Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Letter to my daughter: Mom has an eating disorder

February 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Binge Eating, Food Revolution

Courageous & Brave. These are the two words I use to describe the post you are about to read.

Love2EatInPA, a recovered binger who shared her story anonymously here on her blog at Confessions of a Complusive Eater. She and I discussed this topic quite a bit behind the scenes in the past few weeks, because we have daughters the same age and we both have recovered from an ED.

Needless to say, this is a topic close to my heart. I am concerned about how our blog discussions impact our children. As much as I am all for being real and open with our kids, these topics are deep seeded, and not always easily discussed and explained. But as parents, and body image activists, we have a major responsibility to make sure we are addressing these topics with our kids sooner rather than later. Never assume they don’t know what is going on, our children are very intuitive; they see what you are not doing, they sense your demeanor around food, and they hear every single criticism you make about your self and your body.

Our hope is you will read this loving letter Love2EatInPA wrote to her daughter, and then spend some time thinking about your children and all the kids in your life, to determine if it is time to start talk about these topics if you have not already.



My Dearest Daughter,


Mommy wants to share something with your about herself that I think you are old enough and mature enough to understand.  This is something that is private and personal.  It is just between you, daddy and me.  We will talk to your little brother when he is a little older when he will be old enough to understand.  This is not something that you should talk to your friends about or other members or our family, it’s just between the three of us because we know that we can trust you to keep it private.  If you want to talk to the school guidance counselor about it, you can, but no other adults or kids, ok? Do you have any questions about that?


Do you know what an eating disorder is? …. Eating disorders are an illness, something that people have inside them, something that they can’t control without a lot of help and hard work.  You will probably hear about them in school, you will probably have friends who have them.  There is anorexia, bulimia and compulsive eating.


Mommy has an eating disorder. Mommy is a compulsive eater. This is mommy’s issues, not yours. It started in my childhood.  That means for 30 years or so, Mommy has had an addiction to food.  For a long, long time, mommy would eat tons of food, even when I wasn’t hungry. That is called bingeing.  I did not listen to my body about when I was hungry and when I was full. I would sneak food, hide food and make myself sick from eating too much.


Long before I met daddy and before you were born, mommy’s weight got very high many times.  I would lose weight and gain weight.  I was unhealthy and didn’t feel very good about myself.  It is a terrible feeling to stuff yourself with food until you sick, yet I somehow couldn’t stop.  That’s what compulsive means, it means you don’t think at all, you just do it.  In my case, I would eat a lot of food without thinking about what I was doing.  Again, this is mommy’s problem, not yours. Do you understand what compulsive overeating means?  Do you have any questions about it?


I’m trying very hard to recover from my eating disorder. Thank goodness, mommy has not binged for over two years now. I have lost weight by not binging and by going to the gym.  I got my weight down to a place that my body feels good, strong and comfortable. With daddy’s support and yours too, I can continue to work through this and keep getting better. I know that you see me weighing and measuring my food portions. I weigh and measure my food because I don’t want to lose or gain weight; I know just how much my body needs to keep at my weight. Does any of this surprise you? What do you think when you see me weighing and measuring?


Mommy and daddy are scared that the things you see me doing, as I’m trying to recover my eating disorder, are affecting you and how you may feel about yourself.  Is that true?  Can you share with us your feelings about that?


You are smart, funny, creative and a great daughter. We want you to have self confidence in yourself and proud of who you are.  Mommy and Daddy are certainly very proud of the person that you are.  Those are things that are on the inside of you.  On the outside, you are a beautiful girl.  You should feel great and comfortable with your body. Mommy and daddy have told you this before, but you can be anything you want in your life, whatever you set your mind out to do.


I know you see mommy sitting at the computer a lot and have probably heard me talking about blogging or my blog.  I started a blog a few months ago about my eating disorder, because it is very helpful for me to write down, or journal, about my feelings about this eating disorder.  I have found that there are a lot of women out there who have similar problems with food, so it’s great to ‘talk’ and share with people who understand.  These people help me and I help them as well, which is a great feeling.


Do you have any questions or is there more that I can explain to you?





25 Responses to “Letter to my daughter: Mom has an eating disorder”
  1. MissLori says:

    What a beautifully courageous letter. Thank you for sharing.

    SMILE On!


    • love2eatinpa says:

      thank you! i am so glad i had the conversation with her, it was important that i pulled myself out of denial that she didn’t see what was going on.

      smile on right back at ya! 🙂

  2. Allison (Balance in Bites) says:

    How old is your daughter, if you don’t mind me asking?

  3. Nell says:

    This has me sitting at my computer screen (way too late once again) with tears in my eyes. You are an amazing mother and a wonderful person- I wish that my mom, grandma and others would have had the courage to explain their (to me as a child) messed-up and weird behavior around food. Your daughter is so lucky to have you!

    Thank you for sharing with us. I think I will have warm and fluffy dreams tonight as, despite the serious topic, your letter has made me feel like that inside.

    Congratulations on your bravery, on finding the right words, on making the world a brighter place. Thank you.

    • love2eatinpa says:

      oh wow, thanks so much for your kind words! one of my biggest fears as an eating disordered mom is that i will pass my issues on to my children. i just hope that this opened the door for a comfort level for future conversations.

  4. .C. says:

    My ED is one of the reasons I think I will never have children. I would just mess them up the way I am messed up.


  5. CandiceBP says:

    Beautiful and courageous.

    I have to say that, like “C”, I also thought for a long time I shouldn’t have kids – specifically a girl – because I would mess them up. And I’ve admitted that I’m relieved I’m not having a girl (this time, at least)… but this letter is a beautiful example of how to own and address this idea responsibly and lovingly – with love both for yourself and your child. You’re setting a wonderful example for her and for us.

    • love2eatinpa says:

      thank you, candice. since i didn’t realize i had an ED until a little over two years ago, i wasn’t worrying 10 and 7 years ago when i had my kids. i’d like to think i would have still went on to have my children because the joy they bring far outweighs my food issues.

      yes, it’s one more parenting issue i have to deal with, but i think it’s going to be a positive thing as it has set a nice tone for a more open relationship, especially about food.

      and i have to give much props to mamav for sharing with me some things that i should tell my daughter when i had the conversation with her.

  6. I think you’re so smart to address this with your daughter. Kids do notice our behavior and your honesty with her has opened the door for her to ask questions, express concerns and talk about her own feelings.

  7. So wonderful that you recognize how much of a role model you are for your daughter and had the courage to talk to her directly about your fears. Honesty is really the only way with children.

    • love2eatinpa says:

      my fear, marsha, is that i’m not a good role model for her. however, i’m very happy that i spoke with her and pray that it’s opened the lines of communication for future conversations. i’m inspired to hear how well it worked out for you!

  8. P.S. I told both my children about my eating disorder and it has been a wonderful thing to do. It gives me extra credibility as I try to help them maneuver the body image/food minefield that is the young adult world today.

  9. Simone says:

    Wow, I got a little weepy toward the end there.

    I wonder how my life would have been different if my mom had ever sat me down and said “This is mommy’s issue, not yours.”

  10. love2eatinpa says:

    aw, that’s sweet, simone.

    i thought it was important to tell her that it my was my issue, but she’s so young, i don’t know that she truly got it. i know this is a conversation i will need/want to keep having with her as she gets older.

  11. Rita says:

    I’m so glad this blog was linked, I may have never found it!

    My daughter is 3 and I have had so many journal entries already about how to approach this with her. The measuring, the weighing of food and all the ways I manage the CO/BED to stay healthy. It will be an interesting conversation when it happens and thank you for sharing some nice insightful thoughts on how to make it a successful one.

    You courage is inspiring.

  12. caitlin says:

    i love this letter. thank you for sharing.

  13. Laura Jane says:

    Wow, what a great letter. I literally had tears running down my face as I read it.

  14. H says:

    Thank you, thank you! I am a recovering bulimic with a daughter and often second triple quadruple guess myself on how to communicate with my daughter and what, if, and how to say! I am as a mom hyper-vigilant about trying to keep food and body issues out of the house but struggle with finding the balance…. Its hard because you want your daughter to NEVER have to suffer food issues but to find the balance between avoiding it and discussing it is hard! Thank you for your bravery and letter, hugs to you!


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] is the letter I wrote and read to her, to get the conversation going… MamaV just posted it on We Are The Real Deal but I think this topic is an important one and I wanted to post it here as […]

  2. […] “Letter to My Daughter: Mom Has an Eating Disorder” from We Are the Real Deal […]

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