About the Author
Lee Blum is a Health Educator at an Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Minnesota. In addition to this, Lee works on the Eating Disorder and Chemical Dependency team helping those, who struggle with a dual diagnosis of ED and CD, find hope and freedom. Lee Blum is also the author of the book, “Table in the Darkness – A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder”, which has been available since January 2014. She has three boys and continues her work to this day.
Like Mother, Like Daughter
She hid the cookies deep in the farthest part of the silverware drawer. The fridge was full of food she never touched. Well, except for the Slim Fast drinks that littered the shelves I was paying attention to her every move. How could I not, she was my mother. It was clear to me that she had an eating disorder.
Busy was her mantra, busy stole away the time it took to eat. Because busy was how mothers were supposed to operate. Frantically running about too busy to eat. Providing and sacrificing for everyone else, never sitting down to actually eat the meal. Never taking time to nurture or allow her body what it needed. And I adopted those words too, “I am too busy to eat.” I wrote about this journey in my memoir, Table in The Darkness – A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder.
It took me years to find my own way, to learn how to feed my body, to deny what I was modeled and instead take care of myself. I had to beat my eating disorder that I had developed.
Contemplating the Blame
Was it her fault? Did she cause this in a daughter who watched her every move, who followed her every turn, who hung on her every conversation? Was she to blame for my eating disorder?
No. And Yes.
No, because my personality type and my addictive genetic predisposition tipped me over the edge of balance, led me to the place of not being able to stop. No because I also struggled with depression, and the depression further fueled my desire to not eat.
And yes. Yes in that I had one model of eating. Her and her eating disorder. I had one model of how to view my emerging and changing body. And while she would tell me to love my body and to eat, her actions showed me otherwise. I watched, I modeled, and I even when I tried not to, couldn’t deny what I was shown: my mother introduced me to the evil of an eating disorder.
And as I wander around this world speaking to women’s groups and working with patients struggling with eating disorders, I find myself baffled at this destructive mentality that is so pervasive with women.
Do Mothers Cause Eating Disorders?
No, mothers don’t cause eating disorders. But, YES, mothers…they are watching!
Check out what a recent study that focused broadly on appearance and, more narrowly, on how a girl’s self-image is shaped by her mom’s own self-talk discovered:
Fifty-five percent of surveyed moms admitted to complaining about their own looks, frequently in front of their daughters. Weight was the most common complaint, with 76 percent of moms saying they often talk about wanting to lose weight.
Such comments have a profound effect on our daughters. If a girl hears her mom voice negative thoughts about her own looks, she learns to be self-critical. She learns to seek out problems and focus on what she doesn’t like about herself
You might think she doesn’t notice your eating disorder. She does. You might think it doesn’t matter. It does. You might think it is normal and part of being a woman to not eat, to deny your body what it needs. It isn’t. I can’t soften this message, I want to. I want to hug you and embrace you and tell you it will be ok. But, I need you to know the truth. You matter. The way you treat your body matters.
We are raising a society of girls and boys with a fear of not measuring up. A fear of fitting into this “skinny ideal” that doesn’t exist.
If you are struggling with providing your body what it needs, maybe you need to talk with someone? Maybe you could benefit from seeing a registered dietitian or a therapist? I don’t want you to hide in shame about this, I want you to hear this message and do something different. Let us raise a generation of women that are able to say, “I am hungry. I am going to feed my body.” Let our little girls see us and model healthy behaviors that will carry them strongly through life!
If You Loved This Article, Check These Out! Seconds To Snap! A Memoir Of Anorexia And Survival, Bulimia Hide and Seek, and Fashion Said My Curly Hair Is Kinky! Guess What? I like it! &Fashion Said My Curly Hair Is Kinky! Guess What? I like it!