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    About 4 months ago, a very good friend of mine was taken into hospital extremely ill. She lost alot (and I mean alot) of weight, prob around 3 stones, when she was quite slim before she got ill. Now shes on her way to getting better, but is obsessed with food. She eats tiny portions (because her stomach has shrunk) and eats only fruit, veg and extremely low fat foods (she wants to gain the weight healthily). She drinks tonnes of water, more than she needs, and burns off any calories etc she takes in through intense dancing and other exercise. It appears that shes trying really hard to gain weight, at least trying to get to a size 8 (she was a 10-12 and is now a 6), but I'm concerned that shes just taking things too far with the healthy eating thing. She knows nutritional info about almost everything she eats, but says she hates being so tiny, and imo she can afford to at least try and pig out a bit over the next few weeks and put on a bit of desperately needed flesh een though I know she couldnt just sit and eat junk food. I'm trying really hard not to label it with anorexia or some other eating disorder, but thats all I can think it is. She has no need to worry about what she eats, especially being as thin as shes become, but we need to make her realise that without sounding like we're telling her what to do. As far as shes concerned, shes trying her best, and is quite stubborn. Do any of you have any advice on how we can help her without suggesting professional help?

    Thanks a lot, and cheers for reading this far!! I've written loads!

    Laura x
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    offer to cook for her and make something substantial.
    It would be rude for her not to eat it.
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    (Original post by wilgina)
    About 4 months ago, a very good friend of mine was taken into hospital extremely ill. She lost alot (and I mean alot) of weight, prob around 3 stones, when she was quite slim before she got ill. Now shes on her way to getting better, but is obsessed with food. She eats tiny portions (because her stomach has shrunk) and eats only fruit, veg and extremely low fat foods (she wants to gain the weight healthily). She drinks tonnes of water, more than she needs, and burns off any calories etc she takes in through intense dancing and other exercise. It appears that shes trying really hard to gain weight, at least trying to get to a size 8 (she was a 10-12 and is now a 6), but I'm concerned that shes just taking things too far with the healthy eating thing. She knows nutritional info about almost everything she eats, but says she hates being so tiny, and imo she can afford to at least try and pig out a bit over the next few weeks and put on a bit of desperately needed flesh een though I know she couldnt just sit and eat junk food. I'm trying really hard not to label it with anorexia or some other eating disorder, but thats all I can think it is. She has no need to worry about what she eats, especially being as thin as shes become, but we need to make her realise that without sounding like we're telling her what to do. As far as shes concerned, shes trying her best, and is quite stubborn. Do any of you have any advice on how we can help her without suggesting professional help?

    Thanks a lot, and cheers for reading this far!! I've written loads!

    Laura x
    Did she see a nutritionalist when she was in hospital? If not, that would be a good way to go - an appointment to help sort her out a healthy diet.

    don't try to force her to eat junk food or pig out or anything, that won't help. be supportive, and maybe talk to her parents?

    It could just be that her stomach has shrunk so she's not hungry and she's scared of getting ill again!
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    Well - if it's full blown anorexia she will eat rarely and extremely slowly (and begrudgingly).

    I think she clearly has some form of eating disorder, but not necessarily anorexia, afterall - she is eating.
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    (Original post by allisandro)
    don't try to force her to eat junk food or pig out or anything, that won't help. be supportive, and maybe talk to her parents?

    It could just be that her stomach has shrunk so she's not hungry and she's scared of getting ill again!
    No I wouldn't force junk food upon her. Loads of us had a girly night in, which was good cos she seemed to nibble popcorn and a bit of chocolate and even jelly, and I think cos we were all eating around her, she felt less guilty in a way. Her stomach deffo has shrunk, but surely the only way to build yourself back up is trying to eat a bit more every week? I know she wants to do things healthily, but shes barely eating enough to keep her going through the day. Its a tricky one!
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    (Original post by wilgina)
    No I wouldn't force junk food upon her. Loads of us had a girly night in, which was good cos she seemed to nibble popcorn and a bit of chocolate and even jelly, and I think cos we were all eating around her, she felt less guilty in a way. Her stomach deffo has shrunk, but surely the only way to build yourself back up is trying to eat a bit more every week? I know she wants to do things healthily, but shes barely eating enough to keep her going through the day. Its a tricky one!
    I have a friend rather like this, who's obsessed with what she eats. She hasn't eaten crisps, chips, chocolate, ice cream etc for about 5 years now. She has lost a LOT of weight, and no matter how much I tell her that it's unhealthy to refuse all junk forever (and yes, it is, you need a balance. Not a lot, but some junk as well as lots of fruit and veg), she insists she gets enough fats from the cheese and butter she eats, which is barely anything at all. Maybe try telling your friend that healthy involves a balance, not just exercise and hardly any food. You sound like a great mate, so keep trying with the sleepovers etc, and make sure she's around you lot eating junk food a lot. Maybe that'll get her used to the idea
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    Yeah I think eating around her is a good idea. Just act normal around her and don't concentrate on the eating. Talk about stuff that you enjoy talking about if that makes sense. In short, make it an enjoyable experience for all of you. It'll take a very long time to change her anorexic mindset, but at least she's realised her need to change, which is a very important first step to recovery.

    Basically all you can do now is be supportive and let her know that she can talk to you when she feels the need to!
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    once you've lost a substantial amount of weight, you can't really put it back on at the same rate you lost it. i don't know whether the stomach literally shrinks or not, but it is practically impossible to resume regular eating immediately at such a stage. it's a long, but achievable road to recovery. sitting down and being like "here's some food; eat it" to someone probably won't work. as said, it's (often group) situations where there's not much pressure or expectation which are the easiest to eat in.
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    it sounds like some kind of EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified). Here are some definitions of the various types of ED.

    I think you should try and eat around her more and try and make her understand that we do need fat in our diet. Very often, people with eating disorders diet excessively, and their metabolic rate slows down because of the lack of essential nutrients in the diet, which ironically makes it even harder for them to lose any weight.

    Do NOT encourage her to pig out / eat junk food, because in some cases, that might actually trigger guilt afterwards and might start off a worse cycle of ED. Overexercising is often a sign of "compensatory behaviour".

    Try and ask her (as casually as possible so it won't sound accusing) if she often has cravings for certain food, which would often be in the "bad" food category. Try and encourage her to see a nutritionist / counsellor before her obsession over food worsens.
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    (Original post by red_roadkill)
    Well - if it's full blown anorexia she will eat rarely and extremely slowly (and begrudgingly).

    I think she clearly has some form of eating disorder, but not necessarily anorexia, afterall - she is eating.
    Please don't make ridiculous generalisations. They're not helpful.

    Ever heard of 'purging anorexia'?

    http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-et01.html
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    (Original post by eurasianfeline)
    Do NOT encourage her to pig out / eat junk food, because in some cases, that might actually trigger guilt afterwards and might start off a worse cycle of ED. Overexercising is often a sign of "compensatory behaviour".

    Try and ask her (as casually as possible so it won't sound accusing) if she often has cravings for certain food, which would often be in the "bad" food category. Try and encourage her to see a nutritionist / counsellor before her obsession over food worsens.
    Atm, we're all trying to make her realise that a little bit of fat in your food is not a bad thing. She's very open about it, and says that she hasnt craved any kind of food for a long time, and that eating is more of a chore than anything else. I'm pretty sure that once she learns to enjoy food again, she'll be en forme in no time. Her dance school is having a nutritionist come for a visit, so she will talk to them then. When we all spend time together, she often turns the conversation to food within 2 mins of us talking. It seems that to her, everything comes down to food.
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    Try encouraging her to eat more substantial food than fruit and veg, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, cereal, bread etc and some meat. Cheese and milk would also be very good for her. Don't encourage her to eat junk food, as she will put on the wrong kind of weight, and if she thinks she's putting on weight as a result of eating crap, she'll go back to the way she was. Talk to her about eating a wider range of food, and gradually help her build up to eating a healthy diet, incorporating all the different food groups. Jelly is a great thing for her to eat - it's yummy and fun to eat, but not too heavy. Just try and make it easier for her to start eating more normally.
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    (Original post by red_roadkill)
    Well - if it's full blown anorexia she will eat rarely and extremely slowly (and begrudgingly).

    I think she clearly has some form of eating disorder, but not necessarily anorexia, afterall - she is eating.

    It is a common misconception that anorectics simply don't eat - if that were the case they would drop dead pretty soon. They eat, just not enough...and often (though not always) will only focus on extremely healthy options.

    It sounds to me like your friend does indeed have anorexia, but from the things you say she is doing her best to gain weight healthily. How about suggesting she sees a nutritionist who will help her to work out a healthy eating plan and re-teach her to recognise hunger/build up the amounts she eats. This might be easier for her to accept than perhaps a psychiatrist or something...
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    I'm not an expert on anorexia, but it does sound like your friend has some sort of complex. After all, she was taken to hospital after losing 3 stone, and that just doesn't happen without a large effort on her part.

    A friend of mine, however, did lost about 2 stone through diabetes. When it was diagnosed, she had to eat healthily, but gaining that weight healthily was certainly *not* just "fruit, veg and extremely low fat food". She is *expected* (as someone who is on a healthy diet) to eat a variety of foods... fruit and veg of course, but also a wide variety of meats, bread and in moderation, sweet things.

    The combination of eating very little and doing obsessive exercise sounds like someone with a food complex, at the least. If you ask her, she may deny that anything is wrong, and it might be an idea for you to go to a teacher or even her parents about it. It sounds a little like betrayal, but honestly, she has been in hospital because of weight problems before, and being as light as she is could lead to health problems in later life, if not now.
 
 
 
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