#98 A Mum's Journey Supporting Her Daughter Through Anorexia - with Rhonda Goodchild

The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast


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"I felt frustrated that, to me, the answer and the solution for anorexia recovery is 'just eat'. That's the most frustrating thing as a parent; just eat! But you can't say that. Because that would push you away. So you have to hold that back and simply show your love. That's all you can do to show your support and and constantly remind them, 'I'm always here', even though I know you felt like nobody understood what you were going through. As a mum, I really did understand but I couldn't say a lot of what I was wanting to say."

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In Episode 98 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and her guest, Rhonda Goodchild (Nat’s mum), discuss how anorexia is diagnosed and Nat’s anorexia recovery process.

Rhonda Goodchild
Nat’s mum!

Intro 0:00
Hello and welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, with your hosts Natalie K. Douglas, Thyroid Healer, and Kate Callaghan, The Holistic Nutritionist. Nat and Kate are degree-qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers, and authors. If you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers, and authentic heart-sharing, then we are your ladies! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and get ready for our latest tips on living your healthiest life possible.

Natalie K. Douglas 0:40
So, I am just jumping in to give an intro to this guest who is my mom. And the reason why I’m having my mom on the podcast is because a little while back I shared, or both Kate and I shared our journeys with eating disorders and I delved into my history with anorexia. And while I’m sure that. Well, I know that that helped many people, and you appreciated us sharing our journeys. What I feel like was missed from that conversation was the toll that it takes on the people that are around you, you know, especially the ones that are closest to you that are deeply invested in your happiness, your health, your journey, they’re not just the people around you that are getting little snippets of the journey as you go along that process. But then living with it, they living with you day in and day out. And my mom has insights to at least our story that I just couldn’t give you because as you’ll hear when she’s speaking, so much of that time was a bit foggy for me. So, I had a great perspective and be, I think hearing it from a mum is just just nice. I think I’m a big fan of hearing people’s experiences. And while she is by no means a medical expert, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, she does not have qualifications in that way. That’s not the intention of the podcast. It’s not intended to give you medical advice to treat anything to tell you how you should go about it if this happens to you. It simply to reach out to anyone that has been through it, is going through it, is fearful of it happening to their daughter, to their son, to them, that you’re not alone. And I feel like it normalizes the conversation around around what to do a little bit more because to be honest, it’s a hard hard disorder to navigate being in it and watching it. So, I hope that it provides some kind of insight and some kind of help, or make someone out there feel like they are not alone. If you do need any further resources or information or support, then please know that the Butterfly Foundation is an amazing website. And they also have a free hotline which you can call on 1-800 ED HOPE. All right, well, that is enough for me. Let’s jump in and have a chat with my mom.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:35
Mom, welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. How are you?

Rhonda Goodchild 3:39
I’m good. Hi, Nat!

Natalie K. Douglas 3:42
It’s a little bit different, isn’t it?

Rhonda Goodchild 3:45
It’s so lovely to see you.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:47
It’s so lovely to see you. I’m glad that, I’m glad we don’t record all of our conversations, though. I think we’ve both been a bit of trouble.

Rhonda Goodchild 3:54
Oh, yeah. Don’t let that out of the bag.

Natalie K. Douglas 3:57
No, that’s okay. So, I thought I would start off the podcast by sharing with everyone what the goal of it is because we both have been through quite a journey together.

Rhonda Goodchild 4:13
And I’ll say.

Natalie K. Douglas 4:15
All right, calm down. We haven’t asked your opinion yet. And I feel like I’ve shared previously on my podcast, which you don’t know because you haven’t listened to probably but.

Rhonda Goodchild
I know.

Natalie K. Douglas
My side of the anorexia story in terms of my history with the eating disorder and how I got through it and came out of it and all the struggles in between. But what I realized we haven’t shared on the podcast because we haven’t had the perspective of it is actually what it was like going through as a parent and as a single parent and really like my my soul support in that way. So, first of all, thank you for agreeing to come on. Second of all, I’m a little bit nervous about what you’re going to say about me but I’m doing it for the people. So, everybody just take what she says if it’s bad with a grain of salt. Um, and let’s jump in. So, the first logical question that comes up and had came up when I reached out to people asking what they would want to know if I was to interview you was, did you notice any red flags that made you think something might be happening in terms of like, was there anything that triggered you to think, oh, shit, she got anorexia, or she got an issue?

Rhonda Goodchild 5:41
Yeah, that was a difficult one, because, unfortunately, there’s no red flags. It’s such an insidious disease. And all I noticed to you Nat was that she was starting to be aware of her weight and are wanting to lose weight. So, I didn’t really think much of that, because I thought, well, you know, teenagers, they go through this, and there’s no harm done. And unbeknown to me, you’re a prime candidate for getting anorexia. After I’ve gone through it all, it lasted about seven years. Being the sort of personality that you are, you just are determined, very smart, and you, like you just put everything with everything that you did, you put everything into it and there was no stopping you. And having a child like that it’s got its pluses but used in the wrong direction it’s I feel bad negative. And that’s how it turned out. So, it was insidious. It just slowly crept up. And I can’t recall any time that I thought, oh, my god, she’s got anorexia today. It was just a slow thing. Like the signs of your hair falling out, getting hairy arms like that, you get getting hairy at top fingers, looking. Is that what they would call?

Natalie K. Douglas 7:19
I turned orange, you remember that?

Rhonda Goodchild 7:21
Yeah, I know, you turned orange. Well, that’s not good, is it?

Natalie K. Douglas

Rhonda Goodchild 7:27
There was quite a sign. The gut look, the moods. Yeah. And we didn’t eat together as a family, which I think possibly didn’t help or maybe did help. I don’t know. So, it was very hard to see what you were eating or what you weren’t eating. I wasn’t that aware of that. And I never, I was too scared to go down that track. It sounds ridiculous this saying I’m too scared but I didn’t want to push you away for me knowing I was the only one that you could turn to in the end. So, nothing appeared straightaway. And it all just crept up and just got worse, and worse, and worse. It was just such a horrible, horrible. I felt so so sad for you. So because there seemed to be no relief from the suffering in that. I feel, possibly a drug addict. Gets the relief when he takes his drugs but with anorexia, I could see the thing that you love that you couldn’t have and that was your enemy. So, you had no, you had no comfort, you had no time to be happy. And it was horrible to watch this happy child turn into a just a ball, you’re just a mess. You know, and and I couldn’t I didn’t know which way to approach it. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 8:55
You mentioned you felt sad for me but did you also feel angry?

Rhonda Goodchild 9:00
Frustrated. Frustrated that, to me, the answer is just eat. That’s the frustration, just eat. But you can’t say that because that would push you away. But you have to hold that back and you have to just sort of show your love. That’s all you can do and your support and just to let you know, I’m always here. And you couldn’t even, you couldn’t even talk to you to say I understand because in your mind, nobody understood.

Natalie K. Douglas

Rhonda Goodchild
And I really did understand, but I couldn’t say a lot of what I was wanting to say. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 9:43
I think another question that comes up for a lot of people when they’re talking about you know, a daughter getting anorexia is there’s a lot of the time and assumption that it’s been modeled to them in terms of securities around way to a food. But I feel like we were different because how do you feel in that way? Do you think that you modeled any kind of behavior to me that was concerned about what you looked like, or how much you weighed, or what you ate?

Rhonda Goodchild 10:15
No, not at all. I’ve never been a person to consider that you judge this person by how they look, you know? I kind of always, you know, I didn’t see you as fat. I didn’t see you as anything like that. And it didn’t matter to me, what, what you look like as long as you are happy. I’m, I’m not that sort of person myself so, no. No, I didn’t, I didn’t kind of want to mold you in any way. In fact, I think I’d probably let you be too much of a free spirit.

Natalie K. Douglas 10:55
Well, what I, I hear what you’re saying with that but what I meant by the question as well was, did you, like were you concerned about your own way and your own appearance? Like, was there anything where you felt I could have been looking at you like, oh, my gosh, mom’s worried about her weight and she’s always dieting, or she’s always food that I could have picked up on?

Rhonda Goodchild 11:18
No. Did you? Did you?

Natalie K. Douglas
No, not at all?

Rhonda Goodchild
No. No, not at all. No.

Natalie K. Douglas 11:22
That’s something that often surprises people when I tell that story because a lot of people have a mother figure or in her family, or have some kind of close relationship where there is that kind of obsession with food, or image, or looks, or something like that. But I can say, without a doubt, there was no one around me, in my family, or my immediate environment that was like that. Not even really, any of my friends at that really young age. I was only about 12 1/3, 13. And at that stage, I didn’t really even have friends that will like that.

Rhonda Goodchild 12:03
No, you didn’t. No. You were very, it turned out to be you. It was something you could control. I think that had a lot to do with it. Um, and yeah, you sort of felt you had some sort of control over this.

Natalie K. Douglas 12:20
Yeah, I would agree with that. And so back to your point, when you said that you didn’t really know what to do when you realize that it was becoming a problem because it’s very hard to say or do the right thing when it comes to dealing with eating disorders. So, when it was time to do something about what was happening, how did you first approach that, and what made you decide to do what you did?

Rhonda Goodchild 12:52
Okay. I always sort of listened and tuned into what was going on with you. And I may be wrong, maybe right, it was just how I dealt with it. I ran with it. So, I never really made any decision, I wanted you to go and see someone, but I had to wait, whether you’re aware of. I can’t remember if I said anything or suggested that. But I had to wait for you to realize you were really sick, and you needed to see someone so you were the one who organized to go and see the dietitian, which I was so relieved. At last, at last she is getting outside help. Not not to take the burden for me, but more to to to get someone who deals with this all the time, who knows more than me. And it was actually you and I was very lucky that you took, you made that turn. But I do believe that if I was to do it again, which is comes up in question later on, I would have intervened, I should have intervened earlier, and maybe a little bit more not forceful, but suggestive of let’s go and see someone that can help us. We’re in this together. You know, like, I think you felt very alone because I know that you spend a lot of time crying on your own, you spend a lot of time down here by yourself and suffering alone. And and I think that if you need someone with you, who’s just going to be there and possibly lead you in a more of an uplifting direction. That is what I found difficult to do because it depends on the sort of personality the mother and the child and you are so determined. So determined, and I was so afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing and then you would feel more isolated. And I didn’t want that to happen. So, my approach was Softly, softly.

Natalie K. Douglas 15:09
It’s. I mean, it’s easy to think, in hindsight of what would have we done differently. But it’s, you know, I think that we both did whatever we could in the moment. I think when you, so when you mentioned that, in relation to going to see a dietitian. I think you maybe have suggested it. And I went with it. And I think I went for the wrong reasons initially. So, I went because I was very much in that. I liked that there was something wrong with me, I liked that people were worried about me, I liked that I needed to be looked after. And so, I chose that, made that decision initially, not out of a I actually want to get better. But I actually want to have the attention on me to and feel it and having it having to go and see someone having to go and see an expert. Felt like, oh, there was someone else that was worried about me, there was someone else that, you know, I was kind of under the watchful eye of and I don’t know where that necessarily. Well, I have some insights as to where that maybe came from but this episode is not about me.

Rhonda Goodchild 16:20
Why not, it’s always about you Nat.

Natalie K. Douglas
So, I would just park that bad boy right there.

Rhonda Goodchild 16:27

Natalie K. Douglas 16:29
I think in, so I think yes, the the action you took was very much to go and get me help. And it started off with a dietitian. And then later, we had a psychologist in there as well that I was going to see. And in terms of the different steps that you took in that journey, what do you feel like work? Was there something you can look back on you? Like, I think that made a difference, or at least didn’t make things worse?

Rhonda Goodchild 16:58
Okay, the episode in seeing the dietitian, you remember that?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yes, I do.

Rhonda Goodchild
Yeah. Shall I talk about that?

Natalie K. Douglas
Go for it.

Rhonda Goodchild
So, going on to this dietitian was very emotional experience because anorexia is a disease of the mind, not the body. So, sitting there with Nat and she would prior to going. I think you put rocks in your clothes and you kind of feel better, you tried all the tricks under the trade to make yourself weigh more. And then the dietitian was aware of that take your coat off, going to your weigh Nat. So, I was sitting and then and she weighs you and you recorded that you lost more weight. And I saw this smile common across your face. And it just sickened me. I think that was my breaking point because everyone does have a breaking point. Even soft people. We left that room, I was so distraught, I just yelled at you. And I never yelled at you. I don’t think I’ve ever yelled at you.

Natalie K. Douglas 18:10
No, you haven’t ever before that.

Rhonda Goodchild 18:13
This must be about the only time and I just yelled at you out of frustration. If you want to kill yourself, you can take me with you. And you scream and cry, and scream and cry. And I, I just couldn’t couldn’t move. Like I just felt so helpless. Yeah. And that’s exactly what I felt. I felt this girl is killing herself. And I don’t want to live with it. So, I think that really hit you hard. And I didn’t do that on purpose. It wasn’t a planned. It was a reaction that has never shown, you’ve never seen that side of me. And I think, I think that probably really hit you hard.

Natalie K. Douglas
Look, mom, you got me well. Too many crunches one time out of what? 28 years? I’m doing pretty well.

Rhonda Goodchild 19:10
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So, that was a turning point. So, who’s to say that anyone’s approaches, right? Because as a mother, you can only do what you feel is the right thing to do. And you and if you love your child, that’s that’s what you do. And a person with a different sort of personality not stronger or anything like that. I’m not not judging myself, but maybe with a firmer approach, maybe they do better, maybe that would be a better way. I don’t know but that was the only way my heart could take me.

Natalie K. Douglas 19:47
I think, like to give context around that. That absolutely was my my turning point. I can, when I look back on my journey, and I’ve told this story on the podcast before as well. If that exact moment that you just described there was the point at which I just made the decision that I wanted to get better. And it wasn’t for me, it was for you initially until it became for me once I was just a little bit mentally more healthy from having more nutrients on board. And I think also that it, it wouldn’t have worked in the same way, if you were someone that yelled all the time and screamed all the time. And I think you’re really right there in that context matters. Every relationship, dynamic, between a mother and a daughter, every personality of a person with anorexia is different. And I think it really is about following your, your gut. And I, it absolutely helped me that you did that. And I also think it did help that you kept me close because it meant that I wasn’t. Although I was consumed by what I what that, like illness was almost making me do, there was still a part of me that was super conscious of the fact that I was hurting you. And the thing that one out was not wanting to do that to you, even though the challenge and the pain of change was so huge for me. And I think it really is easy to as someone who is outside the anorexia itself and who hasn’t been in that. I feel like it’s really easy to judge it and to oversimplify it as, well, it’s just you just need to eat and it doesn’t, like it doesn’t matter what you look like. But I think what I would say to those people is firstly, I definitely thought that before I had anorexia and I used to be like, these people are ridiculous. How, like all they need to do is eat. Is it really that hard? And it’s the experience of it is completely different. Like you said at the beginning moments, it’s a complete change of how your brain works. And it is a mental illness, I guess in it in its own sense. And I really think that the fact you kept me close and that I want to, I didn’t want to hurt you. And I felt like you were on my side did help. And I think in terms of other people around me, the people around me that were most helpful were the same, were the ones that just actually didn’t take that much notice. But again, that was my my experience of it. It wasn’t, it’s not necessarily everyone is. What I’m curious to know is, how did you, how did you support yourself in all of this? Because it’s a lot to go through on your own and everyone needs someone. So, who did you turn to or what did you do when you weren’t talking to me about it that you knew it was happening? Who was your support network?

Rhonda Goodchild 23:00
Um, it was supportive in a way that I went to work and Cheryl was a good listener. That’s one of my work colleagues, when times got really bad, I always have my sister to call. But most of the time, I wasn’t trying to be stoic or anything like that. I didn’t talk a lot about it. I just got up and went, oh, God, here we go again. Not a day, you know? It just seemed like a big roller coaster. And, like, I’m sure a lot of mothers feel the same because they’re tired. And, you know, it’s one thing after another. Yeah. Did you talk to a friend whose wife was anorexic and in desperation, and I did ring up beyond blue but and I read books. Most of the time, I just felt very alone. And thought, well, this is just my lot and that will, I can’t let myself fall apart. So, because I have to be strong for Nat. And so, I just pushed on and I just soldiered on, um. Yeah, but I did have Cheryl. I did have Cheryl that was about the only ones that could understand because they’re both mothers as well. Yeah. Yeah, they didn’t have the same problem but they also had, um, you’re interested heart is no good talking about talking to people who don’t even know you or, you know, know how much, you know, how close we are and all that sort of stuff. Had to talk to people who were would you understood the situation. There was no answer from them but it was a bowel of release sort of thing. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 25:09
Yeah, every, like you would have needed that because it’s hard enough when you’re seeing it happen, let alone, not being able to actually speak about it. And it just being this giant elephant in the room most of the time, except for, you know, the exact time when we go to the dietitian, or the psychologist, or whatever, and I open up. And I know that I didn’t talk for a long time, because I didn’t want it to end and I knew if I started talking, then I would have to face the decisions of, you know, starting to make different choices. And I think, you know, the only, the only frustrating thing that I can recall you saying to me, which is a beautiful thing in our relationship is that.

It doesn’t matter. Don’t say this. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 26:13
So, moms out there, do not say that. Well, I think it was unhelpful, was because it felt like I was being invalidated. In terms of what I felt was not valid, whereas your intentions were absolutely in the right place because you wanted me to see that, hey Nat, like it really doesn’t matter. We love you no matter what, you are still worthy of love no matter what size you are but.

Rhonda Goodchild

Natalie K. Douglas
What, what is, what your intention was, and what I heard and landed with me was definitely two different things. So, I think, but I think you know, in the grand scheme of things, if one thing out of all the other things you did right, I feel like, it’s fine. So, for anyone wondering, the reason why my mom hasn’t mentioned my dad as a support was he was not a support, or what we would call a support so.

Rhonda Goodchild
It was not a hindrance.

Natalie K. Douglas 27:08
So, that’s why that side of things wasn’t mentioned for anyone wondering, well, how can you know, a father or a dad, you know, help in that situation. We can’t tell you from our experience. Sorry. We’ll try and find someone else that can share that. But I think it’s really important that you know, that you did have a support network, even if it was only two people because it is so much to go through on your own. And everyone needs someone, as I said before, to actually bounce how they are feeling of someone else and not be afraid, like you were with me of what my reaction was going to be because they were close enough to the situation to be able to empathize and understand what was going on. Because they really knew us, but not so close that they were going to react. And the other thing I’m curious about is, do you feel like it had any impact on my brother?

Rhonda Goodchild 28:06
Not really. And I really don’t see that you were in his forebrain to you know, as much as he he cares and loves you.

Natalie K. Douglas 28:18
So, what do you feel like was the hardest part of supporting someone through anorexia or an eating disorder?

Rhonda Goodchild 28:26
The hardest part of your journey was to watch you, you couldn’t move, you know. You, you couldn’t walk for me to the end of the street without pain. When you, when you went into that phase of pain all over your body. That was just, I was just so heartbroken for you. And, and there was nothing that was working, we went to, you know, various people to try and help and it had to be something that was metabolic, you know, like, it wasn’t a physical thing that was was the problem. It was something, I didn’t know what was going on. And, and how we got out of that. I, I don’t know, I can’t even recall. Um, that was a horrible time. And the, and the other horrible thing was to watch you incessantly exercise. You would, you know, you would run, you know, hundreds of kilometers and go for a swim and do some other form of exercise. And you just were obsessed, you know, you just was so controlling. It was just like, you know, I wasn’t there, you know, like, no one else was there, not just me, it was just you were just in totally engrossed in your own little cocoon.

Natalie K. Douglas 29:46
And I think, sorry, you go.

Rhonda Goodchild 29:48
No, it’s okay. Yeah. Go.

Natalie K. Douglas 29:50
I was gonna say, and to give context around that it wasn’t like I was that person as a child because I was almost the opposite, wouldn’t you say?

Rhonda Goodchild 30:00
Oh, yeah, you were so sort of, you loved loved your friends, you were really out there, you were really communicative. And you know, like, you were very intuitive with many people. Yeah, you’re the little kid that the school teacher would put to sit next to next to someone who was crying and cheer them up. You know, like, that this sort of you were just so adorable. And and you love life, you know, the only thing that stuck with you was your competitive nature. All these things about you absolutely turned against you in the wrong direction with anorexia. It all worked towards helping the anorexia because you were that sort of person.

Natalie K. Douglas 30:50
Yeah. And if you had to go back and do it all over again, which I won’t ask you to, but if you had to, besides intervening earlier, is there anything else you do differently? And not just for me, but also for yourself? Is there anything you would do differently?

Rhonda Goodchild 31:07
Ah, no, because I did my best for the person I am. And I’d still be the same person. So, I can’t see where I could do anything different because I could I couldn’t yell at you. I couldn’t, you know, um, you weren’t doing all this out of being naughty, you were doing this because you were sick. And I know, I can’t think of. Well, if any, if I did do another approach, it would be out of character. And I’d have to have a good reason for doing it. You know, like, I’d have to know, well, this is going to work.

Natalie K. Douglas

Rhonda Goodchild
Someone tell me go and do this, you know, like, take her by the hand. And, you know, you can’t shove food down your throat, you can’t, you know? And I, I did, I don’t think you you’ve got that I didn’t get it?

Natalie K. Douglas
No, I don’t.

Rhonda Goodchild
I don’t think you ever thought that I understood. And I deeply did understand, even though I haven’t had anorexia. I just really living with you is like, I get it. I do get it. You know, and I just felt like saying to you, I do get it, you know, like, and what they do when they take you to hospital or all that other, you know, eating disorder places. They sort of, they do have all the, you know, support and everything that they’re kind of like force-feed you.

Natalie K. Douglas

Rhonda Goodchild
You know, and possibly that is the answer once you get that low. And yeah, probably is because you’re nearly you’re nearly killing yourself, you know, like, someone has to get something in there. And then, I probably take the softer approach to the term. Yeah. And the dietitian herself, I didn’t particularly like her but you really like her and that’s all that mattered. At that age, you just thought she had the answers. And she was great and blah, blah. And I’m so glad you felt that way about it.

Natalie K. Douglas 33:23
And you mentioned before that you read some books, were there any that you read that you found particularly helpful or not helpful?

Rhonda Goodchild 33:32
No, I can’t remember the names. Sorry. Oh, I’m sorry.

Natalie K. Douglas 33:39
And you feel like speaking to someone who was going through a similar experience as in had a loved one that had anorexia and they were trying to support them through that. Did that feel helpful for you in any way, even in just making you feel like you weren’t alone?

Rhonda Goodchild 33:56
Yeah, yeah. When I spoke to that friend of mine whose wife had anorexia. Um, and she was a woman in her 50s. Yeah, it did help. Mind you they’re divorced now.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:11
But we don’t need to give everyone’s, personal. Family secrets and no filter. We’re doing really well right now.

Rhonda Goodchild 34:23
I think we’re doing okay.

Natalie K. Douglas 34:29
What about, like a couple of final questions I have for you is that, if there is you know, anything that you could share with a mom that’s listening that either might be going through this or a fearful of it happening to their daughter, what would you say? Maybe start with the mom who currently has a daughter who is very obsessive with food is what would you say to that person? As someone who’s been through it.

Rhonda Goodchild 34:59
I’d say you got to stay close, um, I would say you need to be more honest and what I was. Not that I was dishonest, I didn’t. Have possibly my fear of losing you or pushing you away, overpowered my, you know, I often felt like going down and talking to you and saying, you know, I really do get this and I’m trying to get you to, to understand that I’m with you on this journey, you know, and you’re not alone. That’s, that’s what they need to know. Because, um, I sort of felt that I’d lost you in a way that you had this brain fog, you know, you, you weren’t right in the head. And so, who was I talking to? You know, and the only the only part of you I couldn’t reach wasn’t, wasn’t your mind, it was more your heart. Um, and I think that won up in the end that, you know, like, you can only do your best and just be there for them and stay close because they feel that they’re in control. And they feel, well I don’t know about you Nat, but this is the message I got. That you knew it’ll mom knows nothing, but she loves me. And I know what I’m doing. And and plus, you knew you were very knowledgeable about food. You were very obsessed with food. I wasn’t the least but interested in food. So, you had won up on me. So, there’s no point in delving into the conversation. That’s where I needed the dietitian, right? No point delving into that but all like all I, all I had was love you. That’s all I could offer. Yeah, and that’s all you can do.

Natalie K. Douglas 37:06
Yeah. And not to be not to be too cheesy but your love in the end is was exactly what saved me, mom. And I think that that approach that you took, at least for us absolutely worked because I never felt unloved. I think I felt misunderstood, but that was not from you exclusively. And that was just because I was like unwell. And I think that definitely keeping me close, really, really helped. And I love how you said that you could still reach my heart even though you couldn’t reach my brain. And I could feel that because even though we couldn’t, at that time when I was really, really at rock bottom with anorexia in particular, I just, I could hear what you were saying but it wouldn’t land. Whereas, I could feel what you were feeling. And that certainly landed and it weighed on me because I knew I knew exactly what I was doing from a heart-centered place. So, I think it definitely. I love that you said that. So what about the mom who’s listening who is doesn’t have a daughter that is going through anorexia but has that fear that it may come up or it may happen? Do you feel like there is anything you can share from that perspective?

Rhonda Goodchild 38:33
Yeah, I think it’s a good thing to talk about. Um, you know, if you’ve got a daughter who’s who’s not not there, not not going to but you you just don’t know, you need to watch she was on. Um, I think it’s a good topic to talk about because they, you know, they’re not, they’re not in it. And if you if you watch programs about drug addicts, who wants to be a drug addict? And it’s the same thing, who wants to be anorexic? You know, like, and I think there needs to be a lot more understanding of how I’m serious and how, you know, dangerous this, this disease is and how insidious it is. And like, did you understand, did you ever understand what you were doing to your organs? You know?

Natalie K. Douglas 39:25
Yeah, and I think, you get to a point in the in, in that in that journey, where, you know, but you don’t care because you don’t care as much as you care about being thin. And it sounds like it’s, it actually feels makes me feel uncomfortable to say out loud. But that’s the reality of what I thought at that time was, yeah, I know. And yeah, I know I had like fungal nail infections and hairy arms and like, dry skin and dry vagina, and dry everything but I just did. I was orange, but I was thin and I didn’t care because all that mattered to me was that feeling of being light and seeing a low number on the scale, and I just the rest of it, it just didn’t matter to me. And it was, you know, society validates, be at least in, you know, what I felt was being thin and looking that way was seen as something to strive for, like people at school used to be always asking me, oh how did like, how did you lose so much weight? Like how are you, how do you have so much willpower? How do you, how are you able to do this? And same with when I used to go to different fitness type places, I used to get very much praise for my ability to overexercise. And as someone who was very much a, like a leo, like I wanted to be the center of attention. I was competitive, I wanted to be the best at things, it was fueling more of that fire. But as a parent, you can’t be around to see every single way, every person in their life is treating them. And I didn’t, it wasn’t all that, I had many really close friends that didn’t, I didn’t feel that kind of judgment or perception from at all. And I remember when I started to when I made that choice that I needed to start getting better. Those were the friends I chose to spend time around like you would have remembered me spending time with Holly who was one of my best friends and still is who just never, she kind, her approach was very similar to yours actually, of just I love you. What, like, now Nat I love you, tomorrow I love you, yesterday. And it just wasn’t a topic of conversation. And that felt really helpful because when I decided to change, I was like, well, she hasn’t noticed that I’ve changed this fast. So, she’s not gonna notice in the other way.

Rhonda Goodchild 41:59
Yeah. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 42:01
I agree. I think all you can do is love people and keep them close. And I definitely think getting support yourself if you’re going through it is is helpful because as much as as much as it’s traumatic to go through as the person in the actual condition. It’s just as traumatic to watch someone because in the disorder, you feel like you’ve got control outside of it, watching a loved one go through it, you feel like you’ve got fuck all control. So, I feel like that’s, you know, that needs a container to be able to be supported in because for 95% of the other time, it’s probably feeling like you are the, you are it’s, like you have to keep this person alive and keep them from destroying their own life.

Rhonda Goodchild 42:51
Yeah, it wasn’t easy. It was very hard. Very hard. And frustrating.

Natalie K. Douglas 42:58
Yes. Life with me now mom is is not frustrating at all. Is it?

Rhonda Goodchild 43:02
No, no, darling, you’re an angel.

Rhonda Goodchild 43:06
No, not at all. I just can’t keep up with you. But who cares?

Natalie K. Douglas 43:12
It doesn’t matter, does it mom?

Rhonda Goodchild 43:13
I’m not gonna say it. Can I say it?

Natalie K. Douglas
Yeah you can.

Rhonda Goodchild
It just doesn’t matter.

Natalie K. Douglas
Those words are gonna forward me forever.

Rhonda Goodchild 43:23
Some things do matter.

Natalie K. Douglas 43:26
Yes. Can you give us an example of what matters?

Rhonda Goodchild 43:29
Oh, yeah, anorexia matters. Definitely, matters. Yeah. Yeah, there was very few things that, you know, that matters, that really matters. Yeah.

Natalie K. Douglas 43:46
I like that. Well, thank you for sharing your story and your journey and for not disclosing too much more personal information for everyone.

Rhonda Goodchild 43:57
Oh, no, I’m not gonna go out and meet what happened in the bathroom.

Natalie K. Douglas 44:01
Oh, jeez mom. Do you want to not leave the podcast on that note? So, let’s just leave that there because I’m not sure where that’s coming. Bye.

Thanks for tuning in to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast. Remember, we love to make the show relevant to you. If you have any questions or topics you’d like us to discuss, just submit them to [email protected] and we’ll get them answered for you. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on iTunes and share it with your friend. And if you’re looking for more info about how we can accelerate your journey to your optimal health, you can find me, Nat, over at NatalieKDouglas.com, and Kate, at TheHolisticNutritionist.com. See you next time!


The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast - with Natalie K. Douglas and Kate Callaghan

Welcome to The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast!

If a professional, polished, well-edited podcast is what you’re after…then we’re not for you!

But if you love unfiltered banter, unedited bloopers and authentic heart sharing then we are your ladies.

We also have the most practical tips on holistic and alternative health care too 😉

Have a question that you want answered on the podcast or want to be interviewed? Get in touch!


Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas | Thyroid Healer

Natalie K. Douglas ("Nat") is a Holistic Dietitian and Nutritionist dedicated to Thyroid, gut and hormone healing.

Nat shows stressed, burnt out, overwhelmed women how to value their worth again, change their mindset habits, prioritize healing, and reclaim their vitality. Guaranteed.

Her clients say she’s the right girl to see if you’ve tried the conventional approach and nothing has worked.

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan | The Holistic Nutritionist

Kate Callaghan is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer and Lifestyle Coach who specializes in women's hormone healing.

She recognizes that there is no “one size fits all” diet or “magic bullet” which is going to cure all illnesses.

She focuses on having a thorough understanding of your personal goals, needs, likes/dislikes, support networks and lifestyle in order to create a food and lifestyle approach that suits YOU.


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