National Eating Disorders Association

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Hey buddy,

You wrote :

" She's not talking (well giving me one-word answers) and is even blaming the climate in our home on our little dog, she want's to control everything, and when she's alone with the dog and it wants to play for a bit, and she doesn't well... again it's a control issue."

I'm sorry that she's being so non-responsive, and seems to be deflecting her anger off in all sorts of random directions. My sense is that she knows that much of this stuff has to do with issues regarding her eating disorder, and is beginning to feel a bit backed into a corner with it all.

As you said, it may revolve around control as well. Not so much that she is in control, but the fact that she realizes that she's not really in control of it now. Which is frequently the sort of realization that brings about reactions like this. The person has worked so darn hard at restricting, and exerting the terrific discipline that's involved in starving themselves like that, that it can come as a real shock to them when they realize that now they can't stop restricting. even if they wanted to.

Which means that rather than being in control, things have moved beyond their control instead.

And now their loved ones are expecting them to do something about it, when in the back of their minds they know they can't.

People can really find themselves on edge when they find themselves in that position, and that sounds like where she's finding herself now.

How she's going to come to terms with this helplessness will be the thing I think. Finally admitting that there's this huge thing that they are NOT in control of pretty much goes against every single thing they've been working towards.

So yeah, the "coming to terms" thing. That sounds like the next step in all of this, and it's really not an easy step to take.

Bob J.

Circle back.. Trainer/Nutritionist for couples.

Bob, I'm very heartened that you're out there and giving a damn about my wife and I.

I hope my feedback helps others too.

Well after my getting frank about the situation here is what happened.

She kinda cooled her anger and seemed a little happier.

I don't know if it was out of spite, or if she realized she hit the wall or just nothing; but she went a certain amount of days without running on that damn treadmill. AND!!!! She ate some normal portions and was even eating a certain food... It was remarkable.
I kept my mouth shut... as rubbing stuff in anyone's nose etc is not a good thing.

I was going to tell her that it's nice to sit across from her and not worry about what she wasn't eating.... me just biding my time and realizing it may be temporary as she's danced up to the line before. It's just nice to see her make something that looks like a normal portion and eat it and not pick at it. It's stunning that it happened.

I brought up in our mini argument that I was kicking myself for not "green lighting " her getting a trainer a few years ago, and that her workouts were missing ONE thing and that was the Fuel.

Well I told her I've let my upper body kinda go to heck, and my cardio stamina is not what it should be so we went TOGETHER to a trainer today, like a date and at our mutual agreement. The guy is a great fit he is a certified Trainer and NUTRITIONIST, and has an Olympic Gold medal for a team sport many years ago... he's 63 and looks fantastic. His attitude about the body being the most valuable asset we have rings very true.

It's funny our evaluation is exactly what I've been seeing with her... she "looks pretty fit" but is pretty weak for actual strength. Me, he found exactly what I knew... cardio is kinda off for an my upper body needs some work.

So I'm signing up with her to go twice a week to train and listen to this man. He was delighted that we didn't eat out much... I had to almost go cross eyed when my wife said she was "addicted to chocolates and ice-cream" I won't do portions and stuff, and I'll give her that she does eat some of that but her restraint is the envy of every other 50ish yr old she female knows, via/examples of my previous testimony.

I hope this bring she and I closer. I have no issue with my wife's desire to be fit and trim... but getting her on a the same page with a Nutritionist (I didn't know he had that cert. until our first meeting today) seems to be money well spent.

I'll circle back in a couple weeks.

Post Edited

Hi vlostwalt,We are glad that you are finding support here on the NEDA forums. A portion of your post was edited due to the mention of specific numbers and specific foods that may be triggering to other forum members. Our community guidelines are always available to review here: In the event you need further assistance please call the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday 9:00AM-9:00PM Friday 9:00AM-5:00PM EST). Again, thank you for posting, and we hope you will continue to do so!

Back at you.

Hey V,

I'm glad to hear that the emotional stuff seems to have settled down for now. That sort of scattered anger, it really can be a sign of different sorts of inner turmoil that they are dealing with.

And yeah, good that you held your tongue when you saw her eating somewhat normally again. After all, it's not really about us ( well, in theory at least) but about them working on things themselves.

You'll have to see how things go with the gym. People can go overboard there too, as it can hold a lot of the "control" elements that eating disorders do. I had a GF for a while, and she kept hurting herself at the gym because of some over-excercize issues that she had which were really hard for her to get a handle on. "Moderation in all things" is what a person needs to go with I think, particularly as we get older, and "preserving our equipment" becomes important.

Bob J.

Yeppp!! Not easy

First night at the gym with trainer was good for me ... and well she likes that.

What I found so disheartening is I went home and cooked a good nutritious meal.

I don't know what I'm allowed to say etc here.... 2 egg omlet for each of us. I got out the super healthy no fat chicken sausage to fill them with. She "none of that it mine." ... and then she toassed 1/3 of her omlet... this is after an hour workout.

Oh also trainer gave me a smoothie to make for pre-workout. It was good... nothing gross, just high energy fruit/honey/yogurt... I poured us both a small glass (6 oz...) she left a good 2 oz... mehhhh.

The trainer is a certified nutritionist. He knows... he said he'll talk more about nutrition. He immediately said 2 eggs are 120 calories.... and realized she had to have burnt 400 during the session.

"All that food "


Yeah, being able to actually eat is a tough thing for them, no matter what sort of logic or reason is applied.

What I mean is, it's going to be an emotional thing instead. and it's going to involve risk-taking.

Willingness to take a risk, that may be the theme you'll have to go with. Because eating just isn't going to feel emotionally safe, and is an emotional issue that will need to be confronted at some point.


Update ... whatever.

I will try to post without breaking rules.... but facts are facts.

I am doing great (personally health wise with trainer). My wife loves going to trainer. She doesn't have the fitness/issues of a 52 yr old guy. Trainer is telling her what to eat before and after workouts. He absolutely sees what I am seeing. He puts her through a big workout ... SHE WILL NOT EAT HALF of what he recommends. Twice she has worked out (morning treadmill run 40 minutes) BEFORE our 10 am session. He says eat two bananans and chicken breast... she eats half banana and a couple crackers with peanut butter.

I am going to recommend that we stop seeing trainer if she's going to go on this way. She's got no extra mass anywhere.... Lady at gym got nosey and told my wife she was afraid she was doing more than her body could handle. Trainer asks her to eat and then checks with me... he say's "give it time.... it takes time". I'm waiting for her to just pass out... it has to happen... right?

Not the agreement.

Vlost, Yep,it kind of sounds like she is just using this situation to go deeper into her ED. But in a "healthy" way. Sanctioned by a trainer,even. Of course it's not that way at all, but a lot of people use the gym as a cover for their behaviors. It's a pretty common thing. She knows exactly what she is doing though, and no one is being fooled,so it's got to be frustrating for all of you, and perhaps even her. My sense is that rather than you telling her what you are going to do next, it would be better to ask her what she thinks should happen next. What I mean is that she needs to start taking responsibility, if you follow me?

Thanks for affirmation.

Still 48 hrs after she started that single serve bottle of Ensure it sits in fridge. Bought 6 pack last Saturday she was to drink one a day and 4 are unopened.

Couples workout at noon today with trainer, and she just finished 40 minutes on treadmill. Yesterday was more of the same, non compliance of fueling recommendations..not even close.


One thing to keep in mind is the idea that eating that,Endsure is going to represent failure, as far as her ED mind is concerned. The idea of success and failure is something that she is going to need to get a better handle on, and as she may tell you, for someone with EDs, that sort of mental adjustment can be a really hard battle.


Lot's of exercise ... she will not come close to eating what the trainer/nutritionist recommends.

I've documented some of the elaborate food prep behavior (that I can not describe here -trigging others).

I've called a local eating disorder service. They have 4 people that are booked out months, and will not talk to me. They say the client must be the one to call and answer the screening questions.
I asked even if I got her to call, I'm not sure she would answer the screening honestly!!!
They said I can not influence a sick person, they have to accept that they have a problem.... so round we go.

I asked if I have to threaten to leave the house to get her attention. They said "that sometime is what it takes." WOW!!!!

I feel like a trapped rabbit in a den of foxes... I've started binge eating because of the stress.


"I've called a local eating disorder service. They have 4 people that are booked out months, and will not talk to me. They say the client must be the one to call and answer the screening questions."

Unfortunately the reality is that there are more people with EDs than there are therapists and treatment places to treat them. Add that to the fact that people who end up in treatment often don't want to be there and just relapse again when they get out, and you can understand where the place that you called might have things set up so they cherry-pick the people who they choose to help. Only those who at least have the initiative to call, in this case.

( This might not be the case if you had a big pile of money. If it seems that you have lots of cash, many private treatment places would accept her I think. But even with all that money in place, her actual success would *still* depend on her attitude, so the folks that you spoke to still have a point, as far as successful outcomes are concerned.)

"They said I can not influence a sick person, they have to accept that they have a problem.... so round we go."

They have a point with this too - One of the landmark phases in the progress of EDs is when the person decides for themselves that they have a problem. Even that's not always the turning point though - The next phase is the decision that they're going to try and effectively fight it. It may be that your wife has hit that first benchmark, and can admit to herself that she does have a problem, but the second one, where she's decided to effectively fight it…she may not have reached that one yet. The psychological risks that would be involved (of which there are many) may still seem like too much for her.

"I asked if I have to threaten to leave the house to get her attention. They said "that sometime is what it takes." WOW!!!! "

I've read a LOT of "What did it take for you to finally decide to recover?" threads, and it can be all sorts of different things. The accumulation of different sorts of consequences, or moral or existential or psychological concerns. In some circumstances leaving might have an influence, and in others it might not. But yeah, in some situations things do have to get drastic.

" I feel like a trapped rabbit in a den of foxes… "

Part of that feeling can come from the fact that there's no proven treatment for eating disorders. When I first got into this I assumed that there was, but there isn't. People do get better, so that's'true. And people can benefit from going to treatment, so thats' true as well. But as far as there being any sort of proven treatment, there isn't one. On top of that, if you read writings from people who have recovered, where they talk about what made the difference for them, their responses are all over the map. So yeah, when we are searching for some sort of specific emotional security to latch onto…it can be a difficult matter for sure.

But again, many people DO get better. So it really can happen. But the personal aspects of the individual plays a huge role, and while we can be supportive (which *can* indeed make a difference) many of important parts are still out of our hands.

Keep in touch, OK ?

Thanks Bob

Thanks for responding back.

I was close to snapping last night as she measured her little breakfast for the next day.

Thank god despite here very thin frame and diminished stature from a couple years ago (thin then, but not scary) she is healthy.

I know I'm close to a total breakdown. She loves me, I just need to cut loose and plead with her. Perhaps if she understand the daily pain I experience the past couple years that alone will get her motivated.

I've talked about an intervention with a couple of her siblings coming in from 300 miles away. I'm worried she will just feel attacked and betrayed by me. I already feel I've betrayed her trust. But then again if I were knocking back a case of beer and bottle of vodka each week I'm sure she'd be talking at me... and I'm sure I'd be fighting back... perhaps not though, I know drinking a lot is very bad.

Thanks for letting me ramble.


Hi... Long summer / spring of a lot of frustration during meal-time/planning/night out etc.

I think she's looking a little worse. Sex life is nill.... I find her boney frame un-appealing, she is asleep most nights 5 minutes after hitting the pillow.

I was thinking today that I'm like a spouse of an alcoholic... I know they are going to crash or get a DUI soon, just bidding my time until it happens.

I think her family is just too polite to say anything, we don't see them much so they like everything to be happy when we do. What I can't figure out they said something about 12 years ago when she bumped up against the edge and she snapped into line. Now I think they just think she's getting older like the rest, I find it sad when someone 10 years her senior has happy looking eyes, because there is a little fat under their skin. I'm a very visual person.

She's still trying to control our daughter, hiding foods from her when she is in the house. I got real pissed about it.

82 degree breezing evening (sun still up) last week, on a walk and she pulls on a fleece!!!

Breakfast on Sunday, slightly air conditioned Panera. I look at her arm, the hair is standing up like she saw a ghost in January!! (It's August). I said are you ok... she said "yes, but I'm cold". The hair was straight up and on end, I've never seen it quite that dramatic. It's haunting, I know what's going on, she thinks its because she's delicate flower.

She wore her parka in the house now and then up until April when she came home for lunch. I showed her sister some photos I took of the nonsense. (We do heat our house) She said it's chilly and the coat is cozy.

The evidence is everywhere.
-no energy
-very irregular periods for past 9 years
-always complaining about consitpation etc
-blocked up stomach
-measures food
-makes tiny snacks
-never eats more than a half cookie if she buys one
-won't eat a whole donut
-measures cereal, milk
-throws out a little egg yolk when she makes an egg

---- I'm toast and rambling.

Hi vlostwalt

This a is a very strange board, as there is little interaction between the members. I am never sure if I should answer or not. I feel your pain. Mental illness/addiction are terrible problems. Reason does not work. This is not something that can be cured by anything that we do. So, our only option is to realize that we did not cause this. We cannot control this. We cannot cure this. It is the same thing that people living with alcoholics or drug addicts have to come to terms with. It is the first step that we have to take in this battle.

The war is not really with their ED. The battle is with ourselves. We want something that they are not willing to do. We want our reality to be different. Wanting a different reality will not make a different reality. So, sometimes the best thing we can do is come to terms with what we have.

I'm sure that is sounding very hard. We are asking our spouse to take care of themselves by eating. We must be willing to take care of ourselves too. Baby steps... you know? Wishing you peace on this journey.