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Anorexia Eating Disorder




  1. Where can I find a dietitian who works with anorexia? Answer
  2. I am 21 years old now, but my eating disorder started when I was 16. Am I ever going to get my shape back? Answer
  3. I really would like to use the Healthy Body Calculator and get some feedback to help me attain a normal weight. Answer
  4. I do exercise everyday for 2 1/2 hours. Answer
  5. I knew about the laxative recall. I am thinking about taking water pills to fight the bloat. Answer
  6. I feel like I will lose control of my weight if stop taking the laxatives. Answer
  7. I am going on a vacation in few weeks. I thought about not taking my laxatives. Answer
  8. I read your answer, but I still won't give up the laxatives yet. Answer
  9. Do you know what happens to the body when laxatives are overused? Answer


  10. She wants to loose another 20 pounds through excessive exercising and purging. Answer
  11. I have a female friend who weighs between 100 to 105 pounds Answer
  12. I am hoping that with all this support I can pull myself out of this hole that I am in. I want to be able to eat like a normal person. Answer
  13. It bought back memories from when I was an inpatient at Renfrew. Answer
  14. I talked with somebody from the help line and they got me thru the worst part. Answer
  15. I couldn't bring myself to eat the food my dietitian wanted me to nor could I cut down on the exercise. Answer
  16. I had to call a crisis line for help. Answer
  17. Today is not a good a day for me. I met with my therapist and we got into some touchy areas. Answer
  18. I have been suffering of anorexia for as long as I can remember. What I am looking for is magic words that will jump start this brain. Answer
  19. I don't want to be ill or anything, but the idea of being fat makes me think that I'd like to control my weight forever. Answer


  20. Is my friend too thin at 95 pounds? Answer
  21. Because I have asthma I need an effective method to lose weight or I will have to stick with purging and not eating. What should I do? Answer
  22. What should I eat to help my metabolism speed up and what should I stop eating to lose at least 15 pounds in two to three months? Answer
  23. I am a seventh grader in Massachusetts doing a report for science on anorexia / bulimia. Can you answer my questions? Answer
  24. Is there any way I can lose this weight without being anorexic about it? Answer
  25. I was wondering if you could give me some information on these disorders so I know what's going on in a school play? Answer
  26. Friends I sit with at lunch started eating 100 - 200 calorie lunches. Is this just a passing call for attention? Answer
  27. My vegetarian girlfriend is no more than 100 pounds. What do I do? Answer
  28. What is anorexia and is it the same as bulimia? Can a person have both? Answer
  29. I know someone who is really thin and she probably has anorexia. What can I do to help? Answer
  30. I have a girlfriend who is 5 feet 2 inches and 86 pounds. Does she have anorexia? Answer


Where can I find a dietitian who works with anorexia?

The Behavioral Health Nutrition dietetic practice group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics specializes in working with patients who have eating disorders. You can find a dietitian at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Include your zip code or city / state, the type of service you want (individual consultation) and eating disorders as the area of expertise.


I am 21 years old now, but my eating disorder started when I was 16. Most of the past 5 years was spent in hospitals or in a blur. I am 4 feet 10 inches weighing 130 pounds at the start. Which was truly overweight since my normal weight range was supposed to be 95 to 100 pounds. Slowly, but aggressively got myself to the low weight of 42 pounds.

Of course after I had regained to my normal weight of 95 pounds, my body was no longer under my control. I was stripped of my rights and held captive in and out of hospitals for 2 years. The first year back home in recovery, I exploded to 145 pounds. Mostly because of suspicious judgments about me, plus food was constantly being pushed on me. Not to mention I was not allowed to exercise or go on any excursion that might burn calories. Not doctors orders, but the SWAT team of friends and family around me.

Now another year has passed, where all I've lost is 10 pounds. For that year I was set free to eat and exercise as I pleased. So for an entire year now, I've walked on the treadmill 5 days a week for 35 to 45 minutes, ate a 900 calorie diet of wholesome real foods like veggies and rice, took bottles of herbal supplements and vitamins and drank 11 glasses of water daily plus 2 tall glasses of green tea. I'm a vegetarian, but make sure to get my proper intake of protein daily.

I'm moderately active overall and I eat several small meals due to my hypoglycemia. I even treat myself to a chocolate bar a day. So you see, according to all the health guidelines, I should be in great shape. But I'm not and I'm always sick. Am I ever going to get my shape back?

I really don't have the energy to get all fanatical on loosing this load anymore for fear of a repeat anorexia takeover. No I was not bulimic. I would appreciate your help in relieving my depression. Keep in mind that I'm currently jobless and without insurance. Any suggestions?

It sounds like you've had a difficult time with your weight. Due to your past history though, it is good not to obsess about your weight. Aim for a healthy body weight around 103 pounds.

It sounds like your exercise is a reasonable amount. Your 900 calorie intake per day is too low to provide you with enough energy for exercise especially if that 200+ calorie chocolate bar is included in your 900 daily calories. You need to have enough energy to do your daily activities and should aim for at least 1,340 calories per day (not including a chocolate bar) at your current exercise level. Remember your body needs these calories each day for basic activities and to keep your body functioning. If you were to do nothing, but lay in bed all day not moving a muscle, you would need at least 980 calories just for your body to maintain muscle and organ functions. Where's your body going to get additional calories to fuel your exercise?

One possible explanation for your always being sick is that your body isn't getting enough calories to be able to fight off infection. It's very difficult to get all of the nutrients you need from only 900 calories a day especially with your exercise schedule.

With a vegetarian eating plan, you need to be conscious about eating proteins that have all the amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscles and organs. Have you thought about eating soybeans or tofu in addition to rice and vegetables? It's best to follow the My Plate when planning your meals. Be sure to eat a variety of foods to make sure you get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. You are missing fruits, whole grains and healthy oils.

About the supplements you take, because you are eating less than 1200 calories a day, you are probably not meeting your RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of vitamins and minerals. So I would recommend you take a multivitamin with 100% of the RDA for vitamins and minerals. I would recommend you ask your doctor to review the herbal supplements you are taking so that you aren't wasting your money given your current unemployment.

It sounds like you are drinking a bit too much fluid from water and green tea. Pay attention to the color of your urine which should be colorless during your waking hours other than your first urine after waking up. That will give you the best indication of how much fluid your body needs.

Please read my hypoglycemia topic for more information about eating right to prevent low blood glucose. It is good that you are eating small meals frequently during the day. Make sure you eat enough carbohydrate which is found in whole grains, fruits and cooked dried beans / peas.

American culture today puts way too much emphasis on a thin female body, rather than a healthy, strong woman. Try to work toward feeling healthy rather than being thin. As far as relieving your depression, you should contact a psychologist that specializes in eating disorders to talk about your depression.


I really would like to use the Healthy Body Calculator and get some feedback to help me attain a normal weight. Being 5 feet 5 inches and 110 pounds I am pretty sure that this is not a normal weight to have. I am also somewhat anorexic. For example if you put a large plate of food in front of me and I started eating it, I can't finish it. I get to a point that trying to swallow it makes me feel like I'm going to throw up and I have to stop eating it even though I occasionally still feel kind of hungry afterwards.

To use the Healthy Body Calculator, click on the link in the upper left of any web page. The Healthy Body Calculator uses formulas backed by research so the results for your healthy weight and feedback about your weight are based on published research. Yes you are underweight for height. A healthy weight for you would be 111 to 149 pounds with an average weight or 129 pounds.

It is good you recognize that you may have some food issues like feeling you are going to throw up. Have you thought about talking to a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders before you lose any more weight?


I do exercise everyday for 2 1/2 hours. I eat very careful.

Yes, I am additive to laxatives. I am afraid what will happen if I stop. The dietitian I use to see (for more than 2 years) tells me that I am killing my insides that my bowels will stop working and depend on the laxatives, but I don't care.

Yes I want to be healthy and I feel healthy. I am probably in better shape than your average woman on the street.

The thoughts of suicide are strong my therapists know my mental shape. I have promise too write in my journal, hit my heavy bag and call help line if nothing else works.

I also spend a lot of time talking to my boyfriend. He knows most of my feelings. I can't tell him everything because I don't want to scare him away.

I am sorry for writing to you so much, but it is one way to release feelings inside of me. Please forgive me. I do listen and take some of your advice so your words don't go to empty eyes.

Two and one half hours of exercise a day is excessive unless you are training for a competitive sport. Do you see that between laxatives, binging, vomiting and exercise that you have little time left in your day to live?

You should be concerned about your intestines if you don't stop abusing laxatives. Unfortunately, there is not enough info on over the counter meds like there is for prescription drugs.

If you feel healthy, then why can't you accept yourself as you are? Perfection is unattainable and not human.

Sounds like you have a good plan for suicidal thoughts. I assume your heavy bag is a boxing bag. If it is, that would be a good way to get rid of aggressions and stress.

Do you have other friends (women) who you could talk to and confide in? Have you thought of joining a support group for persons with eating disorders? Why not ask your therapist for info on support groups in your neighborhood?

I know you wouldn't write unless you had something important to say or ask. Your best support system though is physically closer to you like friends, family and therapist.


I knew about the laxative recall. For awhile some of the laxatives were not on the market.

I won't be going back to Renfrew. There is something about going back to a place where I spent 9 weeks back in 1992. The reason for the 105 is to fit back into pre-Renfrew pants. I looked OK at 105 you could see my muscle. The muscle weren't hidden by fat.

I know I need to get off the laxatives for my physical self, but my mental self won't let me. I feel like there are two people in control of my body and not one is the boss. I am ready to quit, but afraid at the same time so I don't quit. I don't want to get fat and bloated. I am thinking about taking water pills to fight the bloat.

I am messed up and my therapists try to help, but I fight them all the way. That is why I spent 9 weeks in Renfrew.

Thanks for writing to me. The more people who talk to me the lower my resistance will get. Thanks for your support.

You're welcome.

OK so you won't let go of the laxatives until you feel safe, but sometimes you have to make yourself a little uncomfortable to change behaviors you don't like.

Don't add to your problems either by taking diuretics. A diuretic would cause you to lose sodium which will also get your body into more trouble.

The laxatives make you lose potassium which is already causing problems with the mineral balance in your body. Potassium is inside every cell in your body and sodium is outside every cell. These two minerals need to be in balance otherwise fluid doesn't stay where it belongs in the body. You go messing with diuretics and laxatives and you will end up in a hospital on IVs in a short time. Is that what you want?

I understand that you may have hesitant feelings about going back to Renfrew, but if you needed a particular help wouldn't you go to where you could get the help you need? It doesn't make sense to change programs every time you get treated for a particular illness nor does it make sense to keep changing eating disorder treatment programs. Renfrew knows you and you could pick up where you left off. Renfrew wouldn't need to get to know you or go through some old history that is already resolved.

Take a look at some female athletes. They look muscular, but certainly not thin. You can be lean at any weight, even 138. It all depends on your exercise and weight lifting which determines your amount of body fat and amount of muscle. Stay at the weight you are and focus instead on increasing muscle mass while losing body fat. There is nothing magic about 105 get it? Besides when you have more muscle, you get to eat more food without gaining weight.

Even if you do get down to 105 will the real you have changed or will the same old issues still be there? Why not change the inside you and not the outside you.


I feel like I will lose control of my weight if stop taking the laxatives. I even take the laxatives with me when I go out at night so I won't miss laxatives time.

Renfrew (eating disorder clinic) thinks I should come back to them so I can get myself off the pills. I talked with my doctor and she thinks I should take myself off slowly, but she didn't tell me how slowly just slowly.

What has got me is the fact that I am not losing more weight. I exercise, eat less than 1,000 calories a day and take laxatives so why can't I lose the weight?

I am 5 feet 5 inches tall and I want to weigh around 105 pounds. I believe that is about another 10 pounds. Why can't I drop the weight? Thanks for being there for me.

Think about this. It must be pretty disruptive to your social life to never be far from a bathroom either because the laxatives are working or you want to vomit. Do you really want to live like this? When a behavior controls your life, it is represents addictive behavior. Let go of the laxatives and as long as you eat and exercise reasonably, your weight won't get out of control.

Renfrew may be what you need considering the range of thoughts you have from suicide to laxative abuse. Do you want to get healthy? Then you have to take steps to put yourself in a situation that supports your getting healthy. As long as you are in an environment that supports your bulimia and anorexia, you will struggle. You need to remove any food you have ever binged on or abused from your environment as it controls your life. You don't have time for much else considering the amount of time your eating, exercise and laxative activities take. Think about it. Is this how you want to spend your life?

What your doctor means is if you are taking 5 laxatives at night, take 4 for a few days, then 3 for a few days, then 2 for a few days, then 1 and finally quit. Seems reasonable. You should read the ingredients in the laxative you buy. In August 1997, the FDA proposed banning the sale of laxatives that contain phenolphthalein due to tumor development and genetic damage in animals taking high doses for relatively short periods of time (6 months). Some laxatives were reformulated so read the ingredient label.

At 5 feet 5 inches, 111 - 149 pounds is a healthy weight for you. At 105, you would be underweight and at risk for more anorexic behavior. Your body knows that your current weight of 115 pounds is healthy. Re-think your goal and why you want to weight 105. Your beauty is inside you, not outside.


I am going on a vacation in few weeks. I thought about not taking my laxatives. What will happen to my body when I stop? My body is use to taking 5 pills each night and some in the morning. Will my body still work or will I have to reduce the laxatives slowly? I am hoping I can do this. If I can't, then I must buy enough laxatives for the entire vacation. Thanks for the help.

That doesn't sound like a vacation to haul laxatives along. More in the morning? How many do you take in one day?

Depending on what you eat will determine what happens to your body. You could get constipated or have normal bowel movements. If you remember to eat foods with fiber (whole grains, fruits and vegetables) in addition to drinking enough fluid each day so that your urine is colorless, you should have normal stool. You have to eat food as stool is the indigestible parts of the food you eat and the waste your body produces.

If you are ready to quit the laxatives, now is a good time to start before your vacation.


I read your answer, but I still won't give up the laxatives yet. I used to be addicted to drugs and this is the same feeling I have toward the laxatives. I have become dependent upon them for my peace of mind. Last night stomach pains woke me up. I drank some skim milk and took some antacids so the pain finally went away after about 1/2 hour.

Well, you will only do what you are willing to do, but the stomach pains will continue until you stop abusing laxatives. You will not gain weight if you stop taking the laxatives.

Find something else within yourself to help you get peace. Peace is not found in food or drugs. It is found within oneself. Go exploring with your therapist where you feel safe to open up.


Do you know what happens to the body when laxatives are overused? I am using 5 pills every night for the last few years. Lately I am been waking up in middle of the night with terrible stomach pains. I am wondering if the laxatives have a impact on my stomach.

Don't tell me to see a doctor because I am not sure if I am ready to give them up yet. Thanks.

Pain is a very strong message from your body that something is wrong. Time to give up the laxatives! The laxatives aren't controlling your weight anyway and must be disturbing to your sleep. Kind of hard to go anywhere or plan anything if you have to be close to a bathroom all the time.

First of all two pills are the dose, not five pills. You are abusing laxatives to try and control your weight and it doesn't work. Laxatives cause your intestinal muscles to relax so stool slides along your intestines to be evacuated. Usually laxatives can be used infrequently to resolve occasional constipation, but should not be used on a regular basis. Normal functions like absorption of nutrients (proteins, vitamins and minerals) as well as resorption of fluids to replenish your body water, isn't optimal when you use laxatives. Also, you lose large amounts of potassium (mineral inside all your cells) which can be life threatening. Your heart needs potassium from your blood to beat regularly and potassium has to be replenished from food sources then absorbed in your intestines. Taking vitamin or mineral supplements won't stop deficiency symptoms if you continue to abuse laxatives because the pills will be excreted intact. Long term use or overuse can cause permanent dysfunction of your digestion and absorption of food because your body doesn't know what it gets to keep.

Quit using laxatives as they are dragging you down. What would happen if you just quit taking the laxatives? Maybe that is the first step to take in gaining control over your eating disorder. Your body needs nourishment. Give it what it needs in reasonable amounts. Love your body.


I wrote you yesterday about a friend. She is 5 feet 4 inches and weighs 100 pounds. As you said she showed signs of bulimia / anorexia. I approached her and used all methods. She even said her doctor was concerned. She refuses help. She wants to loose another 20 pounds through excessive exercising and purging. Could loosing 20 more pounds kill her? I thank you.

Can't predict if 20 pounds or only 16 would kill your friend, but starving mixed with binging and vomiting is very dangerous. She is already underweight for height. Her healthy weight is 108 - 145 pounds for her height assuming she is at least 18 years old. She has an eating disorder and needs professional therapy from a psychologist / psychiatrist trained in eating disorders.

Keep telling her she looks unhealthy and you are concerned about her health. Offer to go along to an appointment with eating disorders therapist. If your friend is still a minor (less than 18 year old), you could discuss her unhealthy practices with her family. Better to lose a friend because they get mad at you than lose a friend to an eating disorder.


Here is my question: I have a female friend who is 16 years old. She weighs between 100 to 105 pounds. Also, she is 5 feet 4 inches tall.

She is doing several things. First, she went on a water diet and lost about 10 pounds. Then, she tried diet pills, once almost overdosed. Then, she tried laxatives same result. Then after I had coaxed her back to eating and having a good self-esteem, she is convinced she is fat.

Now, she eats breakfast, works out, goes to school, has barely anything for lunch, goes home, exercises like a fanatic, eats like a horse, purges herself and continues to exercise. What is her problem and what are the solutions?

Thank you.

Your friend probably has anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia because she has a distorted body image of being fat when for her height she is already 8 pounds underweight, starving herself on water, abuse of diet pills and laxatives as well as excessive exercise. Bulimia because she binges on foods and then purges as well as the diet pill and laxative use.

Tell her she looks unhealthy. Your encouragement and support to get your friend into treatment is the best option. She needs therapy to deal with her issues that are supporting these behaviors which are psychological in nature. Unless she deals with her eating disorder now, it will continue to get worse with more weight loss and more binging. You can't fix this for her, but you can encourage her to seek therapy. You can even offer to go with her.

Is there any adult she trusts to discuss what she is doing? School counselor? Relative? Neighbor? Do her parents know and if they do, what are they doing to get your friend help?




I have also been in contact with the dietitian that I use to see twice a month. I am hoping that with all this support I can pull myself out of this hole that I am in. I want to be able to eat like a normal person. I get enough exercise so calories shouldn't be a problem. Without the exercise it is hard to eat anything. I exercise to live.

You are thinking much healthier today and that is great. Everyone needs a support system and it is good that you are identifying yours which should be based on your needs.

Don't beat yourself up if you fall off your goal of eating normally. As humans, we are inconsistent and make mistakes. When you recognize that you are getting into a situation that is not healthy or supportive of your goal, contact someone in your support network to help you through. If you binge or purge, forgive yourself and start right away on your road to a healthier lifestyle.

Don't become obsessive with exercise. Your thinking that food eaten has to be exercised off is faulty. Exercise should be to maintain health.

Good luck. You're on the right track today. Write back when you need.


I got a email from Renfrew (eating disorder clinic) today. It bought back memories from when I was there. I am keeping the folder from Renfrew so I can remember what I was taught there. Renfrew also has an email address so I can write them when times are tough. Once again thanks for being there. You have helped me more than you know.

Good plan on emailing Renfrew as they are good eating disorders treatment center. Consider going back into an inpatient treatment program.

Continue to build a support system that you can lean on when you are feeling down or getting back into negative, self destructive habits. You are doing good work. Keep walking forward to better health.




I talked with somebody from the help line and they got me thru the worst part. Going back the dietitian would be hard for me since I don't do what she wants me to do. Thanks for talking with me you are helping me get things off my chest and out of my body and mind.

Good move with the help line. If you don't want to go back to see the dietitian, then you probably won't. Do keep an open mind to return some day. Make an appointment with your therapist and continue to talk about how you are feeling. Remember that food isn't the issue, it is just a symptom.

Good luck and keep putting one foot in front of the other in a positive direction for your health.


I just tried to purge and all I did was peed my pants. I feel so left down by my body. It wouldn't give up the food I ate. So what did I do instead I ate 6 laxatives to force the food out of my body.

I use to see a dietitian. She works out of a hospital. I don't see her anymore because I didn't do what she requested of me. I couldn't bring myself to eat the food she wanted me to nor could I cut down on the exercise. She wanted me to be on a 2,000 calorie a day diet with meat, bread, fruits and veggies. So I stopped going so I wouldn't waste her time.

That is my feeling, I feel like I am a waste of people's time and effort. That's why I want to die. If I can't commit suicide then I can starve myself to death. Thanks for reading this.

If you feel like killing yourself, I would like you to immediately go to the nearest emergency room for help. I don't want you to die. You are a valuable person with much to do with your life once you get your fight with food resolved.

Even if you don't do everything your therapist or dietitian recommended, continue to see these professionals. They can help you where I cannot. I am too far away and don't have access to your medical record. Call the dietitian you have been working with and pick up the thread of where you are tomorrow. Doesn't matter where you were when you left off with your dietitian, it matters that you have the commitment to get healthy. You don't have to live up to professional's expectations. You are the most important person.

Maybe your body is trying to tell you something? It wants nourishment and you need to give it food. Some progress is still progress. Even 1,000 calories is better than fewer calories and 2,000 may be your goal that you can work towards.

You need to reduce the number of binges and purges as well as your laxative use before you do permanent damage to your body. I do not mean all or nothing, I mean reduce until you can give up this life preserver (purging and laxatives) that is dragging you to down and is unhealthy. The issue is not food and you can only address those issues with your therapist.

Perhaps you need a plan so that you don't feel so down towards yourself on weekends. Why not discuss that with your therapist?


Thanks for the support and advice. I do try to share my problems with my boyfriend. Even though he is there for me, he doesn't understand. Thursday I had to call a crisis line for help. I wouldn't want to die, but I reached out for help. I didn't like doing that, but that is what I have been taught. I also talked with my therapist, I told her that she left me open and at an unsafe place. Part of that was my fault for not telling her to close me back up to my safe little world. I didn't exercise today as the gym was to crowded so I came home and fixed some things at my house. I must give myself the OK to eat. I can feel the guilt about eating already starting so I will have to eat some real safe food. Once again thanks for writing back to me. I read and keep everything you say. You are good for me. Enjoy the weekend.

Congratulations on implementing your plan to keep you in a positive food and safe environment! Also congrats on your assertive expression of your needs to your therapist. You are getting better and starting to think proactively for yourself.

Do you have a female friend that would understand your feelings and experiences? Perhaps your boyfriend is too emotionally involved to be objective and supportive when you need a buddy. It is hard for people who have never had a problem with food issues to understand that is why you need a buddy you can call when you feel like binging to help you stop.


Thanks for returning my message. Today is not a good a day for me. I met with my therapist and we got into some touchy areas. Then I came home, cut myself with a razorblade, ate some pizza then purged, then I took some laxatives. I know food is good for me, but knowing that and what I feel are two different worlds. Your words were magic I know that somebody out there cares and listens. Thank you.

If you got into some touchy issues during therapy, then you are doing healing work. Hard to believe, but these painful steps are necessary to get to a healthier place. Have you thought of staying with someone after you have an appointment with your therapist? It would be a good plan.

Most people with bulimia don't binge or purge in front of someone else. Also, if you feel like hurting yourself, you should not be alone. When you start to feel like doing something to hurt yourself, call a trusted friend to stay with you.

You have to gain some weight and change some behaviors before your head clears. You may need to be hospitalized to keep you safe and your trusted friend could assess if that were necessary. You have to trust that the people who love you will do what is in your best interest as you are not thinking straight yet.

Hey, you only binged on 1 food and threw up once. That is better than several times. Try to focus on the positive behaviors you have rather than looking at your life as all or nothing. Focus on right now and tomorrow because you can only change your future. You can't change your past.


I have been suffering of anorexia for as long as I can remember. I spent 9 weeks in Renfrew and about 2 years going to a registered dietitian. I fear putting food in my mouth for I am afraid that it will turn to fat. I also see two therapists each week and doctor every 2 weeks. I have all the outside support, but I have nothing in me. Most of my friends see a happy person but inside I am dying. Yes, I have tried to kill myself 3 times. What I am looking for is magic words that will jump start this brain. The therapists talk, but I have stopped listening. They requests are getting deeper into my brain. If you can please pass on some advice maybe I will listen.

Your email moved me with concern for your life. I don't have any magic words unfortunately to give you. You have the power within yourself to heal.

Food doesn't turn to fat when you eat it and when you gain weight, it isn't all fat either. Food is nourishment and you need to nourish yourself. Equate this with loving yourself. If you have nothing in you, then take a look at the people who do love you and want to see you healthy. Trust them that they have your best interests at heart and do what they say until you get healthier. Your brain will come along, but you need to gain weight for this to happen. May sound kinda funny, but you are not thinking healthy right now.

Others have done it and so can you, but you have to take the steps, one at a time, each day, one day at a time. Eat, nourish yourself, love yourself, will get you healthy.


Thank you for responding so quickly and for your answers. I plan on seeing a doctor soon.

You prompted me, though, to ask questions about my eating habits. I don't really talk about it, because I am pretty knowledgeable about eating disorders. I understand that it is a mental illness and that the "eating" part is mainly a symptom. I've read a lot, but that doesn't really tell me what to do. The problem is, I don't really want to get better. I don't want to be ill or anything, but the idea of being fat makes me think that I'd like to control my weight forever.

When I follow the rules of my diets, I am proud of and very happy with myself, but when I eat a lot - it's like I hate myself. I'm always looking in the mirror- I have an obsession with finding out which one is the "real" mirror. You know?

I have always been a picky eater, but when I started to try new foods, I started enjoying eating a lot. Food is almost like a drug for me - it's like when I want something, it's all I can think about. If I decide to eat on a particular day - I amaze myself with how much I can and do consume. When I diet, I eat breakfast in the morning. I usually eat a bagel, with some fruit, but no matter what I have, I always have some sort of carbohydrate. With my breakfast, I take vitamins. I take a multi-vitamin, chromium picolinate, calcium (I haven't drank milk since I was a baby), vitamin C, a caffeine pill, and a diet pill (dexatrim). I try not to eat anything all day after that, but if I do - I'll have a couple of pretzels or some candy that is fat-free, but all sugar. I have been doing this on and off for months and in the past, I had other methods. I will usually diet for 2 weeks and then eat for a longer period than that. I fluctuate between weight differences of 15 pounds.

I am 5 feet 5 inches and have a large bone structure, but a petite frame. (I'm not sure if that makes sense.) My average weight is 118, but before I started losing, I was 130.

I would like to get really thin and then begin a proper, healthy diet and exercise regimen - seeing as I have absolutely no physical activity now. I have a lot of fat ripples that I hate. I wonder that if I do lose the weight I want (ideally 105) that I'll still have the fat ripples. That would devastate me.

I don't really know what I want to do or why I would want to, but I do know that my body issues are something that accompany every thought I have. I wouldn't say that I'm in horrible mental state about it. It's just something I deal with.

I have friends who have or are recovering from eating disorders. Eating disorder has taken over their lives and turned them into empty, self loathing shells, who can't function in the real world.

Hating your body is this horrible trap of an illness that so many woman succumb to and I'm terrified of it happening to me - because I do hate my body, but I'm too in love with my potential as a human being to kill myself like that.

I don't know if I should mention that a couple of months ago that I had bacterial meningitis and almost died. I had always been healthy before, but now I feel that my medical problems are just piling on top of each other. I want to be good to my body, but I want it to be good to me too.

Whoa, get really thin before starting to eat healthy and exercise? Getting really thin is unhealthy thinking. Your body needs nourishment to keep healthy, especially after a very serious illness like bacterial meningitis. Start to eat 3 meals per day today, right now and begin a reasonable exercise program of 30 minutes 5 times per week.

You are tough on yourself. Are you a perfectionist? It is normal to make mistakes and we humans are inconsistent in our actions. Ease up on your control and enjoy life. Ask yourself, why are you obsessive about your weight? Why should nourishing your body cause you to hate it?

No matter how you try to control your weight and prevent yourself from getting fat, you are leading an unhealthy lifestyle that has long term consequences for your bones, reproduction and just about every organ system in your body i.e. kidneys, heart, etc. Did you know that the damage from severe underweight can be permanent? Vitamin supplements won't prevent the damage from happening. You need calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates to keep your body healthy.

Fat ripples at 118? What you are probably looking at is skin that has lost underlying muscle and healthy body fat due to excessive weight loss and no exercise. You want to look good, start exercising, but please don't over do it. Want to eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight? Don't diet or lose any more weight.

Why do you take caffeine pills? It stimulates your heart to pump harder. Quit them and the dexatrim now and don't substitute anything else for these stimulants. Besides, research has shown that dextatrim only works for a few weeks before your body stops responding to the drug.

Your thinking is getting off track and I think talking it over with a professional who understands eating disorders can help you realign your thinking. It's not healthy to think about food or how you hate your body for most of the day You really need to see a psychologist who treats people with eating disorders before your eating and view of yourself gets more distorted. You certainly don't want to end up like your eating disordered friends do you?

At 5'5" and 118 pounds, you are close to the minimum weight for your height which is 113 pounds. For a person of your height, 105 pounds is unhealthy. Why not focus on developing a strong, healthy body and quit focusing on your weight? Hey, 130 is OK for your height too.

You're on the brink, come back to the healthy side. You recognize unhealthy eating habits and negative body image in your friends. Make an appointment to see a psychologist today.


I'm so glad I found your site on the Internet! Eating disorders are hardly acknowledged in Asia and I'm starting to get really worried about my best friend.

My friend has been on this crazy diet for six months since we started freshman year at law school and she's lost 17 kilograms (37.4 pounds)! She used to be nicely rounded at 60 kilograms (132 pounds) and 166 centimeters (5 feet 5 inches), but now she weighs 43.5 kilograms (96 pounds) Is this too thin?

Her work always been excellent and she was always popular, but now she's really changed. Sure she has a boyfriend and has even been offered a modeling job, but I got real scared when she overdosed on laxatives today and called me sick in a panic from a fast food restaurant . I was really shocked when I drove her home and put her to bed. She had bruises on her hips and ribs and she said sleeping on them was painful!

When I tried to get her to drink some soup, she cried and cried and said it would make her fat! I've only ever seen her drink coffee in the last 5 months. She never eats with us in the cafeteria anymore and would always brightly excuse herself to work in the library.

We're all envious of her wonderful figure now, but she's really thin and I'm worried. She said if I tell her parents, she'll kill me. She swears she'll stop dieting once she loses the last kilogram, but that's what she said at 50 kilograms! I don't want to lose her friendship, but I don't want her to lose even more! Could she die? Is this anorexia? Do write back soon or she'll be less than 95 pounds!

Your friend's weight is unhealthy for her height as she should weigh between 111 and 149 pounds. Also, she has lost 28% of her usual body weight. Considering her weight loss, refusal to nourish herself, not eating in front of others and abuse of laxatives, I would say that she has anorexia.

You mentioned that she called you from a fast food restaurant . Most people with anorexia do not eat out at restaurants especially with friends. Remember what you said about her excusing herself when friends ate together? Do you think that your friend is vomiting after eating? If so, she could be in real trouble with anorexia bulimia because her sodium and potassium levels could drop below normal. Depending on how many laxatives she took today, her potassium could be dangerously low. You should take her to the nearest hospital if she continues to vomit. Yes she needs help.

The bruises on her hips and ribs may be from being too thin, but she may be bruising easily from a lack of vitamin C in her body. It would be wise for her doctor to find the cause of the bruises. Body fat does help pad the bones and internal organs and at 43.5 kilograms your friend certainly doesn't have much body fat.

I would suggest that you tell your friend that she looks unhealthy and needs to talk to someone. Offer to accompany her to see a psychologist who is knowledgeable about eating disorders. People with anorexia are not realistic in their perceptions about their weight. Your friend will continue to lower what is her "perfect" weight goal.

If she is an adult (over 18) then legally (in the U.S.) you don't have to notify her parents. You will have to make the choice of whether or not to tell her parents, but haven't they noticed that she is very thin for a person of her height? If her family hasn't seen her for a while, they may not know about her low body weight. You will have to make the choice to contact her family or not given your knowledge of her relationship to her family. What you have to lose is her trust, but people with anorexia aren't thinking clearly when they are thin and she will probably thank you after she starts gaining weight back and getting healthier.


I have a very complicated tale to tell. Firstly, I'm a nineteen year old male. I have always been a finicky eater and food has always ruled my life. My mother and my younger sister both lost weight very fast by not eating. I did the same.

I didn't eat anything for nearly five months and when I did eat, I purged. I lost 86 pounds. It made me unhealthy, but I finally liked my body and myself for the first time in my life. This was last year. With the onset of winter and the new school year, I was on the go less and at home more (during the summer I spend the week working full-time (on and off time at my friend's cottage).

I have since "recovered" from my bout with anorexia. Even though it wasn't REAL anorexia, I don't think. I have always hated food and eating. This was not a change of that; I only acted on my feelings.

I have gained back some of the weight that I lost, 25 pounds to be exact. I now weigh 175 pounds. (At 5 feet 7 inches I'm fairly "big-boned".) I still feel that I am overweight. I am now back at work, since school is over (its construction, 12 hours a day). I want to lose weight, for keeps again and I am starting to purge and avoid eating.

I need help, because I would love to be able to find an EFFECTIVE method to lose weight. I have asthma, so high-impact exercise is short-lived (though, I do ride my bike a lot). If I cannot find an effective method, I will have to stick with purging and not eating. I can't be THIS heavy. I hate myself. 140 is my aim. Only 35 pounds to go!

What should I do?

Have you tried the Healthy Body Calculator? Your weight goal is not unrealistic, but purging and starving yourself are not effective ways to lose weight. They can lead to serious health problems. Starving yourself can lead to a decrease in heart rate and body temperature, fainting, fatigue, weakness, nutrient deficiencies, dry and scaly skin and increased risk of infection due to a decrease in white blood cells.

I encourage you to develop a healthy eating plan for life along with physical activity, behavior and attitude changes. I recommend a healthy eating plan based on My Plate, keeping in mind variety, balance and moderation. It is important to choose a variety of foods from all food groups to receive the nutrients your body needs. To achieve balance in your food choices, eat foods from the 6 major food groups every day (grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, oils). Eat foods in moderation, rather than eliminate certain foods. For example, if you have a higher fat lunch from a fast food restaurant, choose a lower fat supper.

Your summer construction job can help burn calories depending on how much physical labor you perform, but I encourage you to continue to exercise to balance out the difference between your winter and summer activities. Physical activity does not have to be high impact. Regular exercise is more effective in managing weight than short bursts of hard exercise. Ideas for other low impact exercise includes, walking, low impact aerobics, water aerobics and swimming laps. Keep in mind that people who combine exercise and a healthy eating plan are more likely to lose more fat and less likely to regain the weight back.

Lastly, your perceptions and attitudes about your body are unhealthy. I would recommend you make an appointment to see a psychologist trained in eating disorders because based your symptoms above, you did have real anorexia and bulimia.


I had an eating disorder few months ago. Now it seems like my metabolism has died almost completely. I gained 25 pounds of fat weight in two months. I was 95 pounds, but now I weigh 120 pounds and I don't feel healthy at all. I'm over fat now because everything that I eat goes directly to fat. I started to attend aerobic classes and try to eat less and healthy, what should I do?

Will the fat-burner pills help me lose the fat I gained? What should I eat to help my metabolism speed up and what should I stop eating to lose at least 15 pounds in two to three months?

Well you are healthier because you gained weight. But, I doubt that all the weight you gained was fat. Since you did not provide your height, I can generally comment that your BMI is probably healthy if you are over 19 and more than 5 feet tall. Try out the Healthy Body Calculator to check on your BMI and healthy weight range.

A weight of 120 pounds for a person from 4 feet 10 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall is in a healthy weight range. Your efforts to eat healthy can stabilize your weight and exercise can change the composition of your body from more fat to more muscle. Remember though that you do need some body fat to make hormones and if your body fat gets too low, you may not menstruate on a regular basis.

Exercise will increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours afterwards. If you start losing weight again, your metabolism will slow down as your body thinks a famine (like anorexia) is starting.

You do not fit the criteria for weight loss pills and your issue still seems to be your weight. I would suggest you get back in touch with your psychologist before things get out of control.


I am a seventh grader in Massachusetts doing a report for science on anorexia / bulimia. Part of this assignment is to interview a patient or medical worker involved with these disorders. If you could, I would like you to take some time to answer the following questions on these diseases.

  1. Can anorexia / bulimia be spread genetically?
  2. What is one form of treatment?
  3. How long does the treatment last?
  4. Are there any related disorders to anorexia/bulimia?
  5. Is there any way of preventing anorexia/bulimia?
  6. Are anorexics / bulimics always thin or can they maintain normal weight?
  7. Can you carry on your daily routine if you suffer from anorexia / bulimia?
I appreciate any time you can give to answering these questions.

  1. Can anorexia/bulimia be spread genetically? It has not been proven that eating disorders can be spread genetically. However, one could not rule out the possibility of eating disorders spreading because of family issues like focusing on body image, weight and dieting. The issue in eating disorders is psychological. Food is a symptom not the cause.
  2. What is one form of treatment? A psychologist or psychiatrist using specific diagnostic criteria first determines if the person has an eating disorder. Treatment may take place at home or in the hospital and which depends on several factors. If the person's weight or blood electrolytes (sodium and potassium in particular) are life threateningly low, a person may be hospitalized and given intravenous fluids to correct blood abnormalities. Then, a treatment plan including moderate weight gain goals for persons with anorexia and reduction in binge / vomiting incidents per day by persons with bulimia is started. The person's family should be involved in treatment. A registered dietitian should be involved to advise and direct the appropriate nutrition therapy to support weight or eating goals.
  3. How long does the treatment last? Treatment length depends on how long the person with anorexia / bulimia has had abnormal eating patterns. Generally, the longer an eating disorder has existed, the longer the treatment. It would not be unusual for treatment to last 6 to 12 months.
  4. Are there any related disorders to anorexia/bulimia? There are several related eating disorders such as binge eating disorder, body image distortion, body dysmorphia, disordered eating and night eating syndrome. Some consider persons obsessed with food or extremely overweight to have a type of eating disorder.
  5. Is there any way of preventing anorexia/bulimia? There is no known prevention for eating disorders. Symptoms such as not eating in front of anyone else, vomiting frequently, obsessing about body weight, compulsive exercising or looking very underweight should trigger family / friends to express their health concern and support treatment. You can tell a person with anorexia "You don't look healthy. If you want, I will go with you to see a doctor." A person can have anorexia or bulimia or anorexia / bulimia.
  6. Are anorexics / bulimics always thin or can they maintain normal weight? People with anorexia are typically more than 10% under their healthy body weight. For instance if you should weigh 120 pounds and you weight less than 108 pounds, you are at an unhealthy weight. Persons with bulimia on the other hand are usually normal weight to slightly overweight. You may notice puffiness in their cheeks if they are vomiting frequently which also erodes the enamel on their teeth.
  7. Can you carry on your daily routine if you suffer from anorexia / bulimia? People with anorexia carry on their daily routine with almost regimented regularity. They may wear layers of clothes due to low body fat and these extra layers of clothes help hide their low weight. People with bulimia spend a great deal of their day thinking about food i.e. how to get it, how to eat it or vomit without anyone watching. They don't have time for much else. An eating disorder takes a lot of one's time thinking about food, which can be disruptive to a healthy life. While you need to eat to live, there is more to life than thinking about food.


I am a sixteen-year-old female and am 5 feet and 98 pounds. I e-mailed you earlier about a problem I have. I am obsessed with weighing 95 pounds. I have recently started taking laxatives to help me get down to my desired weight. I'm cold all the time and I am a workout fanatic. I know what I'm doing to my body isn't good, but I tell myself it's in the name of track. I want to have a perfect record in track this year in hurdles. (Last year I was close.) Is there any way I can lose this weight without being anorexic about it?

Here is a fact for you to consider. Weight loss and dehydration can decrease your performance by 30%. Laxative and diuretic use can result in dehydration. Since your goal is doing well in track this year, laxative use will not help you reach your goal.

Currently your weight is proportionate to your height. Actually you could weigh up to 117 pounds and still be appropriate weight for height. Why not focus on increasing your muscle mass, which will carry you much better over the track hurdles? After all, at 95 pounds, you would have 3 less pounds of muscles to compete. Take a look at some female Olympic track stars. They have large, muscular legs for competing. Why lose weight? You should be focusing on gaining muscle, even if you stayed around 100 pounds. For this you need to work with an athletic trainer or exercise physiologist.

I would suggest you talk to a school counselor or better yet a psychologist about your obsessions with body weight and perfectionism. These are symptoms of other issues that you need to deal with. Deal with this now or it could get out of control. You already have some of the symptoms of anorexia.


My class in school is going to a play on anorexia and bulimia on Tuesday. I was wondering if you could give me some information on these disorders so I know what's going on in the play?

Have you read my anorexia and bulimia topics? That is a good place to start for some background information on eating disorders.


Recently, my best friend was diagnosed with anorexia. After that, the friends I sit with at lunch started eating 100-200 calorie lunches. This was a huge change from the normal meals I'd seen them eat. Is this just a passing call for attention?

Wow, that's interesting, but not surprising. Are all your friends females? If so, they may be modeling your friend's unhealthy eating behaviors.

Is it a call for attention? Well losing weight usually does get a person attention as does gaining weight or other changes in a person's physical appearance. As to whether this goes beyond temporary dieting or becomes a preoccupation with thinness, food restricting and a distorted body image, that remains to be seen as you continue to eat together. Your lunch friends may make up the calorie difference at other meals or when other people are not present. However, if these friends start looking too thin, they will need professional help like your friend who has anorexia.


My girlfriend is 16 and will not eat. She says she can't and doesn't feel like eating and that she doesn't want to become fat. I think she has anorexia. She's about 5 feet tall and is no more than 100 pounds. I am writing you from the Netherlands and we do not have the professional centers like in the U.S. She also is a vegetarian, if that is important and has been feeling very weak for the past two weeks. So far I have told her to eat greens and high protein food. Is this right? What do I do? What should she do?

Your girlfriend should see her doctor and then a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. She may or may not have anorexia and a doctor should determine that. Encourage your girlfriend to see someone.

Many teenage girls are concerned about their weight because of societal pressure and sometimes don't eat enough food. Anorexia is characterized by a preoccupation with thinness, excessive exercising, restricting food intake and a distorted body image. The reason she is not eating is probably not food.

Her healthy body weight is 96 to 117 pounds. If she is a vegetarian, what does she eat? See the vegetarian topic for more information about foods and meal patterns. Soybeans are a complete protein and would be good to include in a vegetarian eating plan. Green foods are usually from a vegetable source and any would be fine to eat, but are low in calories.

The best thing you can do is being positive and supportive. Your feedback could include that what you feel she is doing - not eating - is unhealthy. Any nagging you do about her food intake or body will probably make her more resistant.


What is anorexia and is it the same as bulimia? Can a person have both?

Anorexia is characterized by self-imposed starvation, a loss of 15% to 25% of usual body weight, an intense fear of becoming overweight, a distorted perception of body image and an absence of a menstrual cycle. The majority of people with anorexia are white women from middle to upper class family, ranging in age from 12 to 18 years.

Bulimia is characterized by bingeing on large quantities of food followed by self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives. The bulimic behavior usually starts with an incident of overeating followed by guilt.

Yes, a person can have both and is at risk for electrolyte imbalance, which is when the minerals (sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium, magnesium) in your blood can become dangerously low. A person with anorexia and bulimia can become seriously ill quickly because of starvation, vomiting which causes loss of sodium and / or diarrhea from laxatives which causes loss of potassium.

Our culture today stresses that women be thin. At times, thinness is related to the perception of success or control. This subtle message is evident in advertising of diet pop, status foods like diet foods and women's products including makeup. The message is that you should look like the model in the ad and if you use the product the model is using, you will look like her. The irony of this comparison is that photos are airbrushed to remove imperfections. This technique can be used to greatly change a person's shape and "perfect" it.

Most people with anorexia start out by dieting to lose a few pounds. The dieting gets out of control and the few pounds leads to many pounds. Soon, the "dieter" looks like she has been in a prisoner of war camp. You could recognize a person as having anorexia from her/his physical appearance. Friends and family express concern about the person's low weight. This attention to weight is interpreted by the person with anorexia as, "everyone wants me to be fat". This soon evolves into a power struggle between the person with anorexia and her/his family. The person with anorexia attitude is "I am the one in control and I will show everyone I can lose weight".

Initially, the person with anorexia starts out by eliminating high calorie foods like desserts and healthy starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. Then as more weight loss is desired, other healthy foods such as milk, meat and fruit are eliminated. The diets of people with anorexia contain only raw vegetables and salads without dressing. An occasional egg, tuna fish, cottage cheese or yogurt may be eaten. It is a highly restricted diet with only a few "safe" foods and all other foods are forbidden. As a person with anorexia weight drops to below 100 pounds, weight loss slows even when very little food is eaten. This frustrates the person with anorexia and they learn other behaviors to rid themselves of weight. Other anorexia behaviors can include fanatical exercise routines, vomiting and abusing laxatives.


I know someone who is really thin and she probably has anorexia. What can I do to help?

If the person is under age 18, a parent can bring the teen in for treatment. However, if the person is over age 18, you should encourage them to seek help. Tell them they look unhealthy or sick, not thin, because thinness is their goal for controlling their food intake. If your friend has threatened suicide, bring them to the nearest hospital for mental health treatment immediately. You can offer to accompany your friend with anorexia to the appointment with a psychologist to be supportive, but don't get dragged into solving your friend's problems for her/him. You can't as you are not responsible for your friend's food choices.

Treatment for a person with anorexia must be intense and may last for several months or even years. Hospitalization may be required in the beginning or during a relapse of strict dieting and weight loss.

Seek out trained psychologists and doctors who work with persons with anorexia and their families. Look in the phone book for local eating disorder clinics. Call them now for help. It won't go away with time, it only worsens. Don't try to treat a person with anorexia yourself as the food issues are just a symptom, not the real issues.


I have a girlfriend who is 5 feet 2 inches and 86 pounds. Does she have anorexia? She thinks she can still pinch fat on her stomach. All she eats is candy.

Your friend meets three of the criteria for anorexia. Her appropriate weight is 101 to 136 pounds. Anyone who has lost 22% of her / his healthy weight has one symptom of anorexia.

She also has an inaccurate perception of her body. A person weighing 86 pounds probably does not have much fat on her stomach at all. Persons with anorexia strive for body perfection and a fanatical control of their weight. The "fat pinch" they grab is skin with little underlying tissue, not fat.

Candy is a common binge food and I would imagine your friend might also have some bulimic behavior. Though, I am surprised that she would eat candy in front of you. Typically, persons with bulimia don't eat binge on food in front of other people. They usually don't eat much at all in front of others.

I would suggest you encourage her to seek professional help. Be supportive and offer to accompany her to a mental health appointment. Tell her that she looks sick, not thin. If she denies that she needs help, continue to tell her that she doesn't look healthy and to seek treatment.






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