16 year old daughter in binge eating cycle(10 Posts)
Hello. I hope someone can help me. My daughter has been restrictive eating for a few months and lost a lot of weight. She's being seen by CAHMS but it's taken a long time and we're still only in the assessment stage. She's now suddenly started binge eating and gets so upset afterwards. I just have no experience of this, and I don't know how to support or comfort her after a binge, or how to stop her binging. She binged last night, I was up with her all night afterwards trying to console her. Now she's in town shopping and had just rung me saying she's been binging in town and is in tears and needs picking up. How do I help her. I don't know what to say to her to make it any better. She thinks she's fat, that the binge will have made her fat etc, but she's currently under weight. I hope someone can help me today. I'm so exhausted from no sleep last night, and I'm scared I'm just going to lose my temper with her. I've got no support, it's just dd and me at home.
Thanks in advance for any advise.
This is probably best taken up with CAMHS. Don't restrict her eating at all. If you tend to have a lot of junk food in the house, stop buying it and get more fruit, veg, wholegrains, meat, things like hummus and yoghurt. Basically, lot of calorifoc things that will help her gain weight (I assume that's the goal), but things that a) are hard to impulsively eat a ton of (it's harder to binge on pasta on an impulse, it takes time to cook. Biscuits are quick and don't allow thinking time). She also may feel better afterwards if she does binge on them. I used to have disordered eating and I felt less shite after eating 2000 calories worth of fruit and brown bread than I felt after 1000 calories worth of cake, even if they're "worth" the same energywise
*2000 cal of cake. Don't take my word for it though, discuss this at CAMHS.
Hi, I did this for years, from the age of 10 and throughout my teens. In the end I got through it, and although I can sometimes eat a whole packet of biscuits now I have conquered it, mostly. This is what I remember working - and it's specific to (90's!) teenage years when you sooo want to have control of yourself but you live at home with parents, your friendships are all dramatic, school is stressful and your negative emotions always get the better of you:
1) I started cooking, just the odd family meal and often meals for myself so that I could avoid my mum's high fat comfort-family-food. Planning, adding things to my mum's shopping list... It took a while and I only started with pasta and jars of sauce! But by the time I went to uni i could knock up some things that I felt were healthy as well as tasty, stir fries etc, and food seemed less of a fearsome enemy and more of an enjoyable hobby. It was REALLY great to be able to cook for friends when the occasion arose.
2) I took life drawing classes as part of my art course and that was instrumental in changing the way I looked at myself. Suddenly I saw that the bodies that showed more life experience had more interest than the shape I had been wanting for myself, and this really helped me hate myself less. I seriously think all teenage girls should do this!
3) I found a few types of exercise that made me feel good - running, step-aerobics... I didn't do anything all that regularly but the endorphins helped, plus the feeling of being stronger and healthier, trying new activities, and I met some nice people along the way.
4) I learned a bit about the science of nutrition - and you could help her do this with some of the current best selling books, for example I have the Joe Wicks Lean in 15 and there is some great information about how the body metabolises food in the beginning of the book. Knowledge is power and it may help her rationalise her fears when she has binged.
5) I went to a new sixth form and changed friendship groups - this was great as my old friends had been similarly binge/purge and diet-obsessed, I suddenly realised it was a total breath of fresh air to talk about any other subject.
6) I decided not to diet any more, around the age of 18 - having never lost any weight on any that I'd tried, and I had tried them all - I gave up - and whaddya know, when I stopped beating myself up constantly and ate 3 meals a day my weight yo-o'd a bit and then stabilised! Took a huge effort to give up the mental habit of self-punishment (which is what bingeing was to me, when it came down to it) but once I had decided to have a break from it it was like the sun coming out from behind the clouds, such a relief. I was SO much more fun to be around, too.
Your daughter would have to decide to do these things for herself of course, but they are ideas which might fill the time while you await some professional help? Sounds like you are really worried about her, she is lucky to have such a concerned mum (even if she doesn't realise it yet!) Good luck! (and sorry for long post!)
I had anorexia as a teenager and one of the features is that, as you become further and further underweight your body almost forces you to binge as a protective measure against you essentially starving yourself to death. It's very difficult to control and that in itself is incredibly distressing for someone in the grip of an illness that's all about control!
I'm sorry that I don't have any real advice for you. I honestly don't know how my parents got through it; it's emotionally exhausting to support a disordered eater. I feel for you, OP.
Thank you for all your messages. My original post was back in August last year. Since then my daughter continued to binge, she regained her weight and more, became suicidal and took an overdose and is now still battling the urges to binge. Cahms have not been helpful. Once she regained her weight they've pretty much left us too it even though the disordered eating is still there and never been addressed. So, I'm still off work a lot to be at home for DD, she still struggles on a daily basis and I don't know how we'll ever get out the other side. I don't and never have had junk food in the house. DD has a part time job and spends her money on food ! We've always been active and on 'non binge' days DD is active. On a binge day she barely gets out of bed. It's so very hard to see her like this.
I've just come across your post and I could almost have written it word for word. My DD (a few years older than yours) overdosed this weekend after a binge - thankfully she is okay but we are currently under the crisis team and she does have an assessment due with an ED clinic which they are trying to pull forward. If you ever need to chat please message me - this is a very stressful and lonely place to be seeing your child in so much pain and turmoil. How is your daughter now?
Thank you so much for you post and I really hope your daughter gets the help she needs. My daughter is binging most days, but has got more and more secretive and acts happy, to prevent me getting too stressed. She has down days every 3 days or so, when she can't act anymore, nor can get out of bed or the house. On those days she talks about wanting to be dead. It's heartbreaking and Cahms won't give her an appointment as they've said that she doesn't want to change so there's nothing they can do. So helpful of them. We went back to the GP last week and he has hopefully written to Cahms so I hope they'll decide to give her an appointment. I'm at a lose of what else to do.
My daughter maintains a life as well - wears her mask really well and is attending uni. Please ask your GP for a referral to an ED clinic - are you aware of any in your area? We ended up paying privately to see an ED therapist and when the GP refused a referral the therapist got involved! Is your daughter also purging after the binding? My daughter does and has done for a few years resulting in severe GORD. It's such a misunderstood illness and many people don't understand -
I'm so sorry you are going through this as well -
OP, I was your daughter a few years ago.
I had anorexia as a teen and this evolved into a severe binge eating disorder.
She can get through this (I'm living proof!) CAHMS are useless though.
My advice to her right now is to eat three meals a day, religiously, with plenty of water.
She needs to continue to refeed her body, even if she's at a healthy weight.
Absolutely no dieting or cutting back.
Her weight will settle down eventually, and the urge to binge will lessen over time as long as she continues to eat regularly and healthily.
Thoughts with you all
If you would like to get in touch, feel free to DM me.
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