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February 21, 2018

MY MOM IS OBSESSED WITH HER WEIGHT

Nikki, I need your advice. My mom always wants to lose weight but she’s already super slim, so I’m starting to worry about her. I’m afraid that she might develop an eating disorder or something. She keeps saying she’s fat and needs to lose more weight. Please help!

Worried About My Mom

Hi Worried About My Mom,

I am SO sorry you are going through this. It sounds really scary, and like something you shouldn’t have to deal with on your own. I’ll give you the best advice I can (most of which I got after talking to the school counselor, so it’s good info). First of all, please talk to another adult in your life who cares about you and your mom. If you’re worried, they probably are too. Or they will be, when you tell them the stuff your mom is going through. You shouldn’t keep this to yourself, okay?

Next, it’s important to realize that you can’t fix this. Even if it was your responsibility, you still couldn’t. This is your mother’s problem, and she needs to work through it with doctors, therapists and an adult family member’s support. But even those people can’t fix it for her. It’s ultimately going to be up to her. And there’s not going to be one solution, either. It’s going to be a combination of things, and it’s going to take hard work and time. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it!

The main thing you can do during this time is let her know you love her. Tell her that you’re worried about her and how hard it is to watch her torment herself. Eating disorders are dangerous because people will deny they have a problem for a long time. But if your mom sees how upset you are, it might convince her she has a problem and that she needs help.

But if it doesn’t change her behavior at all, it isn’t your fault. It doesn’t mean you should have done or said something differently. Realizing you’re really worried about her will likely make her want to change. But she might not have all the right support in place yet.

Okay, here’s something else I want to say. Our moms impact how we feel about our bodies. If your mom is obsessed with her weight, that could very easily mess with your head and make you obsess about your own weight. So, I want you to be on the lookout for that, please! Talk to adults you trust about healthy body image.

I hope this is helpful, and that your mom is able to get the help she needs. Whether she does or not, though, I hope you can figure out how to be okay and love your mom without feeling like you need to be the one to “fix” her.

Has anyone else had a parent, sibling or family member with an eating disorder or a weight obsession?  How did it make you feel?