Saturday 2 April 2016

Eating Disorders at Lent

Chloe talks about her struggles with an eating disorder over the Easter period, and suggests some advice for those suffering from an eating disorder over Lent.

- Chloe Murray

Thank goodness Lent is over!

As a Catholic, I am often surrounded by friends and family who give up something for Lent. Whether it be chocolate, crisps, biscuits or cakes. Since being diagnosed with anorexia, I have always found Lent a difficult time of year. Previously, during a major relapse into anorexia, I was banned from participating in Lent. Since then, I have found it difficult to give up any item of food for Lent, in fear that after 40 days without eating that food, it will become a fear food and I'd struggle to eat it again.

Unlike most people that can't wait until Lent is over so that they can eat whatever they gave up straight away, I feel like anorexia would convince me that if I could go 40 days without it, why stop there? Instead, I have tried giving up other things instead: such as Facebook, playing with my hair, or biting my fingers. But these are all much harder for me, and I very rarely last. This makes me feel weak, and like a failure. I often feel guilty for not giving up something such as chocolate, like my family do, but for someone that doesn't eat a lot of chocolate, this would be very easy to do. 

In my opinion, many people seem to use Lent as an excuse to diet, and I worry that my friends are all going to lose weight and I'm not. As someone that still sticks to a rather small range of foods, giving up something I eat regularly would be difficult as I'd struggle to find a substitute. 

I'm sure many people do, but I wish more people would use Lent as what it truly is - a time to reflect and think about what Jesus sacrificed for us. As opposed to a time to give up chocolate and lose weight, not reflecting upon Jesus any more than usual. Even my non-Catholic friends give up something for Lent, which baffles me, as it isn't in their religion. I think its much better to do something extra during Lent, such as volunteering.

For more information on finding support, click here.

For more information on understanding Eating Disorders, click here.

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