Jennifer Bunderle Shares How She Found Freedom from an Eating Disorder

Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Jennifer Bunderle.

In Jennifer’s life, she find a way to gain control when everything was out of control. However, for her it led to an eating disorder. In today’s episode, Jennifer is going to share how she finally found freedom.

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SHELLEY. Welcome back to the Broken Crayons Still Color podcast! I’m your host, Shelley Hitz and today’s guest is Jennifer Bunderle. Hey, Jennifer.

JENNIFER. Hey! Shelley, how are you?

SHELLEY. I’m doing great. I’m so excited to have you on the show today. In Jennifer’s life she found a way to gain control when everything felt out of control and some of you maybe in that situation right now where you feel everything is out of control.

However, for her, it led to an eating disorder. And today’s episode Jennifer’s going to share how she finally found a freedom, and I know that this is an issue that many many people face. So thank you so much, Jennifer, for your willingness to share your story.

JENNIFER. Thank you, Shelley. I have to be honest this is the first time I’ve really come out and out and share it. So here we go.

SHELLEY. Wow! Wow, I felt privileged and I know that our listeners will be impacted as you share. But just starting out like what did the broken crayons look like in your life?

JENNIFER. Well, you know just like everybody else there probably more than a few broken crayons in my life.


JENNIFER. But today I’m just going to speak specifically about one biggie that’s, that’s you know, it’s a big one, a lifelong eating disorder anorexia. And, it basically it’s related to my self-image, my feelings of self-worth, my feelings of value, and bottom line control, it’s a control issue.

So, fortunately, you have given me the opportunity to reflect on it and as I’m looking at it and I’m looking back, and digging down. I can see that some of these began as a child.


JENNIFER. Growing up like so many others, you know, confused and dysfunctional household. I somehow rather was grasping for some form of control discipline etc. And you know I don’t say that as an excuse but it more like a revelation I’m like ah! wow!

SHELLEY. Yeah, exactly.

JENNIFER. It in taking this time that I’m discovering more about the why and how of it all. So you know, you’ve open up some doors for me girl.

SHELLEY. Well, praise God for that.

JENNIFER. Know, as you know we all great growing up in the outside. Father was a neurosurgeon, mother was a paralegal we all like you know fabulous on the outside but nobody can really see what’s, what’s the inner reality, what’s driving us.

As a typical skinny kid I was slightly hyperactive and was very compliant, good girl. I wasn’t a picky eater but I just really didn’t care much about food it wasn’t a big deal. So I always ate what I was given at least some of it and I had an outrageous sweet tooth so I could always compensate with that. My mother had a huge obsession with weight. Her thing was “now we don’t want to eat too much and get F A T.”

SHELLY. Oh wow.

JENNIFER. She couldn’t say the word, she could only spell it like it was the dirtiest of the dirtier or something I don’t know. But that’s what I was raised with and so she stressed that the utmost important was our physical appearance and how we presented our self to the outside world was really critically important, you know we had an image represent at all times. Okay.

I don’t remember a specific time of age or stage or whenever when I determine that if I stop eating I can control my appearance.


JENNIFER. But I do remember the powerful feeling of control over this basic function, and I was the one who is in charge of with it, nobody else could do this I could do this. And I, it wasn’t attention seeking it wasn’t “look at me now” it was, it was that I could control it and that became obsessive absolutely obsessive. And, it’s, it’s something that I think we all, anyone who has control issues, you struggle with it forever, it’s almost addictive and you just have to, you just have to get in charge of it, so I did have a low point, I had a lowest of the low, you know you have to hit bottom before you come up so you know.

SHELLEY. Yeah, so what was your lowest point?

JENNIFER. Well, I literally stopped eating.


JENNIFER. I just starved myself because I was in charge and I didn’t have to. I had loose teeth, my teeth were loose.


JENNIFER. From that thing, and that was kind of weird and I was like well see I was in charge of that too.


JENNIFER. The whole thing is very odd and no one noticed, no one said anything.

SHELLEY. Really.

JENNIFER. Everybody just assumed that I was fine because I still looked okay, and I mean probably I looked you know immiserated but no one said no teacher said anything, no parent, no one said anything about any of it.

SHELLEY. Wow, how old are you at this point?

JENNIFER. This was between the time I was 16 off and on, the worst of it was between 16 and 18. And it kind of up and down and up and down until almost 25.

SHELLEY. Wow, so was there a specific turning point as well?

JENNIFER. Yes, I exacerbated my lack of eating with an increase in alcohol. So I hit bottom and at this point I was married. We were separated, we had a rough road of patch and it was really dark and a really painful time. So after several months and myriad of dramatic turns of events, my husband and I reconciled, we recommitted to our marriage and our lives to the Lord. I mean we just turned around.


JENNIFER. And, we started to rebuild our life, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, we went back to church and that was, that was the turning point. I’m getting goose bumps just thinking of it.

SHELLEY. I am too! I call them God bumps!

JENNIFER. That’s right! God just grabbed the hold of us and it was, I mean it was really pulling us out of dark, dark, and pulling me out of dark. I easily could have spiraled down and died, like you know I could have starved myself to death.


JENNIFER. Or drunk myself to death or whatever. But we realized that we are part of something larger, I am part of something larger. My life does not exist for me alone, I exist for God and my husband and my family subsequently. A couple of years later we had our first child and you know things progress from there, but could I have done this on my own without Christ absolutely not, absolutely not, no doubt.

Could I have done it without my husband along side of me highly unlikely, highly unlikely. Do I still stuck on with control and eating issues? Yes, I do, that’s the truth, that’s the truth. It is a lifelong challenge and I have to regularly recognize and purposefully give this back to God in prayer. I mean it is what it is.

But without God I know I couldn’t have made it, I just know that, I know. And, I’m giving a torn in the flesh so to speak I have continual reminders of the damage that I did and you know I have some long term health issues and it’s not a why me it’s a, hey you know why not me and I, I can go forth with this and I can assist others with this. The truth is we aren’t really in control.


JENNIFER. Stop being in control.

SHELLEY. Even if we think we are.

JENNIFER. Exactly, would that be nice. Our beliefs and behaviors control us. We need to let go of the illusion that we have complete autonomy and we need to honestly let go and let God. It’s always easy but we need to do that, we need to do that daily the truth today. And I am, some verses that have really hit home with me that really, you know, reality check that 1corinthians 6:19 and 20. And before I was involved with physical activity related to God’s temple.

I really haven’t thought about it until I, until this verse and it’s just it sums it up. And it’s “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God. You’re not your own for you were bought at a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit.” It’s, yeah, I don’t know what else to say you know God says it all right there, it’s true.

SHELLEY. Yeah, and it’s so powerful hearing you say that after you just shared what you shared. So, thank you so much for sharing that and I know there’s a lot of people that can relate or have people in their lives that are in the place where you’ve been. And so do you have any closing advice or encouragement to share?

JENNIFER. You know I really think that we all need to reached out. I did not, I did not, and nobody reached to me either. So we need to remain cognisant of ourselves during this situation or others around us that might be in the situation and really be there, really be there. If this, if this is you and this is your circumstance seek someone, seek someone to trust and just try to open up and by all means make peace with God. Find, seek Him, seek Him because He will literally set you free.

SHELLEY. And I love, I love the beautiful truth you know, the messy truth that it’s a day by day process. You know each day one day at a time, you know I often say one day at a time sometimes one minute at a time.

JENNIFER. And that’s the truth.

SHELLEY. And sometimes we like to sugar coat it, we like to make it look better than it is when we are in recovery from something that has been an addictive behavior in our lives and I’m the same way with the addiction I had with pornography, there are still days that I may slit back but I have more days of freedom than not.

And it’s a day by day continual process this side of heaven, so thank you for your honesty, thank you for sharing and in closing God truly can turn our messes into masterpieces.

JENNIFER. Yes, He can Shelley, you are absolutely right. I, you know didn’t believe it for a long time but by golly, by golly through God’s grace I am His masterpiece.

SHELLEY. Amen. Thank you so much for sharing Jennifer. And I pray that it blesses everyone who listens.

JENNIFER. I do too. Thank you for this opportunity. God be blessed.

SHELLEY. Alright. Bye!

JENNIFER. Thank you.

SHELLEY. We’ll see you guys next time.

JENNIFER. Alright, catch you all.

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