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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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jiggi Offline
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I need advice on how to help - March 13th 2010, 08:28 PM

I recently found out my little cousin isn't eating. She's 14, and her mum is very overweight. Through her whole life, her mum has been obsessed with diets and calorie counting, and we think that might be the reason.

She hasn't said anything about it, and her mum is scared to ask her about it. She'll eat a little with encouragement, but not much, and not often.
My aunt first realised when her school contacted her saying the money she had paid for the term of school dinners hadn't been used for a few months, so we don't know how long its gone on for, but she's very thin.

I wanted to know what's the best way of dealing with this? I'll be seeing her next weekend, and she used to always look up to me, and wanted to be like me, so I was hoping maybe I might be able to use that to help her.

But should we ask her about it? Warn her of the risks? Or just continue trying to encourage her to eat?

Any advice would be very helpful.
   
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Re: I need advice on how to help - March 13th 2010, 11:09 PM

Hey Jiggi,
I think it's just fabulous to hear that you're concerned for her. Questions like these are so heartfelt.
I think that you should definitely confront her about this. It seems to be a big problem and it's something that needs to be talked about.
Maybe take her to lunch or have dinner alone with her and ask her why she's not eating. Then start the conversation off from there. Tell her the risks of not eating. Remind her that eating is a natural thing a human does and that it's vital to live.
If that tactic of talking to her doesn't work, then I would suggest 'scaring her' for example, tell her that if she doesn't start working on this she will have to be hospitalised, and show her pictures of those who continued down the path she's started. It's a bit harsh but tell her people die from what she's doing.
She needs to confronted with this sooner or later. Keep encouraging her to eat as well, but keep in mind what the consequences could be. Don't hesitate to get her help, it sounds like this has been going on a lot and that it might not be such a bad idea to do that.
I hope she'll listen to you. Seeing how you say she looks up to you, I'm sure you will be the best person to get this message across. Please take care of yourself, and your cousin, she needs someone right now I'm sure. Good luck mate.
   
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Re: I need advice on how to help - March 14th 2010, 06:28 AM

Hey there.

I don't suggest scaring her. I think you should just try talking to her, talk to her like she's one of your peers, like an adult. Don't talk down to her. Just ask her why she's not eating, and if there's anything that you can do to help. Keep asking her questions, but be calm and cool about it, and let her know that you just care and that you are worried about her. You could always take her shopping or out to eat, and just chat with her. Keep encouraging her to eat, let her know that it's okay to eat, and tell her how beautiful she is, just the way she is. She doesn't need someone to nag, but she could probably use a friend.

Take care.


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Re: I need advice on how to help - March 14th 2010, 09:09 PM

Perhaps you should talk to her about this and ask her if there's anything she would want to talk about with you, maybe you could help. Sometimes just knowing someone cares and is concerned can go a long way.
   
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Re: I need advice on how to help - March 17th 2010, 05:12 AM

Hey, its always hard to know what to do when in this position, but if she is starving herself it is really dangerous and something does need to be done. I think you could either talk to her, or just offer her some food (just infront of you and her) and if she turns it down you could just ask her if she is okay and that you have noticed changes. I wouldn't take her out to a restaurant or anything though, because that might make her really anxious, and most people with eating disorders don't like to be confronted with a big plate of food.
I hope all goes well for you and her
   
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