DD bingeing and I think it's my fault, what can I do?(10 Posts)
NC, sorry, because I feel so upset and ashamed. DD is 17 and I've found out she's been bingeing. I think she's had disordered eating for a few years and I've tried talking to her but she disappears into herself. Recently I think things have escalated, she eats tiny meals but I just found a huge bag of empty packets of biscuits and chocolates that she ate on her way home this evening. I asked her if she was having problems, stress or whatever and she got upset and seemed ashamed and angry and said that she binged when she was away from me because it was her only chance to get that kind of food.
I feel terrible because in many ways she is right. I remember she once cried because she was gaining weight and couldn't resist muffins/cakes etc at school and could I help her control things and buy healthy food. Gradually I've become the food police, only healthy stuff at home. The problem is that we've become entrenched in our roles. I wonder if she has always relied on me to control things and has never learned her own hunger and appetite. Now she has a car/allowance and freedom the situation has got worst. She says can't enjoy food, it's not an emotional thing, more a rebellion against me.
She is a lovely gorgeous girl, a high achiever and a healthy weight, she says she doesn't purge and I believe her but she is a dancer and with her personality type at risk of other eating disorders.
I want to help but everything I've done so far has made things worse.
Please help me, I don't know what food to buy, I don't know what to cook. I feel lost.
My parents did that to me and my sister at similar age - they were so obsessed with healthy foods (lots of salad and fish, not much meat and bread, no sweets, crisps etc) they ruined food for us.
We both started bingeing, gained weight, both parents then started commenting on our weight, we both then became anorexic.
Looking back I know they didn't mean it (my mum has had problems with weight all her life so they wanted to teach us how to eat healthily), but at that age it certainly wasn't the right thing to do.
Only since I met my husband I have relearnt to enjoy food again. We eat three balanced meals a day, lots of fruit veg meat fish bread etc and also we have a treat after dinner - a bit of chocolate or biscuit with tea, or on weekends cake or ice cream. Not huge amounts but enough.
It takes time to change behaviours and attitudes, so you will need a lot of patience. Introduce treats, involve your DD in cooking and preparing meals, take her food shopping so she can pick what she wants.
Thanks so much for replying, even if it has fuelled my anxiety. We always have a family takeaway every week and chocolate ( but dark stuff, which maybe still fits into the healthy box) and DD too stressed to be able to freely choose food, always picks healthy stuff, she is a people pleaser. I will persevere.
Do you think counselling for you, your sister and mum would have helped at an earlier stage?
Sorry didn't mean to make you feel even more anxiousyou are doing really well recognising that you need to help her get through it.
Counselling would have definitely helped. I think at that age I had no confidence, and similar to your DD wanted to please my parents. I was also under huge pressure to achieve over and above at school and outside school activities. If you can and your DD agrees to it, counselling sounds like a brilliant idea.
Do you ever cook together? Do you have fun around food? Do you bake?
No need to be sorry at all, I want to learn all I can. It's just that what you have said is so horribly familiar it's unnerving! DD also puts lots of pressure on herself to do well.
We do have fun with food (although less and less recently ) and DD and her Dsis do bake but again that's tailed off.
Funnily enough I spoke to DD2 about baking last night and went out for lunch with DD2 today, so small steps and all that. I've found a dietician and counsellor who see people together and will advise me too.
Dd has agreed but I'm aware she may change her mind when the appt approaches. I'm trying not to mention this all the time so she can be with me without food/food issues being the focus.
I think you're doing the right thing with not focusing on food issues when with your DD.
The main reason why I stared bingeing was because my parents only ever spoke about food in terms of how it is good or bad for you. They discussed in great detail fat content, calories, vitamins etc etc, and they cooked with very little oil, almost no salt etc. When we ate at the table no one talked. I never looked forward to family meals.
Now with my own family my husband does the main cooking (partly because I can only cook very bland meals/still feel guilty about using oil, salt, sauces when cooking). At breakfast/lunch/dinner we talk to each other about our day and we just have a laugh.
I used to want to eat by myself in front of my laptop. I now look forward to each meal I have with my family because the focus isn't on food/fat/calories/vitamins but rather on just catching up and enjoying each other's company.
Hope all goes well for you good luck!
It seems you have realised what has happened so could you just start again? Go and do a shop with your daughter and tell her that from now on we will be having all and any food in the house that she and everyone else likes. When you let go of the "diet" mentality of healthy/non healthy food and just see it all as "food" it is quite freeing. There was a brilliant book I read about 20 years ago called "Overcoming Overeating" which changed my life. I cried when I realised that diets and deprevation don't work. My mother had controlled everything I ate as a child/young adult. She made me feel bad if I went to the fridge to eat. I went very hungry and was very underweight. I was told I was fat and had legs like tree trunks etc by them. It was awful when I look back. I spent my life dieting and starving myself and bingeing.
I read that book because of my daughter who was a toddler at the time. I did not want her growing up with any disordered eating like I had. I always had all types of food in our house and noticed that my kids didn't overeat anything. Even now we still do this. I have a chocolate drawer and no one bothers that much with it unless they feel like they want some chocolate. My daughter is now 24 and my son 23. Both are slim and view food as just food. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they have had enough.
For me it is an ongoing fight and I still have bad days but try to be kind to myself.
Thanks Milli, I have ordered the book.
I don't think this is something that started in young childhood, like you we always had a chocolate drawer etc, made cakes, cookies etc and she ate when hungry but around age 14 (puberty for her) I noticed loads disappearing and so cut back to prevent the temptation to binge... clearly a mistake. I've been a little bingey at times in my life and it was having tempting food around, being in a situation where I was unable to refuse foods and stress that triggered me. I tried to manage those aspects but didn't recognise that her triggers are different,
Anyway I think things are a little better now it's in the open, she made a shopping list, she's having regular meals with snacks and seems happier in general. I don't know if she's binged but I don't think so and I'm not harassing her. We have an appt. for a counsellor next week.
I agree with Milli, I would avoid controlling what your daughter eats anymore, I had a friend a few years ago (I am 24) her mum was very health conscious and her daughter became anorexic. Maybe look at cooking but avoid bringing up 'low fat' or 'healthy' words as it may trigger her to be conscious or worsen her feelings. Allow her to enjoy herself with food and learn to love it again. Lots of young girls have problems with weight whether out mums are health conscious or not it's society and peer pressure as well as. X
Counselling can work its worth a try, only if the person is willing to talk about it and is the type of person who benefits from talking about their feelings, personally it did not work for me what worked for me was a strong social circle of good friends and family like cousins if the similar age I could confide in. It's daunting sometimes speaking to a stranger. Perhaps looking at the root causes to the issues surrounding this could solve the problem like your relationship together, anxiety and food. If your daughter worsens I would recommend CBT which is more aimed at anxiety, or compulsive behaviours such as OCD or eating disorders. It is a talking therapy however rather than couselling it explores a persons way of thinking negatively and looks are thinking in a positive form. Like I said that would be more appropriate if things detioriate as she is at an age where she has her whole life in front of her and to have any form of eating disorder would be horrible x
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