The holidays are over now and I talked about supporting your child through the maze of New Year’s Resolutions in my last post. This time I would like to talk about New Year’s Resolutions for moms. Chances are that if you have a child or close family member with an eating disorder, your personal resolution isn’t going to be related to dieting and exercise. That doesn’t mean that because you have a child with an eating disorder you are forbidden to attend to your own needs regarding nutrition and exercise. That is another post though. Today, I am going to talk about some resolutions that relate to reducing stress.
I have never personally been that much into New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps it
is because I have yet to keep one for more than a week, but whatever the reason, I just don’t like them. I find that they mainly add something to my already crazy schedule and are a recipe for failure. Moms who are taking care of a child with an eating disorder or anyone caring for a close loved one likely is stressed and tired by the time January 1st arrives. The holidays are stressful whether good or bad and when special meal planning, travelling, and the irregular schedules add to the already chaotic nature of the season, it is tiring. That sigh of relief that all of the “triggers” are reduced and schedules and routines have returned to normal is met with the fact that schedules and routines have returned to normal, especially yours. This means back to work, back to preparing kids for school, back to driving to after school activities, and back to organizing and running a busy household. It still means planning those meals to fit the specific needs of your child with the eating disorder and it still means worrying because you are a mom. It might also mean that you feel you haven’t had a break. Continue reading Eating Disorders and New Year’s Resolutions for Moms
It is that “resolution” time of the year. I have been hearing the commercials advertising our two favorite New Year’s resolutions: weight loss and exercise. Those dreaded twins that make themselves very front and center in our minds after nearly a month of holiday feasting. Families dealing with eating disorders know those resolutions all year long and the extra attention around the New Year is not welcome. It seems like that breath you let out after getting through the holidays (hopefully with success, but certainly with additional knowledge and experience) is met with another hurtle in the form of the New Year’s resolutions. Just this week alone, I have seen or heard over 15 commercials for gym memberships, weight loss programs, and personal trainers. That doesn’t even include the ads on Pinterest, Magazines, pop-ups, etc., that talk about Paleo diets, Adkins Diets, low carbs, no carbs, more protein, less protein, ketogenic, raw/vegetable based diets, and the list goes on and on. I honestly think that this hurtle can be sometimes worse than the holidays. Like the holidays though, we have to talk about it and about what we are going to do to counter this if it is a trigger for our child. The good news is that while the desire for a “healthier” lifestyle is met with much enthusiasm at the beginning of the year, it doesn’t last long. The pace of our lives is so busy that I think adding one more burden; in this case a trip to the gym after work or heading over to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, is just one additional chore in a work week that is already too busy. The resolutions themselves are not necessarily bad, but jumping from 0 to 60 might just be a little too much. By the end of January, most of the diet and exercise talk is about done. Does that month seem like a year though? I know it could to me! Because my son was so focused on exercise, the gym memberships, the HIT (high intensity training) videos, the personal trainers, etc., were very much a trigger for him during this period. Food was too. Last year “intermittent fasting” was all over the internet and it was coupled with exercise first thing in the morning to ensure optimal health. Continue reading Eating Disorders and New Year’s Resolutions
I recently read an article by Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N titled Orthorexia Nervosa. I will share the link to the article at the end of this post. This article meant more to me than just an interesting read about a subject very close to my heart. The truth is that my heart nearly stopped when I read the article. I see its companion with exercise as the primary symptom instead of food. This author put into words something that it has taken me years to describe. This article very eloquently outlined my son’s behavior, the only difference being that his was with exercise more so than food. The start of his illness was so insidious. It was
so much so that my husband would ask me what was raising the red flags for me. My answers fell flat when compared with my mother’s sixth sense that something wasn’t right. I just couldn’t seem to put into words what my heart knew was something gone very wrong. Can anyone else relate? Continue reading Orthorexia Nervosa and Exercise?
I will be the first to admit that I didn’t recognize my son’s eating disorder for what it was early on. There were times when it crossed my mind, but I would quickly shove it under the rug. He was a male and the presentation, as I have pointed out before, wasn’t what you would typically think of as an eating disorder. Having said all that, when I was sure what I was dealing with, getting help was anything but easy. Continue reading Eating Disorder – The Reality of Having an Adult Child Who Refuses Treatment
The TV, radio, and social media are all talking about the anticipation in the air. The holiday season is here. For many of us, what is in the air feels more like anxiety. The anticipation isn’t always something we welcome. Do you ever feel like the holiday season and dealing with your child who is suffering with an eating disorder is just too much? Juggling shopping, parties, work schedules, decorating, cookie baking, visiting relatives, travelling, etc. can be exhausting under the best and happiest of circumstances. When you have a child with an eating disorder, whether in recovery or still struggling to get there, it can feel like it is just too much. As moms the lion’s share of the above mentioned activities often falls on us. Not always, but often. When our child has an eating disorder and is stressed and worried during the holiday season or perhaps triggered by all of the food, disruptions in routine, and the expectations of being happy we are too. We feel our children’s pain. We fret and worry right along with them. We notice every little thing and want to fix anything that is broken, but we can’t fix this. We also worry whether this stress and anxiety will be felt by brothers and sisters who do not have an eating disorder. It is an impossible balancing act of trying to make sure everyone is happy. Mom’s stress level can go off the charts at this time of the year and I am sure that anyone struggling to help a loved one with an eating disorder can relate. Continue reading Eating Disorders and Holiday Stress
During our long journey through our son’s eating disorder, I have found that people crave reasons. They are mostly looking for reasons as to why this couldn’t happen to them or to their loved ones. I think that this is pretty normal behavior and, I must admit, I have done the same thing many times in my life. If someone died of a scary disease, was the victim of a crime, a natural disaster, an accident, I would look for reasons why. What was unique about that person that would have increased the chances of it happening to them and not me or mine. I
guess we all need reassurance to deal with the uncertainties of life.
I found this to be so much the case during our son’s illness. We scared people. When you don’t fit into the mold, the expected, the obvious explanation, people are frightened because they themselves and their loved ones are suddenly vulnerable. Lung cancer has always scared me. Whenever I heard that someone had this disease, I would always ask if they were a smoker. Why? Not because I knew that this was the leading cause of the disease, but because I wanted reassurance that there was, in fact, a reason. There was a risk factor my family didn’t have, an explanation that didn’t fit my circumstances. It brought a guilty relief.
I really wish that I could have gotten this up much, much sooner, but technical difficulties with the site plagued me for over a week. Holidays can be stressful even under the best of circumstances, but they can very often put fear and dread into the hearts of those with eating disorders and their loved ones. What about the overwhelming amount of food? How much exercise or restriction will be required in preparation for the holiday meal? How will all of the uncomfortable, if well meaning, questions be handled? What about all of the food/calorie/dessert guilt/health talk? How about the stares from the corners of concerned and curious eyes? What about the obvious discomfort of some relatives? Will this day ever end? Those are not the questions my son was asking (actually, they probably were very similar); they were the questions and ruminations in my mind.
Since there is a lot of wonderful information written about how someone with an eating disorder can manage through the holiday season, I thought I would focus on how mom and dad, or any loved one might feel and what they can do to help themselves through the holidays. Since I am the mom of a child with an eating disorder, that is my perspective, but I think/hope that anyone helping a loved one through this season could relate. Continue reading Help for the Holidays
I think that one of the hardest things for me as a mother of a child with an eating disorder is the anxiety that it will happen again. The fear that my son will become sick to the degree he was when first hospitalized is always present in my mind. It is like a guest that never leaves. The other fear is that it will happen to one of my other children. Those fears could be consuming at times. My other children will tell you that I was unbearable to eat with. I didn’t mean to be, but it really was true. My eyes were constantly scanning the plates on the table and observing my children’s mealtime behavior every night at dinner. Was there excessive pickiness? Why was this child not hungry tonight? Why didn’t this child eat the carbohydrates? Why was dessert being refused? Why was water requested to drink instead of milk? By the time the meal was over, we all had indigestion! Continue reading Quelling the Anxiety
This is my first blog post and I must admit I am a little nervous. I thought it might be helpful to tell my readers why I started writing about this subject and a little bit about our journey. Continue reading My Story