healthier in body, mind and soul!

I can still remember the first time I felt like I had fat legs. Up until this point, I had always been told by my mum that my thighs were “shapely and womanly” and this body positivity had got me through until I was around thirteen years old. I was sitting at a youth group one night, when a boy looked at me and said… “your thighs are pretty enormous aren’t they?!”… this is where the thigh-hate began. That moment has stuck with me ever since, one off-the-cuff comment from an immature teenage boy undid thirteen years of compliments from my mum to help me avoid loathing the dreaded “Trevelyan thigh”.

The picture at the bottom of the blog is me around nine years old, as you can see.. I’m wearing a bikini and I have fat rolls. I can remember even from this age hating myself and hating my body… my friends were pretty much all skinny and I was the token chubby one in the group. You can read about my issues with self-esteem here.

From pretty young, my low self confidence and hatred for my body caused me to develop an unhealthy relationship with food. I developed what I now know was the eating disorder Binge Eating Disorder (read about it in the link). I was never diagnosed by a doctor or anything, in fact B.E.D is commonly left undiagnosed because many people are uninformed about it as a disorder, but looking back I ticked all the boxes. I never thought about the fact I had an eating disorder because I thought that typically eating disorders made you thin, and mine was doing the opposite.

My insecurity and depression created a void in me so deep that I began to feel a compulsion to fill it with food. I would come home after school and slather chocolate spread over slice after slice of toast. I shoved biscuits in my blazer pockets and ran upstairs, I ate whole ‘sharing pouches’ of chocolate in one hit and shovelled tablespoon after tablespoon of sugar on to my cereal every morning, I could not control it. It was an obsession, an addiction. I would often get myself in to a fervent state whilst on a binge, where I was in a daze and afterwards it would feel like I was on a come down from some sort of drug. I was never satisfied. It was like an unquenchable thirst. It even drove me to steal money regularly from my mum’s purse to fund my addiction or buy chewing gum which was the only thing that could stave off my desire for food for a while.

Nobody knew about my habits for a long time – or at least I never expressly told them, I know my mum noticed how rapidly we were getting through jars of nutella. I didn’t understand what I was going through, I thought it was dirty, shameful… I was just greedy and gluttonous. I would often starve myself of food to try and make up for the binge of the previous day but then I would succumb to the desire and binge again once I got home from school.

Eventually, breakthrough came… once I admitted my problem to someone who didn’t judge me and just listened, a weight was lifted. And after a lot of prayer and counselling I began to feel my obsession with food begin to fade away… it wasn’t an instant healing.. it continued over time and a constant renewing of the mind.

I stand before you now totally free from my eating disorder (it still feels weird to call it that!). I have been “clean” for years now, but the shame and stigma has caused me to keep it a secret for too long. I want to stand up and fight this with others who are going through the same thing – so if you are please don’t be in it alone. I will stand with you in prayer and support.

I love food, I always will. I enjoy cooking and baking, in fact I have scoffed almost half an easter egg this evening. But I know now, even if I have the odd binge on junk, I am not under the same power I once was. I am free.

I wish I could tell the little girl in the photo then, what I know now…that she is not less of a woman or less beautiful because she is a little chubbier than her friends. My prayer is that children today will grow up in a world where the hypocrisy of “the perfect body” is not shoved down their throats…where they learn about being healthy physically and mentally rather than learning to strive for a perfectly toned tummy. I have never felt so confident, healthy and happy in myself as I do now because I have accepted who I am & celebrate the way MY body is! Made in the image of my creator.

I’ve also decided to share a picture of me in a bikini last summer on the beach, I hope nobody finds it too immodest! I felt like sharing this photo would overcome a huge barrier for me!

Phew! My last few blogs have been very serious – I will endeavour to post something very lighthearted next!!

Much love.x

me bikinipaddling pool

The most inconvenient time of my life…

In an effort to describe our future nuptials, my mum recently said to me “You and Josh are getting married at the most inconvenient time in your life for all the right reasons.” As I pondered this statement I realised that it was exactly true.This post is not meant to sound pretentious or judgmental to those who decide to take a different path, I believe everyone is free to make their own choices, however I wanted to explain why I have made mine.

Ever since I was a young teenager, I have known that I want to get married. Spending my life with another person and sharing in every season together has always been an exciting prospect for me. As a Christian, I believe that marriage was designed by God, to glorify God. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, they shall become one flesh” Genesis 2:24 – This passage shows that God designed men and women to be in a union together, two becoming one. This doesn’t mean that we can’t be our own person once we are married, or that we don’t have our own mind/disagreements/differences but it means that we make a promise, a covenant, to live out the remainder of our lives as two people on the same path. One life, two people.

Clearly, a big part of marriage is sex. I don’t want people to think that Josh and I are getting married quickly simply because we are desperate to have sex and can’t wait any longer. It’s true, as Christians we believe that sex is to be within a marriage context and that is why when I was around fourteen I made a promise to God that I would not have sex until I am married and also why at the beginning of our relationship, Josh and I decided that we would not have any sexual contact with one another until our wedding night. It feels slightly awkward to talk about this but that is what we decided. It says in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 7:9 “It is better to marry that to burn with lust” and I’m not going to lie and say that this hasn’t been part of the motivation for us getting married, the temptation has been more than we could have anticipated and we are not professing to be in any way perfect. But this is not the main reason behind us getting married, only one strand.

We have spent the last year becoming best friends, falling in love and getting to know each other inside out without needing to get to know each other sexually. I would do anything for Josh and I believe that he would do anything for me. I do not have a doubt in my mind that he is the person that I am meant to spend the rest of my life with and this doesn’t make me feel trapped – actually it feels remarkably freeing! I don’t see us getting married as a ball and chain type scenario, we’re not going to become anti-social, or boring… we want to travel the world and have experiences together and on the way have a tonne of fun. I don’t want to believe what so much of today’s culture tells you; that your fun and exciting life ends with marriage. Marriage is just the start in my eyes!

The most important element of why we have chosen to get married now is because of our love for Jesus. We have said from the beginning that our relationship and future marriage is not just between the two of us, but the three of us. Josh, me and God. Every decision we make, we pray it through, every trial we face, we thank God and ask Him for His help and guidance. We believe that God has brought us together to spend our lives together and that is why we have decided ‘why wait?’. We want to live out our calling from God together starting as soon as we can. It’s that old cliche; ‘When you know, you know’. We know marriage isn’t going to be easy, and we know its not a decision to take lightly but we also know that “If God is for us, who can be against us” Romans 8:31 

So yes, I am getting married at a most inconvenient time. I am still at uni, we have absolutely no money and very little time to plan a wedding.. but we have never been happier in our whole lives. I heard it said once ‘The best place you can be is at the centre of God’s will for your life’ and I thank God that I am in this place.

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“I have found the one whom my soul loves” Song of Solomon 3:4