National Eating Disorders Association

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Cry for help?

I have a nanny caring for my two children, she does a great job with my kids but over the past few months I have become concerned that she has an eating disorder. I think she is depressed with her home life and personal stressors which up until today I thought was causing a secondary anorexia. Here's my question: is it common for people with eating disorders to leave evidence of the syndrome In clear view? Today we had the entire home cleaned professionally, however when I got home from work I see undigested food both in the toilet bowl and along the side. I can't imagine a cleaning company would leave my toilet in such a condition and my kids aren't potty trained. I can't imagine anyone would want to leave a toilet in such a way. I have talked with her about her health and told her we love and care for her. I have given her information on a local place to seek treatment. She has started going to a church and bible study but I don't really know what's happening currently. She still looks thin but seems high energy. It's a fine line because as her employer I don't want to be too involved but I do want to be sure she is ok. Any thoughts or feedback would be so appreciated.

Hi Healthiswealth,

Thank you for posting here! It's great that you're trying to learn more and find out how you can help. It is common for disorders like eating disorders and depression to occur at the same time, so it's possible that your children's nanny is experiencing both. Eating disorders often make people very secretive, since there's a lot of social shame associated with mental health issues, and because the EDs don't want people to get "caught", so to speak. However, it's possible that she is trying to reach out and leave a sign hoping that someone will intervene and realize how serious the disorder is.

You're right, it's a fine line since you're her employer and that affects your relationship with her. It's great that you gave her information about a local treatment center. You might also refer her to NEDA and to these forums and the NEDA Helpline. You can let her know that even if she doesn't think she has an ED, these are just great resources and places to reach out to people who will listen and understand. NEDA has a good page on "what to say" in case you want to discuss the topic more with her: . I hope this is a helpful starting point! It's so great that you're reaching out and trying to find out how to help; many people just stay silent. Please let us know if you have other questions! We're here for you! Good luck to you and to your children's nanny!


Hi Healthiswealth,
I'm sorry about your nanny! It's so wonderful that you are trying to get more informed about EDs so you can help her. I agree with Kelsey, perhaps if you provide her some resources about coping with eating issues that are not necessarily disorders she may be more receptive.

Good luck!