12 Signs Your Daughter May Have An Eating Disorder

By heather

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With the new year inviting everyone to push re-set on their body weight, it's important to make sure your daughter is getting truthful thoughts downloaded into her heart about her weight. This is especially true considering the rise in eating disorders caused by the pandemic. While there's nothing wrong with wanting to take better care of your body, many girls need mom to help them navigate truth from lies when it comes to body image.

The National Eating Disorder Association found that:

  • 42% of kids in 1st thru 3rd grades wish they were thinner
  • 81% of 10 year-olds are afraid of becoming fat
  • 51% of 9 and 10-year-old girls say they feel better about themselves when they are on a diet

Wonder if your daughter could be falling into the trap of an eating disorder rather than just making healthy changes? Look for these 12 signs:

  • weight loss
  • wearing baggy clothes
  • hair loss
  • increased mood swings
  • perfectionism
  • excessive desire to exercise
  • playing with her food
  • frequent trips to the bathroom - especially following meal time
  • always cold
  • dizziness and headaches
  • negative self-talk
  • increased language of food, eating, exercise and body image.

If your daughter fits the bill, here are four steps to take.

1.) Talk to her. Offer support and safety to her rather than condemnation and fear. Eating disorders can take root for a variety of different reasons. While body-image is the one we think of most often, girls who are perfectionists and find themselves in a difficult season at home or at school can allow their stress to manifest in a need to "control" the situation. When all other situations are out of control, the one thing that she can control is her food. If you present with a controlling attitude, it could backfire.

2.) Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are physicians who are specially trained to help you figure out if your daughter has an eating disorder (anorexia or bulimia, for example), or disordered eating (loss of appetite due to depression or other physical problem.) They can help you determine the best course of action.

3.) Examine your own heart. If you're fighting your own battle with food and body image, your daughter will have a hard time winning hers. Does your daughter hear you speak negatively about yourself, your weight or about others who may be overweight? She listens closely to you and watches everything you say and do. Confess to her if you've been wrong in your thinking of beauty and self-image and turn to the scriptures together for God's truth.

4.) Show Her Truth. Spend time in the scriptures together. God's Word has "the first and last say in all that we do" (2 Corinthians 5:13-14 MSG). Find out what He has to say about beauty, perfection, stress, control and confidence.

True Girl theme verse:

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32

Mom, the best way to teach your daughter to live like an authentic True Girl is to live like an authentic True Woman. And to do that, you've got to get your life lined up with the Truth of the Bible. Listen to Dannah Gresh every weekday on Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth's Revive Our Hearts podcast. The program features biblical teaching, interviews that offer godly advice, and other opportunities to abide in God's Word.





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