Ask Sam letter

Asker

To Sam

I feel so fat

Hi, im 14 i have had an eating disorder for about 5 months and i live on a peice of tost and banana for a week and i drink loads of water my parents havent got a clue i chuck my lunch away and i always say im going out for food after school but i never do. Its begining to affect my school work and netball i play netball at a high level but i always pass out when playing i just want to be normal again i havent had a period in ages, help
Ask Sam

Sam

Hello there,

Thank you for your letter and well done for writing to me about your problems with eating. The fact you have written to me shows me you recognise that something isn’t right with your eating. Accepting that there is a problem is often the first step that needs to be taken for things to start to change. I think you should be proud of yourself for taking this step.

I am really concerned to hear that you have been eating so little, your body needs food to survive and function effectively and I can hear you’re not eating enough. Most likely the reason you keep passing out when playing netball is because your body needs more energy. Severely limiting your diet can be dangerous and playing sport at the same time can increase the risk of health problems. You’ve told me that you haven’t had a period in ages, and that may well be another way of your body trying to tell you that it needs more food.

Difficulties with eating can start for lots of different reasons. Sometimes they are a result of trying to cope with difficult feelings such as anger, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, boredom or loss. Perhaps you can think of what else was going on for you 5 months ago, which may have triggered your relationship with food to change? Identifying if there was a trigger may help you learn to cope with things differently.

The best way for you to feel more in control of your eating again is to get support from a health professional with experience in supporting people who have worries  about eating. You could do this by going to your doctor or speaking to your school nurse or counsellor, who should be able to help and support you. I can hear your parents are unaware you haven’t been eating. You deserve to get as much support as possible to help you to get better. If you find it difficult talking to your parents you could think about writing them a letter, or asking another friend or adult to help you explain to your parents how you feel.

You might find it useful to look at the eating disorders message board to get peer support from other young people affected by eating problems. I’d also recommend checking out the Eating disorders page in Explore and the b-eat website for young people. They’ve got lots of great information and resources for you to read.

If you want to talk more about what is going on, you can speak to a ChildLine counsellors by phone (a free call) or by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat or sending an email.

Well done for writing to me and remember you don’t have to cope on your own.

Take care,

Sam

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