We are very religious people. Early on I saw Heavenly Father's hand guiding and helping us.
We live four houses away from a Psychologist (Ph.D) that specializes in eating disorders. They are friends and also attend church with us. We are also very private people. But after lengthy discussions and concerns, we decided it was time to find some help. So I contacted our friend.
This is my email from August 17 (modified to removed names):
I have a concern about N -- and because of your professional training, I'm hoping you might have some recommendations.
N has lost 12 pounds in the last month:
He had a friend tell him that he was fat. I showed him on a chart that he was a perfect weight for his height. He had a pediatrician visit and the doctor also confirmed that N was right where he should be. But N was so concerned about it that he started obsessing about everything he ate. Right now, he won't eat anything with artifical sugar. Which is fine, but his overall caloric intake is so low (especially with him practicing football for two hours every day). I have been able to get him to drink 4 or 6 oz. of gatorade at his football practices -- and I feel like I'm almost forcing him. But I've been so concerned -- especially when he developed a metallic smell to his breath.
Anyway, something about it is self-reinforcing. He has commented that he feels better about himself when he doesn't eat. He also is ALWAYS talking about it -- calories or fat or snack vs. treat. I finally got online and made him a personal "nutrition" chart based on the current recommendations. Again, the obsession with the chart -- and he made comments like, I don't feel good if I eat that much (speaking of the recommended amounts).
Both T and I have been very concerned (enough that I'm contacting you). N knows that I talked to your wife about it. I actually think N realized how seriously we were concerned once he knew that I was asking for help (and I've seen some improvement over the past 24 hours). But he weighed himself this morning and had lost another pound.
Obviously T and I both struggle with weight. I have to watch my sugar because of insulin problems. But we have tried to not dwell on these issues. Since the boys were little, we've always talked about making healthy eating choices and not worrying about weight. We've tried to teach them to be moderate and wise.
So my questions:
Is this just a phase?
How should we respond to N when he obsesses about food?
How should we deal with the issue generally?
The doctor's response was:
*he didn't deal with children.
*to get rid of the scale.
*to deemphasize calories/fat.
*to help him talk/journal about his feelings.
*talk about food as energy.
*look into intuitive eating.
*could be a phase.