Anorexic survivor Lexi Crouch reveals what not to say to someone with an eating disorder this Easter

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Australian nutritionist and anorexia survivor Lexi Crouch, 32, revealed that Easter is the worst time of year for people with eating disorders

Australian nutritionist and anorexia survivor Lexi Crouch, 32, revealed that Easter is the worst time of year for people with eating disorders

F.or whatever, the Easter holidays can be nothing short of a nightmare.

Australian nutritionist and anorexic survivor Lexi Crouch, 32, has revealed that Easter is the worst time of the year for people with eating disorders.

‘Easter is a three-day eating holiday. It’s packed for people with eating disorders, ”she told Daily Mail Australia.

“Going to the grocery store or to a large family can even make you feel like going to the battlefield.”

The Queensland mom admits she loves chocolate and eats it most days as part of her balanced diet, but for 15 years she’s worked so hard to starve herself that a holiday like Easter would freak her out.

She told Daily Mail Australia that she understands people mean well when they try to ‘feed’ their friends and family with chocolate and other seasonal treats – but says it does more harm than good.

She told Daily Mail Australia that she understands that people mean well when they tried to 'feed' their friends and family with chocolate and other seasonal treats - but that it does more harm than good.

She told Daily Mail Australia that she understands that people mean well when they tried to 'feed' their friends and family with chocolate and other seasonal treats - but that it does more harm than good.

She told Daily Mail Australia that she understands that people mean well when they tried to ‘feed’ their friends and family with chocolate and other seasonal treats – but that it does more harm than good.

The 32-year-old has been cured of her anorexia for nine years - after it nearly cost her her life

The 32-year-old has been cured of her anorexia for nine years - after it nearly cost her her life

The 32-year-old has been cured of her anorexia for nine years – after it nearly cost her her life

There are simple things people can do to make the long weekend more bearable for friends and family members who are struggling with an eating disorder.

These include grocery shopping so people with eating disorders aren’t bombarded with the huge chocolate displays to plan family celebrations that revolve around love and spending time together rather than food.

It is also helpful to offer traditional chocolate egg replacement options, such as painting eggshells, as this will help them feel absorbed without having to eat.

For years, the 32-year-old had to choose between the eating disorder that ruled her life and going to big social events where she had to face her condition in an unpredictable environment.

Lexi suffered from anorexia from the age of seven, when a cruel comment on the playground changed her view of herself.

“I was in a very innocent place in the world, I didn’t even know that body weight could be a problem – and one comment took that innocence away from me,” she said.

She described the voice of the disease as a cruel bully who constantly challenged her until she was able to break out of control at 23 and begin her long road to recovery.

Lexi was officially diagnosed at the age of 13, but anorexia was relatively unknown at the time, so professionals assumed moving the teen to another school would “ fix ” the problem.

Lexi is no longer afraid of eating and has no problems with her shape or size

Lexi is no longer afraid of eating and has no problems with her shape or size

Lexi is no longer afraid of eating and has no problems with her shape or size

She now loves chocolate and eats it most days as part of a balanced diet

She now loves chocolate and eats it most days as part of a balanced diet

She now loves chocolate and eats it most days as part of a balanced diet

HOW TO CONTINUE THE EASTER WEEKEND WITH AN EATING DISORDERS

People with eating disorders often find Easter, a three-day holiday all about food, the hardest to tolerate.

But Lexi has some tips for “surviving the season.”

FOR PEOPLE WITH EATING DISORDERS

Seek support from friends or family, or find a support person so that you don’t feel alone when people are with their families.

Find a support person to help with your groceries or shop online so you don’t get triggered at the grocery store.

Make a plan – if you want to experiment with Easter eggs so you’re not afraid of binge eating.

Know that you can enjoy some chocolate, but you don’t have to be under pressure to eat it for breakfast.

FOR LOVERS WITH PEOPLE WITH EATING DISORDERS

Open up a conversation, ask how they are doing, and don’t let it slip under the radar.

Don’t let parts of the weekend revolve around food.

Give options with things like the Easter egg hunt, without eating chocolate. (people could search for painted eggs).

Offer to buy groceries at the supermarket.

Offer to “ go to the park ” or take a walk to a place that is less exciting if you notice a loved one feeling uncomfortable.

She was placed in boarding school where she worked hard on her studies, athletic performance and social elevation to prefect and even harder on hiding and perpetuating her eating disorder – anorexia was her real full-time job.

Lexi didn’t take her exams for Year 12 – she was taken from school and taken to hospital. This would be the first of more than 25 lifesaving recordings in five years. She was tube fed and brought to a weight that doctors could release her from the ward.

When she was 21, she forced herself to become a flight attendant and “just got well enough” to be released from the hospital again. Lexi moved to Dubai to pursue her dream, but looking back, she now realizes how sick she really was.

“The eating disorder controlled everything, I was a prisoner and this was the darkest time of my life.”

“The eating disorder controlled everything, I was a prisoner and this was the darkest time of my life.”

Lexi didn't take her exams in the twelfth year - she was taken from school and taken to hospital.  This would be the first of more than 25 lifesaving recordings in five years.  She was tube fed and brought to a weight that doctors could release her from the ward

Lexi didn't take her exams in the twelfth year - she was taken from school and taken to hospital.  This would be the first of more than 25 lifesaving recordings in five years.  She was tube fed and brought to a weight that doctors could release her from the ward

Lexi didn’t take her exams in the twelfth year – she was taken from school and taken to hospital. This would be the first of more than 25 lifesaving recordings in five years. She was tube fed and brought to a weight that doctors could release her from the ward

At the age of 22, she was forced home and returned to hospital. This time her family crowded around her bed and said goodbye.

“Every time I fell asleep I didn’t know if I would ever wake up again,” she recalls.

Lexi watched her family come to terms with the fact that they had lost the battle to keep her alive, that the eating disorder had won, and she decided she could fight again.

She has been doing well for nine years.

“I no longer have a problem with food, weight or shape,” she said proudly over the phone.

The nutritionist was “cured” with a combination of modern medicine, the doctors who kept her alive in the hospital, and good nutrition.

HOW TO TELL IF SOMEONE OF YOU LOVE HAS AN EATING DISORDERS

People with eating disorders are often good at hiding them from their friends and family – but Lexi has put together a list of red flags to watch out for.

1 – Skipping meals

2 – Avoidant behavior

3 – Skipping food-based occasions

4 – Not addressing their problems

But said yoga and the practice of mindfulness were also huge on the way to a healthy, balanced person.

‘They call it recovery, but I like to call it discovery. It’s a time to learn all about yourself, I found that I had a lot of hobbies and that I was more than just my eating disorder, ”she said.

Many people are afraid of recovering because they will be a completely different person. I have the same qualities – they are just focused elsewhere now.

‘Having anorexia is a 24-hour job, you have to have a lot of drive and in recovery that drive goes into your passions. Below that, a beautiful person is trying to come out. ‘

The real cure took place after the nutritionist met a professional who saw her as a person and not an eating disorder.

'They call it recovery, but I like to call it discovery.  It's a time to learn all about yourself, I found that I had a lot of hobbies and that I was more than just my eating disorder, ”she said.

'They call it recovery, but I like to call it discovery.  It's a time to learn all about yourself, I found that I had a lot of hobbies and that I was more than just my eating disorder, ”she said.

‘They call it recovery, but I like to call it discovery. It’s a time to learn all about yourself, I found that I had a lot of hobbies and that I was more than just my eating disorder, ”she said.

‘There are so many great professionals helping out, but it’s hard to deal with them. It wasn’t until I met someone who had been on a similar journey and asked about Lexie that I really started to heal, ‘she said.

She realized she was an incredible person who loves the mindfulness practice behind yoga. This taught her to look inside and how to say nice things to herself – something she had never been able to do before.

After three years of ‘eating well’ she started to get frustrated and wondered when she was going to feel really ‘good’ and stop feeling exhausted.

“I had to remind myself that I’d starved myself for 15 years, it wouldn’t be an overnight recovery,” she said.

Now working as a clinical nutritionist, she runs her own health clinic in New Farm that focuses on a holistic approach to winning the battle against eating disorders.

If you need help or support with an eating disorder or body image problem, please call Butterfly’s National Helpline at 1800334673 or send an email to support@butterfly.org.au