Home » Expert Q & A » Eating Disorders » Eating Disorders: William Anderson

My parents think I'm anorexic. They are constantly pushing food and saying I'm too thin. It's driving me crazy. What can I do?

  • Asks ...

    Is there anything wrong with liking to be thin? I am 18 and I am slender and I work hard to stay that way. I do like to visit some extreme dieting and ana lifestyle websites for ideas and support but I am not an anorexic and I would not let myself cross that line. How do I get my family to understand that even though I watch my calories and don’t like to eat too much fat that I am not an anorexic and that I have always been light for my height. I am tired of everyone always staring at my plate while I eat and with my parents always encouraging me to eat more than I want to or need to. Looking good is more important to me than a giant helping of mashed potatoes and I am proud of myself for having the discipline to control myself and to overcome temptation.

  • William Anderson Says ...
    William Anderson

    No, there's nothing wrong with liking to be thin, as long as it's a healthy thin.

    It will be hard for you to convince your family that everything is OK all by yourself if they get the idea that you have an eating disorder. Eating disorders are very dangerous and your parents could easily get caught up in worrying, even if there is nothing to worry about. If they believe there is a problem, nothing you say will change their minds until they are relieved of this worry. It will get worse if they are not assured that you are OK by someone else they trust. So, you need to address this now, and not let it get worse.

    Make an appointment with your doctor and ask your mother to come with you. You can make the appointment for a routine check-up. Your mother can wait in the waiting room while you explain the problem to the doctor. Then you can invite your mother in and the doctor can explain what is healthy and what is not.

    There is nothing wrong with liking to look good and wanting to avoid overeating. However, you are visiting extreme dieting an ana websites, and I'm afraid you may be getting confused about the difference between health promoting websites and those which are not. Ana "lifestyle" websites promote very dangerous eating disorders, attempting to present them as "lifestyles", as if anorexia and bulimia are OK things. They are not. They are very serious disorders, diseases that can result in irreparable damage and even death. It is like having websites that try to make it seem that smoking crack and shooting drugs is an OK "lifestyle". If you started believing it, you'd feel OK about smoking crack and shooting drugs, for a while anyway, until you crash and burn. If, right now, you are thinking that I'm exaggerating and the ana "lifestyle" websites are not that bad, you have lost sight of a healthy rational view of things. If so, it's like you are getting infected with a disease, and you need to get grounded in rational healthy thinking.

    An alternative to going to your doctor together is going to a counselor who specializes in eating disorders together. You may be more comfortable talking about this with a counselor, or you may be more comfortable with your doctor. The counselor might be able to better make it clear what is good dieting and what is eating disorder, a disease. Both you and your mom could benefit by getting this clear. Then, with the help of the counselor, you could agree on some rules about what's OK for the family to do and talk about regarding your eating and weight. You will no longer have to worry about being harassed about your eating and your weight. Life will be better. If you need more help with this, please write again.



Featured Experts