TW: Anorexia, eating disorders
Anon: I need some help. A friend of mine is anorexic. I think what pushed her over the edge was that, prior to her anorexia, she was almost overweight according to the BMI scale. Also according to the BMI scale, I’m underweight, so she gives her food to me claiming that I need to eat more than she does. I think she’s getting a bit better; I’ve noticed she’s been eating more and more. However, that may be because she apparently lost 3 points or whatever on the BMI scale. I’ve told her that the guy who made the scale actually said, “This does not determine a person’s health”, but I don’t think she believes me. She knows what she does is unhealthy, but she lies to herself, determined to believe that I’m the unhealthy one and she’s perfectly fine, just because of our natural metabolisms. How can I get her to eat more and help her see that the BMI scale isn’t everything?
FYSE: The BMI Scale needs to die in a fire and anyone who thinks it is a good determiner of health needs to be re-educated.
It may help to show her articles about it.
Baylor College of Medicine http://www.bcm.edu/news/item.cfm?newsID=1383
The main failing points of the BMI are
- It wasn’t made to measure health it was made for census to find if certain areas had similarities in BMI.
- It doesn’t take into account that weight weighs more than fat
- It doesn’t take into account that different races, ethnicity, and sexes are shaped different, have different bone masses, and have different barometers of health
that being said, anorexia is just a symptom. No amount of rationalizing will help cure anorexia. This information can help people who are trying to abide by societal beauty standards and who crash diet and all that but when it comes to an eating disorder it’s usually not just about how you look. There are many things that contribute to an eating disorder and a lot of times people with eating disorders know on some level that what they’re doing is unhealthy. You have to treat the underlining cause that is manifesting itself as an eating disorder. Even if you do convince her that the BMI is total bullshit there will just be some other unhealthy behaviour there to take its place. It may help to talk to her about how she’s feeling, anything she’s stressed or upset about, and talk to her about seeking support and help for that. Let her know you’re worried about her. Don’t push her though, it’s more important that she has someone watching out and caring for her at this point. Try to be a good influence and talk about body positivity, eating healthy and how you need to eat enough to fuel your body.
Here are some good resources for helping someone with an eating disorder:
The best part in my opinion of the last article is:
“If they deny a problem, become angry or refuse to get help, understand that this is part of the illness. Unless they are a minor child that you are the parent or guardian of or their life is in immediate danger, you may have to accept the fact that you can’t do more to help them.
If you have tried your best to convince them to get help and they refuse, you have done all that you can. Eating disorders can be difficult to treat and treatment works best when the patient has reached a point where they are ready to accept help.”
Don’t get irritated if she’s not ready for recovery. Don’t get angry. Understand that recovery is gradual and that unless their life is in danger it’s best if they choose to recover on their own.