Originally created 09/30/97

Xtreme advice



THIS WEEK'S PROBLEM:

My friends aren't eating. They skip breakfast, drink a can of soda for lunch and then take 10 bites for dinner. They look great - but they think they're fat. I've tried talking to them but they just won't listen, what should I do?

Do you have any advice for this 13-year-old Aiken girl?

YOU ANSWERED:

  • "You can't shove food in their mouths."
  • "Tell them it's not right. They're messing up their insides - they won't like themselves too skinny even if they are fat."
  • "Go to a counselor. It can be a deadly disease if your friends keep doing this. I know it sounds like tattling, but it will help in the end."
  • "Tell your friends if they want to lose weight, exercise."
  • "Get a scale in front of them just to prove that they're not fat. When they say they're still fat, try to persuade them that they're not."
  • "Just keep on telling them it's not healthy to starve themselves."
  • XTREME Reporter Wendy Grossman says: My friend Tracy never ate. Ever. We would go to dinner and she'd have a glass of water. She had scars on her hands from ramming them down her throat forcing herself to throw up.

    Tracy's not alone. And neither are your friends - 82 percent of American teen girls want to lose weight. They want to be thin. They want to be beautiful. They don't want to be fat.

    But they take it to an extreme.

    "Young girls should know that a woman accumulates the most body fat during early adolescence, not to mention the tremendous changes in bone maturation and the development of secondary sexual characteristics," said Dr. Christian Lemmon, Director of the MCG Eating Disorders Program.

    Teen girls get on the scale and they see they've put on a few pounds. But that's normal. Every girl does.

    It may sound lame, but you might want to get a parent or teacher to talk to your friends. You don't want to rat them out - but if they're not eating they could lose iron (very bad for teen girls) and their eating habits could snowball. My friend Whitney was a big track star at Vanderbilt University. She qualified for the national team - but she didn't get to run in the Olympics because she had to go to an eating-disorders clinic for her anorexia.

    You can't fix your friends' eating problem - but you might be able to find someone like Dr. Lemmon who can help them.

    NEXT WEEK'S PROBLEM:

    "I would like to write my girlfriend a romantic note - could y'all give me any suggestions - or lines?"

    Do you have any lovey dovey words for this 16-year-old Augusta guy? Call the Teen Advice Answer Line at 442-4444 and press 8614. You'll have one minute to answer.

    Got a problem? Call 442-4444 and press 8613. You'll have one minute to give us your situation. Please state your age and the town you live in.