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GD too skinny - worried sick

(44 Posts)
Karen888 Thu 28-Feb-19 02:55:00

Hi, first post- worried about DGD age 12. In last 6 months she has lost lots of weight and I am now very worried. She was never overweight and now looking very childlike when she should be starting to develop. She is eating very little (which explains weight loss) but Have others had this experience? How do you stop this in its tracks?

BradfordLass72 Thu 28-Feb-19 05:32:22

I'm sure her parents are worried as well, have you discussed this with them?
I'd guess school has noticed as well.
She needs to talk to a specialist to prevent this turning into full-blown anorexia.

So many stupid things are said about "overweight" being unattractive and she'll be noticing how her body is changing and growing and probably not wanting to be rejected for this reason.
We live in a stupidly cruel world.

gillybob Thu 28-Feb-19 08:06:00

Are you saying that your DGD has lost a lot of weight karen888 or is she perhaps just going through a growth spurt and has maybe grown in height making her look extra skinny?

My 13 year old DGD was labelled by a school health care “professional” as being seriously underweight for her age.
She is very small in height, extremely sporty and way behind the “development” of some of her friends. A visit to her own GP followed by a private consultation with a real expert proved that she is perfectly normal and will develop in her own time . Nothing to worry about at all.

If however she had suddenly lost a lot of weight that would maybe give cause for concern. Is there anyway she could be dieting ? Being bullied at secondary school?

gillybob Thu 28-Feb-19 08:08:03

We live in a stupidly cruel world

We do indeed Bradfordlass72

If you are not Master or Miss average then you are labelled and it’s wrong.

Urmstongran Thu 28-Feb-19 08:30:36

Maybe just to reassure you a bit karen888 when I was 13y I was so skinny and lanky (mid 1960’s here) my mum was worried (and she definitely was not a worrier so I must have looked unwell) and took me to the doctor who wasn’t worried. Suggested a pint of full fat milk every day and a glass of Guinness ‘because she needs the calories she’s a growing girl’. God that would be a weird prescription nowadays! I was always just ‘thin’ even after I’d had my babies and believe me 5’8” and 9sts is SKINNY with two young children - I can remember wearing size 10 clothes from M&S at that time. I think because I was so tall it didn’t help the look!
Anyway, I’ve always been healthy. I’m actually overweight now at 15sts and am on a diet. Nothing lasts forever....
I’d speak to your family, arrange a check up with a good doctor and hopefully you’ll all be reassured.
Best wishes. Anxiety is draining.

dragonfly46 Thu 28-Feb-19 08:36:57

I think you should try and tactfully bring it up with the parents. I do know of a case of anorexia at this age and the doctors ignored it saying she was too young. She ended up being hospitalised.
Do take note, however, of what others have said. It could just be a growth spurt.

sodapop Thu 28-Feb-19 08:47:22

My daughter went through this at the same age Karen its a worrying time, be there to help without criticising and make sure her parents are aware that this could develop into something serious. It's not always the case though, sometimes just a phase that teenagers go through. My daughter thankfully came out the other side ok and is now a fit and happy 40year old woman.

paddyann Thu 28-Feb-19 08:49:17

Just keep an eye on her it might be a normal part of her development ,my 11 year old is like a washboard but she's healthy, sails ,ski's, cycles and is always on the go .If your GD appears well in other ways I'd just sit it out and dont speak to her about it until you are sure theres an eating problem.You might put the idea into her head and you dont want that

harrigran Thu 28-Feb-19 08:52:57

When I started work I was 5'6" and 6.5 stone, nobody batted an eyelid. Different times, we ate seasonal home produced food and walked everywhere.
Sudden weight loss should be investigated.

M0nica Thu 28-Feb-19 09:05:04

I do not think you can stop it in its tracks, but you can flag it up as a matter of concern. Obviously only her parents can take action, and first you need to talk to them. Have they noticed that she is loosing weight and how little she is eating?

At 12 I think parents can still insist the child sees a doctor for a check-up, telling the doctor the child has lost weight and lost her appetite. (They shouldn't talk about eating disorders in front of the child) Loss of weight and appetite can also be symptoms of illness and while the doctor should pick up the hint at about a possible eating disorder, he will also undertake tests for any possible underlying medical problem. I fully understand your fears, but their could be other causes.

My 8 year old DGS is currently receiving medical help because he is underweight and anaemic. In his case the problem is partly because he is a wispy little thing with a small appetite, and has always been so, but because of that he picks up infections easily, when he is ill he stops eating because eating makes him feel sick, so he loses weight and is more susceptible to infection etc etc. He was taken to his GP and referred to a paediatrician. He has been given an iron tonic and is improving and eating better and is being monitored in case there is any other underlying cause.

Grammaretto Thu 28-Feb-19 09:24:13

Not personally but we know a family whose eldest suffered from anorexia/ bulimia and like your gd, she was young and it wasn't noticed for a long time. I don't know when they got professional help but they did and she is now a blossoming young lady of 17, with confidence. She is slim but no longer extremely skinny and she is happy.
Eating disorders are nothing new and not the taboo they once were.
Ofcourse your DGD may not have an eating disorder so should be medically checked.

Elderlyfirsttimegran Thu 28-Feb-19 09:51:13

My daughter had anorexia. She was older but the reasons are very similar. Lack of self-confidence, the change from primary to secondary school. Please don’t nag her, if she is suffering from an eating disorder she needs specialist help and lots of cuddles and reassurance the you all love her. My daughter completely recovered, is a successful lawyer and has two lovely children. I could write more.

PECS Thu 28-Feb-19 09:53:29

Any sudden loss / gain of weight needs to be checked. It could all be quite normal and nothing to worry about. As it has worried you ( & parents?) it is legitimate for mum to take her to see the GP . As she is still a minor she could write to the doctor in advance expressing concern so it is not discussed in front of dgd. unless necessary to do so.

Grandma70s Thu 28-Feb-19 09:58:53

Are you sure she’s not just naturally thin? I am, and if I was young nowadays I would be labelled underweight and probably anorexic. Most of my life I weighed 8 to 8 and a half stone, at 5ft 8 or 9. Now at the end of my 70s I have managed to get up to 9 stone! I always had a big appetite, but I stayed thin even after two babies. It’s just the way I am.

Anniet Thu 28-Feb-19 10:07:56

When I started Grammar school aged 12 we were weighed and measured. I was 4'11" and weighed 4st 12lbs. This would be considered seriously underweight now, but I was always healthy and had a good appetite. I am now 77 - 5'0" and weigh 8st. 6lbs.

However, Karen 888, times are so different now and the pressure on young girls so much more. I'm not saying you shouldn't be worried, I would keep on eye on her and talk to her mum - see how things develop.

jaylucy Thu 28-Feb-19 10:09:02

It's a difficult one. It could be that she is just naturally slender for her age. When I was 12, I was very slim - but then, I rarely ate breakfast, apart from at weekends and I had school dinners - but usually only the main course, then usually a cooked dinner when I got home. But I took ballet lessons every week for up to 3 hours as well as all the sports and gym at school.

There is so much pressure on children these days to conform - all it takes is a wrong word at the wrong time- the practice of constantly taking selfies ( that actually make you look fatter than you are) doesn't help I think.
I think you need just to keep an eye on your GD for the next few months and have a quiet chat with her mum, without sounding accusatory - she may also be worried, then you can form a united front if needed.

Skyelark Thu 28-Feb-19 10:09:22

My granddaughter suffered from anorexia/bulimia for many years, and was hospitalised several times and eventually spent three years in a mental health unit. Please talk to the parents and get help as soon as possible if this is the case with your granddaughter, it can take years to actually get the support you need. She’s fine now, and doing well.

Of course, it might not be anything as serious with your granddaughter, but there’s no harm in getting her checked over. Also, check on her social media usage. This is where a lot of the bullying and so-called body shaming takes place these days, and it’s difficult for parents to monitor.

I hope it does turn out to be nothing serious.

Hollydoilly10 Thu 28-Feb-19 10:14:20

I see quite a few children with this problem in my practice and also adults with eating disorders.
I am a homeopath and they benefit from this therapy and deal with the problems.
There are lots of triggers to problems of this kind.

Karen888 Thu 28-Feb-19 10:29:45

Thank you all for your responses. I have discussed my concerns with my DD & SiL and they are monitoring her food intake. Her eating behaviour has definitely changed and has become very fussy and portion size is tiny. She appears to be happy at school and no evidence of bullying. I’m going to encourage them too seek professional advice as her weight loss is scary. They live in Florida (me in UK) so I see them only every couple of months so I have noticed the difference.

Disgruntled Thu 28-Feb-19 10:29:57

Bradfordlass has hit the nail on the head, "a stupidly cruel world". I used to work in an Eating Disorders Group and I agree with Hollydoilly that homeopathy helps, as does Reiki and NLP. Good luck, Karen. Worry and anxiety are horrible bedfellows.

MaggieMay69 Thu 28-Feb-19 10:33:39

My grandson is 16, eats like several horses, and is desperate to put on weight. He is so thin, you can count his ribs, if he sucks his tummy in, you can probably count all his veins bless him. But he's a home body, eats normal hralthy meals, added onto that tons of junk food, but he tells me he wears about five layers of tops and hoodys to bulk out a bit, and he still looks like he would fall through a crack in the pavement. He went through a chunky stage at 9-10, but since getting this skinny, he has been seen twice by the Doctor (only to appease his Mum!) and he said its just how he's made!
Then I remembered my cousin being the same, rake-thin, yet he hit mid thirties and its like every calorie he had ever met jumped on board lol. (He was happy though lol)

I do hope you find out that all is normal and your GD is ok. xxx

gilld69 Thu 28-Feb-19 10:34:00

Its important for her to see a gp as drastic weight loss is slso a sign of diabetes and can so easily be missed in growing children

Franbern Thu 28-Feb-19 10:54:23

If there is a weight loss, then a visit to the GP is in order to find out why. If this child is not actually losing weight, then probably just her hormones sorting themselves out normally.
Beware of labels -Bulimia, Anorexia - can do more harm than good - both of these are symptoms of a need to take control of something, which means that other things in their lives are out of control (to their way of thinking).
Secondary schools are aware of problems and a chat to her teachers are in order.
So many young teenagers are very slim, and extremely healthy. As has been said, if she is involved in sport, then this could delay development of such things as periods, etc. which is all to the good. They will come in their own time.

EllanVannin Thu 28-Feb-19 10:56:19

I was tall and lanky at 12 and mum likened me to " a big spider ". I had a huge appetite ( as have had all my life ) but remained thin, best described as slim. Genetics play a large part as my dad was tall and slim ( he ate well too ) but weight that has been noticeably lost needs to be investigated and a trip to the GP will put the mind at rest one way or the other.
I have only gained half a stone throughout most of my life, of eating like a horse !

Jayelld Thu 28-Feb-19 10:59:43

During the annual weigh in of school children my 10yr 6mth old granddaughter was classed as overweight! She is 5' 1" tall and weighs a tad under 8st. BUT - she is a semi professional dancertainly and singer, has lessons after school, along with Guides and youth club. At school she is Games Captain and does Netball, athletics, hockey etc. The child is never still! All her meals are home cooked, many from scratch and sweets/chocolate are restricted to Saturdays. Cakes and cookies/biscuits are also home cooked. Her brother at 12 yrs, is 5' 8" weighs 6st 6lb and eats like a horse and was classed as underweight by the same school system! There is no "average" for a child, just watching them run out of the school gates shows us that.
Any sudden weight loss is a cause for concern though and I'm glad to read that her parents are keeping and eye on her.