National Eating Disorders Association

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kat42
Is she becoming anorexic?

My friend is still in a healthy BMI, but she is dropping weight fast and exhibiting a lot of the symptoms of anorexia. I am wondering if she could be anorexic anyway, or if her saying she will stop when she reaches her target weight has any meaning.

Most of why I am worried is her diet.On top of that she is taking a whole lot of medications. On top of this she works out hard every day and is getting laser liposuction. All of this causes her pain, and she knows that it is hurting her body, but says that this is a good thing and the only thing that makes her happy (she isn't at all) .

I am wondering how to act around her. Should I look at the advice for people whose friends are anorexic, or is there a way I should be acting in this specific situation? I don't know how to act around her, or if some of the ways I am trying to help are just hurting her, and I should hold off, or change tactics. Also, though I will always be there for her, this is really putting a strain on our friendship. Not only can we not get away from the topic of her weight and diet, which always causes an argument, but she is becoming abrasive. It's really hard not to get mad when she says she is jealous of me because I have so much pain from nerve damage that it causes me to throw-up sometimes.

Basically, I guess I am wondering how worried I should be, and what kind of advice I should look for on how to be supportive.

BRath
Worried

Hi, Kat42
You are right to be concerned about your friend. Just from what you say about her habits and her view on weight, it is not a healthy relationship.
First let me just tell you that your friend should feel lucky to have someone like you in her life during this. It by no means is an easy roll to be in and the fact that you are trying looking for any information and being considerate of how delicate this situation is and wanting to know how to approach her and the issue says a lot.
There is no one correct way to approach an ED or DE, and there is no one fix fits all kind of thing. Each person is different.
Coming from someone who is currently in recovery from DE ( disordered eating: you don’t fit all the criteria for Bulimia or Anorexia specifically, but you have tendencies from one or the other or even both) I learned that mine was a mixture of my personality type and how I respond to stress and also not valuing myself, so what started as a simple goal of trying to better myself and get healthier my perfectionist tendencies along with my obsession over things that I start took me down a very unhealthy path, and took a lot of work to get out of.
Your friend may have started an innocent diet that got out of control, and/or it is a way to cope or have control when maybe something in her life feels out of control or something she isn’t dealing with.
Goal weights or a set number is never a good thing. Granted she may have every intention of stopping or switching to a more of a “maintaining” diet or habits when she gets to that goal, but it is extremely hard to stop going down that road once you are on it.
What sends up a red flag for me is the way your friend views BMI…. BMI is not and should not be used as a guide to determine a goal weight, or average weight. BMI only takes into consideration your age and height, It does not take into account your personal body type, small, medium, or large frame (bone size). Is your friend athletic? Was the goal weight set using BMI? BMI actually would be a lower range of numbers that a person should be, not overweight if you fit within your BMI range. So already it tells me that your friend has a much skewed view on what weight she should be to be healthy.
From someone on the other end, some of the things that helpful from my friends, were, my friends voiced their concern but never pushed it on me, they told me that what I was doing wasn’t healthy, but never voiced their anger and were just constantly there for me, even if it meant watching.
Try suggesting she goes to talk to someone ( professional) maybe see a dietician so she can get more accurate information on what exactly her body needs and how to lose weight the right way.
My one friend helped me make an appointment with a psychologist and went with me to the appointment and sat there until I was done. That meant more to me than the words or saying the right things. Just being there, and being a stable sound board is enough and just being able to read when something simple like that was more beneficial than telling me all the things I’m doing wrong and how unhealthy my choices are.
Be strong and tell her that you will be there for her, but set boundaries on the conversation. Say that you are not comfortable talking about this topic and can you guys please find something else to talk about.

BobJ48
Worried,

I'm with Brath on this - I think your instincts are correct about your friend. The low caloric intake ( these levels are way too low to be healthy) the "goal weight" thing, lots of exercise- these things and this mindset, certainly sound like things that people with EDs do.

And really, if you want to encourage her to get counseling, it doesn't have to be about her ED. If people are pestering her about her habits, and no one seems to understand, and it's really starting to make her angry, then that might be something she'd want to talk about. Or if she starts feeling depressed, or anxious - those a perfectly good reasons to see a therapist too.

But like BRath said, the most important thing is to simply maintain a steady and caring friendship with her. So that if the time comes, she'll feel safe talking with you, you know ?