Ask Sam letter


To Sam

eating disorders

I'm 15 and I have an eating disorder. My mum is bullimic so she has never taken my eating problems seriously until I was a lot worse. I'm getting better now though. My problem is that I'm scared that the eating disorder that I share with my mum might be passed down onto my younger sisters. One of my sisters has started to skip meals and asks me about what I used to do to keep thin. I don't know what to say to her to stop her because she doesn't take me seriously while I still have eating problems. My mum also keeps encouraging her to lose weight and I'm frightened that she's going to trigger an eating disorder. What can I do to stop my sisters from making the same mistakes that I did? How can I make them take me seriously?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for writing to me today. I can really tell from your letter how much you care for your sisters and want the best for them.

It seems like you have been working hard to control your eating disorder. I think that it has maybe taken a lot of strength to do that, so really well done to you. I’m also wondering if it has been especially difficult because your mum suffers with eating problems too.

I know that you would really like your sisters to pay attention to what you tell them so they may learn from the difficult time you have had. It’s really good that you are noticing their attitude towards food and dieting, as it seems like you are then able to recognise things that may not seem right. It’s a good idea to let your sisters know that they only way to lose weight is to do it healthily and to get advice from someone like a nurse or doctor for the best way to do that.

I’m not sure whether you have had support from anyone about your eating problem, or if anyone knows about your mum too. It concerns me that your mum is encouraging your sister to lose weight, if she doesn’t need to. If there is an adult who you could trust, I'm wondering if you could talk this over with them. If that doesn’t feel right, maybe you could talk to a ChildLine counsellor, who will listen to you and help you to find a way forward. You can do this by calling 0800 1111 and calls are free. You could also have a 1-2-1 chat online or get in touch by email.

You might like to have a look at the ChildLine message board where you will find information from other young people around eating problems. You can even leave a message yourself if you like. You could also get some support from the B-eat who have lots of information to help people with eating problems.

I do hope this helps and that you might contact ChildLine again if you would like to talk some more. Thanks again for this very brave letter.

Take care,


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