Twenty six ago, when I was 16, my mum took me to our doctor. He measured my height and then asked me to stand on the scales. He then asked me to have a look at my stomach. He pointed out a coat of extremely fine body hair covering my skin, which he called lanugo.

The doctor told my mother and I that I had Anorexia Nervosa. He simply told my mum to buy me a nutrition book! Back then there wasn’t a lot of information around on anorexia and no Internet to research!

As soon as we got outside the doctor’s office I started laughing, much to my poor mother’s horror! I just couldn’t believe what he had said. It must be a joke? Me… Anorexic!?! The fat chubby kid; the biggest girl in the class; the overweight one; the one who couldn’t wear tight clothing?

I knew I had dropped a few dress sizes. I knew I didn’t eat much, and thought A LOT about food and how to find ways not to have to eat it. I knew I wanted to eat, but wouldn’t allow myself to. I knew something wasn’t quite right, but the problem was (I realize as I look back) that I didn’t know how to stop dieting.

I felt that suddenly, for the very first time in my life, I was good at something. I was the actually the best at something. I was the skinniest in the room. I ate the least. I was the best at being thin!

And I didn’t know how to give that up. Nor did I want to. I never felt good at anything as a kid. I felt uncomfortable in my body. I felt shy and awkward. I felt unpopular and strange.

I felt that I could start a new life in my new body. I was just about to start University. I could find new friends to hang out with, who accepted and liked the new me. I could be a new person in my new skinny bones.

But it didn’t turn out that way. Anorexia actually just pushed me further and further into isolation, self-destruction, and depression. I couldn’t make friends because people seemed afraid of the way I looked. I saw pity in their eyes when they looked at me. I avoided all social situations because it always involved food.

The thing is Anorexia doesn’t just happen to 16 year olds. It can happen at 6, 16, 26, 36 or 46 years of age!

As a mother, a recovered Anorexic, and an Eating Psychology Coach, my advice is teach your children to NEVER diet and not to use the the word “fat” or talk about weight.

Cease your own body image and eating concerns first and foremost – because you are passing your own issues down to your children. If you don’t recover first, then any therapy your child will need won’t be effective, because you are the one who needs to heal first.

Essentially it is always critical to promote your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem, praise their natural abilities, help them set achievable goals, compliment them as much as possible and give them as much of your time as possible. And if they are showing warning signs of Anorexia, it is important to get help immediately. The longer the wait, the more difficult it is to recover.

Susannah McAlwey

Sensitive. Sanguine. Sincere.

I miraculously healed myself from a 25 year chronic combined anorexic/ bulimic/ binge eating disorder, despite numerous medical professionals telling me I would “never” recover!

My 25 years of hell was beyond a nightmare with infinite hospitalisations, almost dying from a potassium deficiency, lying to everyone I loved, feeling constant shame and guilt, not being truly connected to anyone, feeling misunderstood by everyone, avoiding any social situation around food, being unable to keep a job or relationship, despising myself every minute of every day, and not living the life I was meant to live – in supposedly some of the best years of my life.

I can tell you infinite stories of my addiction, as well as my road to recovery. I can tell you how I cured myself 100% with no lingering symptoms, and I can help you do the same!

I call myself “The Nourishment Coach” because I believe eating disorders, disordered eating, body image concerns and obsessions with food and weight stem from issues well beyond food and eating. I believe they can be cured by true self nourishment.

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