Hi, all. I would like to share a piece of my story and how the love of Jesus saved my life.
My name is Alejandra Koenigsberg, I’m 29-year-old. I’m a woman who has suffered from eating disorders. Keep reading my testimony that may resemble yours or someone you know.
If you are a woman/man, adolescent, parent, or anyone who suffers from eating problems—or from any addiction or struggle—keep reading; I pray that you might find freedom in Christ and joy towards food. I pray that you might be free of fear from events like birthdays, restaurants/dates, or even fear of your kitchen, since it is the nature of our Creator to eat to live. Food is to be enjoyed.
And freedom comes from Jesus alone.
My life before meeting Jesus began when I was born with a gift included: “my twin sister”. Even though I didn’t grow up with my mom and dad, I had the opportunity to grow up with my amazing grandparents who gave their lives for me.
To begin with, I did not grow up in an environment of a Christian family, but I believed that there was an Almighty God since I was raised in a Catholic school. Since I did not grow up with my parents in the same house, I was left feeling rejected by everyone, and it was difficult for me to trust people because, I thought, maybe one day they will just leave me. I tried to protect my insecurity from abandonment, and I sought comfort in eating unhealthy food. I gained weight, becoming a bit bigger.
When I reached the beginning of adolescence, I began to have problems with my image. I would compare myself and my body with my friends. My friends and I started talking about diets and shared tricks to lose weight. That’s when I decided to stop eating dinner for a few months… and it worked the way I wanted it to. I lost the weight that I wanted and kept it off for the next few years. However, I did feel restricted from certain foods.
At age 20, my grandmother’s dream was to send my sister and me to New York to study, so we did! I planned to study, work, and return in 2 years. But I fell in love with the city and its lifestyle, all so fast and non-stop. The first few years, I lived with a wonderful Christian aunt who introduced me to Jesus and showed me the love of a God who truly loves us. This is when I came to recognize that I was in need of a Saviour, and I accepted Jesus as that Saviour and Lord of my life.
But, at the same time, I was changing; there came a time that I only thought about myself; I did not speak with my family because I was always “busy” at that moment. I began an exercise routine and began to take extra precaution of my weight, what I ate daily, and my exercise. I started exercising five times a week and didn’t stop to rest on the other two. Eating a “detox” diet, I consider myself a very healthy person, but I went to the extreme and began to reduce the portions. I had so many “food rules”… ie. DO NOT eat carbohydrates two times a week, eat only vegan foods, eat only the lowest calorie foods…I have tried all the diets in the world. I would rather eat without flavour than add creamy dressings, eat only the “healthiest” foods even if I didn’t like them, and track my calories each day. I would track my walking and running, making sure I burned off whatever I ate. The guilt did not let me sleep. I did not eat after 5 p.m. at all, and if I was hungry, I drank water. I didn’t eat salt or genetically modified anything, and only ate organic, gluten-free, etc.
But, In NYC, eating super healthily in a fancy way was normal among my friends and coworkers. I just couldn’t see how obsessed I was. I got to the point of walking for an hour after eating a banana with a tablespoon of peanut butter or a cookie because of the guilt, and my thoughts did not leave me alone. I only thought about food all the time. I reacted to everything with irritability. I consoled myself in my apartment and went from going out with friends to social events to always staying home because of the fear of food. If I did go out, I would bring my own food. It was difficult for me to concentrate; I felt tired all of the time; I did not pay attention to anyone or anything else, because I had precise times for myself to eat.
In my mind, I looked perfect, and that was all that mattered. I was a size 0. I just felt myself. But God had a plan for my life that was so much bigger than staying size 0. Coming to Canada was a new start, but I still had the same struggles, because my identity was my weight. But this time, that voice that was screaming in my head was louder. So, I started doing extra physical activity with a goal of burning 800 calories on the treadmill plus Pilates. Although I didn’t want to exercise and my body was begging me for rest, I forced myself to do so. I spent hours in the gym, often arriving at 9 and leaving at 12. Where was my life? I could not stop.
That was me: unable to focus on anything, not giving my full self to anything I did. Not only was I losing weight, but I was losing everything in my life, knowing the truth but not caring. Without hesitation, I became so thin and fragile that my own muscles were eating me alive. Weighing 74 pounds at 25 years old, everything was so loose that I was able to wear my 6-year-old niece’s clothes. My body began to speak through signs like hair loss, dry skin, and bruising for no reason. I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa.
Exhausted from the life I was leading in which food and my weight were on the throne, I approached God one day and asked for help. I said, God, help me. I really can’t do this anymore. I feel hopeless and sick to be sick. That day at dawn, I entered a tunnel and a deep sleep, and I felt myself screaming in silence. God just breathed life into me.I don’t remember anything else after that.
In the days that followed that encounter, I continued in the battle. Only, this time, I saw myself for who I was in the mirror. I realized that God took off that fake bandage and showed me how vulnerable and sick I was. So that day, with tears in my eyes, I declared, I want to gain weight. I could never before have imagined saying those words. I sought help, and found that my situation was complex, challenging, inexplicable, and not understandable for many.
Today, it is still difficult; I continue to fight this battle every day, though it is becoming less complicated and the truth more clear. I am healthier, have gained needed weight, and am continuing in the pursuit of health and freedom. I know who saved me, who gave everything for me, and that is Jesus, the Son of God. I Have to learn to accept my natural size, which is not defined by BMI. I am who God says I am—and “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”-Psalm 139:14.
I believe anorexia is in the past, and I can stand firm in that. For I am more than my outer appearance. God has amazing plans for each of us—plans so much greater than living to idolize food/size. My identity is as a daughter of God. God is teaching me to stay near Him in any difficult situations, and that when I am weak, He is strong. For, he declares “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” -2 Corinthians I am learning to live with compassion through His Spirit, now just for living life for myself, but for others. I am learning to live free.
Because who the son sets free… is free, indeed.
Dear Lord, I come before you to leave this prayer on Your altar.
Jesus, I ask that, for each person who is suffering from something similar, that You
would renew their minds and that we come to give you glory in everything we do. I pray
that you remove the bandages so that we can see each other and accept who we are,
because you have made us in your likeness, we are your handiwork. My God, I ask you
to give us the victory through your Beloved Son so that we can be a testimony of your