I wonder if there really is some amount of truth in the thoughts of genetics playing a role in eating disorders. I mean, it can't all be the crazy messages of false beauty because everyone hears them but not everyone gets trapped in the dark world of eating disorders. Majority of the women that I talk to are trapped by the messages that their bodies are not good enough, pretty enough or small enough. But majority of the women I know do not end up starving themselves or purging their ingested nutrients. Is it possible that like other diseases that there are physical factors that make one more susceptible to an eating disorder?
I have been walking through some big and often scary things with one of my children. I have only one who I worry about as far as food issues go. I have one who has for years now been more sensitive about food, body size and weight than is probably normal or healthy for his age. This is the child who sometimes refuses to eat, claiming he isn't really hungry. This is the child who talks about losing weight. This is the child who talks about one day diets. This is the child who sometimes mentions that he feels a little lighter that day. This is the child who we are specific in not mentioning pants sizes with because he is an average waist size but his brother is a slim sized pant. This is the child who the pediatrician specifically has told me to keep an eye on his habits and behaviors to make sure that if he starts sliding down that path that we can help him before it is too late and he is trapped.
Recently he had a school assignment that involved writing about why healthy breakfast is important. He really struggled with it. As I dug a little deeper I discovered that he doesn't believe that any breakfast is important at all much less healthy breakfast. We read articles online about breakfast. One headline caught his eye about how eating breakfast can help you lose weight. He looked me dead in the eye and said, "Mom, that doesn't even make sense. Eating food is what makes you fat." A part of me died when he said that and I knew I had a lot of work ahead of me.
I helped him look up articles about metabolism, breakfast, fueling the body. We looked at many that were geared directly toward the nutrition that children need to grow and to feed their brains. I could see him finally starting to accept some of the information but that didn't happen until we hit WebMD. That was the only site he was willing to trust somewhat, albeit reluctantly, because actual doctors wrote the articles and did the video interviews. For three hours we read and talked and hung out together discussing what we had learned. He finally had enough of an arsenal that he felt like he could do the assignment.
Later in the kitchen he was writing and he informed me that his friend's parent probably don't know the same information that he had just learned. I asked why and he told me that that these particular parents are on a diet and trying to lose weight. He said that they usually skip breakfast because the other two meals they have planned for the day are too high in calories and they don't want to go over their amount of calories or they won't lose weight.
WHAT?????? Are you freakin kidding me????? Why on earth would you say stuff like that to children? What part of that sounds like information that growing children need to think about? My kids are growing. They NEED the nutrition. Their bones and muscles need to grow and develop. Their brains need to be able to grow, to learn, to be healthy. And all of that includes them EATING. Why do adults talk about their diets to children? Ugh, it made me feel a little sick to my stomach. I'm not blaming them for my son's views on food. I am however annoyed that they fueled a fire that has already been trying to gain ground for a long time now. I know it was unknowingly done, but I still don't understand talking with kids about diets. It is information that they simply do not need, they need to concentrate on growing up not on losing weight.
I'm sure that you know this, I went to bed emotionally drained and at a loss for words that night.