Root Causes of Disordered Eating: Understanding Lies, Brokenness, and Vulnerability | Jennifer Smith Lane

In this episode:

In this episode of Life Repurposed, Michelle and Jennifer delve into the root causes of disordered eating habits and body dissatisfaction, discussing the emotional and mental health problems that often give rise to eating disorders. Jennifer’s ministry work and use of biblical teachings as a source of emotional and spiritual healing provide hope and inspiration for individuals struggling with disordered eating or looking to transform their lives.

About Jennifer Smith Lane:

Jennifer Smith Lane is the co-founder of the Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance whose mission is to provide education programs to prevent eating disorders. In addition to her non-profit work, she has written an award-winning Bible study birthed out of her own struggle with an eating disorder, to help others on their recovery journey and empower them to find freedom in Christ. At present, Jennifer works as an eating disorder recovery coach with the Kirsten Haglund's Virtual Transitional Living Program for Eating Disorders. However, she enjoys most her role as a mom to her three children.


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Every day, women give in to distorted thinking that leads to disordered eating and body image ideals. Jennifer Smith Lane says that when these root issues are exposed, we become empowered to walk victoriously over food and body image issues and transform our thinking through Scripture and spiritual disciplines.

Jennifer shares her powerful story of overcoming a seven-year struggle with an eating disorder through transforming her thinking and focusing on God's power. This episode emphasizes that eating disorders are not just physical health problems, but also emotional and mental health problems that result from disordered eating habits. They often stem from brokenness, abuse, and vulnerability. Eating disorders promise happiness but enslave people to disordered eating.

The podcast aims to help listeners understand the underlying issues behind these disorders in order to address them in a holistic way. The discussion tackles the issue of eating disorders from a spiritual perspective.

One misconception is that disordered eating and eating disorders are all about body and bikinis. But for some people, there are layers to it. Michelle talks about how dieting became an idol for her, and she associated avoiding food with honoring God. She realized that the things she was doing were just obsessive attempts to win approval.

The podcast also highlights the importance of accepting oneself and embracing differences in having a healthy relationship with food and the world around us. God designed food to be a blessing, but it can become an idol when it is put above God. Following rules as legalism won't save us - Jesus is the one who saves us, and his grace is immeasurable.

Memorable Moments

Reaction to what a medical professional said: "I thought, 'What do you mean it's not going to go away?' I thought that's what we were doing here."— Jennifer [00:07:24 → 00:18:15]

Navigating Eating Disorder Recovery with Faith: "In God's grace, there's no measure. You're enough, just like you are."— Jennifer [00:18:36 → 00:19:33]

Transformed: "Every time I share my story, I do feel a little freer. So it did begin a healing process for me to be able to be vulnerable about it and not experience rejection, abandonment, all those kinds of things that I had always grown up fearing."— Jennifer [00:20:35 → 00:26:24]

The Importance of Embracing Ourselves: "God didn't design food to be assembling a block. He designed it to be a blessing. And so how do we receive that as a blessing from God? And how do we accept ourselves in this earth suit that God's given us and all of ours look different? And God made it that way."— Jennifer [00:31:30 → 00:34:21]

Overcoming Disordered Eating: "Satan's not creative, and he likes to bring back old things that have tripped you up before. And so when that happens, just recognizing that that's just the strategy of the enemy and viewing it that way and praying about it that way and doing the things that I know to do that I've learned how to do."— Jennifer [00:34:42 → 00:36:56]

Eating Disorder Recovery: "If you're struggling with eating and body image issues...there is hope. There's hope for healing, there's hope for freedom, there's hope for rescue."— Jennifer [00:37:23 → 00:38:20]

Resources for Transforming Mind on Body Image and Food

Transformed: Eating and Body Image Renewal God's Way


A free worksheet related to this episode went out to Michelle's mailing list. If you missed it, past worksheets are available forever to Patreon monthly subscribers at You can get a 7-day trial membership to see what resources are in the growing library there. 

(Please note: many books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book.)

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