I Am a Recovering Anorexic, and I Love Jesus – Eleanor’s Story

In the process of tackling the subject of mental health and faith, one of the people who popped straight into my head was my friend Eleanor. Eleanor has an amazing story, and I’m in awe of the life she lives of faith and boldness in Christ – but Eleanor’s story involves massive struggles with anorexia and mental health.

We’ve shared Eleanor’s story on the blog before, but with so many new people engaging with these blogs, I asked Eleanor to retell her story as a part of our series around mental health. Her words, below, are beautiful; and I hope that there is something in there to connect with for everyone – regardless of who you are or what you are walking through.

Eleanor has said that during the time in which she struggled with an eating disorder, she searched for another Christian who had gone through the same thing, with no luck – although that is something that would have really helped her. We trust her as a light in this topic, and she is willing to chat about this topic, her story or anything else around faith, eating disorders and mental health with anyone – she is a part of the I Am Project family, and she would be a great person to talk to if this is something that you are struggling with.

She’s invited people to contact her at eleanorannedavies@gmail.com – or you can find her on Instagram @eleanorr_davies.


Over to you, Eleanor!




Having grown up in the church, there are phrases that I heard so often that they somewhat lost their meaning. And having spoken to some of my Christian friends, I’m not alone in that! One such phrase, is “Glorify God with your body.”

Over the past 3-4 years, I’ve suffered with anorexia, which helps to explain why it’s this phrase which has stuck out to me. Just hearing it (or similar ones – another one I heard a lot was 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit”) made me squirm. I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time, but it made me want to cover my ears with my hands and let the floor swallow me up. The feeling was partly one of anger, and partly one of guilt – Why can I not look after my body?  Which soon lead into the all too familiar – Why am I not good enough?

It’s important to know that I haven’t fully escaped this, though I am as recovered as I have ever been. It is a journey, just like my recovery from anorexia. In fact, I think they go hand in hand!

Some of the problem was not knowing what ‘glorifying my body’ meant. In a sentence, glorifying God means that we, as Christians, should think and act, as best we can, in ways which reflect his greatness. Something I’ve tried before is marking a big dot on my hand in the morning, as a reminder to talk to God throughout the day. (Not as an obligation, because any guilt we may feel is a lie from the devil. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!) It’s a chance to just chat to him; to both talk and listen. To create a running dialogue with our creator. Because he always wants to hear our thoughts, and I know I can chat to him just as I would to a friend on the phone. No matter how hard/boring/wonderful my day is, He is listening.

That’s the [slightly] easier bit. The real and ongoing struggle is trying to glorify God with our bodies.


1 – Sex

Today’s society tells us that our bodies are completely under our authority and that it is right to act on our feelings. It sells us the belief that only bodies of a certain shape and size have worth, and simultaneously that our bodies are vessels for our emotions. When you combine both of those false beliefs, it’s no wonder that it’s easy to live a life which is less than what God intends for us.

The verse above (from Corinthians) was written by Paul to the church of Corinth because they were struggling with their faith. The city of Corinth was full of sexual immorality, and Paul addresses this. “’I have the right to do anything’, you say – but not everything is beneficial.” Every time I read this, I become more surprised at how the struggles of the Church 2000 years ago are so similar to ours now! The idea that we deserve total autonomy over our lives is a lie. Although God has given us free spirits so that we can make decisions ourselves, we shouldn’t abuse this. It is God, not us, who knows the best path for our lives. Sexual immorality is an example of abusing our free will. It is natural for us to desire sex and want to explore it, but to honour and glorify God the most (which should be the focus of our lives – but easier said than done!) we should ask God how we can do this, listen to what he is saying by giving time for God to speak when we pray and read the bible, and then worship God by obeying him. God does not do this to punish us, or make the Christian life harder than it already is. He does this because he loves us, unconditionally, and he wants us to live lives which reflect the Good News of our salvation through Christ.


2 – Eating + Drinking

Telling people about my own eating disorder has elicited a range of reactions. The most memorable however, was being asked “How can a Christian have an eating disorder?” Understandably, this hurt, especially as it was from a close family member. At the time, I was so lost and confused that I agreed with them and couldn’t give an answer. Although it was purely said out of shock and grief, it only added to my feelings of worthlessness. Three years on, however, both they and I know full well that Christianity doesn’t mean a person can’t be mentally or physically unwell. For someone to suggest otherwise is ridiculous; the Bible is literally a book about saving and healing the lost and unwell. If we were not broken, we would not need God.

My anger at my own situation is no longer directed towards myself, or God. In the first stages of recovery, there were days where the anger I felt was devastating. It ruined relationships and it lead to harmful thoughts. Now, I am instead deeply sad about how easy it is to believe our culture’s lies about our bodies and worth. There have been numerous times when I have wept over the way that we are lead to think about ourselves, but I know I can take comfort in the fact that God is weeping with me. Our bodies are beautiful because they are created by God. What they look like is irrelevant. They are not ornaments, they are vehicles and vessels for us to spread the word of God, as well as allowing us to dance and run and learn and all the other wonderful things that we nourish them in order to be able to do.

For these reasons, I don’t think God calls us to diet. For me, this is laughable. Being good stewards of our bodies means keeping them healthy, but they are also God’s gifts to us. They should bring us pleasure. Eating and drinking can, and should, be enjoyable! I know how sad it is to intensely fear food, instead of enjoying it, so it goes to show that God creates joy in things that most of us take for granted.

Finally, there’s drinking. Society plays a big part in making you feel ‘an outsider’ for not drinking heavily. Personally, I think drinking alcohol is fine, and can be really enjoyable. However, I have Christian (and non-Christian) friends who choose not to. Getting drunk to the point where you no longer have control over your mind and body is unhealthy – it is damaging to our bodies and often leads to guilt about behaving in a way that does not honour God. Not only that, but drinking too much is a visible manifestation of feeling spiritually dissatisfied. People who don’t know Jesus can never live life to the fullest, which is sad, and often leads to searching for purpose, happiness, and acceptance in things like drinking, dieting and sex. So by choosing where you stand and sticking to it, you are showing your friends that your security is firmly held in Christ, not in worldly things. People notice!


3 – Thinking

Our ability to think freely is God-given, but again, we should treasure this. Our thoughts tend to control our behaviours – so thinking damaging thoughts about ourselves is not Glorifying God. I still struggle with negative thoughts about my body, and I know that most people do. Thoughts like “I’m worthless”, “I’m fat”, “I am undeserving”, “I am disgusting”, are lies which are not from God. When we hear these thoughts, we should know that God is trying to shout over the top of them, but often we choose to not listen to them because it is easier to believe the lies. I want to encourage you to pick up the Bible next time you are feeling angry, disgusted and dissatisfied with your body.

One of my favourite verses which I often repeat over and over is 1 Peter 3:3-4: “Your beauty should come from within you—the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.” Repeating words that God speaks over us makes God’s voice louder than the lies, even though it’s difficult to do when you’re low. But doing it is a victory: you are glorifying God.

The very reason for our existence is to have a relationship with God, because he loves us so much. To spend our lives glorifying Him is to live the best life we can, and the one that God intends for us. Although we are surrounded by lies, take comfort in the fact that we know the true God, and that He is for us, not against us. My prayer for you is that when the lies become unbearable, you can rest in God’s truth – that you are fully accepted, entirely known, and deeply loved.

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