For as long as I can remember, I have always told my daughter that everybody is different. Equally important, if not MORE important; every BODY is different.
When she was around 3 or 4, she said to me that she wished her hair was long and blind. At first I didn’t get it and I thought to myself that will never happen. I could not contain my laughter once I realized that she meant blonde.
Her comment convinced me that it was time to start building and reinforcing her confidence and self-esteem. I explained to her that she was a beautiful little girl with black hair and her hair would never be blind. That still makes me laugh!
The remainder of the conversation isn’t clear, it’s been over 12 years, but I’m certain I assured her that she was the most beautifuliest thing in the world.
As she got older, I continued to express that she was beautiful not because of her physical attributes, but because she was a beautiful person on the inside who walks to her own beat.
She was fierce…and I love it.
Last fall I was confronted with a challenge that I don’t think any parent is ever prepared to deal with, but when a challenge involves your child, just like that – with a quickness, you’re Johnny on the Spot. I’m not going to lie, there is no way in hell I was prepared nor did I ever think I would have to fight a battle against, for and alongside my daughter to beat an eating disorder.
Shortly before Thanksgiving 2013, the Diva, my beautiful Diva, was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa – the fear of gaining weight. Initially I blamed myself. Why wouldn’t I? I introduced her to MyFitnessPal. They say hindsight is 20/20. Looking back on my actions, inadvertently I taught her the maintenance and weight loss technique of CCR – Cut, Count, Restrict.
Cut carbs, cookies, cakes, chips eliminate the things prohibiting your weight loss or causing your weight gain. Count points, calories, sheep just figure it out. Restrict whatever necessary (alcohol, fruit, water etc.) to help you reach your goal.
She witnessed results of my relentless determination. I was going HAM 5 days a week 2 hours a day at Planet Fitness. Often there were times we worked out together. She tracked her progress. She became an expert.
Now, as I schedule a series of doctor appointments, I realize it’s been almost a year since I first noticed there might be a problem. I wish I would have gone with my maternal instinct and nipped it in the bud, but like so many others, I didn’t recognize the problem until it became a PROBLEM.
Initially the psychiatrist wanted her to enter a partial hospitalization program for eating disorders – immediately! Finals week and winter break were quickly approaching. Rather than disrupt her school schedule, we decided that if she could not/would not/did not improve her eating habits she’d begin treatment in January.
Over the holidays she made progress and no longer qualifies as a candidate for an eating disorder hospitalization program. However it was advised that I seek the help of a therapist and dietician specializing in eating disorders to help her relearn how to eat while making healthy choices and to improve personal body image confidence.
An eating disorder does not develop overnight and like anyone else the Diva is a work in progress. I made her fierce. When you know better, you do better. This time she’ll be unstoppable!
I’m Just Sayin’…Damn!