May 22, 2018

As we participate in Mental Health Awareness Month, this week’s topic is nutrition as it relates to mental health. My friend Andrea has courageously written her story just for you. She’s got powerful insights into nutrition, the body, the brain, and the soul through a hard-fought battle with an eating disorder. I hope you’ll take a moment to read Andrea’s invaluable perspective and pass it along to someone who needs it.



Thirteen years ago this month I entered treatment for an eating disorder that was killing me.

When I walked through the treatment doors, it felt like I was admitting myself into my own personal prison. I arrived completely broken. I had no hope for the future. My eating disorder and life choices had created a perilous mountain in my life, and I saw no way out. Step by step, the Lord led me down the mountain and out of its shadow promising me a future filled with hope and plans.

Having the courage to walk through those treatment doors ended up being my only way to freedom. Freedom from the bondage of my eating disorder, freedom from the distortions, freedom from years of depression and anxiety, freedom from the self-sabotaging thoughts, and freedom from my low self-worth.

By walking through those doors and fighting every single day,

I started showing up for my own life and recovery because

I finally realized I was worth it.

Through the treatment process, I began my journey of self-acceptance. I started viewing my body as a beautiful masterpiece that kept me alive and functioning. I noticed and appreciated the features that made me who I am. I loved that my smile was similar to my mom’s smile, and my eye color was a shade lighter than my sister’s eyes but still blue. I liked that my complexion mirrored my dad’s fair skin tone, but I had more freckles. My overall features were a connection to my other family members, yet distinctly my own.

Instead of critiquing myself in front of the mirror, I complimented myself in front of it. I put up post-it notes of affirmations and repeated them daily. When I stood in front of the mirror, I vocalized out loud, “You are important; You are valued; You are worthy; You are more than good enough.” I learned valuable coping skills to help me stay the course when life got hard or I felt overwhelmed. With the help of my treatment team and support system, I was slowly able to break the chains that held me so tightly.

I was put on a nutrition plan to meet my specific needs. I learned the value and purpose of food, which is to fuel the body and ensure it is operating at its optimum level. Through this process, I no longer feared food or viewed it as the enemy. I learned how to enjoy food while giving my body a variety of things to eat.

When I entered treatment, my body was so deprived of food that it literally began shutting down.

The symptoms associated with eating disorders are consequences of malnutrition. Recovery of the brain and other bodily functions requires balanced nutrition because even the smallest amount of deficiencies in diet can alter brain chemistry. With the help of medication, a nutrition plan, moderate exercise, and coping skills, I was slowly able to learn to live again. Over time, the dark cloud of depression and anxiety that had accompanied me for years began to lift.

My message is to offer hope to those who feel stuck, alone, and hopeless. I felt the same way. And now I know there is hope that recovery and freedom from an eating disorder, low self-worth, body image issues, depression, and anxiety is absolutely possible.

My journey didn’t stop when I left treatment -- in many ways, it was just beginning. I trusted that the Lord was weaving threads of black, gold, silver, purple, blue, red, and green into the tapestry of my life. Some days I had the darker threads of emotions, and other days I had the brighter threads. I believed that He was using all of the colors in my life to weave a beautiful masterpiece.

After leaving treatment, I graduated from Belmont University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and then went on to graduate school to get my Masters in Professional Counseling. I spent three years in the counseling field helping clients recover from eating disorders, mental health issues, substance abuse, and addictions. This past year, I stepped away from counseling to pursue my passion of being an actress! I signed with an agency and have had a year full of success and opportunity. The Lord is continuing to add chapters to my story and open many avenues to help others while doing what I love.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,

plans to prosper you and not to harm you.

Plans to give you hope and a future.” {Jeremiah 29:11}


Thank you, Andrea, for sharing your story so beautifully. I join Andrea in hopes that her story brings encouragement to anyone affected by an eating disorder, and understanding the connection between nutrition and mental health.

Be Comforted

Weighting Comforts


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