By Mandy Dale, M.S., Registered Marriage and Family Therapist Intern with Turning Point Counseling
“Mom, I joined the cross country team!” Jack exclaimed with pride.
He committed wholeheartedly to the team, and never missed a practice. “Whenever Jack does something, he does it 100%,” his mom thought, admiringly. Weeks of practices and meets left Jack with speed, endurance, and first-place wins; but it also left him with an increasingly athletic (and thin) physique. He started to receive attention and compliments, which he liked (especially the compliments from girls).
As the county championships approached, Jack decided to begin counting calories and avoiding junk food in order to slim down even more, making him light as a feather and increasing his speed. But soon cross country season was over, and he noticed he couldn’t stop exercising. Or counting calories. It had become a way of life for him. He also couldn’t stop weighing himself- at least 3 or 4 times a day. Whenever his weight increased, he would run even more. Jack also grew to hate dinner time with his mom and sister, and tried to find excuses to skip. “I’m not hungry. I ate already. I’m going over to Mike’s for dinner.” Ever since his parents’ divorce last year, he distanced himself from his family; his new obsession with food and weight was a welcomed distraction for him.
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