Jenni’s story begins when she was in middle school. Like so many of us, she struggled with body image and wanting to lose weight. She always had issues with the way she looked and felt the only way to accept her body was to change it. At that moment, Jenni began restricting food and exercising, a habit that became extreme when her physical activity reached 2-3 hours a day. For five years Jenni continued her disordered behavior and at that point, she was battling anorexia with compulsive exercising.
Body image is our thoughts, perception, and attitude about our physical appearance. How do you see yourself when you look in the mirror? How does what you see make you feel? Body image concerns can form as early as 6 years old with over 40-60% of elementary school girls expressing concerns about their weight. So often, these early age concerns can carry over into adulthood. Practicing new thought patterns can help individuals feel better about who they are and the body they have. A healthy body image is a vital part of mental well-being and eating disorders prevention.
Anorexia nervosa is a serious mental illness that can affect any gender at any age and is characterized by significant weight loss due to a restriction in calories. With anorexia, the body is denied essential vitamins and nutrients needed to function, which results in a slowing of normal processing to conserve energy. As the body begins to slow, serious medical consequences can ensue. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, making it important to understand how it affects the body, both mentally and physically.
Physical activity is important to good health, but when there is a compulsive need to exercise to control weight or shape it can become dangerous. Compulsive exercise often occurs alongside eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Exercise addiction can lead to injury, unsafe weight loss, and malnutrition.
Selah House Offers Freedom
Jenni’s family did not know about her eating disorder and she admits that it was not her choice to get treatment, but today she knows it was the right decision. For many years she kept her eating disorder hidden until one day she let it slip to her doctor that she was starving herself. With her admission, Jenni heard the words she had been dreading, “Get help or you will die.” She had an assessment and it was determined that she needed inpatient care.
For Jenni, Selah House offered a residential level of care close to home, and the Christian principles she desired to be part of her treatment and recovery. When Jenni arrived at Selah House she realized that everyone there was genuinely caring, and they wanted to help her with her recovery and walk into freedom from her eating disorder.
With the spiritual aspect being important to Jenni, she benefited from the Christ-centered treatment at Selah House. Our chaplain, Chris Zile, teaches that we care about the whole being – mind, body, and spirit. We provide clients with the opportunity to attend staff-led chapels and participate in spirituality groups. The healing environment of Selah House offers clients a space to explore and understand the truth of who they are and who God is without feeling pressured or judged. We welcome women from any faith and background, as we are all spiritual beings on a human journey.
As Jenni worked closely with her therapist, Kadee Hunter, and her dietitian, Shelby Duncan, she began to realize and understand her worth. “Kadee and Shelby both told me to give myself grace. I learned that I am worth freedom from my eating disorder. I am worth recovery.”
Today Jenni has had a few setbacks, but she is facing them head on because she now has the tools to help her, “I have learned that I might have a setback, but I just have to keep moving forward.”
Each member of the Selah House team is focused on providing clients with spiritual, emotional, and physical recovery. Our goal is to help our clients understand how much they are worth and to understand that they can live a life of freedom from their eating disorder.
“Selah House was a lifesaver for me. If I had not gone there I would not be alive right now. I am worth a life worth living. I would like to thank every single staff member at Selah for pushing me to see truth, to discover what life can be without an eating disorder. You all have a permanent footprint in my heart.” shares Jenni.
Contact Selah House Today
Selah House offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that contributes to overall healing and recovery. Through specialized therapies, we can give clients the necessary coping skills needed to empower sustainable freedom from their eating disorder. If you or a loved one needs help, Selah House is here for you. Call us today at 765-290-0840 or complete our contact form for more information.