Monte Nido

Moms Midlife/Changing Bodies during Eating Disorders Caregiving

Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and uses those skills to guide families to let go of fear and panic, learn self-care skills and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this week’s post, Becky offers some inspiration in dealing with challenges mothers face both personally and while caring for their loved ones in eating disorder recovery. 

Coaching moms who have a child in eating disorders recovery unveils a variety of challenges that life throws at them.

In between learning to:

Navigate insurance

​Set healthy boundaries

Create & engage a treatment team

Be calm in the face of terror and chaos

Nurture a marriage & other children who are getting lost in the fray

These women also are also hitting the age at which their body is ‘turning on them’. Okay, well they say it feels like that.

When we hit mid-life and suddenly and we lose energy, can’t sleep, break out in hot flashes, lose our libido, and get foggy minds it takes a toll. Add to that, the body morphs into something that looks like your grandmother’s body overnight, it’s challenging to not begin having negative thoughts about our bodies along with our child in recovery.

In studying eating disorders I’ve learned that many women in “middle age” develop; eating disorders, disordered eating and “Body Dysmorphia” in which we have distorted perceptions of how our bodies look, as our bodies change.  Moms who have a child with an eating disorder aren’t immune to these. After all there is a genetic component to these most deadly illnesses.

My clients often ask how they can be at peace with their own body during this challenging time. Today I’m focusing on the arms specifically…AND…these tools can be used to make peace with any part of your body that has taken up residence in a new locale.

If we don’t laugh, we might cry when our body changes so much we need to buy new, larger clothes and nothing is where it used to be.

Have you ever wondered…

What have my arms ever done TO me?

Like, really….what have they ever done to hurt you?

​Tennis elbow maybe or have been broken?

What have my arms done FOR me?

Carried babies

Rocked sleepy children

Held friends close when they’ve been hurting

Planted a garden

Welcomed people into your home

Operated machinery

Flown a plane

Performed medical treatments

Helped carry your mom when she broke her hip

Danced with loved ones in your arms

Hugged loved ones tight​

My aim is to help us all to appreciate and feel gratitude for the arms we do have.

Working at my computer, the muscles have gotten smaller and the arms have gotten looser, bigger and lower…It’s all part of what happens naturally. AND, I’m working at reclaiming some of my strength so that I can have as much freedom as possible for the next 55 years. 🙂 Yet, even though I know all I do about loving our bodies, it can be weird to watch my body change. And have to buy larger clothes. This is the reality.

When we are parenting a child in eating disorders recovery it is essential that we model body positivity at all times. Not an easy task. Our child needs us to show them (not tell them) how we love our bodies. By doing our parallel process we can help ourselves and our child in recovery.

Here are 5 SIMPLE things we can each do to combat these feelings and thoughts we have about our arms (or other body parts), especially as we are wearing sleeveless tops and swimsuits:

Feel gratitude for what our arms have done for us.

Have gratitude for what our arms can do for us still.

Notice when we have judgment and shift to gratitude.

Stop comparing our arms to what they used to look like and what other’s arms look like.

Go do something with our amazing arms to help someone else.

Will you take the challenge and love your body everywhere you go this fall? Even your amazing arms?

How do we implement all this? I’m going to challenge you to make a list of all the things about your arms for which you have gratitude so that you have it handy to accomplish the 5 steps. Feel free to share the shifts you notice on my Facebook page! Shift does happen. ​

Now, let’s get out there and enjoy!
​Becky

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