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#1 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm concerned my step daughter might be leaning towards anorexia. I've talked about her body image, lack of self confidence before & in light of that conversation I don't think she is eating enough. Lately she is very proud of all the lbs she is losing. I don't know how to respond to those conversations. I asked once how she did that & she said she didn't know it must be because she rides her bike to school. Problem with that answer is that usually her dad drives her & occasionally her bike is also brought so she rides 2 miles home.

Recently she has some canker sores in her mouth & had a sore throat at the same time. She claimed it hurt so bad she couldn't eat. I don't know. She does have a very low pain threshold but she barely ate even mashed potatoes. She did eat bread one night when we went out to dinner. (Her addiction) she would say it constantly how bad her mouth hurt & she had barely eaten for days & she was sooo hungry. But she said it so..... I don't know.... Upbeat. I heard her tell her mom on the phone she lost x lbs and couldn't eat cuz it hurt so she probably lost a bunch more. She sounded very glad. I'm thinking she is making the I don't eat means I lose weight connection.

In our house we eat pretty healthy but we don't focus on food. We don't restrict. I've told her I don't think she is eating enough. Since she was little (she's almost 13) we've discussed the importance of activity but she never lived with us until now so we had no input into daily habits. Now all she wants to do is sit on the computer. Getting her to play with the dog she picked out is like pulling teeth. She has requested dance lessons &I got some on a groupon that we will use soon. Also a month of volleyball lessons starting at the end of Nov. Also something she wanted. So we are working on the activity.

We get new insurance starting mid November so will be looking into therapy, but that was already planned, not because of potential eating issues.

So my question is, what do I watch for in terms of potential eating disorders? Is there anything I can do to help prevent it? Thanks!

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#2 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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Start educating yourself in regards to eating disorders. 

 

Something Fishy   One of the most informative sites on eating disorders. 

 

In regards to your questions:

 

1.  What do I watch for?  Signs & Symptoms

2.  Can I help prevent it?  Helping Loved Ones

 

 

 

 

 

 

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#3 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 09:23 AM
 
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It's hard to say. I've heard that canker sores are pretty painful and I imagine they would make eating difficult for a bit. I know when my kids have sore throats, they don't each much at all. Even a little exercise can make a big difference if she's getting P.E. at school and then biking home a little each week. If she's been historically overweight, I imagine she is happy about the loss. It's natural that she connect less eating with weight loss and that's not always bad. Where is she on the puberty scale? If she started her period this year, I'd expect her to start shedding that baby fat or any weight she gained "bulking up for puberty" which I know some girls do.

 

The few people I've really known with diagnosed eating disorders didn't talk about being hungry. They hid the fact that they weren't eating. They didn't take pride in lost weight because they could never see the difference in their body. They didn't really talk about that stuff until they were well on the road to recovery.

 

I don't know. I'm no professional but as a parent, I wouldn't jump to any conclusions. If you are already seeking therapy, I'd just mention your concerns to the therapist and see if he gets the same vibe. I'd get rid of the scale or put it somewhere she doesn't have access to so she can't obsess over it. Eating disorders are about control more than really wanting to be skinny. I'd maybe evaluate your situation and see if she's getting age-appropriate choices and freedoms. Make sure she has some control over her activity, schooling, how her room looks, friends, ect. Make sure she's heard and that any rules can be discussed and even challenged. This doesn't mean she can do anything she wants... only that you guys are open to rational discussion and is she makes an excellent point, well, maybe re-evaluate where you stand. Is she happy with the move to your house? Does she feel safe a secure? How are things with mom? 

 

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#4 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 11:55 AM
 
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I don't have anything to post about anorexia per se but I do know about canker sores and if that is truly the problem I would recommend soft alkaline foods to eat.  Yogurt will have the advantage of being both gentle on canker sores and potentially low fat if she is trying to limit her calories.  Having something like that around will help her if she really is hungry, as she complains, or will make it obvious if she is just using it as an excuse to mega diet and if she still isn't eating you can start finding her help.

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#5 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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Sounds like a phase.  However it could go south.  I'd do a little more research for yourself so you know the real signs and I agree with Whatsnextmom, I was anorexic and I hid it. 

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#6 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! All of your posts were helpful. Just to address some questions/points.... No PE in school, there have been reports of spotting but no actual period yet (mom says it never happened so I don't know who is accurate here), we don't own a scale, historically she has never been super skinny but is far from fat though she said her mom says she is (again not possible to verify), I've rarely seen her over eat except when bread is freely available or sometimes at special occasions when there are a lot of treats available but again she didn't used to live with us.

As far as everyday living, the move was hard on her, especially for a week or 2 where she thought she didn't have any friends. She recently told my sis she doesn't think her mom loves her & we suspect she might be a little emotionally abusive & know she does hit her. If you have read the explosive child you have an idea of what we are dealing with & how non authoritarian we are.

I will not make assumptions but will educate myself just in case. Thanks again!

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#7 of 16 Old 10-30-2011, 04:19 PM
 
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I've had some bad canker sore episodes, and I was not a happy camper when big flare-outs happened. I would be in pain for days and really hungry. If there are a lot of sores, or if some of them are big, or even if there's one big enough to hurt 24/7 (like an ulcer at the tip of the tongue), then I can't eat much and I'm miserable, and in pain.

 

So on the one hand, she complains about the pain, and on the other hand, she's happy she lost weight from not eating... Not good.

 

There's medication available for Aphthous Ulcers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triamcinolone

 

A tiny, 1/16" dab can help to heal an ulcer very quickly. The formula should be for the mouth, not just regular topical cream.

 

 

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#8 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 08:54 AM
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If the canker sores are a frequent issue, you may do well to switch her toothpaste.  My dd got terrible sores; a dentist recommended switching toothpastes, and it was like magic.  FWIW she can NOT use colgate and we have the best results with Tom's of Maine.  

 

Amy


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#9 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 10:04 AM
 
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I agree with some of the others, one of the hallmarks of anorexia is usually secrecy. When I was anorexic, I didn't share my weight loss with others. I wore baggy clothes & was always cold so also wore tons of layers, inappropriate to the weather. I did spend a lot of time on the computer, especially on eating disorder sites (for self-help but sadly ended up being more of a tips & tricks & motivation to lose weight thing). I closed the browser window whenever anyone walked by & stayed up 'til 3am to use the computer privately. I avoided certain people (mostly my family) in part because I didn't want them knowing what was going on with me. I made up excuses to not eat, or at least pushed my food around enough to make it look like I ate. I ate in secret (embarrassing to admit this but I would eat scraps of food out of the trash, or tiny bits of still-frozen coolwhip from the downstairs freezer, or pick minuscule pieces of shredded cheese off pizza before it went in the over) and would eat weird things like broccoli with pickle juice and massive amounts of dried spices, or dry bran cereal with water instead of milk -- zero-calorie condiments & accompaniments, trying to give my bland low-calorie food flavor. I read cookbooks and was totally obsessed with food, watching people eat, etc. I measured & tracked every single bite I ate and how many calories were in it, totally overestimating the calories 'just to be safe.' I exercised compulsively -- spent hours running outside, running up & down the stairs, doing crunches in bed, etc. I tried to hide the exercise too but not as much because it was more 'acceptable' for me to work out a lot since I was on sports teams in school. I went into the bathroom after every meal (sometimes trying to vomit it up, other times self-injuring, I always punished myself for eating, sometimes simply with lots of jumping jacks & pushups). I would get really angry if anyone tried to talk to me about my eating habits, and in general was much more moody & snappy -- my mood & demeanor was completely out of character for me, I was always the stereotypical 'good girl' & very well-mannered & polite.

So, that's a bit of what it looked like for me & what you can look out for. By the time anyone realized what was going on with me, I was already too far into it... so I think it's good that you are attentive to this. I wouldn't jump to any conclusions (nothing you said really screams 'eating disorder' to me but it's hard to tell with just a short description here!) but I would discuss it with her doctor/therapist/etc. and pay extra attention to what's going on with her and keep an eye out for signs of secrecy, obsession, guilt & self-hatred, etc.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#10 of 16 Old 10-31-2011, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the additional advice & especially the personal stuff. She has a lot going on, more than average even for the age she is. I don't necessarily think there's a problem yet, but want to be aware in case things go that direction. The sores did finally heal & she ate dinner last night. Said she was still hungry but didn't want more, I'm not sure why, she was kinda back & forth & her dad just plopped 2 more scoops which she happily ate.

sent from my phone using tapatalk, please excuse typos.

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#11 of 16 Old 11-01-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

 If you have read the explosive child you have an idea of what we are dealing with & how non authoritarian we are.
 


Just to make sure you know I wasn't accusing you of being authoritarian at all. I was just suggesting that since you were concerned about eating disorders that you re-evaluate all aspects of the household. I re-evaluate our rules and expectations every once in awhile myself just to make sure we are in line with where the kids are developmentally (LOTS of re-evaluation now that we have a teenager!)


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#12 of 16 Old 11-01-2011, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh goodness no! Thank you but I didn't think that at all. Reading back though I can see it might seem so. I'm usually here while nursing my toddler to sleep & the positioning in order to type is very uncomfortable, even with a touch screen phone, so I was just trying to shorten how long I was typing. Thank you though!

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#13 of 16 Old 11-01-2011, 10:12 PM
 
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I have a podcast about Anorexia and my struggle with it. Maybe this will help you in understanding the disease a bit more. You can download it here: fightinganorexia.com 

If you have any questions, I'd be happy to help. 

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#14 of 16 Old 11-09-2011, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you :)


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#15 of 16 Old 11-15-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neonalee View Post


As far as everyday living, the move was hard on her, especially for a week or 2 where she thought she didn't have any friends. She recently told my sis she doesn't think her mom loves her & we suspect she might be a little emotionally abusive & know she does hit her. If you have read the explosive child you have an idea of what we are dealing with & how non authoritarian we are.

I'm sure you and your DH are doing this already, but if your sd thinks that her mother doesn't love her - make sure your DH is putting extra effort into showing her love.  It's also good for her to get reinforcement from you, but even more important that it come from her dad.  She needs to know that she has a parent (and step-parent) who care about her and love her.  Also, I just wanted to say that when I was a teen, it wasn't my mothers approval that meant the most to me - it was my dad's.  I always had high self esteem, and it could have been personality, but looking back I really credit my dad's involvement in my life with being the biggest self esteem booster for me.  Your DH has custody now, so obviously he's involved, but making sure that he is super involved in what she's up to, going to all her games (you said she does volleyball), going to all her events, etc, may help improve things as well.  You and your DH may already be making sure that he is super involved, which is great, I just wanted to point out the significance of it.

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#16 of 16 Old 11-20-2011, 01:34 PM
 
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