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I can’t cope with friend’s eating disorder

(23 Posts)
Sharina Wed 20-Sep-23 12:11:46

How do you cope with a friend with an eating disorder? It’s so hard to not be judgemental! She’s recently been diagnosed with diabetes and I’m not surprised.

Oopsadaisy1 Wed 20-Sep-23 12:37:03

Just ignore it. a relative has been very overweight for many years, this last year she has lost some weight and is no longer a diabetic. She is still very overweight, but I figure it’s her life, she is still a lovely person and I’m sure she finds it hard to cope with me sometimes as I’m not perfect either.

Theexwife Wed 20-Sep-23 12:39:35

You cannot change what she eats so will have to work on being able to ignore it. She must know of the dangers to her health and is choosing to ignore them.

25Avalon Wed 20-Sep-23 12:40:58

If she’s only recently been diagnosed with diabetes she may now change her eating habits.

Foxygloves Wed 20-Sep-23 13:06:30

Why did you feel you have to cope . ?
As for not being judgemental - that is your decision.
You say it’s hard not to be judgemental yet you are surprised at her diabetes diagnosis which is judging her already hmm

Sparklefizz Wed 20-Sep-23 13:11:50

Extreme over-eating is an addiction.

I had a friend who ballooned to 28 stone. She collapsed and was taken into hospital and put into an induced coma so that they could treat her. She lost 10 stone, but no one addressed the psychological aspects of her eating habits, and although her health and mobility were greatly compromised, being able to order food to be delivered meant that as soon as her husband left for work, she was on the phone ordering a great spread of takeaway foods which she would eat all day.

She soon regained the 10 stone (she was diabetic all the way through this) and eventually her heart gave up and she died aged 62.

We had been friends since we met at school. I still miss her.

Smileless2012 Wed 20-Sep-23 13:12:02

Her life her choice and as Foxygloves has posted, her diagnosis may impact positively on the food choices she makes from now on.

aggie Wed 20-Sep-23 13:14:06

I have a friend who says “ let’s go for lunch “ off we go , look at the menu , discuss what’s nice , waitress comes , I order soup and a roll , she decides to just have coffee !!!
That gets my goat , but I used to order a full meal , now I keep it light , she looks at me as if I’m greedy
Another makes such a fuss about onions , I know she can’t tolerate onions , but I don’t want a 5 page rant about it
I like decaf hot drinks ! They both think I’m eccentric !
We are all different

Smileless2012 Wed 20-Sep-23 13:14:23

That's very sad Sparklefizzflowers. I read once that over eating is sometimes to compensate for feeling 'empty' in other areas of life. Just one reason not to be judgemental.

choughdancer Wed 20-Sep-23 15:59:17

Extreme over-eating is an addiction.

This is true. It is not always a 'life choice', 'choosing to ignore the dangers to her health', or eccentricity.

Eating disorders are addictions, just as hard to escape from as any other addiction. Having had anorexia, bulimia, diabulimia and binge eating in the past, at almost any point in that time I knew the risks and desperately wished to be free of the addictions.

I'm not suggesting you should get involved with your friend's illness, Sharina; it is VERY hard to help anyone caught up in this addiction, and things like being judgmental (which you have said you don't want to be) can do far more harm than good. If you can, just be a listening friend and value her for herself.

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Sparklefizz. flowers

Callistemon21 Wed 20-Sep-23 16:21:48

It doesn't always follow that being overweight is the cause of diabetes although it can be a risk factor.
There are many other factors and someone could look slim and still develop T2 diabetes.

You don't specify whether this is T1 or T2 diabetes either, Sharina

Callistemon21 Wed 20-Sep-23 16:23:15

Nor did you specify what the eating disorder is.
Some more information would be helpful so we could help you if you want to support your friend.

Georgesgran Wed 20-Sep-23 16:31:24

I think you have to ignore your personal thoughts and just be a friend. Maybe this diagnosis could bring a change in her eating habits? Who knows?
My df was a heavy smoker, she knew the dangers, but wouldn’t give up. We could barely have a coffee, before she had to go outside to smoke. Her DH called them cancer sticks and yes, they got her in the end, but while she knew I had my own thoughts, I never dreamed of ‘getting on her case’.

BlueBelle Wed 20-Sep-23 16:36:55

It’s her life and unless you’re living with her 24/7 not really much to do with you

SachaMac Wed 20-Sep-23 17:22:16

Eating disorders are more common than we think amongst older people, I assume she isn’t really young. Has she got an overeating problem like Binge Eating Disorder or another restrictive eating disorder. There are Eating Disorder charities that could offer her information, counselling & befriending but she would have to open up and admit she needs the help. You could make some suggestions but she has to accept she has a problem first.

Maybe now she has been diagnosed with Diabetes she will change her ways, she may be on medication and should also be weighed and monitored regularly by her Diabetic team and will probably have a diet sheet to follow at first.

I hope you can be of some help to your friend Sharina So sorry to hear about your old school friend Sparklefizz

Hetty58 Wed 20-Sep-23 17:24:35

Sharina, you don't have to 'cope' - as her eating habits are her business, not yours.

Oreo Wed 20-Sep-23 17:26:36

My Mum is now diabetic with type 2 and is in no way overweight.

Shelflife Wed 20-Sep-23 17:51:42

Sharina, please try not to be judgemental - eating disorders are very complex! Just support her and be glad you are not battling with a similar condition!
Callistemon, I agree Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are not the same. Type 2 is not necessarily the result of unhealthy eating and Type 1 is most definitely not a result of a poor diet !!!

Sparklefizz Wed 20-Sep-23 18:48:56

Thank you SachaMac and Choughdancer for your kind thoughts re the loss of my friend.

We went through our teenage years together - grammar school, the youth club, boyfriends, our weddings, Godmothers to each other's babies, house moves, deaths of our parents. Since she died, there is a whole chunk of my life that I can't discuss with anyone.

Enjoy your friend Sharina while you can.

Ali08 Tue 26-Sep-23 13:39:32

What exactly is the problem? Does she eat with her mouth open, chew noisily, eat & talk at the same time? Does she eat certain foods you don't like? Does she eat too much in one sitting?

pascal30 Tue 26-Sep-23 14:33:32

If she has an eating disorder it is an illness. just show some compassion and understanding..or ignore it.. she is the one suffering

fancythat Wed 27-Sep-23 13:55:40

From what little I know, the people I know who are consistently overweight[probably underweight too for all I know] have issues they are dealing with. Either currently, or from decades ago.
I think we think we know some people well. I dont think we know everything about them.

Patsy70 Wed 27-Sep-23 14:27:04


Why did you feel you have to cope . ?
As for not being judgemental - that is your decision.
You say it’s hard not to be judgemental yet you are surprised at her diabetes diagnosis which is judging her already hmm

Actually, Sharina said she wasn’t surprised at the diabetes diagnosis.
I believe that in most cases, over-eating is an addiction, often due to emotional trauma. Some people with obesity problems who I’ve known eat secretly, keeping high calorie snacks in their desk drawer, for example. As a caring friend, you could diplomatically raise the subject, focusing on the diabetes aspect.