Posted by: CP MOM | 2011-10-14

Should i worry?

My step daughter is 13 and in grade 8 this year. She has " suddenly"  stopped taking food to school, she does not eat a drop in the morning not even coffee BUT at least she eats at night.

However the portions at night are extremely small. She is eating out of a spider man plate (baby plate) and she''ll dish up meat and veggies but no potato, rice, mash etc. She is not overweight, she is not underweight, she''s very nicely built though very small. To me she''s 100% right in weight - these portions just worry me.

Her brother has noticed and started teasing her last night he dished up for her (as a joke) and put 1 single piece of macaroni...she was so upset with him. I then told him to STOP this immediately and that i never want to see or hear him making jokes or commenting on her portions as it will only make things worse.

Am i over worried? Should i talk to her? Should i just leave it? and what do i say or ask?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageEating Disorders Expert

Hello CP MOM,
You should certainly sit up and take notice of the message your step-daughter is putting out here. It is obvious that she has suddenly become extremely restrictive in her eating and trying desperately to lose weight. She is also making it very visible, unlike many early sufferer's who are secretive and manipulative in their restrictive eating. I suggest that you and your husband sit down with her (not during a meal time) and confront her with your concern about the inadequate diet she is following. Her troubles could be about anything, so listen to her. However, it is urgently required that she resume normal eating before she becomes underweight. A dietician should be able to advise you and your step-daughter on some healthy changes that are required. Do not ignore these dangerous signs.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Shannon | 2012-01-25

Hi CP Mom,

From what you''ve said, i''m 21yrs old and I did exactly the same thing that age. You''re probably thinking, " now what would I know."  But if it would help I''d like to tell you why I did it, maybe it could be the same reason she is also doing it.

At the age of 13 kids start making fun of those who take lunch to school, heaven knows why, but because of this you feel too embarrased to still do it. Especially when it comes to going to high shcool. Most children get money for school and then buy lunch, so those that bring they''re own are being teased because its either " childish"  , " this is high school now"  or " shame, dont your parents give you money?" . During school time i''d suffer myself until I get home just because i didnt want to embarress myself in front of my friends. By the time you get home, you''re over hungry, so you might eat the MINIMUM, or even nothing. At supper I also started using small plates because of being used to eating so little, you feel guilty when eating more. Or, you''re still not hungry, you''re just taking a bit of food so that the parents won''t say anything if you dont eat at all.

From that day until today, i''m over conscious about my weight and a fitness maniac, about what happened years ago. So this could end up in a problem. The girls in high school are very weight and beauty concerned , and the youth of today is not what it was. If someone is just a little overweight or doesnt have a nice body in others eyes, they''re not afraid of commenting, no matter how bad it makes that person feel. Its all about competition and pressure and this makes one feel concerned about themselves, so you''d do anything to yourself to look good and not have other girls saying something bad about you, ''because this is high school'' and to most its all about your status in school.

From being there myself, knowing what would please/help me, my suggestion would be to either pack an interesting, but healthy lunch like a cereal bar, fruit, sandwich made from those health breads and a juice (for example). The girls at school that are " health fanatics"  would usually do this and they are in fact the ones teasing the others. So in this case they cant say anything. Or, you should talk to her, ask her if there''s someone giving her a hard time at school. If you talk to her the right way, she will open up to you.

Reply to Shannon
Posted by: Leila | 2011-10-27

This young girl seems to be stressed or depressed over something. Can you notice any other changes in her like her mood? Her portions are way to small to sustain her. If you say she has started this habit recently and her weight is ok, she could start losing weight from now on. I would suggest you find out what the problem is and take it on from there. Wishing you good luck...

Reply to Leila

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