Anorexia/bulemia in preteen girls

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter came home the other day and announced that "all the girls in school are on a diet. We all decided to diet together."
    My daughter doesn't need to diet and, even if she was a few pounds too heavy, I get frightened at the idea of girls dieting. So many seem to develop eating disorders. Fortunately, my daughter doesn't seem to be taking this "diet" too seriously and is eating normally, at least around us.
    However, she has two friends who are going to the extreme. One, she says, has lost ten pounds in two weeks and will only drink diet Coke and chew gum and have one or two bites at lunch. The other is a dancer and VERY thin, but was told by somebody (I don't know who) that she'll get further in her dancing career (she wants to dance professionally one day) if she loses ten pounds. This child can't be more than 90 pounds already and my daughter says she never eats. She is forced to buy lunch at school, but she just pushes the food around then throws it away.
    I get very upset at the push to be "skinny" in our society. I really wonder how many girls have eating disorders. And this group "dieting" mindset...most of these girls are already thin. Kind of scary.
    Well, just throwing it out there to see how others feel about this. I wish being a healthy weight was coveted rather than looking like (at the risk of dating myself :D) Twiggy????
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Frankly, it worries me.

    With my girls I stressed that the body needs the proper nutrition in order to grow and develop properly. No emphasis has ever been put on body size in our home. I made sure there were healthy snacks, and 3 good meals a day. Junk food was strictly limited.

    easy child got a bit on the chunky side right about age 13-14. She'd just hit puberty, and that's not an uncommon reaction by the body. I kept telling her she was getting her female curves. She thought she was getting fat.

    Next thing I know she's dropping weight like a rock in less than 2 weeks her clothes were falling off. (literally) When she slipped and admitted to fainting at school, after fainting at home....I came down hard on her. She'd been starving herself for 2 weeks! Drinking only water and throwing up her meals.

    I sat down with her and was honest about all the medical ramafacations that go along with Bulemia and anxorexia. Then I told her that I'd be watching her like a hawk. And I did until I was certain she'd gotten past it. I'd even threatened to go to school with her each day to make sure she ate. (and meant it)

    Scary. Thank goodness the fainting and me telling her the medical horrors was enough to get her to stop right at the beginning.

    As reinforcement.......we began to watch old movies and tv shows. Idols like Marilyn Monroe and such who were in no way thin I pointed out that men swooned over. And more importantly, they still do.

    The scrawny look came out with Twiggy. ugh Sad day for society and young girls when that happened. Most men like their women with soft curves to cuddle, not all boney knees and elbows. OUCH!

    Europe already placed a new regulation on body weight for models, considerably heavier than they used to be.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Couldn't agree with you more MWM. Girls are bombarded by unhealthy images and messages in the media, and these set them up for unrealistic expectations for themselves. Parents need to take the time to talk about this stuff and not just gloss it over. When we buy "gossip" and fashion magazines they can be used as a tool to start a dialog about what celebrities and models must go through in order to maintain their "image", the pressure they are under, the scrutiny and criticism they feel, the amount of time they must spend with expensive personal trainers, etc. All that in comparison to leading a normal, healthy life that includes time for family, friends, hobbies, jobs, recreational exercise, etc. and.... healthy eating.

    I try to stress with my own kids that what's most important is eating a healthy diet -- everything in moderation, and getting enough exercise so their body stays healthy. I talk about my own weight issues and explain to them how mommy became overweight, how it's not healthy for me, and what I can do to make changes (it's very hard, but I'm trying). I tell them if they get in the habit of doing the right thing it will make it easier when they are older.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    This has frightened me since I was a teen. I had a problem with body chemistry and my brain didn't get the right chemicals to signal hunger. I was NEVER hungry. I was blessed with some close friends in high school and college who would insist I eat, never letting me skip meals. I would literally not realize I hadn't eaten if I was busy.

    I have a cousin who is 11 yrs younger than I am. A was a chunky little girl, mostly because the crud her mom fed her. Then she was in jr high and suddenly lost 25 pounds all at once. My aunt sat her down and tried to get through to her the dangers of dieting by not eating, and of bulimia too. It didn't get through. So my aunt took her to a tour of an inpatient eating disorder facility. THAT scared her, esp the girls with feeding tubes who were in restraints because they kept tearing out the tubes.

    Jessie says some of her friends diet. Some were dieting in 2nd and 3 rd grades because their moms pushed the issue on them. the other girls kept telling them to make healthy food choices but not to starve themselves. Overall, Jessie has a very level-headed group of friends, and when one girl was bragging about being on the Trident diet (you only drink water and no food but all the Trident gum you can chew) the other girls told the counsellor after telling the girls mom resulted in praise for the girl's "willpower".

    Jessie is overweight. The epilepsy medications are hard to lose weight on, and with her knee messed up it is hard for her to exercise. She has been doing an exercise tape that is very easy on her knee as much as she can. She is focusing her efforts on healthy eating, proper portion size (a huge problem for her), and exercise. She wants to "become more healthy" far more than she wants to lose weight.

    I do worry over the whole push to be super-thin in our society. It just seems almost the only message kids can find. Dieting isn't healthy for anyone, and for kids who are growing and developing it is even more dangerous.

    Don't forget our boys in this. Many sports want the boys to be a certain weight. Wrestling is HUGE around here. My nephew on husband's side actually wrestled as an independent for several years. his dad's best friend was the coach of the wrestling team and he taught the boys not to swallow their own spit so they wouldn't be "weighed down" by it and could make their weight class. My sister in law hit the ceiling when she learned this. And she pulled nephew off the team ASAP.

    Wrestling and gymnastics are 2 of the sports that are esp hard on guy's for their weights. We have to supervise what our kids are learning in sports and make sure they are at healthy weights with healthy eating habits..
  5. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    SO true! husband is from PA and wrestling was huge there as well. He has stories of his various weight-loss tactics that make me shudder to hear. It's one reason I don't want my boys to wrestle OR play football.

    difficult child 2 has weight issues now because of Seroquel. He knows he needs to lose about 10 pounds but it's hard for him to not gravitate towards the junk food. I try to use myself as an example of what happens when you aren't careful about what you eat and don't exercise! I don't have him on a diet by am encouraging him to make healthier food choices instead. It's hard, because he's only 12! Maybe some of the weight will redistribute if he gets a good growth spurt in the next year or so.
  6. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    MWM, the thing that I find most worrying about your daughter's group of friends is that they're all doing it together. I'm very glad that she seems to be level headed, and not taking the diet too seriously, but please continue to watch her carefully.

    One of the things that a lot of the experts don't mention when discussing eating disorders is that it's a group activity. Girls will group together, reinforce each other's distorted thinking and the group mindset, and put pressure on each other to conform. Also, for those into bulimia, they will teach each other "tricks", to make the process

    I speak from experience. Went through the ringer with anorexia and bulimia starting when I was about 12. It took until my late 20s to really become healthy again.
  7. 4sumrzn

    4sumrzn New Member

    Very scary stuff! I'm with Trinity....been there done that. I was hospitalized with Anorexia in highschool. Weight is still a battling issue for me this day! I have learned over the years how unhealthy the disease is & try to control it. Sometimes the mind reverts back....not on purpose, it just does. Almost like a "smack in the face" is needed to realize to pay attention & not go down that road again. I worry so much about these teenagers & what is expected of them when it comes to sports or parents that push them to be thin/perfect. All I can do is hope that if I come across one of these children in my adult life....I can make a difference & help them choose a different path.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, I brought this up because of the "group dieting" thing. It did scare me (thanks, Trinity). We have had the bulemia/anorexia talk, trust me. It scares me to death. My sister has had bulemia/anorexia all her life. She is so skinny now that she looks ill, but she thinks she looks good. It never goes away. I'd rather my kids be chunky. They can always lose it later on. The last thing I want is an eating disordered child. My sister works out for 1 1/2 hours seven days a week and is now running three miles a day I think. She can't afford to lose any more weight. Everything thinks she looks like she is dying. She says she is about 90 lbs. THe scary thing is, her daughter is a runner too and VERY skinny and VERY worried about eating healthy. She can't weigh more than 85 lbs, tops, and she is almost 17. Neither are very tall (around 5'4"), but the mindset is frightening. I'm afraid my sister will die of a heart attack. And then there is her other daughter. Her other one is a healthy looking dancer and sister said she "could afford to lose some weight." I freaked out and told her to let it go, but she won't. It seems that it is passed along too.
    I hope my daughter continues to not take this too seriously. She has a strong, athletic build and is not overweight, but she will never look teeny tiny. I am so disgusted the way society puts pressure on females to be so skinny (shudder).
  9. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    One thing people do not know about dieting is that even gaining and losing 1-=15 pounds every 6-12 mos will put a strain on your heart. My father in law had a heart attack a few years ago and that is the major cause of it. They examined his entire lifestyle and he did NOT have a lot of risk factors for heart problems.

    BUT he did do the "weight cycle" of gaining in the winter and then losing it in the spring/summer. THAT is very very hard on your heart.

    And dieting more than that, is much harder. Weight changes should come through lifestyle changes that last.

    It is important to teach our kids that when they starve themselves for a diet then the body will begin to dissolve muscles. And the heart is a muscle. "Dieting" is very risky business.

    The heart docs that my father in law and stepMIL saw all said that it is actually healthier to carry a little extra weight than to go through the cycle of gaining and losing weight (even 10 pounds) - it is easier on your heart to just carry the weight than to adjust and cope with the yo yo dieting.

    I was stunned to learn that, but it does make some sense.