“Ask a Priest: What If I Struggle With Bulimia and Anorexia?”

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Q: I have a huge problem with food. I am in my 40s, I live alone and still not married. Everybody says I’m a beautiful woman, but I just haven’t found the right man. I have struggled with bulimia and anorexia the last three years and have gone from being underweight to now bingeing where I can eat like a pig some days. I’m still slim but feel this is a huge problem. When I’m alone in my apartment I just want to eat a lot of sweets. Is that a Christian way to enjoy food while you live alone? What would Jesus say? I’m so nervous to be alone and have this problem. I never have friends over also because of COVID. Please help. – M.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: My heart goes out to you.

From what you describe, you need to see a doctor or counselor as soon as possible.

Bulimia and anorexia are potentially life-threatening eating disorders. They require professional help.

Bulimia and anorexia are psychiatric illnesses that center on food and its consumption.

Bulimia is characterized by uncontrolled episodes of overeating, or bingeing. This is followed by purging with methods such as vomiting or misuse of laxatives. Anorexia, or anorexia nervosa, is a form of self-starvation.

Jesus doesn’t want you to do anything to hurt yourself. You are a beloved daughter of God.

So please, reach out to health-care professional right away. And stay close to the Blessed Virgin Mary through the rosary.

Count on my prayers, OK?


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One Comment
  1. Dear Father and M,
    There is a very serious medical problem here, which you address, Father, but there is also an extremely spiritual side of anorexia as well. I am aware of someone who struggles with anorexia and bolemia and it seems as though it is a form of possession, as the person is unable to control herself whatsoever and in fact, has a very strong voice speaking so loud in her ears that she is unable to hear others around her, or even herself (or God) encouraging her to make a different choice. In fact, she feels as though she has no choice whatsoever and I believe that is true. Several priests have commented that it is just a medical condition, but knowing what this person is like when she is NOT listening to the voice, and seeing her go from listening to not, is like experiencing two different people and that voice has the same quality for most people who struggle with anorexia. I wonder if there are any resources that are Catholic that address this issue from the spiritual side? It seems as though a healing spiritually would be required, perhaps an exorcist would have more information about this type of possession. Anyway, the fact is that most women struggle with some form of an eating disorder. It makes sense. What was the first vehicle of sin? A piece of food.
    M, you are in my prayers. I did encourage my friend to begin saying prayers of spiritual protection (Found in a pamphlet of prayers called Spiritual Warfare, you can find it online) – to ask Jesus to place a hedge of protection around you, under you, over you, and seal it with His blood, in Jesus name. Pray that or a simliar protection prayer every time any thought comes into your mind. Also, when a thought comes, you can say the St. Michael the Archangel prayer, or say something like, “Go back to hell where you came from, in the name of Jesus, my Lord and my God!” Another thought, if a priest could give you the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, I believe that it also has a prayer of protection in it? You’d have to ask the priest for sure. Anyway, you are a beautiful daughter of a loving Father and nothing you do will ever change that. You are loved so much!

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