As far as I am concerned, the anorexia is now well and truly beaten. I believe this not just because Helen has regained a healthy weight but because of the change in her way of thinking about her body. Helen’s goal now is to maintain her current healthy BMI whereas as an anorexic the goal was continual weight loss without an end in sight. Helen now appreciates the attractiveness of feminine curves and we are all proud of the beautiful figure that she is starting to develop. Helen also eats freely and without supervision and this has been the case since September 2003, only 6 months after her nervous breakdown. However, both Fiona and myself maintain a watchful eye over her. She still has occasional meetings with her dietician who weighs her and measures her height in order to calculate what her perfect weight should be. And if we ever have any doubts about Helen’s eating, we have no compunction about asking her to step on the scales. She may well be growing into an independent young woman but if we have any suspicions, she steps on those scales in front of us so that we can put our concerns to rest.
I am delighted to say that the few minor concerns that we have had have all been false alarms but we have learnt a very hard lesson with Helen - prevention is better than cure. It is a known fact that anorexics who have apparently recovered, having regained a normal body weight, can relapse but this is because the anorexic thinking has not been destroyed. We are certain that Helen’s thinking is no longer anorexic but it costs us nothing to be vigilant. And by the same token, as mentioned earlier, I actively discourage Helen’s tendency to have a sweet tooth. I don’t want to see her stuffing her face with sweets and cakes. Firstly, it is unhealthy and no decent doctor or dietician would recommend it for a normal child. Secondly, and more importantly as far as I am concerned, I know that Helen would be unhappy if she became overweight. And this unhappiness might just be the fertile ground that brings the demon back into our lives!
As we stated at the outset of this website, we are not advocating that you should follow the programme that we designed for our own daughter. However, Fiona, Helen, Jack and I sincerely hope that if your child is anorexic - or inclined in that direction - that this account of our experiences with Helen may provide you with some insights which may help you to recover your own beloved son or daughter. Our very best wishes to you and your child, Peter, Fiona, Helen and Jack.