If you’re a mother or father worried about the possibility that your daughter can develop an eating disorder, this post is for you.
I started with anorexia when I was 9, and very often that’s when the thoughts start to creep in, which then in pre-teen or teen years turn into a full-blown eating disorder.
Most people think that what must be done is to get girls not to be concerned at all with what they eat or how they look. That they mustn’t care about being fatter or thinner because they have to accept themselves either way. I, on the contrary, don’t believe that’s the best way. Both health and beauty are two totally acceptable concerns, and what parents must do is to accompany their daughters through them in a positive way. How to do it? Those are my guidelines:
(Note: I’m going to use feminine language because this illness is more common in women and because I speak from my own experience. But it applies to sons too).
By being a good example
Be someone your daughter can look up to as a model when it comes to health and being in shape. Many girls with anorexia feel the need to restrict because they’re terrified they might end up as their obese or overweight relatives if they don’t.
Others have lived a bad relationship with food at home since they were little, because one of their parents (usually the mother) was constantly trying fad diets.
If your daughter feels like she can’t look up to you when it comes to these issues, she’ll look up to other people, and many times those will be the personalities who appear on the media. This is very dangerous because in this world they present as healthy and beautiful what’s sick and distorted, and they promote harmful diets to achieve it.
Take care of your body and your health and be an example of the healthy lifestyle habits that one must follow to be as good as you. Make it something your daughter wants to aspire to.