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  • Help with Bulemic 16yo

    Really good news this evening - my 16yo daughter has told me that she's sick of being sick and that as I don't seem to get ill she wants to try my diet. However, she does have an unresolved eating disorder involving bingeing and purging.

    So I'm looking for any help I can get to help her succeed. Ideas?
    Four years Primal with influences from Jaminet & Shanahan and a focus on being anti-inflammatory. Using Primal to treat CVD and prevent stents from blocking free of drugs.

    Eat creatures nose-to-tail (animal, fowl, fish, crustacea, molluscs), a large variety of vegetables (raw, cooked and fermented, including safe starches), dairy (cheese & yoghurt), occasional fruit, cocoa, turmeric & red wine

  • #2
    I had someone very special to me who struggled with the same issue. Best thing you can do for her is get her to a good counselor if she isn't already to help her through this and offer your support. If she's receptive, give her the book and answer any questions she may have. Sorry, nothing earth shattering, but just my opinion.
    You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

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    • #3
      She'll need some therapy to get at the issues that are causing the ED. But in the meantime, WRT food, a planned, structured meal plan with her input of what she's eating is good (e.g. 3 set meals and 3 set snacks, but it can start with just 3 set meals). If she doesn't eat everything, don't freak. Give her encouragement that it's something she needs to slowly recover from. Don't keep snack foods in the house. If she confesses to binging and/or purging episodes, encourage her honesty because she'll have setbacks and will need to hear that it's not the end of the world and she can beat this one meal at a time. Encourage her to keep a journal to write out all the impulsive thoughts of binging/purging/laxatives/exercise. If there are certain times in the day that are worst, spend that time doing something with her, like a easy walk, movie or boardgame. I hope this helps and I wish you and your daughter the best in overcoming this.

      edit: spelling and clarification

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      • #4
        Question - does she ever binge on things that don't involve sugar and/or grains?

        I would bet that if you start her on three solid meals a day, each consisting of a good serving of meat/eggs and some good natural fats, that over time, her purging will slow. I strongly suspect, and see more and more evidence, that bulimia is a symptom of carb addiction combined with the distorted body image of anorexia. Others can give you good leads on the latter issue, but I think the big missing in most bulimia treatment programs (a dear friend just sent her daughter to one and they literally forced her to eat pancakes and syrup, or a similar equivalent, each morning to get to a certain calorie count) is grain/sugar addiction.

        It seems terribly cruel to me to force bulimics to eat in limited amounts the very foods that, once eaten, shout at you constantly to eat more more more. I've long thought that bulimia is just another way to cope with the constant cravings that come with sugar/grain addiction. For me, I coped by skipping meals b/c, as I put it, I "didn't have the guts" to purge.
        5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
        Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
        Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
        Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
        ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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        • #5
          Wow mamagrok--fascinating. This (bulimia) is something I've struggled w/ _a lot_ in the past. I was also a TOTAL carb/sugar 'junkie' b/4 changing my diet. I'd love to read more on this--it makes a lot of sense to me.
          My Before/After Pics
          Are you new here? Be sure to check these links FIRST, before reading anything on the forum! Succeed & PB 101

          "I am a work in progress." -Ani DiFranco

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MamaGrok View Post
            Question - does she ever binge on things that don't involve sugar and/or grains?

            I would bet that if you start her on three solid meals a day, each consisting of a good serving of meat/eggs and some good natural fats, that over time, her purging will slow. I strongly suspect, and see more and more evidence, that bulimia is a symptom of carb addiction combined with the distorted body image of anorexia. Others can give you good leads on the latter issue, but I think the big missing in most bulimia treatment programs (a dear friend just sent her daughter to one and they literally forced her to eat pancakes and syrup, or a similar equivalent, each morning to get to a certain calorie count) is grain/sugar addiction.
            Superb post.

            The thought at the beginning is highly suggestive. The force-feeding bit is enlightening, too. There's often a thought that "psychological" problems need medical help just as "physical" ones would. However, first, it's not always clear what's mental and what's physical, or even if there is a useful distinction to be drawn much of the time. Secondly, psychology is by no means a hard science - and far less so than medicine. When it comes to, say, depression what's been on offer but Freud or Prozac? Neither works. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is better, but really you don't know what you're getting with psychologists, still less "therapists". What they do to people in response to whatever theory they've currently got in mind might help, might not, or might be counter-productive.

            I tried following up your thought by googling "paleo diet bulimia". I ended up bouncing around some forums, and in the end got back to something that sounds quite interesting:

            The causes are as yet unknown, but are likely to vary from person to person.

            However, research carried out in Sweden and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that in some cases an autoimmune disorder may be partly to blame.

            Autoimmune disorders occur when the body's immune system turns against itself. It is responsible for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and multiple sclerosis, and if the Swedish research is confirmed, anorexia and bulimia could join them.

            Serguei Fetissov and colleagues, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, analyzed blood serum from female patients diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia or both (individuals often suffer from both disorders at the same time). The blood of many of the patients contained antibodies that disrupt the body's regulation of food intake and body weight.
            http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-b...0021219rh.html

            That news story dates back to 2002. I wonder if anything's been done since.

            If a "psychological" approach doesn't mean some kind of (perhaps ethically questionable) accustoming therapy, then it might well mean cross-questioning some poor girl, trying to get her to dig through her life and find emotional conflicts and problems. And at the end of that she might well end up convinced that someone or something is a problem even if she'd never thought that before just through the power of suggestion - the insistence that something must be there. And perhaps all the time it's carbs - or even an autoimmune problem. There may be some emotional element there even if there is a physical cause at the bottom, but why not at least begin with a Primal diet and see how it goes. If there's a possibility of autoimmunity problems maybe go really strict with it at first - not just no grains and legumes, but no dairy and possibly no nightshades and even no nuts.
            Last edited by Lewis; 08-11-2010, 11:02 AM.

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            • #7
              Cillakat has posted replies to threads here in which she talks about EDs being exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies, in particular zinc deficiency. Here's one of those posts. I don't know anything about this subject myself, but I figured it may be useful for you.
              "mayness, you need to have a siggy line that says "Paleo Information Desk" or something!" -FMN <3

              I'm blogging again, at least a little bit.

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              • #8
                i also agree that eating disorders stem from nut. deficiencies. i had some issues when i was younger and could absolutely not stand breakfast(or any other meals really) which is a symptom of zinc deficiency. i got better when i quit being vegetarian and went low carb. when she is being fed properly and is getting enough fat she should be a-ok. i am sorry to hear this about your daughter but i am happy that she came to you for help. definitely a good sign;-)
                Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that's bad for you! ~Tommy Smothers

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                • #9
                  If she isn't receiving professional help, I'd advise you to get that for her ASAP. EDs are not something to play around with.

                  However, I also agree that nutrition is a key factor. I'm on a low carb board, and many bulimics have reported fewer episodes if they remain low carb. But many people with ED also report being unable to control their problem with diet alone. In fact, the 'restriction' that's perceived in limiting certain foods often causes problems for people with a history of ED who had thought they'd overcome the problem.

                  If I were in your situation, I would look for a professional who is open to exploring nutritional options as part of the process.

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                  • #10
                    Why not ask the "Paleo" team if they know of any work on bulimia and diet?

                    http://www.thepaleodiet.com/contact_us/

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MamaGrok View Post
                      I would bet that if you start her on three solid meals a day, each consisting of a good serving of meat/eggs and some good natural fats, that over time, her purging will slow.
                      I meant, "her bingeing will slow," which would naturally reduce the need to purge.

                      Thanks for your enlightening thoughts and research, Lewis!

                      And perhaps all the time it's carbs - or even an autoimmune problem.
                      And what is the most effective treatment for autoimmune diseases? Cutting out the grains/sugars. Same solution.

                      With regard to "restricting," I think if I had this struggle present in my family, I'd be sure the whole family ate this way. Eating only real foods, no sugars, and few or no grains (only properly prepared ones when eaten) is good for everybody. Time and time again I see families distraught with severe allergies, chronic digestive disorders, etc., struggle with "putting her on a special diet," but the fact is, the suggested "diet" is what I do and I don't have any chronic diseases! This is the way we were *made* to eat. It's not restrictive except in the sense that you restrict poisons. No one should eat poisons.

                      I think that mixing a physical (primal diet) and psychological (whatever is best in that area, I have no idea) approach seems very sane. The current approaches seem to be purely psychological (as in the treatment program that was solely dedicated to "you're special & beautiful" and "eat enough so you don't die!") or perhaps too focused on finding out the specific physical mechanisms without the big picture - is it our DIET that is causing this to begin with? I don't think Weston Price saw bulimics in any of the numerous societies he visited.

                      Now, you're going to have the same problem that all sugar addicts have - it's HARD to let go of the grains & sugars. That's not specific to bulimics. It's HARD for me, even though I've never purged or starved or been underweight or morbidly obese. But there are things you can do - most specifically, increasing the amount of proteins and natural fats in each meal of the day before thinking about what foods to remove. Doing that naturally reduces the cravings to a more manageable level.

                      Starting the day with pancakes and syrup ramps up the binge impulses, the exact opposite of what you want to do. Bacon & eggs, please!!
                      Last edited by MamaGrok; 08-11-2010, 01:41 PM. Reason: poor missing ) !
                      5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                      Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                      Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                      Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                      ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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                      • #12
                        I don't have any additional advice for you (ultimately, you and your daughter will be able to decide what is the best course of action based on what you feel is the root cause), but wanted to share something. For most of my life I have had an unhealthy relationship with food, not an eating disorder in the traditional sense, but definitely control issues. Since starting to eat primal, they have literally disappeared. Now, I'm not saying that just eating this way will make that happen for your daughter, but I think being open to the possibility of it maybe happening would be really good.

                        What I believe has changed it for me was the nutritional deficiencies that people mentioned. Saturated fat, Vitamin D, Zinc, Fish Oil, etc. I honestly don't really think about/plan food hardly at all anymore which is pretty much unheard of. I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. Best of luck to you and your daughter!

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                        • #13
                          The bulemia ADHD connection. While I quit puking when I was around 26, I didn't quit binging (mostly) until I was taking medication for ADHD.

                          I'd been an active bulemic for 13 or so years.....like really active. Then I literally got too busy to continue the behavior. *ftmp*...working, engaged, married, working, pregnant, mothering tiny things

                          http://adhd-treatment-options.blogsp...onnection.html

                          The impulse control part of compulsive eating/bulemia leads me to believe that there is a *strong* correlation with ADHD.



                          iherb referral code CIL457- $5 off first order

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                          • #14
                            I'm going to disagree - I haven't read the links, but are feelings from personal experience. I think simple nutritional deficiencies can manifest as cravings, which may led to some binging. But it's not the binging of ED. This is eat until it hurts and then eat some more because it's comfort food. Therapy for a mind that is not functionally properly. Then when the realization of how much was eaten hits them, if they can't handle that, compensation of some form occurs. I think that EDs may lessen with a Primal diet because the brain is being fed the stuff that it needs to heal and function properly. Or perhaps PB takes away the components of the SAD that were inflicting damage to the brain. The reactions to life situations are then not as severe and so takes away the need to binge. I've been trying hard to be 95% these last 2 weeks and I've been amazed at how good my mood is, how much better I'm handling stressors.

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                            • #15
                              This is eat until it hurts and then eat some more because it's comfort food. Therapy for a mind that is not functionally properly. Then when the realization of how much was eaten hits them, if they can't handle that, compensation of some form occurs.
                              This is how my eating was - the amounts, at least, if not the need to find solace for some pain. The immense binge, followed by the guilt and eating even when you already feel horrible from what you ate. I know a lot of everyday people with all sorts of body sizes who have done this. I think it's fairly common for people not to realize how common it is.

                              I'm just thinking bulimia may = sugar addiction + self-image disorder or some other neurological issue. I don't know anything about the second half of the equation.


                              I'm so glad to hear you're holding up better. What an accomplishment you have in changing things around!
                              5'4" 39yo mother to five sweeties & married to their AMAZING DaddyGrok
                              Current Weight: 175lb__________________________________Goal: 135lb
                              Deadlift: 240lb________________________________________Back Squat: 165lb
                              Bench: 130lb__________________________________________Pre ss: 85lb
                              ***Winning a 20-year war against binge eating disorder***

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