National Eating Disorders Association

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extremely anxious daughter

Hi. I have an adult daughter who is extremely anxious about food (has been since she launched). She is anxious in general but worrying about food often keeps her from eating. Recently she confessed that she sometimes binge eats and feels she can't stop. She spoke as though this was a few years ago, but I didn't press. She has digestive problems and was put on an elimination diet by her doctor. Perhaps it helped a little bit, not much. But now she seems even more anxious about food and eating.

I'm not sure if this is an eating disorder or not.

To complicate things, she married about a year ago to a young guy who is a very bad example. He is still eating like you would expect a college kid to eat, any random thing that looks good, lots of junk food in the house, orders food delivered as his supper. Her anxiety has transferred to him and she's mad at him all the time. She seems unable to talk to him past a very superficial level. When I urge her to explain things to him she becomes hysterical. She is also always tired and seems depressed but she denies she is depressed.

I don't even know where to start. I want to cook for her so she has healthy foods in the house that won't cause her the extreme constipation she sometimes suffers from. And also to relieve her of worrying about being able to eat well enough. Her husband does not want me involved. He says he will take care of things but he absolutely does not. For example, he was going to make lunch for them today (there is very little in the house to eat except junk) but he watched the football game instead. I picked her up and took her to the grocery store and got her to choose some ready made foods that were not junk food. It was expensive but it will get her through the week.

If I cook for her, it will cost much less and be more healthy. Am I wrong to do this? This downward spiral has been going on for over a year and I have watched her mental health deteriorating and am starting to get concerned about her physical health.

She will be going to an EAP counselor in a couple of weeks. She gets 10 visits for free. I'm not sure what happens after that. In the past she has not been honest with counselors, so I don't know what will happen this time.

I am in a lot of distress watching her deteriorate.

No such thing

There is no such thing as good or bad food. That is diet mentality. Professional help is best. It sounds like the best place for her to be is in a hospital. Labeling food as good or bad is like saying "junk food" is bad; immoral. All food serves a purpose. It sounds like she needs more help than you're trying to give her. Even if you get her what you deem as "healthy", or "good" or "moral", doesn't mean she'll eat. Unfortunately you can't force recovery. She has to want it in order for her to get better.