I think one of my friends might be developing an eating disorder, but I don't know how to help her or what to do really, at all. I hadn't seen her since around early May because I have been rather busy this summer, but when I went over to her house the other day, I noticed that she looked really skinny and kind of ill. She has been texting me about losing weight over the summer, which I thought meant like losing 5-10lbs (as she was never really chubby or anything to begin with, she just wanted to be a bit thinner and more fit). When I saw her the other day, she had lost about 35 lbs, and she did not look healthy at all. She 17 and about 5ft6, and now maybe about 105 llbs (she used to be 140lbs last time I saw her) and her BMI seems waaaaay below what it should be. She also wouldn't eat anything but grapes and salad (literally, I stayed at her house for 3 days and all she ate was grapes, this cannot be healthy) as she claimed she was on a raw vegan diet and had been for the whole summer (basically meaning she eats nothing but fruit). Nothing against vegans or anything (I am a vegan myself), but the raw vegan diet just does not seem like a good dietary choice. We got to taking about girl stuff, and she told me she hadn't gotten her period in about 4 months, and I was like, woah, that just sounds not normal at all. I am afraid if she keeps on like this she will seriously hurt herself. She was also rather obsessed with her portion size when she was eating, and would count out exactly how much she would eat and eat at exactly the same time every day, and talked to me for hours about how she plans to "maintain her weight" and hopefully lose a bit more because she felt she should be more thin. This overly-controlling food thing, restrictive diet, and rapid weight loss seems like the beginning stages of an eating disorder, but I don't know. I am no expert. I just don't want my friend to wind up in the ICU from nutritional deficiencies or cause herself serious health problems from losing too much weight too fast or not maintaining a healthy diet. I considered talking to her Mom about it, but her Mom seems completely oblivious. I am not sure how to go about making sure my friend stays healthy without seeming like I am prying too much into her personal life. I love her and don't want her to get hurt. :(
Any advice about how I should go about helping my friend in this situation would be really appreciated, as I don't know what I should do.
I think you should straight out tell her that she is too thin. 105 pounds is definitely too thin for someone who is 5'6". I'm 5'2" and my goal is a higher weight than that.
One time my twelve-year-old sister told me that she hadn't been eating. I know that she's always had self-esteem issues and such, so it really scared me. I immediately told her of a bunch of nasty side effects of not eating (I may have exaggerated quite a bit, too), like infertility and organ failure. Later that day I saw her making a pig of herself, and it was amazing. :)
You could find a time to talk to her alone, and let her know that you're worried about her because she's lost so much weight that you think it's unhealthy. Listen to what she says, and if there's a problem, then you can go from there. It might also help to ask exactly what she's done to lose weight. Does she consider this a lifestyle choice, or a temporary solution? Is she still eating a healthy amount? Does she get enough exercise? She could be losing weight very rapidly because she's started exercising very vigourously when she didn't use to. Or maybe she's changed her diet a lot. Maybe the way she's changed her diet isn't sustainable and she should change it up a bit. Listening to her and asking questions is the best way to know this.
If she has an eating disorder, then things could get really tough. Support is the biggest thing that you can do.
I definitely agree that the first thing that you should do is talk to your friend. You do have to know, though, that she might not listen. If she denies everything that you've observed, that might just be another symptom of an eating disorder.
If talking to her doesn't work, don't be afraid to talk to her mom about it. I think that her mom being "totally oblivious" gives all the more reason to tell her what you've observed. Before you do that, though, you need to know that your friend might be angry with you about you telling her mom. It might even jepordize your friendship for a while. Hopefully with the right treatment she should forgive you in the future. It's just a case of not wanting to she her hurting, as you've said, and it's best to do what's best for her despite what might happen to your friendship (in my opinion). I'm not trying to scare you or anything, I'm just trying to warn you what might happen and let you prepare yourself.
Hi there! I actually am recovering from Bulimia and it started out with me 'trying to lose weight'. My friends were really supportive with me trying to get healthy but an eating disorder becomes a life style, its addictive and very hard to quit. The worst thing you can do is tell her to just eat or just get over it. Try going on a run together then after make her a healthy lunch (moniter her secretly to make sure she doesn't purge) it's a tough thingto go through and I hope your friend gets better