My house is so quiet today! It’s the first day my college kids are back at school and now I clearly know who the noisy ones are. (Just kidding! I love them so much, but they are very loud.)
Yesterday, on her last day at home, my daughter Grace posted a guide with tips and tricks for eating well at college on her Instagram account @graceliveswell. She really wanted to do this as a way to help others avoid some of the pitfalls she fell into during her first year of college.
When Grace was a second semester freshman, she developed an eating disorder where she would over-exercise and restrict what she was eating. By the time she came home that May, she had lost about 15 pounds from her already slim frame. Even though she started talking to a counselor on campus when I started to worry she needed help, it wasn’t until she was home with us that she decided to face what was happening head on.
With the help of a wonderful counselor, Grace was able to identify that she was controlling her exercise and food as a way to deal with the anxiety she was having–controlling the things she could when her world felt chaotic. I think there are lots of us who are naturally anxious, and then when you’re put into a stressful situation like a high-performing college where it seems like everyone is stressed out all of the time, it just dials everything up to a 10.
Thankfully, Grace was able to turn this around and get herself to healthy place. But since stress will always be a part of her life, she reminds herself daily that she has to make good choices when it comes to exercise and food. She documents this daily journey through her Instagram posts, and I have to tell you how much I’ve learned from her writing. As her mother, I’ve asked her over and over if there is anything I could have done to keep her from having to learn these lessons the hard way. She says “no,” but I know I will always wonder. In the mean time, I wanted to share her post from yesterday as a way to at least help facilitate a conversation with your child if you suspect something similar might be happening.
Grace’s post from yesterday received the most “saves” and “sends” of any post she has ever written. This topic is definitely connecting with a lot of people, and I know that Grace feels compelled to help as many as she can by sharing her experience.
While Grace wrote this post to help her Notre Dame classmates, I think it could easily apply to wherever your child is. If you know of anyone who might have a question for Grace, please encourage them to send her a message. She would love to help!
And moms, feel free to reach out to me, too. Having this happen right under my nose was a real low point for me, but I’ve learned no one is served when we beat ourselves up, especially our children.
Love and hugs to all of you!