National Eating Disorders Association

4 posts / 0 new
Last post
Suspected Eating Disorder

I suspect my 11 yr old step-daughter has an eating disorder. I don't think she is bulimic, because she doesn't binge, but I suspect she purges. She will eat a little food at dinner and then excuse herself to the bathroom for a very long time. She will use the bathroom far away from the dining room rather than the one that is right next to it. If we go out to dinner she will either suddenly say she feels sick when the food arrives, talk manically so no one notices she isn't eating, or she will eat a little and then excuse herself to the bathroom. She is thin, but not underweight. Her dad has brought it up to her, but she denies she purges - says she hates throwing up.

I suffered from anorexia as a teen and still struggle at times, even though I am at a normal weight. I see the look on her face when food is in front of her and am reminded of the way I felt when I struggled.

Her dad has discussed the dangers of eating too little - she is an athlete and he has explained how important nutrition is, but she gets very upset with these conversations. Her mom does not believe she has a problem - she says she eats her out of house and home and that he hates throwing up. Do you have any suggestions on the best approach? I have to tread lightly as I am only the step-mom.

Thank you.


Hi janie44, welcome to the forums. Thanks so much for posting! I'm so sorry to hear about your step-daughter, but I applaud you for wanting to approach her about it and help her become healthy again. It can be extremely tough to talk about such a sensitive topic, especially when the person denies anything is wrong. Sufferers of eating disorders often do not want anyone to know, because people knowing means those people will probably try to get you to stop. I'm not a professional, but speaking from personal experience, her denial could come from a place of fear - fear that she will have to stop those behaviors, which means she will gain weight - or a place of concern for her loved ones, whom she does not want to "burden" with her problems, among other possible reasons. Thinking of it from her point of view could possibly be helpful for you in determining how to approach it. Also, I don't know if you've already opened up to her about it, but if you feel like you're willing to, I think another great way to approach it could be to share your own personal experience and struggle with an eating disorder with your step daughter. Then she may not feel as judged or ashamed about her own, and might feel like you are someone she can open up to about it. Just a thought! In any case, I wish you the best of luck. Please keep us posted, we're here for you! <3


Hey janie44

Hey janie44, it sounds like you're in a rough predicament. I appreciate your concern for your stepdaughter who might be suffering from the same thing that you once did. I can't imagine that its easy seeing her so distraught in the presence of food. While you attend to her, please to make sure to attend to yourself as well. It would be unfortunate if in your quest to help her you sacrificed your own well being.

All that being said perhaps a frank conversation with your husband/partner might do the trick. One simple in that comes to mind is doctor's check up. You could voice your concerns with the doctor before hand and get a professional opinion. You might even be able to do so after the check and with just you, your partner, and the doctor. Just some ideas. I hope that helps a little.

- Adage

Get a consultation from some

Get a consultation from some knowledgeable person regarding her disorder.