Parents & Eating Disorder Prevention
As a parent, you would do just about anything to help your daughter be happy and healthy.
Helping her prevent an eating disorder is an important first step.
Unfortunately, there is good cause for concern about eating disorders in today’s adolescent and teenage girls. The number that exhibit disordered eating and poor self-image, both of which are precursors to eating disorders, is staggering.
And, an eating disorder can happen to anyone. Sadly no girl, and no family, is immune.
Consider these statistics:
- Among teens of normal weight, 40-60% view themselves as too heavy
- Up to 60% of all teens diet regularly
- More than 50% of teens exercise to improve their shape or weight
- Approximately 45% of teens smoke cigarettes as a form of weight control
- Approximately 70% of girls feel that body size and shape is important for their self-esteem and thus fear gaining weight
Eating Disorder Warning Signs
The following are typical signs and symptoms of disordered eating and unhealthy self-image that may lead to an eating disorder. These behaviors are often rationalized by the adolescent, so don’t rely on your daughter to let you know there is a problem.
Warning Signs: Eating & Food
|• Skipping meals||“I had a late snack at school.”|
|• Fasting for 24 hours||“I’m just cleaning out my system.”|
|• Preferring to eat in private||“I have a ton of homework tonight.”|
|• Cutting food into tiny pieces||“It’s more fun to eat this way.”|
|• Choosing only low-fat or vegetarian foods||“Animal products make me sick.”|
|• Sudden episodes of binge-eating||“See, I’m eating plenty.”|
|• Studying food labels for fat and carbohydrate||“I thought you would be happy that I am|
|• Irritability and restlessness after eating||“I just had a bad day.”|
|• Avoidance of social gatherings that include high-calorie foods like pizza||“I’m not in the mood for a party.”|
|• Dramatic change in weight||“I look better this way.”|
|• Creating tension at the dinner table by refusing to eat and being non-communicative||“I don’t know why we have to eat together anyway.”|
Warning Signs: Social & Emotional
|• Body dissatisfaction or negative body talk||“No one else has thighs like this. I hate them!”|
|• Excessive exercising||“I have to stay in shape for swim team.”|
|• Perfectionist tendencies and frequent self-criticism||“I’m so stupid.”|
|• Constant worry that others are mad at her or don’t like her||“All those girls hate me now.”|
|• Fearful of trying out for teams and school activities||“I’d never make it anyway.”|
|• Being overly cooperative||“Ok, mom, whatever you say.”|
|• Change in grades or school performance||“That was a stupid class.”|
|• Tendency toward isolation||“I like being alone.”|
|• Sudden angry outbursts or tantrums||“I hate you and everyone else!”|
|• Substance abuse (alcohol or drugs)||“I just tried it once. Everyone does.”|
|• Extreme lack of emotion or lack of pleasure, smiling, animation, and laughing||“It’s just not funny to me.”|
|• Compares herself negatively to others||“I’ll never be as good as she is.”|
|• Nothing she does ever feels like enough||“I should have gotten an A+.”|
|• Goes to great lengths to get others to like her||ANY IDEAS FOR THIS ONE?|
|• Afraid to state her opinion||“I am fine with whatever.”|
How to Help Your Daughter Prevent an Eating Disorder
Raising an adolescent or teenage girl is a wonderful and challenging adventure. But when you are worried about her physical or emotional health, it can feel scary, overwhelming, and lonely.
We have worked with hundreds of parents like you, and we’re here to help.
By working with the International Eating Disorders Institute, you will get the confidence, information, and support you need to help your daughter, and also help yourself.
You will receive:
- Practical suggestions for helping your daughter build self-confidence and healthy boundaries from a licensed psychotherapist and eating disorder specialist
- Cutting-edge nutritional recommendations to make sure your daughter gets essential nutrients to keep her mentally and physically strong
- Meal-planning strategies from a certified nutritionist who specializes in eating disorders
- Guidance on how to talk to your daughter about tough issues with confidence
- News and information from the latest eating disorder research
- Support, resources, and answers from other proactive parents who understand what you are going through
And much more.
Credit to : Just A Little Too Thin by Michael Strober, PH.D and Meg Schneider, MA, LMSW