Thursday, May 24 , 2018, 1:31 pm | Overcast 62º

 
 
 
 
Teenagers

Louise Palanker: Overcoming an Eating Disorder, Dating Age Range, Dating Self-Validation

Question from Nadia

I have a problem with food. I’m 5-foot-5 and a size 10/12. My friends tell me I’m a normal size, but compared to them, I’m 20 pounds heavier.

I get depressed after eating food as I try so hard during the first half of the day to not snack and eat healthy (fruit not skipping breakfast), and I usually get to 6 p.m. and have consumed 400 calories, leaving enough for dinner.

It’s only then when I start to snack (after shoveling down my dinner uncontrollably quick). I eat until I feel physically sick and my stomach can’t take any more, but this feeling only registers five minutes after I stop eating. I go to bed so upset knowing that by the end of the week I will have gained another few pounds.

I wish I had enough strength to stop compulsively eating. It’s gotten to the point where I would rather be anorexic because at least I would have control.

Weezy

Eating way too much and eating way too little are both a loss of control. Anorexia provides a very false sense of control. In truth, the eating disorder would own you. Learning how to establish healthy eating habits would put you back in charge of your health and your body.

In an effort to limit your calorie intake you are practically starving yourself all day long. This is why you overeat once you allow yourself to have some satisfying food at dinner time.

Balance is key. Begin to eat more slowly. Chew more slowly. Do not put a new bite of food into your mouth until you have fully swallowed your current bite. Drink at least six large glasses of water every day.

And I believe that packaged snack foods are addictive. Stop. Have some granola and yogurt or a banana and cottage cheese. After dinner, have one healthy snack. Put the amount of food you intend to eat on a plate or in a bowl. When you are done with that, you’re done. Set boundaries that work.

Learning how to cultivate a healthy relationship with food and exercise is much harder than the extremes: eating uncontrollably or eating nothing at all. But food is not something we can quit, like drinking, drugs or cigarettes. Additionally, food is at the center of our social interactions. So it is up to us to find a balance. That will ultimately make you much happier.

(Boldly video)

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Question from Jordan

Hi. I was wondering if it is OK to date someone three years older than me. I think he likes me and don’t know if it’s OK.

Weezy

If one of you is under 18, I will have to say it’s not a great idea. You are at two different stages of emotional and physical development. He or she may expect you to behave within the relationship as if you are older. You should be free to grow up naturally and at your own pace.

When and if there is any age gap between two young people who are dating, it is imperative that the older person defer to the age of the younger person and take the relationship no faster or further than a person of that age is ready to go.

This much of an age gap can also become a power dynamic issue. The older person will naturally fall into an assumed controlling position. This prevents you from finding your truest self. Your behavior will shift to serve the relationship.

So, please be very careful. I think you should wait until you are 18 before dating someone who is three years older than you. Better still, wait until you are 22 and everyone is fully grown. An age gap becomes less of an issue with each passing year. Make certain that you are able to remain safe and continue seeking yourself as you grow up.

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Question from Tommy

Hey, Weezy. I recently went through a breakup and I am not having an easy time moving on. I still think about her, although not to the point of tears, which was the problem before.

I want to find someone new over the summer because then I will feel comfortable attending school dances and social events. It’s sad because this is essentially what my feelings were prior to my relationship in that I turn toward having a girlfriend as self-validation. Now, I want to learn how to get over this immature thinking and be confident with my own self rather than seeking validation by having a girlfriend.

I know I don’t need a to take a date to a dance, but I just really want to show my ex that I found someone better. I know this is immature; however, it’s what I feel and I don't know how to handle it. I really enjoyed being in a relationship because all my insecurities were “nullified” because I had a girlfriend.

For example, I would normally be self-conscious about the way my hair looks; however, because I was in a relationship I wasn’t self-conscious about anything. I don’t know if I’m sad because of the breakup because it lowered my self-esteem or that I’m sad because I am missing out on prom, which is happening right now as we speak. (Part of my sadness is knowing that my ex is dancing with some other guy ...)

What are your thoughts? Thanks.

Weezy

All of your feelings are two things. They are normal and they are temporary. It’s universal to feel the way you do about relationships and love and confidence and breakups. You should write poems and songs. It’s that relatable.

Of course, all humans search for love and acceptance, and most of us seek romantic love. It is what you will continue to do so don’t beat yourself up over natural emotions. Instead, work with them and say to yourself, “In spite of feeling this way, I will walk tall and go out of my way to make others feel more welcome and accepted.”

Helping others feel confident will give you confidence. Eventually, you will find the love you seek and, yes, that will help you feel better about your appearance and any other normal human insecurities you may have. The trick is learning to feel better about yourself outside of someone else’s light.

This involves creating your own light. It’s hard. It takes work. You can do it. When you have your own self-sustaining light you won’t attract someone who can be your light. You won’t attract someone who feels like nothing without your light. You will attract another self-sustaining light. Together, those lights will power a healthy relationship.

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Got a question for Weezy? Email her at [email protected] and it may be answered in a subsequent column.

Louise Palanker is a co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, the author of a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age novel called Journals, a comedian, a filmmaker (click here to view her documentary, Family Band: The Cowsills Story), a teacher and a mentor. She has a teen social network/IOS app and weekly video podcast called Journals Network, built around a philosophy of cyber kindness. She also teaches a free stand-up comedy class for teens at the Jewish Federation of Greater Santa Barbara. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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