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A Desire to Lose 5 Pounds Led to a Deadly 15-Year Diet

As a child, Karen Schenk was in a loving and perfect family. She had a lot of friends and was close to her family. However, everything fell apart when she was 11.

That was the year when she was sexually abused. That was the year when her youngest brother passed away. That was the year when her family moved across the country. Everything that she had known up to that point had all crumbled.

She was lost.

Starting a new school was not easy. To make matters worse, Karen was severely bullied as the new kid. Every day, she would go to school and hide during lunch hour. She was beaten up badly every day. Yet, she was terrified to tell her parents as she didn't know what those kids would do if she had snitched on them.

So Karen started telling stories about how wonderful her friends were.

The Perfect Anorexic

For a whole year, Karen was being told that she was fat, ugly, and stupid. By the end of that year, things escalated to a point where she could not hide the truth anymore and her parents found out.

Thankfully, she switched to a new school the following year. That was when she had decided that she would do whatever it took to be popular and "loved".

Karen had a lot of friends in the new school. However, due to the fear that they might find out about her past, she started eating more and gained a little weight.

This change invited a passing remark from a friend, "If you lose five pounds, you will look great!"

Little did he realize, that was all the motivation Karen needed. He gave her the reason to begin to be loved again. So in her mind, the lie took place: I will be loved again if I lose weight.

That five pounds led to another five and another five.

Every five pounds she lost earned her the affirmation that she was craving for.

Anyone with an eating disorder is typically someone who strives - a high achiever, very driven and desires perfection or excellence. That was how Karen was.

When the doctors gave her the diagnosis of "Anorexia," her friends did not think that she looked like one; Karen thought that she had failed. That gave her a new, and scary goal: to be the Perfect Anorexic.

Through extreme exercising, eating a cracker a day and taking laxatives, she finally got to her ideal weight at 82 pounds! This journey included several hospitalizations and a couple of close calls with death.

Truth Versus Lies

It hit the ceiling when Karen turned 21. She was hospitalized for six weeks and doctors did not think she would make it. A therapist said to her, "Karen, you are the only one that can make you well. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and start believing the truth."

Several weeks after that, she was laying alone in the hospital bed. She felt awful. Even though she was finally at her ideal weight, she was tied to the bed. She was a prisoner. They would not let her out of the hospital until she was 100 pounds.

Karen took out a piece of paper and drew a line where she wrote ‘Lies' on one side and ‘Truth' on the other. She wrote pages of things that were irrational and she wrote the truth beside it.

She began to pray to learn to believe the truth. Not only that, she reached out to her family and friends to pray with and for her.

It was then when Karen learned that one thought at a time, she could work her way out of it. She did not need to deal with everything at the same time.

The biblical truth laid a foundation for the eternal truth to take root in her heart and her mind.

It wasn't an instant process but with God, everything is possible.

Today, Karen has a beautiful family and is working with Power to Change Ministries to reach out and help mentor young people who are facing tough situations.

If you need to speak with someone about a difficult situation that you are facing right now, you can go to

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God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.
- James1:12 NLT
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Dear God, sometimes my "testing" season seems so long. Please give me courage to endure until the end. Help me not to bail! You said you would bless me for hanging in there - I will not give up on you or your promises. You are with me and will see me through this trial.