This post deal with eating disorders, and could be triggering for some readers.
I’m helping my eight-year-old clean her room when I see the candy wrappers. They’re tucked under her dresser in a neat little pile.
"Those go in the trash," I say to her. "And you know we don’t eat in the bedroom." Our eyes meet and I give her a meaningful look. I see you, it says. I get it. I’m here for you.
Her eyes get stormy, the same way they do when she gets in trouble for cheating at brushing her teeth or for writing her name on the wall in black Sharpie. Stop looking at me. Nothing to see here. Did she learn that look from me?
I sigh. I don’t know how to do this.
Watch: How to improve your daughter's body image. Post continues below.
My little girl has sparkling blue eyes. She’s bright far beyond her years. She’s physically solid and emotionally sensitive. She is unabashedly herself, for better or for worse. She does what she wants, when and how she wants to do it.
She’s just like me, and that scares me to death.
My eating disorder started in primary school.
The first time I binged, I wasn’t yet 10 years old.
I had a special sandwich I liked, and I spent the afternoon making and then eating sandwich after sandwich. I was proud of myself for being able to make my own meal, and my mother seemed quite impressed, as well. And so I just kept going, over and over. Make, eat, repeat.
It became less cute as I got older. I would kick an entire box of crackers an hour after my mum had brought them home from the store, or systematically eat snack cake after snack cake as my parents slept at night.