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5 Steps to Help Your High School Student Overcome an Eating Disorder

November 5, 2009

By Lori Hanson

Have you met Belinda? She’s your typical high school student. Interested in boys, worried about her grades, has a love/hate relationship with her parents, fights with her siblings and can’t wait to get her driver’s license. But she is hiding a big secret. Like other girls Belinda isn’t completely satisfied with how she looks, but the casual conversation about her weight with friends is an obsession when she’s alone.

Belinda is bulimic. But no one knows. When she gets frustrated, angry or depressed she’s discovered that food, specifically macaroni and cheese, pizza, ice cream, cookies and candy bars help her numb out to all the drama in life she can’t—or doesn’t want to deal with. So, when no one else is around she eats. And eats, and eats until she can’t move. But unlike other bulimics who purge Belinda compensates by over-exercising and using laxatives. It helps her keep the weight off so no one will know.

Both Belinda’s parents and her friends have started to notice that some days she is withdrawn. Her parents don’t understand the change they see in her. These are the days after she binges. All the sugar from the sweets and “white flour foods” she eats leave her lethargic and depressed.

It’s now become an obsession she can’t stop and she’s scared. Her energy isn’t what it used to be and she finds it hard to concentrate on her studies. She doesn’t know these are side effects of her bingeing and the lack of nutrition in her diet.

Do you know anyone like Belinda? It’s not just girls any more. Young girls and boys obsess excessively about their bodies, food and dieting. They may start to withdraw and have a pre-occupation with celebrities, models and how they “should” look. So how can Belinda get help and recover from her eating disorder?

1 – Balance body chemistry with nutrition and supplements

In addition to psychological issues, there are chemical imbalances from the lack of nutrition and bingeing on comfort foods high in sugar (pizza, cookies, cakes, pasta, ice cream, etc.) that contribute to bingeing. Sugar is addictive and contributes to cravings for more sugar and carbs.

2 – Improve Self-Esteem

In order to recover from her eating disorder Belinda needs to improve her self-esteem so she can feel good about herself and her body. Once she learns how to accept and love herself and overcome her insecurities it will be easier for her to recover.

3 – Understand the causes of her eating disorder

Belinda needs to spend time with a professional who can help her identify the causes of her eating disorder. Typical contributors are problems with family relationships, trauma and/or sexual abuse, media influence and obsession with the perfect body, difficult transition from adolescence to adulthood.

4 – Embrace the power of her subconscious mind

In order to fully overcome her eating disorder Belinda must learn to reprogram her negative thoughts and behaviors. By creating positive affirmations and intentions she can begin to shift her thoughts and focus to support her in a positive way.

5 – Improve mental and physical health with body work

The final step in gaining recovery involves reconnecting her mind and body. Belinda lives in her head and analyzes every thing to death. She’s not in touch with her body or how she feels physically. By using meditation, acupuncture and other alternative modalities to restore energy flow from head to toe Belinda can learn to stay in the moment and express her emotions in a healthy way. By incorporating yoga and Tai Chi into her exercise program she will stay in touch with her body and connect with her authentic self. These are some of the “Hot” Pastry Principles that will lead Belinda to connect with her authentic self and live a healthy normal life.

To help your teenager and get advice to you’re looking for, visit our online community where both you and your teen can attend bi-monthly eating disorder support calls, special classes and get more resources you need to help the family.


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