This is going to be a series of post. I want to be the voice for those who haven’t found the strength yet to voice what they wish they could say or who maybe haven’t identified what is going on beyond the chaos and confusion of their disorder and pain. I remember being there many years ago, these posts are from my own experiences and from what I have learned from others who I have mentored. I acknowledge that everyone’s experiences and disorders are different but this is what I found to be my truth and know it will help many others out there.
My first “voice” I want to give to your daughter (or son) who is fighting their eating disorder, of which I feel inspired to address, is to mothers and their own dieting goals while your daughter is fighter her battle with recovery.
Personally, even many years later this still strikes a sensitive spot with me and my own mother and I have heard this countless time from young women I mentor, “What do I do when my mom is constantly dieting?”
Parents with children of eating disorders need to realize that food, exercise, and dieting have become an obsession and addiction to their child. It is like a drug to them. If your child was in rehab for alcohol abuse or drugs, would you wave a beer in front of their noses? Would you talk about your getting high and your nights of partying?
You also need to realize there is much pain associated with weight. They are fighting against the world and their old self telling them that they need to be thinner. They are looking to you for support and an example. If you are trying to lose weight it is almost as if you are not “on their team” they feel betrayed in essence and that they are alone in the fight.
From the mother’s perspective I might hear, “What if I really do need to lose weight for my own health?” Of course I’m not against being healthy. My advice is to keep it to yourself. NEVER involve your daughter in the process. Do not tell her how much weight you have lost, don’t tell her your work out goals, just don’t wave that glass of beer in front of her!
Exercise when she is not around, eat rationally, balanced meals that the whole family is also eating, don’t restrict food or calorie count and if you do PLEASE never say it out loud. Numbers and especially weight numbers are VERY triggering to eating disorder patients.
Instead, let’s be an example of loving our bodies the way they are and giving your daughter the support she needs of being in a non-diet atmosphere!
-By Haley Freeman, Author of A Future for Tomorrow: Surviving Anorexia, My Spiritual Journey.