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I think SS has an eating disorder

strugglingSM's picture

Both BM and DH are large people. They both had weight loss surgery in the last years of their marriage. DH has been able to maintain about 140 lbs of weight lost since then (over a decade), but BM seems to have gained it all back. BM was always overweight, even in childhood. DH didn't gain weight until after high school. SS has always been told he takes after his mother's family and a year ago, after sports had been out of session for a bit, he had gained quite a bit of weight. Last summer (at age 15), he decided he wanted to lose weight. He cut out soda and some junk food and fairly quickly lost about 8 pounds. He was also gaining in height, so it looked like he lost more. MIL could not stop gushing about how good he looks and it's a topic of conversation at every family gathering. We haven't seen him in about a month, though, and I was honestly taken aback by his appearance this weekend. He was wearing baggy clothes and when he bent over to pick something up, I could see every rib up his back and every vertebrae. We all had dinner this evening. It was a hello fresh meal designed for two people. DH added a few extra potatoes, but not too much and divided the meal among four plates with a smaller fifth portion for our toddler. This SS ate less than half of his meal saying, "dad, you always give me the most food." And "I'm so full" over and over again. This is the same kid who used to brag that he could eat two full adult sized meals at one sitting. I experienced disordered eating including restricting meals and body dysmorphia as a teen, so I'm familiar with how it plays out, and am a bit concerned....but DH's family is all obsessed with weight and many of them have eating disorders, so I know I'm the only one who would think SS's new approach to eating might be problematic. DH took all the kids out for lunch and I asked if SS ate anything and he said yes and told me what he ate...he ate double what our toddler ate...not even close to an adult portion and that was probably the only meal he ate other than dinner, where he ate a smaller portion saying how full he was. 


justmakingthebest's picture

It sounds possible. It is so hard when family obsesses over weight instead of just being healthy. 


ESMOD's picture

I think you should tell your DH your concerns about his son's health.  If he wants to succeed in sports.. he will not just need to be "thin" but healthy and have energy to burn.  I would take him to the DR for a checkup..I don't know if asking the kid to step on the scale and talk to him about healthy weight would be the right option or not?  I

strugglingSM's picture

Unfortunately, he gave up sports during the pandemic. He had been going to the gym (his high school offers a local gym membership and gives time to go since it's across the street, as one option for PE class), but I'm not sure if he still goes. I mentioned something in passing to DH, but because DH had his own weight issues and because his family has a "thin = worthy" mentality, he told me he wasn't concerned. I'll keep watching him and figure out how to proceed. Taking him to the doctor would never happen...BM controls all of that, even though DH has joint legal custody over medical issues. And if DH said anything to BM about being concerned, she would spin it back on DH somehow. He could say something to her like, "I'm concerned about the boys running in traffic" and she would reply to say that other kids were doing it and she didn't see a problem or he was just being ridiculous and tell him how she thought he was unsafe. She would also say, "you're only saying that because you hate me!" while not disputing that the issue he raised was actually happening. They have never once had a serious, adult conversation about parenting concerns. 

Cover1W's picture

I had an eating disorder in high school - I didn't have anorexia or bulimia, I didn't vomit, but I darn well restricted my eating very well. I only ate a certain amout at meals and restricted what I ate when I had free choice. I lost a LOT of weight. My mother one day took me aside and had a big talk with me and I pretty much snapped out of it  - almost.  I still had remnants of it I carried into college (my friends would challenge me to eat) but eventually grew out of it as I got older. I can still deny myself food at any time which I'm careful of.

So my advice would be confront him firmly - your DH needs to do this if ribs are showing. He knows he's too thin and may be in an internal battle with healthy/not healthy.

strugglingSM's picture

I did this I'm familiar with the strategies.

I talked to DH again and he said he'd noticed that he was restricting his eating. I said he might want to talk to him. DH said that whenever he brings up weight SS gets mad (another sign of a possible issue), but he did say he would watch and maybe have another talk with him.