difficult child - poss new problem - anorexia?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ksm, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    School is now started for the past 5 days... and for that entire time difficult child is suddenly "not hungry right now" which is a huge change in her eating habits. She had been leaving for school not feeling like eating breakfast, which I thought was probably normal, as she was not used to getting up that early. But she hasn't eaten one lunch at school, nor took anything to eat. At supper, she is again "not hungry right now" and picks at her food. She is short, average build, and what I consider just right. Most her clothes are size 3 to size 5. She has one stupid pair of shorts she bought last year that is a girls size 10-12... made for about a 10 year old girl. She has been squeezing herself in to those shorts the past two summers. Yesterday she put them on and made the comment that hey, these aren't tight any more. Today she wanted to leave for school early and walk with her BFF... "because it is healthy to walk". Duh... so not like her. I know she wants to spend time with her friend, but things are starting to concern me. Today I told her she could walk to school, but she had to eat something before she left. She ate a granola bar.

    How should I handle this (on top of all the other usual stuff) KSM
  2. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I don't like the sound of this at all. Can you sit her down and ask her if something is going on? Or can you call her guidance counselor and tell him your concerns? Maybe he can call her down and try to find out what've going on in her head. I don't know how yours are in your school, but I know that the one that my difficult child has is pretty good and has helped me out quite a few times when things were going on with difficult child and I couldn't get it out of him.
  3. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    It doesn't sound good....but, in my humble opinion, the worst part of budding eating disorders is the fact that the more of an issue you make about eating - the more it becomes an issue. Do you know for sure whether she is actually not eating at all? Is she losing weight?

    My daughter goes to school and eats TONS of sugar snacks from the vending machines and other students. It's the cool thing to brag about skipping breakfast and then scarf down a whole box of sugary treats with a friend. Lunch time? No time for anything healthy, but plenty of room for soda and candy bars. A friend couldn't finish their potato chips? No problem - difficult child will eat that. But then when she gets home? Once again - she is "just not hungry".

    I think you should probably ignore it as best you can until you can get a more accurate picture of what is going on...
  4. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    This is her first year in high school - and I know that she would flip out if I called the counselor. She probably doesn't even know who her counselor is... and he/she wouldn't have met her yet. This is a school of about 1,400.

    I will try to call our therapist and set up an appointment. She cancelled our last one because she had a sick child and wasn't at work where she had her calendar... so she didn't make a follow up. This is a new behavior... not eating... she has always had a healthy appetite, and many times we would have to ask her to slow down, or wait a little bit before taking thirds. She has always preferred meat, starches and sweets. Doesn't care for veggies or fruits. She could live on pasta, potatoes, rice, bread, cereal and meat.

    Another factor is that little sis (who is 12) and has been a little on the chunky side has now gotten to difficult child's heigth and has slimmed down a little. So I think she is feeling a little competition... and little sis has developed at an earlier age and has a bigger bosom... which upsets her. t.ruth be told... difficult child gets upset at anything that isn't exactly her way. KSM
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    There's so much pressure on kids today, particularly on the way they look. I am raising my granddaughter too and just last night we were talking about one of her best friends who suddenly, 6 months ago, became a vegan, started running 3 miles a day and has lost about 20 pounds. When you talk to this girl, you can hear her lack of self esteem in her words. Seems like trouble is brewing.

    I had an eating disorder when I was young and my advice is to give your concerns to the therapist, and if your granddaughter has a budding eating disorder, then ask the therapist if she is knowledgeable about eating disorders and if not to recommend one that is. The problem is that your granddaughter will not see any of this as a problem, if indeed, it is, and not just teenage peer pressure and competition with her sister. If it is an issue, then the sooner you get help for her the better, it can spiral out of control very quickly. However, having said that, she may really be just a typical teen trying to fit in. Keep a close eye on her and talk to the therapist.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Could very well be an eating disorder ... but at age 14 (if your profile is up-to-date) she should be developing hips, which will change everything. Maybe leave some magazines around the house that show athletic women, with-nice hips, and comment about how attractive they are ... ? Wish I could help more.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    P.S. Maybe you could make arrangements to have her size 10 shorts get eaten by the washing machine?
  8. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    Oh yeah! Big LIKE for this one!

    (Just one "Oops! Sorry, honey." and problem solved!)
  9. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    difficult child home from school. She didn't eat lunch ("My stomach was hurting and it didn't sound good") But secret weapon is working... Creamy chicken cheese enchiladas baking, a tossed salad with ranch dressing, corn, and fresh fruit salad with a sour cream and brown sugar and vanilla to dollop on top. Oh, and tortilla chips on the side with salsa. She seems really interested in supper. I just hope, even if she eats a good supper, that she gives up this skipping lunch. I know a lot of girls do it, but it just sets you up for a future of not so healthy eating. KSM
  10. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Ok, she ate supper. She had one enchilada, some salad and some fruit and some tortilla chips. Usually would eat two and ask for a third... But, she ate. Halfway thru the meal she left the table... I kept an ear open and didn't hear any throwing up. Later she apologized for leaving during the meal and I asked why she was gone so long, and she said her stomach started hurting and she thought she might throw up - but didn't. This girl could eat more than a guy twice her size before. Not sure what is going on, but at least she ate. I am trying not to make a big deal out of it. Hoping to get in with therapist later this week or early next. KSM
  11. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ksm, has she gotten stomach aches which make her feel like throwing up before? Could it be physical? My difficult child had stomach aches when she was a kid, it turned out to be anxiety.
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Well, at least she sat down and ate a little bit. But excusing herself in the middle of the meal is troublesome. Plus, if she really had a stomachache, not to be indelicate, but wouldn't she be gassy at some point, or sitting in the bathroom for a long time?
  13. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    I was wondering if she was anxious about starting high school - but she seems fine with it. No complaints. Likes her teachers. I have asked her about the lunch situation, thinking that maybe she didn't know who to sit with, etc... but she says she goes to lunch, but doesn't feel like eating so she sits with some friends, and they get done earlier than her lunch break, so then she hangs out in the courtyard area. She even asked me today if my questions was because I thought she was trying to lose weight. I told her no, but I was concerned because she has always ate the school lunches before (with a few exceptions -then she would pack a lunch or call and beg me to bring a lunch as she was starving and couldn't eat the school lunch. KSM
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Never ask a teenager if they have a problem with anxiety. Of COURSE they don't. There's no way on earth they would ever admit that to anybody, and especially not MOM.

    Her schedule is out of sync with her friends. That alone would explain the school-lunch problem. If they have already eaten, she loses precious face-time with her friends if she goes to eat before joining the group. Would it help if you stuck some "emergency rations" in her back-pack? Not "snuck"... stuck. She needs to know they are there. A couple of granola bars, for example. A box of raisins. Something, anything. Then... if she is regularly eating those and not eating school lunches, the face-time factor may be a significant issue.

    Once your eating patterns are out of whack... it throws the body chemistry out, and things like hunger, how you feel when you eat etc. can all be affected. Somehow, she needs to get enough calories and enough nutrition (vitamins, minerals, protein, etc.) to bring her body back into sync.
  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Get a variety of the protein bars. Look for ones with roughly a 40/30/30 ratio of carbs/protein/fat. Balance bars and Zone bars are roughly that proportion, so any of those brands are good. Otherwise, read the labels and do some math. I hate health food and love the balance gold caramel nut bars. They are like snickers but not as gooey. Put these in her backpack and hand her one before school. They will not give her the sugar rush that a granola bar will. From a nutritional standpoint, granola bars are pretty much cookies though they do have more whole grains in them usually. Also consider some of the instant breakfast stuff or read the labels on the various protein drinks out there. You are not looking for low cal, but for nutrition, which can be harder to find. EAS has a protein powder in vanilla that is pretty good when added to homemade granola or in a shake or even in muffins. It is not sugar free (I am allergic to artif sweeteners, so I have had to look for the things with sugar).

    It is HARD to go into the lunchroom to eat if you don't have friends with the same lunch. The where to sit question can be paralyzing. I can still remember the first day of school after we moved when I didn't know anyone and how stressed I was. That may be part of ehr problem.

    You may not hear her if she is throwing up. If you haven't lived with someone with bulimia you have NO clue how quiet they can vomit. It is shocking, but it can be close to silent and they get quiet faster than you would think possible.

    I would talk to the therapist, keep a close eye out, and make those shorts disappear. Don't say anything about them, just find them, cut them so they cannot be fished out and worn again, and then throw them away with something messy and yucky.
  16. ksm

    ksm Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the ideas. She is a very picky eater - but eats well if she likes something. Today she ate lunch in the cafeteria. Before we picked her up from school I asked easy child if difficult child had mentioned how much weight she had lost - and it sounds like she has dropped from 116 to 106. Still in the normal range for her height and build. But I will definitely keep an eye (and an ear!) out for new developments. KSM
  17. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    Could she be eating laxatives? That would explain the weight loss and stomach aches as well. Not to worry you, but to help you think about the possibilities.