National Eating Disorders Association

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Girlfriend wants to go on diet

I'm in a very serious relationship with my girlfriend. About 3 years ago she had bad anorexicia which resulted in hospitalization. Later on, She developed Binge Eating Disorder. She is now considering going on a diet in order to lose some weight, and I really want to support her in being as healthy as can be, but I'm very worried of her going back to her anorexic state. How can I be supportive and what should I tell her?

Her self-awareness.


Unfortunately it's not uncommon for people to experience some pretty severe weight fluctuations as they try and navigate a life in which EDs have already intruded on in the past. High weights and low weights - People can hit some pretty high, as well as some pretty low numbers in situations where ED has been on the scene in the person's past.

At the same time, there are situations where people honestly do need to lose weight as a general health concern, and this can present them with some fairly dangerous navigational waters for sure. In the beginning they can approach it with a reasonable plan, but as you suspect, ED can see it as an opening too.

This does not mean that the person is doomed to fall into their ED again though. Depending on their level of self-awareness, and their ability to monitor how their moods may be tied to their self-judgments about themselves, I do think that some people are able to loose in a healthy way.

But they really need to keep a close eye on the way that those self-judgments try and intrude on the process.

You know her better than I do, so it's hard to know how things will proceed. But if she has some wisdom from the past, it's possible that she already has an idea of the psychological pitfalls that she'll need to look out for.

Being able to approach this with moderation, no matter what the scale may try and tell her at any particular point in the day will be important. Some people make an agreement with themselves to only weigh themselves once a week, or even more infrequently. If she can manage to stick with a healthy diet plan, and not freak out at what the scale may or may not say, that will be a good sign I think.

It will also depend on how much she is willing to share with you. While you don't want to be the food police, you might ask her if there is any area in all this where she would like you to help her out.

You'd be surprised - Sometimes the person will have areas where they would actually like our support, in situations where they know they may be otherwise vulnerable.

Bob J.