Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Watching Carefully

Last night I overheard T asking N if he was restricting. I still haven't found out what that was about. I did notice last night that he was acting extremely self-conscious. This morning, with plenty of time to get ready for school, he couldn't decide what to wear. He worked it out, but pushed himself up to the last minute. He has pared down the shirts he is willing to wear, to about four. Everything else is too little, too big or "fits me weird." He also was going to grab something for breakfast and eat on the run. I let him know that that would never be an option.

All of these things are little clues to watch carefully. I'm not sure what is happening, but these are the moments when my job is to prevent any possible relapse.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


N weighed 113 lbs with his clothes on last Sunday. I let him see his weight. I'm not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing -- but I thought he might be ready.

We've been talking to him specifically about his OCD stuff. He tells me that things are better. So, what is better? He said that instead of having 50 different OCD things, he now only has 4 or 5. One of remaining OCD things is the way he walks to school -- always stepping onto the north side of the driveway (I'm not sure all the intricacies involved). But I said, "Cut across the grass!" He hesitated, smiled, and trotted across the lawn. I can tell that he is winning more of those battles.

He attended his first junior high dance last week. He was particularly picky that morning -- I worried that it was anorexia, but maybe it's just normal 7th grade anxiety. He didn't dance with any girls -- said he almost got the nerve, but then the dance ended. He also attended a football game with dad and some neighbors. He told me that he "felt anorexic." I pried, "what does that mean?" He responded that he felt fat and very self-conscious. We talked about how every other 7th grader in the world probably feels similarly. But then he clarified that it made him ALMOST not have a snack. There's the danger - the restricting. But he was okay. Good deal.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I weighed N yesterday. He is a little over 112 lbs. Overall, we haven't seen the anorexia for a while now. I did find out that N was skipping lunch on his P.E. days. I nipped that right away. He said he was concerned that eating lunch would make him sick in P.E. if he played hard (he has P.E. right after lunch). It doesn't seem like he lost any weight because of it. But he was ravenous as he walked in the door from school. In fact, he was a little irrational and cranky as he inhaled all the food in our house -- it's what made me ask if he'd eaten lunch.

He broke his wrist two weeks ago. He tripped while running in the halls at school. He has a compression fracture. He was cleared for soccer, but not a lot of P.E. activities (like volleyball and basketball). I'm okay with that. We're easing into his exercise slowly. His wrist reduces the amount of exercise he gets each day. I think that's better overall. They didn't put a cast on his arm, but he has to wear a splint (wrist guard) 24/7 for a month.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dodging the Land Mines

My son is working on becoming an Eagle Scout and has to pass off the Personal Fitness Merit Badge. We're having to make some modifications because of my son's struggles with anorexia.

Anyway, I spoke with the merit badge counselor today. He is a professor of exercise science. He was willing to work with us, but I could tell that he had preformed ideas about anorexia and maybe thought I was a little crazy. I've had that same response from others with medical/professional backgrounds. [It's also possible that I'm just reacting defensively.]

I guess I'm surprised that those most rigid in their opinions about anorexia are professionals with very limited knowledge and exposure to anorexia. I tried to educate him, but I felt like that because I'm not a professional, he really didn't think I knew what I was talking about.

In contrast, our therapist who specializes in eating disorders has admitted that he doesn't know/understand everything about anorexia. In fact our therapist treats us like we're the professionals. Our neighbor, who is a therapist at an eating disorder clinic, admitted that they come out of college with maybe a one hour class on eating disorders and that any specialization comes as they get jobs in the field (and are subsequently trained by the "older" generation who are familiar with the old research and ideas). He admitted that they don't start out up-to-date on the the current information in the field because of that. Our own therapist is a good humble man. I can tell that he does his best to keep up on current research, but was willing to acknowledge that he doesn't know everything.

Here are the scout requirements for which we've requested alternatives:

Response Questions:
#3 D) Are your body weight and composition what you would like them to be and do you know how to modify it safely through exercise, diet, and behavior modification?
#5 D) The three components of a sound weight (fat) control program.
(We've requested that he completely skip this step.)

Have your parent, counselor, or other adult take and record the following measurements:
A) Circumference of the right upper arm, midway between the shoulder and the elbow, with the arm hanging naturally and not flexed.
B) Shoulders, with arms hanging by placing the tape two inches below the top of the shoulder and around the arms, chest, and back during breath expiration.
C) Chest, by placing the tape under the arms and around the chest and back at the nipple line during breath expiration.
D) Abdomen circumference at navel level (relaxed).
E) Right thigh, midway between the hip and the knee.
After the 12th week, repeat all four tests, record your results, and show improvement in each one. Compare and analyze your pre-program and post-program body composition measurements.
(He'll skip this requirement as well.)

12-Week Fitness Program:
(We've requested that his PE class take the place of any additional fitness requirements.)