Notes From An Eating Disorder Survivor
When I gave birth to a daughter, I was terrified. At twenty-three, I was still a girl myself, struggling with my own issues – an eating disorder, insecurities, and identity issues. If I struggled with my own body issues, how was I going to raise a girl with a healthy self-image?
Her birth forced me to face the underlying issues of the eating disorder. I didn’t want her to know the hell I lived beginning at fourteen when I became anorexic, then bulimic. I wanted her to have a life free of bondage, free of the obsession with weight and food. I wanted her to be healthy,something I’ve diligently pursued as a lifetime principle over the last twenty-three years.
As I watched my daughter graduate from college this spring with confidence and a healthy body image, I acknowledged six principles that contributed to breaking the cycle of disordered eating.
- Using the words “healthy” or “unhealthy” and eliminating the word “fat.” Since she was a toddler, I used these words to guide food choices and to help her understand the importance of balanced eating and body image. The first time she used the word “fat” she was in middle school. We had a healthy discussion about body image and I don’t remember the word “fat”being used by her again.
- Complimenting her character and not physical characteristics. I made a conscious effort to complement my daughter on character and behavior and not physical appearance. I tried to avoid comments, positive or negative, referring to her weight. A comment I received as a sixth grader sent me into a tailspin of losing weight. I was an 88-pound skeleton by eighth grade.
- Being conscious of comments about my physical appearance in front of her. When my daughter was young, I worked hard not to let her know my insecurities or pity-parties. Read the rest here.