When your child binges

I have a 10-year-old daughter who binge eats. I have caught her hiding food in her closet in a big box. I don’t regulate what she eats or make her ever skip meals, but she seems to have a fear that she won’t get enough. It’s either that or she is emotionally eating. If we have any sort of snack or treat in the house, it will all be gone by the next morning. She gets up in the night and binges. I am starting to see it in her body. I don’t want to be overbearing and limit her diet because I feel that it will make her hide and do it more. I don’t know how to help her.

Last night I got up to use the bathroom and she was eating a huge bowl of goldfish and was on about her third glass of chocolate milk. I tried to tell to her about it in a nice way, as to not offend her, but she just tells me that she won’t do it anymore, but then she does. I know that she has no control over this feeling that makes her eat. I don’t know how to stop it or how to help her. I am afraid for her future and what this problem will lead to… no doubt much misery.

I really appreciated the compassion and understanding that came through in your comment about your daughter.

Binge Eating Disorder and Night Eating Syndrome are usually related to stress, worry, anger or depression. Those doing the eating often feel helpless or out of control. In children, some situations that might trigger those feelings:

  • A recent move
  • Divorce or separation
  • Sexual abuse

The following are some of the signs and symptoms that a child might have an eating disorder:

  • Preoccupation with food and the next meal or snack?
  • Eating more than usual, while still saying she or he is hungry?
  • Eating very rapidly or eating constantly?
  • Sneaking or hoarding food, even immediately after meals?
  • Feeling ashamed or fearful when confronted about this?
  • Excessive concern with weight and body shape?
  • Making negative comments about her/himself?
  • Feeling lonely, depressed, worried, preoccupied?
  • Spending a great deal of time alone

Talk to your child about her health and that you all might need a doctor to help you make a plan so that she stays healthy. Then call your child’s pediatrician let them know what’s been going on and for how long. Your concern and compassion is admirable. Now let’s take some action to keep your daughter healthy, emotionally and physically.

– Aunt B

Memories of my battle with eating disorders

Every Tuesday, Mama shares a personal story. This story was sent to us by an Anonymous person.
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I am 22 now, and I would like to share my story about my past with eating disorders.

I was a chubby child. My mother took me to a child psychologist when I was only four years old. As I grew older my mother continued to make comments about my weight. Coupled with pressure from the media to be thin, I began my journey with eating disorders.

As I hit puberty, my weight ballooned and I became bulimic at 14. I also felt pressure to be thin because I was drum major of my band and president of several social and academic clubs in my high school.

I grew up in a wealthy family with a live in housekeeper. I always found ways to hide my bulimia from her.

I was only bulimic for two years before I realized I wasn’t losing weight and my health was declining.

At 16, my mother bought me Metabolife. (Yes, that was when ephedra was legal). Metabolife was the catalyst that started my life-long battle with bipolar disorder. I became manic and ate nothing but a snickers bar each day.

I am 5’6″ and I got pretty skeletal. When I was diagnosed, I was put on Lithium, which made me gain 60 lbs.

I moved to NYC for college at a prestigious fashion school and became manic and suicidal at the same time.

I was so mentally unstable that I got into a situation where I was slipped a date rape drug and nearly died. I woke up convulsing in St. Vincent’s emergency room, the main trauma center for 911.

Four years have passed and I am now stable and on medication. I am a healthy and muscular size 0 and food no longer rules my life.

I am an entrepreneur in the fashion industry, and even though I have reached my ideal image and have a healthy level of self-confidence, memories of my battle with eating disorders are never far from my mind.

– Anonymous

Everyday Is A New Day: my struggle to stay thin

Every Tuesday, Mama shares a personal story. This story was sent to us by Haley.
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“Everyday is a new day,” I would say to myself and pretend tomorrow would be better. Tomorrow will be different. Well yeah, it’s not Monday anymore, but the same struggles and bad feelings are still there. They don’t just creep off in my sleep, but they sometimes show up in my dreams.

I suffer from bulimia. Like many people who suffer, I chose to keep it to myself. I guess that is part of the disease, to be sneaky and mysterious, but for me that is the worst thing.

I have always been open about my problems and I’ve always been able to talk to people about things most people would be embarrassed to talk about. But, I enjoy embarrassing moments, I live for them! It’s part of my quirky personality. Although, I don’t feel very honest when I describe myself anymore.

My bulimia has gotten really bad and I feel like I am mean and rudely sarcastic. I feel under pressure with the smallest tasks. I find sorry excuses to flake on people and class. All I have in life right now is school, and I can’t even dedicate myself to school. It use to make me happy, courageous, motivated and creative, but now I dread getting ready and seeing people.

I hate to leave the house, but I hate to be home alone. On times when no one is around and I have that little thought about food, I freak. I try so hard to think of something else because I can not be alone. I used to be able to be alone, actually.

Now, I don’t even know who I am anymore. I wish I could give up and turn myself in, tell someone, or go get help, but I am not as courageous. I feel like I am dying a slow death. That isn’t very courageous, now is it?

– Haley

Eating disorder: my struggle to stay alive

Every Tuesday Mama shares a personal story.
This week’s story was written by Kristen
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My name is Kristen, I am 15 years old. If someone were to describe me they would probably say something like she’s nice, funny, and crazy. But people who know me better would not go with those words at all. Maybe that’s what I was two years ago, but now I’m far from those things.

I am suffering with an eating disorder. Over these two years that I have been struggling with this, they have been the most depressing, terrible years of my life. The problems started when I was in the 8th grade, that’s when I started puberty. I would notice things about myself and other girls that normally, I would have never paid attention to.

I was comparing myself to other girls and wishing that I could have what they had. But in 8th grade, I was so thin. I started to question that. I became obsessed with watching what girls around me would eat. I would go online and look up pictures of girls who were thin. I would hang out with my best friend and just admire the great things about her that she had that I didn’t. I would watch her eat, notice how much she would take-in and I would try to control what I ate but I would always out-eat her. But, what I couldn’t see, was that I just had a larger appetite.

As time went on, I would routinely be checking my calories. I didn’t even understand what was too much and what was good for me. I became obsessed with looking at myself in the mirror and criticizing myself and tearing myself apart. I began dieting, taking diet pills. Checking my weight many times a day. When I couldn’t lose the weight I started to become really down on myself thinking I couldn’t do anything right. I would hate myself for not being able to lose weight.

That’s when I started making myself throw up, not too much, but at least once a day. I didn’t lose weight, but it gave me a little bit of relief. At some point between the 8th and 9th grade, friends would tell me I was looking really thin. But, that was because I was thin to begin with and loosing three pounds was noticeable.

Towards the end of 9th grade, my best friend and I would start fighting a lot because she hated my boyfriend. I loved him, but this caused a lot of problems with me and her. This put so much stress on my shoulders and I stopped eating. Before summer me and my boyfriend went on a “break” and things were a little better, but things with my best friend were still not the same.

She went away in the summer to go to her beach house. I was alone at home and I started hanging out with different people, because I didn’t really have anyone to hang out with.

One day I was hanging out with one of my old friends, and she looked really thin, she told me that she was taking some new diet pills that had made her lose a lot of weight. I asked her what they were, she told me, and I went out and got them. They worked like magic. I swear I lost a pound every day. I was never hungry. It surprised me so much, because never have I ever been able to restrict food so much.

I went days without food and I felt amazing. I saw the change in my body and I loved it. I lost eight pounds and I thought it was pretty noticeable, but what really bothered me was that my mom didn’t say anything to me. She didn’t care, and she didn’t worry. That’s what I was working on, and I don’t know why, making my mom worry. For some reason I wanted her too. And when she did we began to clash. My mom was so worried, and so were all my friends and family members. I hated it, everyone would try and make me eat and I just wanted everyone to leave me alone. No one could control me, I didn’t eat and everyone knew I wouldn’t.

After about a week of my mom nagging me about eating, my family went on a vacation to New Jersey for a week. It was with my cousins, my family, and family friends. I was so excited, I thought it would be fun. It was a disaster. No one could be around me Everyone was mad at me. People were worried, and crying, hating me, and criticizing me. While in New Jersey, I fainted almost three times. I couldn’t move without everything in my vision going black. My body felt like it was heavy and dying.

When I came back from New Jersey, I immediately went to my best friend’s house, who was now home. One look at me and her eyes filled up with tears, she looked at me with surprise and fright. We sat on her couch and just talked and cried. She could feel my pain, and I could tell. But being with her made me feel comfortable.

We all decided to go out for dinner (me, her, her mom, and her sister) we got there and as I was about to order, I started crying. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t eat. I hadn’t noticed that I had got to the point that I was afraid to eat. I could not force myself to eat anything. I was scared, and I knew that I was in serious trouble.

I slept at her house that night and the next day my mom came over and told me she wanted to take me to the hospital. I laughed in her face and said no way. But, I went because everyone was insisting that I go. On the way there, I knew that this wasn’t going to be good. I knew even thought I denied it, I was not okay. We got to the hospital and they admitted me into the ER.

I had lost over twenty pounds and was less then 80 percent of my recommended body weight. I was 5’5 and I weighed 97 pounds. The doctors told me I almost died, that my pulse was so low that if I hadn’t come to the hospital that day I would have had heart failure.

I was on feeding tubes for three days untill I was moved to the rehab in the hospital. There I stayed for three weeks and I gained 6 pounds. I had to leave because my parents insurance wouldn’t pay for it anymore. I went home and the first meal I had in front of me I cried. I cried and cried for the next month.

School came and I thought people were going to think I was fat, but they didn’t. It’s been a month and a half since summer and I weight 103 pounds.

I go to therapy twice a week and to a nurse practitioner where they weigh me and check my heart and everything else. My eating disorder has almost destroyed me; it has almost killed me and I have lost almost all my friends. It is a battle everyday, but I still fight.

Tuesday Story: It took 8 years

Every Tuesday Mama shares a personal story.
This week’s story was written by an Anonymous person
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Gymnastics was my life since I was a kid. I did the sport for over 15 years on top of volleyball, track, and cross country. I even went on to coaching gymnastics in my later years.

Ever since I can remember, I always thought that I was fat. Probably since the age of 6, right before my closest sibling died.

I also thought I was ugly, since I was not the standard blond hair, blue eyed girl, like all of my class mates. I even had a really unique name which made me feel even more out of place.

Probably, the main reason I felt I was so different is because I started to develop before all of the other girls. Don’t get me wrong, I was still a skinny kid but with big boobs.

I began starving myself in the fourth grade. It got so bad I wouldn’t eat for weeks at a time and I would continue to go to gymnastics practice as usual. If I did eat it would only be half of an apple wedge or 2 gummy bears. I remember fainting regularly or getting really shaky and dizzy but my parents never seemed to notice. If I couldn’t hide not eating, I would throw up. Then that became too easy.

It started to feel too good. I could work out in gymnastics every day, then go and eat as much as I wanted, then just puke it all up. This lead to many other bad decisions such as horrible boyfriends and extreme drug using. I eventually got hooked onto crystal meth for about three years and I still thought that I was fat! About 90 pounds later I decided that I was done with it all. I quit the drugs, quit the eating disorder, and just tried to live a normal life.

That took me about 8 years to settle down and become normal again. I am now at a regular weight, even though I feel like a heifer, I would rather be thicker than on drugs, having an eating disorders, or even worse dead! I am now 130 pounds and I am eating healthy again. I have started on a regular work out schedule.

– Anonymous

My eating disorder story: It all started with a food allergy

Every Tuesday, Mama shares a Story. Today’s story was sent in by an Person who battled anorexia and bulimia

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My story may seem a little different…

I have a lot of intolerances and allergies to food. One day I had a bad allergic reaction to something I had eaten, it left me in bed for 4 days recovering. Whilst I was recovering I made a vow that I wouldn’t eat food again that way I would never have to experience an anaphylactic shock again. From that day I only ate a small amount of broccoli and every now and then I would have an apple. I lived like this for months I soon lost a lot of weight and become 5stone 5lbs. My hair was falling out, I had permanent cold sores and cracked lips, I had bed sores on my bones that had been touching the bed for to long, I bruised easily, I had bad heart palpitations and many other problems. Not only did this effect my physical health, it ruined my soul.

After a year or so I was still frightened to eat but it was more than the average loss of confidence I had anorexia, it was like id forgotten why I stopped eating and anorexia took over. My 3 year old niece ate more than I did and my clothes had gone down to age 8 to 9 years when I was 23 yeas old. My mum is a healer and luckily for me she found out about my problem and gave me lots of Reiki treatment and love and care, after about a year I ate a little bit more but I would suffer with constipation and bloatedness. So I would then eat and be sick. This soon became a familiar pattern and not only was I seriously underweight; when I ate I was sick therefore I was bulimic too.

It was like living with another person in my head constantly telling me you can’t eat this and you shouldn’t eat that and all I really wanted deep deep down was a meal and to feel well. I decided enough was enough, not only was I suffering but my family was so worried about me. I refused to get the professional help I needed at the start, so for about 10 months I managed to get well little by little day by day on my own but my health was wrecked. I had terrible pains in my bones especially in my shins and I hadn’t had a period in 4 years so I went to the doctors. They then referred me to an eating disorder association and I was given a psychiatrist to help me. It was hard, everyday was a task whether it is fighting demons in my head or overcoming the physical effect it’s had on me but I got there! I still haven’t had a period and I don’t have hunger pains I actually pass out before I get hunger pains so I have to clock check to see if its time to eat to get my body in a natural pattern and I also have osteoporosis but luckily it’s not getting worse. My hair is a lot thicker, my skin is not as pale and I don’t have cold sores anymore, I don’t feel desperately cold anymore and I have lots more confidence. I now have a better social life and I smile a lot more!

When you think there is no way out and no human being can help you, your wrong… you just have to let go of the past and be willing to forgive yourself and the past that may have triggered your eating disorder. Put your hands up high along with your head and pride and surrender…. I did and I’m now well.

God Bless and God luck 😉

– Anonymous

A mother’s story

Every Tuesday, Mama shares a Story. Today’s story was sent in by an Anonymous Mother

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I am 25, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a teacher, a college student, a lover, and I am bulimic.

It’s so sad that with so much beauty in my life, I can’t find one thing that will give me the strength to overcome this.

It all started in college. Weird, right? There are many things that I could blame, but why? I felt inadequate, worthless, unimportant, overweight, and out of touch with what was going on around me.

It was just supposed to be a health kick. I was feeling great! I was running, eating healthy, cleaning out the negative energy around me, really loving life. Remember that feeling?

The first time it happened, I just felt guilty for working so hard on my perfect, healthy, lifestyle and then, eating so much. How dare I go outside my daily caloric intake? My friend did it and so did I. It wasn’t that bad but unfortunately, one time turned into two and then two into weeks and then weeks into….wow I can’t believe it has been haunting me for seven years.

So, here I am, sitting at my desk after teaching all day to such wonderful children, waiting until 5 so I can go pick up my 10 month old, beautiful, little boy, and in tears because I don’t know what to do.

Here I am sitting, at 25, more lost than I have ever been, looking up doctors and support groups online because I can’t do it alone anymore.

Here I am sitting, as a mother, looking into her sons eyes everyday and apologizing because I don’t know why I am doing this, how to stop it, or what effects it is taking on my body, and how long I will be able to look into his eyes.

Here I am sitting, as a daughter, hating the pain that she has caused her own mother and father.

Here I am sitting, as a friend, hiding behind fake smiles and laughs just so I can hear someone else’s voice on the other end of the phone.

Here I am sitting, as a lover, filled with sorrow for all of the early turn ins, all of the “I love you’s'” that were never said, all of the cries in the middle of the night without an explanation, and all of the questions left unanswered.

Here I am sitting, as a college student, wondering why I am so educated, and yet, so trite to think that this isn’t a problem.

And here I am sitting, as a bulimic, hoping that someone will hear my cry and answer, with what, I do not know. Maybe something that will let me know that one day I will be able to stick my tongue out at that cloud and live the life that I was meant to live.

– Anonymous Mother