The most flawed relationship in my life is with my daughter. Kristin is twenty-five years old and we have yelled and screamed at each other and gone on fabulous shopping trips to Chicago or L.A. There were scary nights when she was in in high school and I had no idea where she was and terrible nights when I relapsed in my alcoholism and she had no idea who I was. And there was one night when we sat on a bench on the top of The Teo Hotel in Battambang, Cambodia and sang Michael W. Smith’s “Secret Ambition” at the top of our lungs. I have hurt her. She has not spoken to me for months. She has wounded me. I have woken up in the middle of the night with tears streaming down my face as I prayed for her even in my dreams. Our relationship is so flawed. Beautifully flawed.
Last night we got to speak together to a group of mothers and daughters about eating disorders. Below is Kristin’s salvation story. As this awfully flawed mother listened to her beautifully flawed daughter tell her story of almost trying to kill herself by starving away every possible flaw, I worshipped as I got to be a part of another salvation story. The words of Caitlin Crosby’s song, “Flawz” gives a melody to our beautifully flawed salvation story:
Even when I sin I don’t fit in
‘Cause I’ve been burned when I waited my turn
Don’t act my age I don’t want to
Call it a phase call me a taboo
Won’t do as I’m told to believe
I wear my heart on my sleeve
All my flaws to see
You still love me, love me
All my flaws to see
But you still love me

Eating disorders are no joke. It is a serious issue and struggling with one is nothing to be ashamed of – but if you feel that it is something that you might be struggling with, then you can’t be afraid to talk about it and ask for help. You don’t have to get to the point where you are lying on a hospital bed to ask for help. Speak out now – the life that you save could be you own.

My name is Kristin and I have struggled with an eating disorder since I was in high school. I used to think that eating disorders were cool. All of the models and “pretty people” had them. It meant that I could be special, I could stand out from other people, and most importantly, I could be skinny and perfect. THAT’S ALL AN ILLUSION. I developed bulimia and anorexia my freshman year in college. I was at Point Loma Nazarene University – a college in San Diego, CA that is RIGHT on the beach (literally, you can walk out of your dorm room and step onto the sand). Even though I was in one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been, I was miserable. I was sick. I had gotten it into my head that I could not be happy unless I weighed a certain amount. Of course, that amount kept getting lower and lower. That’s how eating disorders work – you tell yourself that you will be “happy” once you reach a certain weight or can wear a certain size – but once you get there, it’s not enough – it’s never enough. You always have to lose more weight, wear an even smaller size – it doesn’t make you happy. In fact, it was quite the opposite for me. I lived on the beach (and I am a total surfer girl at heart – I love the sun, sand, water…), yet all I did was focus on FOOD. Sounds silly, right? It was – but it’s the truth. Even though I was in the most amazing place of my life, I was sick with an eating disorder that kept me from enjoying life. Instead of going to beach bonfires, I stayed in my dorm room and focused on doing enough sit-ups or calculating how many calories I had eaten that day. I know it sounds dramatic but it is SCARY how fast it happened. One day, I was a fun-loving, happy girl who dreamt of being “thinner” and the next, I was throwing my entire life away chasing an illusion. I didn’t go to events because I was afraid to be around food. I caused a lot of harm to my body because when I did “give in” and eat, I made myself throw it up. I also exercised vigorously – to the point where I would almost pass out. I did lose weight. I lost a lot of weight. I looked like the girls that I had coveted on the magazine covers. They looked happy – so I put on a show for others – I “looked” happy. But, there’s no denying – I was miserable and almost everyone could tell.
My mom was my rock through this. I was fortunate enough to have a mom who had opened the communication lines with me early. She knew I was struggling but she also knew that she couldn’t force me to get well – I had to decide that I wanted to be happy again. After a semester of living in what can only be described as “hell,” I moved back home to Colorado to get help. To this day, I am still baffled at just how out of control I got in such a short period of time. I got everything I thought I wanted and what was the outcome – I was miserable, frail, depressed, and had to move away from my dream school to come home to mommy and daddy to get help for a serious illness.
It was not my fault. Eating disorders are common and they are a diseases that we can’t fix on our own. I wish there were things that I had known then that could have kept me from having to go through all of the pain that my anorexia and bulimia caused me. But it did put me in the position that I am in today. I get to tell my story to others like me so that hopefully, they will be able to see past the “glitz and glamour” and realize that starving yourself is NOT an option. It doesn’t last and I can PROMISE you – it doesn’t make you happy.
True happiness finally came when I got help. Slowly, I was able to learn to accept myself. I am not saying that I don’t still struggle – of course there are days when “I feel fat” (especially around that time of the month). There are things about my body that I always wish I could change. BUT I know that everything I have worked so hard for up to this point can be taken away from me in an instant if I don’t continue to work on my recovery. Restricting, bingeing and purging – those are not options for me today. They don’t let me live my life and they don’t make me happy.
I have found happiness in accepting who I am. I am 25 years old – I like to ski, I am married to a wonderful man, I love my mom, I love my dog, and I love fashion. I have been given a gift to know how to adapt fashion trends and clothing to make them look good on people. It is almost like therapy for me. It’s one of the biggest rewards to get to help other women learn that they can look good – not by losing weight, but by learning how to dress for their bodies.  (

If you are feeling like there is no other option other than to lose weight, please talk to someone. Talk to your mom, my mom, me, the national eating disorder hotline, a counselor – anyone. It’s not something you have to go through alone and it’s not a road that you want to go down.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to my story and I hope that you see that there are other ways of loving your body rather than trying to look like the (sick) skinny models on TV and in magazines.

“Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out, you formed me in my mother’s womb.  I thank you, High God — you’re breathtaking!  Body and soul, I am marvelously made!” Psalm 13914