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Binge Eating????

Hi Guys,


I would love to hear what young people thnk about my situation. I would love their perspective.

My daughter is 19 and almost finishing 1st year University. SHe lives at home with her Dad and I.


She is recovering from depression ( 2nd time around) and is 5 wks into medication.

She has taken to buying a lot of junk food and eating it her room at night. I 'm unsure whether she thinks we know or not. She has put on weight, and her diet is all over the place. We don't mention any of this, as we have to let the depression meds kick in fully and she is only just starting to talk and share with us again.


I'm unsure whether this is the start of an eating disorder, or just wait and see, or perhaps talk to her when the exams are over. She is a high achieving perfectionist ( always has been) and this compunds the anxiety she feels about events such as exams. Please understand, we DO NOT put pressure on her. This is who she is.

She did say last week that she had "let herslef go"but I don't know whether that was just for my benefit, or she was trying to gauge a reaction from me.


As a parent, you want to protect your child, but as you all know, and so do I, she is an adult.

Would be interested to hear whatyou think. I am wary of driving a wedge between us, and would welcome any comments.



Re: Binge Eating????

Hey Stressed - it's really great that you are here and seeking advice from other young people who might have been in a similar situation to your daughter.. We often find that our young members can give parents a unique insight into communication with their teenage/young adult children.

You obviously love her a lot and want to protect her and help her as much as you can.

I think approaching the conversation without judgement or preconceived ideas is a great start. When it comes to starting a conversation like this you need to take it from her cues and listen out for subtle "invitations" in her regular conversation with you to perhaps talk about this stuff - like when she said to you "let herself go" she could have been testing the water to see how a conversation on this topic might go. I think it could be helpful for you to chat with someone at the Butterfly Foundation. They do amazing work and have a helpline for all sorts of help around body image and disordered eating. Their phoneline is 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673)


You are not alone in being worried about someone's body image/disordered eating but not sure how to start a convo about it. So they even have a factsheet on it! 



Online Community Manager

Re: Binge Eating????

Thanks for the reply. I have rung and spoken to th Butterfly Foundation. They were great, but I also wanted to hear how other people, young and parents, dealt with this situation.

I have also realised that I need to try and relax around her. Time will tell if this works. Uni exams are the first port of call for her, so I wouldn't even think of saying anything until they are over.

No-one ever said parenting was easy. Rewarding - Yes....easy - no.


Re: Binge Eating????

Hey Stressed,

Its great that you have spoken to the Butterfly Foundation, and are taking steps to help your daughter.
I do think waiting until exams are over is a good idea, too much pressure can be a killer. I'm in the middle of my HSC exams still, and despite the extra I've done to relax, I still seem a bit nervous about them.

I don't know enough about medication to make a comment, though could it be a side effect?
Or could it be another reason?

I know myself I tend to binge sometimes. Constantly eating until I cannot physically eat anything else, until there is nothing left. Sometimes it is not a conscience decision, other times it's like I'm trying to fill a whole that, well I just cannot fill. I've found that if I keep myself busy and away from food I tend to only eat when I am hungry and when my body needs it.
I also know that stress tends to increase my likeliness to binge, so for me it's being mindful of my triggers and knowing how to subside them.

I guess the main thing to is let her know your there to support her. Encourage her to find what may trigger a binge for her, and help her find strategies to overcome it.

I hope I've made some sense here, and that it helps. Smiley Happy
Good luck

Remember you're amazing just as you are Heart

Re: Binge Eating????

Hi Bee,


Thanks for taking the time to reply. I know how hard it is for you to stay relaxed during the HSC, so I get that you might be binging then. Good on you for acknowledging it . Hope your exams are going well.


My daughter seems to be talking to me more,and hanging around so she can mindlessly chat. This is a big step forward, so I will just wait and be here for her.

Thank youf ro your concerns, and I will watch and see how I can help. She has taken to watching drivel on the internet as a way of distracting herself from work and study, so perhaps this is a way she can let her mind relax.We will se.


Good luck and thanks again. It is nice ti get a young person's perspective on things.

Stressed  Smiley Happy

Re: Binge Eating????

Sounds like you have a really goos approach to things Stressed, you are giving her the time space to talk to you in her own time which is really supportive and awesome. Make sure you are taking care of yourself too though!! Just like they say on the plane, that you have to attach your own oxygen mask before helping children, you can not support others if you are not supporting yourself first and foremost. Make sure you are doing the things that you know de-stress you (could be exercise, reading, massage, baths, music etc)

Online Community Manager

Re: Binge Eating????

Thanks Sophie,


You are right about looking after yourself. It is so much easier not to stress, if you are in a happy, healthy place.
We seem to be making headway. Daughter didn't go to Uni yesterday, but cleaned up her room, prganised her study notes and said she did some study.

She also seemed quite chirpy and sh even had me make an avatar on a cartoon app so we could "share"". I am looking at these as all very positive signs.

SHe also asked what was for dinner and I told her, SHe screwed up her nose and said couldn't we have something else. I said  ( in a joking manner) "Get over it"and she had dinner.

I am buying fish tonight, so her father can show her how to cook it. (That is a first ).

So we will see.

Yahnks for the support. It has helped me move along a very positive track, and I really appreciate the website.



Smiley Happy



Re: Binge Eating????

Hey @Stressed 


Sometimes night time binge eating in particular is driven by not eating enough throughout the day. Is your daughter managing to eat enoguh during the day? Bingeing is often related to either physically needing to eat more food as a result of not eating enough during the day, or is related to emotions.


I think its an awesome idea to get her involved in cooking with you guys Smiley Happy Its a really hard thing with the depression, as food can sometimes bring comfort when we aren't feeling the best mentally or physically. I think that as she starts to adjust to the new medication and starts to feel a little more on top of the depression, that the food side of things will fall into place. She will probably start to find that she feels better, won't be as stressed with uni, and will be able to relax a bit more. If she is still finding it difficult to control the bingeing then it might be an idea to speak to a nutritionist or dietician, as they can help in setting up not so much a rigid meal plan, but a guide to help manage the bingeing. Sometimes admitting to bingeing can be really confronting and embarrassing, so if this is the case, encourage her to tell you, and remind her there is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrased by. 

Re: Binge Eating????

Hi Butterfly 7,
Thanks for the thoughts. I think at the minute the binging is to do with stress. The meds have made a huge difference in her reactions and perceptions, but the stress may take longer to control. I suppose it could also have become a habit. We are away this weekend and she said she was going to get pizza and eat while watching lectures. I didn't make a fuss and just told her to do what she needed to do.
It is a big step forward that she is sharing what she eats, as this has been a secret with her for a while. She is talking about when Uni finishes so that is a good sign too.
I feel she may have not studied or has missed a few lectures, but that is part of growing up. You make mistakes and you learn from them. That is what I have come to realise. She will always be my baby, but she is an adult, and has to experience he consequences of her actions.
Having said that, I will help her with the depression and eating if asked, because that is not a normal part of everyone's adolescence.
Thanks again,

Re: Binge Eating????

Hi Guys,

Just needed to talk. My husband and I have been away for 3 days, and have come back and this is what I found. Daughter very chatty and obviously missed us, which was lovely. Talked non stop which is most un-like her.


Told us she came home from work sick with gastric. Then also said perhaps she ate too much pizza. Apparently in  my bin were 3 pizza boxes, although that was spread  over the weekend. She also bought hereslf Hungry Jacks, and maltesers (bucket) but gave about 1/2 bucket to my husband.


She went to a study date with her University friends, and attended dance rehearsals.

She also tells me she has been eating Special K over the weekend, and doesn't want tea.


I have let her talkand chat to us, and commiserated that she had been sick. I did say perhaps greasy food doesn't agree with her, and she agreed and said "now you"'re home you can cook tea for me

"Her bedroom door was open and I commented on the maltesers and made a joke saying "half your luck, I love them."She then gave them to my husband, saying that she didn't want any more.

She didnt get cranky with me for asking or looking in her bedroom, which has been an issue in the past.

She also said she is the smallest in her dance class,  and was quite proud of that. I don't know whether she was stating fact for my benefit, or trying to convince herself of that, or what, but I just smiled and let it go.


HELP!!!   AM I doing the right thing by not commenting on it as she has exams coming up? Is this a normal teenage what I can do moment? Is this a Ï'm not really a grown up"moment?. Ïs this a cry for help that I am missing?


I am trying my best to stay calm, and am hoping that it was just a mistake, like going out and getting drunk, (which she doesn't do)


Trying to put this all in perspective.

Looking forward to any comments from parents or anyone that has been in a similar position on either side of the discussion.

Thanks for listening to my stream of thoughts.


Stressed (again)