Eating Disorder

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Eating Disorder

Dear GZ Advisor,
My friend thinks she's fat. For awhile she wouldn't eat. She was about 97 lbs., but now she's 79 lbs. and just the other day she told me she started a diet where you are sure to lose a pound a day. I've tried to tell her she's not fat, but she won't believe me.
-- Lucy

Dear Lucy,
Put your concern for your friend into action right away! She could have an eating disorder, and she is in serious danger. She needs expert help. Keep talking to your friend and let her know how much you care about her. Here are some suggestions for what to say:

Tell her that she isn't a problem, but her obsession with losing weight is!

Also tell her you care, and that you'd like her to get help. Be prepared to make suggestions about adults she can talk to. Let her know she doesn't need to feel guilty about her eating problems.

Ask her what she thinks, and then listen.

Know that when you talk with her about this she may get angry, and she may deny what you've said. Persist. Don't give up trying to help her. And don't blame yourself if she refuses to get help. You can only do so much.

You don't have to handle this situation alone: contact a doctor, parent, school counselor, school nurse or other adult who can help you find the expert care your friend needs. Here are some Web sites that you may want to contact for more information:

www.something-fishy.com
This excellent site has tons of information including places to get help for a friend.

Two good books to check out are:

Taking Charge Of My Mind And Body: A Girls' Guide To Outsmarting Alcohol, Drug, Smoking And Eating Problems by Gladys Folkers, M.A. and Jeanne Engelmann

Real Gorgeous: The Truth About Body & Beauty by Kaz Cooke.

You are a very caring person to want to help, Lucy, and your friend is fortunate to have you in her life.

Best wishes, GZ Advisor

P.S. You can also check out a great Inside Out article called: Dear Diary, Help I'm On A DIEt.