Hello, thank you before hand for taking the time to read this email it is very much appreciated. I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to have a discussion with my sister about her weight. Let me start off saying that she used to be very over weight but then one day she seemed to unintentionally lose weight through improving her diet and cutting down on the junk food and it wasn't until a friend complemented her on how she looked that she actually realised how much weight she had lost and has continued to diet. She is 160.3 cm and now weighs 138 pounds which puts her in a healthy range if I'm correct. The problem is that she is constantly talking about losing more weight, she doesn't think being 138 pounds is healthy, too her 110 pounds is a healthy weight. When I look at her she looks smaller than she atually weighs and I honestly don't see where she is gonna lose the extra 8-10 pounds she wants to lose. Also, she seems obsessed with scales. We have scales in the bathroom and every morning like a ritual she will weigh herself without fail, if she doesn't she gets agitated and the way she talks is weird, she puts so much value on what the scales say, in stone, her weight has to either be .7pounds or below. It's like the weight loss isn't enough she doesn't see it as an achievement, it's always more weight to lose. She's also done this before with I'm going to get to this weight then maintain it, she's happy with that weight for a while and then she sets new goals, I worry it's not going to end. My dad is also worried and tries to talk to her about it but she just stops him mid flow. She won't talk about the issue at all, the same replies we get is that I'm fine and it's my body, she just never seems satisfied. Her diet I feel is also suffering, we went to stay at my nans for a month and she put on about 3 pound, she has been trying to lose this 3 pound on top of the other 8-10 pound she wants to lose. My sister used to eat so much fruit and vegetables and have a varied diet but now, especially lately its all just left in the fridge she won't even touch snacks.
I worry about her because she never seems satisfied, it's always she can do better it's never good enough. Both me and my dad are worried about her, I mean I don't know if were being to over protective but are we right to be worried about her? But also I'd like for her to feel that she could talk to me if she needed to, her weight we don't talk about and I'd like to change that so that she feels she isn't alone. Do you have any ideas?
Sorry for writing so much I just thought with you being a psychologist you may have some idea about what's going on in her head.
HI Chanelle - you are absolutely right to be concerned about your sister and here's how I know. I remember being EXACTLY where she is. Where I had complete scale-itis - that scale completely controlled my life. When the figures were smaller I was almost euphoric, when they went up I was practically suicidal and where did that lead me....right down the garden path to anorexia. As for how to tackle this...well I don't know you sister, but here is what I'd suggest.
First of all think about what kind of a setting your sister feels most relaxed in, and make sure that you speak to her when you're on your own. I'd make it very clear to her that her body and how she eats is her responsibility and that you realize that but that you have some concerns. And I'd be very cared not to use sentences that start with 'you did/do'... (which can sound accusatory) rather keep all the focus on using sentences that start with: 'I feel..." Reflect back to her what you notice, and how that makes you FEEL when you hear/notice her doing/saying x,y,z. And I know this sounds like weird advice, but keep reassuring you that you want to help nd that you realize that the choices she makes are hers to make and that you really have no power to change any choices she makes. The reason I say that is that it'll help keep her open to listening to you. And even if it doesn't have the immediate results you'd hoped for (and PS it most likely won't), it'll keep things open between you and she'll feel that you understand her and that might just give you an opening later down the line to help her. And PS.... I'd really suggest that if you can find a way to get her to go to http://www.dith-diets-live-light.com/diets-that-work.html reading that might also start her querying her relationship with diets and scales.
Doo luck, Chanelle -your sister is lucky to have you looking out for her.
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