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Teenage sister an EXTREMELY picky eater

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#1 epl0822

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:33 AM

My sister is in her mid teens and she is a horrendously picky eater. She used to eat normally throughout her childhood but in the recent couple of years, have developed awful eating habits. She frequently skips meals, mostly breakfast. I don't even know if she has a set eating habit or if she just eats when she feels hungry or wants to snack. Come to think of it, she seems to eat randomly at night time as she goes to bed very late.

She eats a lot of sugary cereal and loads of instant food. She says she's a vegetarian, which will be fine if she actually ate vegetables, except she hates most of them. She eats fish sometimes, depending on what sort of a fish based meal it is (some she won't eat, others she will). She just hates most of the food out there. She point blank refuses to try new things. If there isn't anything she wants to eat, she will just starve.

I am worried about her because this is so unhealthy. She is overweight and doesn't exercise. I worry about her long term health from eating so much junk food and the weird instant stuff. She has some emotional issues and the poor eating doesn't help. We've tried to encourage her to go see a nutritionist, and she totally refuses. The nutritionist said there is no benefit to forcing her to come so that's that. When we try to talk to her about healthy eating she shuts down. Maybe the emotional issues caused the poor eating, I don't know. Has anyone experienced something similar and have any advice?

#2 Procrastinator5000

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:39 AM

I would be inclined to back off for a while on the food, and just be there for her emotionally, reassuring her that she's valued and beautiful and great any chance you have.

Man I would never be a teenager again!

#3 LunaMombie

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:50 AM

There are also heaps of books out there on emotional eating, which this could well be, especially if as you say she has some emotional issues.  Basically it's where you eat to get a brief good feeling and bury the bad feelings.  Of course this might not be the problem, but a lot of negative behaviours surrounding food are caused by a lack of the skills to deal with emotions/life events etc.  From stuff I've read over the years I'd say don’t' focus on the eating, or the nutrition or exercise; its most likely a symptom not the problem itself, you need to find the underlying issue/s and help her to resolve/deal with/get help to deal with (depending on how severe they are) these issues.  

Try to help her deal with the emotional issues, talk to her, ask her how she is, if she gives you any openings about stuff that's wrong/upsetting her then encourage her to talk - gently, don’t' insist if she clams up, leave it and come back to it at another time.  Take every opportunity you can to show her she is valued and loved and worthy of love and care from those around her and herself.  Keep trying to reach her, you'll probably get knocked back a lot, but show her she's valued and loved and that you care about her.  If you keep trying to reach her that should show her she matters to you, that you care.  

Of course I'm not a professional, personally if this was my situation I'd find a book on it by a trained psychologist and see how they suggest approaching it or even call one of the counselling hotlines and get some advice on how to help her or if you've got the money you could go see a counsellor yourself and talk to them about the situation and see what they say you can do to help.  Keep in mind that if this is the problem unless she's open to help you won't be able to reach her, but keep reaching out to her.  If she's having emotional difficulties I'd think you couldn't show her too much love and care.

This government site has some info on what they called disordered eating.  It's aimed at the person with disordered eating, but maybe it'll give you some ideas if this is the problem and how you can help her.  http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/consumers.cfm

Edited by Bubble11, 23 January 2013 - 12:53 AM.

#4 epl0822

Posted 23 January 2013 - 12:50 PM

Rawr, I'm sorry I am having problems with the PM system. I wrote you a full reply but it is obviously not sending properly. What I said was  that I didn't think of ED as a  possibility but I will certainly watch out for more potential signs. I wrote a lot more regarding what you said but I won't post it here in case it is something you want to keep off the public forum. I hope everything goes well and good luck to you.

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