Thursday, February 3, 2011

An Eating Disorder, Full, and a Book For You

Being generous involves more than sharing your time, money, and talents. Sometimes generosity involves sharing your heartache.

Meet Kendal Privette, wife, mother, poet, friend, teacher, and woman who triumphed over anorexia.

In Kendal’s book Full, readers meet the sweet-talking and ever-powerful Ed (Kendal’s name for her Eating Disorder).

At first, the words Ed whisper make sense, and seem reasonable.

Just two pounds.

But as time passes, Ed firmly grips Kendal’s body and mind, and demands full obedience. How is that obedience measured? By Ed’s strongest weapon, the scale.

Documenting her three-year war with anorexia, Kendal uses poems and numbers (an indication of weight) to allow readers a glimpse into her raging battle.

My new love,
a fingertip of ED,
like a grandmother’s
long, bony finger
calling a child
my thoughts are of nothing
and how to keep him

Full is the result of one broken girl scribbling out her struggle for the world to read. Full is a reminder of our search and the search of our sisters, girlfriends, mothers, and daughters to find something to fill that God-shaped hole in our souls. Full is a story of desperation, restoration, and God’s abundant grace.

Now ready for the fun? Kendal is with us today.


Loud cheering.

In order to build a better understanding around anorexia and share about her book, Kendal agreed to answer our questions about this disorder.

And Kendal is giving away a free copy of her book, Full.

More cheering.

How do you get your hot, little hands on a copy? Simple. In my comment section, ask Kendal a question about anorexia, her experience with the disorder, or her decision to write a book, and Kendal will reply to each question. Then on Sunday, February 6th, we will randomly draw one person to receive a free copy of Full.

Kendal shares about anorexia and her book. We become educated, and one lucky reader gets a free book. I love it.


Amy Sullivan said...

I'm up first. I tend to be super private (you wouldn't know from all of this blogging!). How does it feel to have your struggle out in the open for everyone to see?

Amy Sullivan said...

And by the way, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, girl!

kendal said...

Amy - thank you for the awesome post.about my choice to go public....once i started therapy i decided to allow people in and told my bible study ladies what was going on. so i've been "out there" all along. the hardest thing i did was watch my mother read it....

Rachel M. said...

Kendal you are beautiful. I'm glad you've been healed and can help others.

Unpolished Parenting said...

Thanks for opening yourself up and putting yourself out there to help others.

My question: At what point did you realize that you weren't just "watching your weight" anymore and that it was an eating disorder?

lori said...

Kendal, I think it takes so much courage to open yourself up in this way, to become vulnerable to help others. As Amy said, it is a great form of gracious giving. It's something I struggle to do.

My question is, Are there still triggers that tempt you to return to the eating disorder?

kendal said...

unpolished parenting: thanks for the question! i realized i was in over my head at some point after seeing my doctor. i went to see him to prove my husband wrong after he told me i looked terrible and needed to eat. the doctor didn't tell me i was okay, but it was some weeks afterwards that i decided i needed some professional help. i was about 10 months into the disorder at that time.

kendal said...

lori - i gained my weight back in 6 months, but continued in therapy for 3 years after - to deal with triggers. to have support while maintaining. my biggest trigger has been stress. there were many more in the beginning, but stress has hung on. i've can talk myself into eating during stressful times now, so really, no more triggers. I've been mentoring a young lady for four months and was afraid it would trigger me, but the opposite happened. it has made me more determined than ever to stay healthy!

Andrea said...

amy - i'm so glad you're featuring kendal! i love our little, growing writing community!

kendal - i can't even tell you how beautiful i find your words and honesty to be. even this past year, i got into the habit of weighing myself every day. i find that my joy and hopes can rise and fall with the difference of a half pound, 1 lb, 2 lbs. it's obsessive and i know it. how do you find the line between healthy habits and just plain obsession?

Jan said...

"Loud cheering," indeed! Kendal, I hear about how our culture's obsession with physical beauty can start young women down "Ed's" road. Yet you are so gorgeous just as you are. Do you associate your illness with cultural pressure?

Nancy said...

So happy to see both of you here together in this space. I have a dear friend whose daughter has been battling anorexia and OCD for several years, having been hospitalized many times. Her healing seems a long way off. My question is, how can I best encourage her parents?

Jen said...

Yay!! I love how Kendal uses her God-given talents to help with the healing process for so many.

As someone who struggles with the opposite -- food addiction -- do you think the healing "strategies" are similar between the two?

kendal said...

andrea - thank you for your kind words! i believe (not quoting research or anything) that if your mood/happiness/good day depends on a weight, then you're thinking about it too much. and i am chief among sinners when i say that!

kendal said...

jan - thanks for saying gorgeous (i plan to use that picture for as many years as i possibly can!) i don't really think cultural pressures came into play with my eating disorder. this happened at a time in myh life when i was overwhelmed with changes in my life and everything felt out of control. the food and weight i could control and i found some cheap, plastic kind-of happiness there.

kendal said...

nancy - healing for anorexia is a slow and grueling process. i hate to hear that your friend's daughter has been hospitalized so many times. caregivers get so worn down when this drags on and on. tell your friend you're praying for her. find out what times of day are the worst for her - meals, snacks, nights....pray for her during those times. just let her know that you are there for her for the journey and that you don't judge her for her daughter's illness.

kendal said...

jen - all obsessions - ALL - are contradictory to the freedom that God has planned for us. both anorexia and compulsive eating are born in the mind. we must change our minds to change our behaviors. i carry romans 12:1-2 in my mind for the tempting times: In view of God's mercy offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God. this is your spiritual act of worship. do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds. then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.

kendal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amy Sullivan said...

Oh my gosh, these questions are awesome! I have a couple more.

So I called anorexia a disease. . .then I read you wrote disorder. Is there a difference?

Also, if someone wanted to order the book, how would they go about doing that?

And lastly, I linked your name to your blog, but if people missed that while reading, will you leave your blog address too?

kendal said...

amy - i'm not a doctor, nor do i play one on tv, so i don't know the true definition of diease. i call anorexia an illness or disorder. just beacue that's what i've always heard.

the book is available at lulu (the publisher):

and amazon:

and my blog:

Amy Sullivan said...

Ha! Ok, just changed my wording to disorder!

cominghometosun said...

Kendal, Can I just say that I am so humbled by your courage and moved by the art with which you seem able to expose your struggle. you are beautiful, but this is a true extravagant gift. I cannot imagine the cost of going public, sharing your moments of vulnerability, "failure" and healing.

Two questions -
How could someone have reached or helped you in the depth of your disordered thinking - how can we love and reach those in our lives struggling?

And, for those of us who feel like we teeter on the edge of wanting to control and count and win, any advice?

Courtney said...

Wow, Kendal - bravo to you and thank you for sharing! I've been reading your blog for a while now through Soli Deo Gloria, and always find you to be an inspiration. My question is, do you feel like your relationship with God is stronger now, because of what you went through? You mentioned Romans 12:1-2. Is there any other scripture or spiritual discipline that has really helped you?

Abby said...

i scrolled quickly through the questions to try not to repeat...i don't think i am...

my question is about your family's journey going through this alongside of you...

especially your twin! you know, it is so hard to imagine my twin or myself going through something so deep (we have) and this extended...what did this do to carol?

also, anything you'd be willing to say about your husband and kids...(maybe you said some of this already)

we are all learning and growing through is amazing when you break the bread of your life how you become like HIM:)


kendal said...

cominghometosun - well, your first question is a very very tough one. an eating disorder works like an addiction, which people know a little more about. addicts are hard to help and hard to reach. it takes the person realizing that he/she needs help to really start the healing process. it took my husband and my sister saying the hard things to me for me to seek help. so my adivce, be willing to speak up ans say, "you're scaring me" or "you really don't look good." and keep at it.

and your second question is also hard! you're good! ummmm. it's so difficult to know when watching weight is too much. first, make it a matter of prayer. ask god to direct your thoughts and actions and see where it goes. remember that no obsession is from god. he wants your time, energy, heart and love all for him and his glory and worrying about weight isn't part of that.

kendal said...

courtney - YES! every part of me is stronger because of the experience, relationship with god first. my marriage is healthier, my teaching is better, my mothering is better....ALL of me is available.

the scripture on my mirror (still) is psalm 139:14 - i praise you because i am fearfully and wonderfully made. your works are wonderful, i know that full well.

i repeat often, even if i son't believe it that day.

kendal said...

ohhhh. the family. my mother and sisters were so very worried. and my husband so stressed out. the kids were small enough to be left out of the know. i didn't talk with them about it until the book came out in 2009.

the mothers, sisters, brother, husband all made sure i ate every day - every meal, every snack for 6 months. it was quite humbling.

Critty said...

Whooo hooo for Kendal! I just adore your heart sweet Kendal...

You have a beautiful gift of poetry and words...have you always had that gift and did it help in your healing process?

Kim said...

First, Amy, thank you for sharing Kendal with us here. And Kendal, thank you for being so open and honest with all our questions.

You mentioned your mother, Nancy mentioned another mother. What can mothers do (and not do) to help daughters (or their daughters' friends) struggling with eating disorders?

Tiffini said...

Kendal...I am so moved by you and your willingness to share your journey. First - so you could get the help and healing that you needed...Second for you family and Third - letting God use you to help others. You can've been can reach hearts that others can't because they have not experienced.
women in our country so need hearts and voices like yours...

kendal said...

critty - :) thank you for your kind words! i've always loved writing and oh my yes did it ever help with healing. i journaled A LOT during the time, and then this book grew out of that journaling. i didn't write the book as i went along, but about four years after i started therapy.

kendal said...

kim - the mother of all questions - the mother question. i think awareness is key. and the courage to own the problem instead of denying it. watch. watch. watch. ask questions. the earlier this illness is caught, the easier it is to beat.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

Amy, A beautiful review of Kendal's book -- thank you for gracing us with her and your words about her today!

Kendal, I so admire your bravery. This subject, this disease, is very close to my heart. My cousin Ellen died at the age of 29, the result of complications from both diabetes and a long struggle with anorexia. My extended family did not deal well with her illness (the anorexia) -- it was very hush-hush and repressed. I wish now I had been more open with Ellen, more compassionate, more giving. But I simply didn't know how to respond. That's why honest, real books like yours are so important. As with any psychological disorder, there is so much stigma to overcome there.

I guess I don't have a specific question...just lots of rambling. But I do want to say thank you. I love your heart, your courage, your compassion. You rule, girl!

It's Grace said...

Kendal!! I'm so excited for you!!! I love how God is using you to reach others who are suffering. I'm praying that God will see that this book gets in the hands of everyone who needs to read it.

Here's my question. I have an almost 13 year old daughter and have a ministry for middle school age girls and work with the youth at our church..all to say, I am with kids, mostly girls, a lot. Can you give us some warning signs of a girl or boy who may be going through some difficulties like this? Whether they are considering it or in the midst of it? I think the more we can be educated about this, maybe we can save more kids. Not just their lives but save them from the heartache you and so many others have lived through.

Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful heart. I am so excited God is using you in this way. Got get 'em, girl!!


It's Grace said...

Amy, I did get your message about today..but I can't remember if I wrote you back. It's been a blurry week, if that makes any sense. If I forgot to write back, I'm sorry.

Loved today's post, amazing how God redeems, right?


kendal said...

Michelle - thank you.

It's Grace (erin) - warning signs are weight loss. withdrawal from social activities, especially ones that involve eating. playing with food on the plate but not eating it. trips to the bathroom after eating. this is a very, very sneaky illness and it causes people to be very very sneaky. unfortunately, girls and women can lose significant amounts of weight and develop a vast array of tricks before anyone notices enough to say anything.

Jill said...

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey. I know your book will help someone and give them just what they need. Love that God's Word, Romans:12 1-2 has carried you!
How did your disorder affect your loved ones? Did this bring you closer together or further apart?
May peace and joy be yours today!

Sara said...

Amy, thanks for such a great feature!

Kendal, what a beautiful and inspiring journey! I love your faith and your hope and your use of art to express it all. My question is this: Why poetry? What did it express for you that prose couldn't?

kendal said...

jill - my loved ones were very worried, but we are a close-knit family. my extended family supported me and actually heped feed me lunch. my husband got the brunt of the difficulties. he fed me all other meals and snacks, listened to me whine, took my anger, worried....but i will say that our marriage was refined through this. we are stronger now than ever before.

kendal said...

sara - why poetry? because i'm not so strong with prose. the kind of poetry i write comes much easier to me. i actually wrote a novel first. it was terrible!

Danielle said...

Hey Kendal! So...I am a little late...but think it is awesome that you have shared how God has walked you through this!

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