National Eating Disorders Association

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Anonymous452
When the conversation about weight comes up

When the conversation about weight comes up I’m not really sure what to say? She said she wants to stay stable for a period of time until she’s not with her parents. She brought up today her weight and I’m not really sure what to say. I try and tell her that she’s valid and that right now she needs to focus on beating her compulsive thoughts and to overcome them. I try and remind her of the good time she is having and to not let her Ed ruin it for her. I’m not really sure if these are the right things to say when weight comes up. I try and change the subject but then she insinuates that I’m only changing the subject because she really is obese. Which in that case I assure her she isn’t. Any advice or thoughts? Opinions? Experiences ?

BobJ48
Don't get drawn in.

Yes, people with EDs will often try and bait you into making comments about their weight. Don't take the bait !

If you say they look "fine", well, you are just trying to be nice, and what you really mean is you think they are fat. If they go on about their weight, and you don't say anything, that also means that you think they are fat. Basically there's no answer you can come up with that's ever going to comfort and reassure them in positive ways.

I think it's reasonable for you to say that you understand all of the pitfalls about weight conversations, and that you think she probably understands that too, for the good of the both of you, you'd rather not take part in those conversations yourself.

Just as a practical matter, you know ? If she's able to be objective, she probably knows where these sorts of conversations tend to lead, and how it's rarely anywhere good.

This is not to say that she's not going to have thoughts about weight, or that you expect her not too. But that drawing you into them serves no positive purpose, as far as the various sorts of thoughts it brings up.

Anonymous452
I want to tell her that but

I want to tell her that but she tells me these things because she wants me to make her feel better. I just feel like no matter what I say she’s not going to feel better and she gets angry if I don’t say something to make her feel better you know?

BobJ48
Telling her.

" she tells me these things because she wants me to make her feel better. I just feel like no matter what I say she’s not going to feel better and she gets angry if I don’t say something to make her feel better you know? "

Yes, but it's all a part of her ED. And she's asking you to engage in parts of it that are unhealthy. So how's that going to make her feel better in the larger picture ? As long as she is obsessing over her weight, there's really nothing you can say one way or the other on that subject that's actually going to be productive.

It's true, some people need to gain weight, and some people need to lose, as an aspect of legitimate of health concerns. But eating disorders are a different thing altogether.

So it's a delemma for sure, but not one that's all that unusual where people feel like their happiness is somehow tied to the obsessiveness part. And that's not a part that you want to get drawn into, whether it makes her angry or not.

Because there are different ways of being supportive, and you want to be supportive in ways that actually are healthy, rather than ways that play along with her ED. If that makes her angry, then that's something she'll need to think about, and that the two of you may need to work out.

Depending on how self-aware she is, I mean.