Monday, March 16, 2015

How Young is too Young?

My BFF and I were talking the other morning. She had company last night and is concerned about one of the guests quite possibly being anorexic. The menu was chicken, as requested by the guests, except, this person hardly touched it.  She picked at a bite here and there, leaving her plate otherwise untouched.

This is not anything new, actually. Every time this guest is around she never eats. Whether they are at my friend's house, or her own, or even at a restaurant, this person refuses to eat more than teeny bit picked off the plate.  Her mannerisms, her behaviors, they all point to anorexia.  It sadly makes sense.

The saddest part, though, is that the person we are speaking of is only nine years old.

Surprisingly, this is not uncommon. More and more kids - at this stage mostly girls, but boys as well - are developing eating disorders.  My friend, well versed in this "crud" thanks to my situation, has become an observant advocate, which will hopefully be of help to the child in question.

My friend was telling me that when she became a vegetarian at 16, her mom sent her to a nutritionist for a while, to make sure she was going to transition to vegetarianism in healthy way. The nutritionist was quite impressed with the variety of foods my friend was eating, even back then! To this day my friend has one of the most varied palates of anyone I know.

Now this differs greatly from when I became a vegetarian. That happened at age 13. And instead of learning how to be a healthy vegetarian, I just stop eating meat all together. Dinners became salad and whatever vegetable was being served. Not the greatest way to do it.  Not at all.  But my parents were rather absorbed in their own world and that of my siblings, and as long as I wasn't complaining, they let me do as I pleased, good for me or not.

You could say that this was the beginning of my eating disorder. And honestly, it was the beginning of my intentional restriction. But truthfully, it began much younger.  I was a picky eater from the get go, giving up foods that I thought were too messy or too sticky or too chewy. My diet became extremely limited even back then.

Eating disorders don't discriminate. They don't care what color you are, they don't care what size you are, they don't care what clothes you wear or what job you have, and they definitely don't care how old you are. If not treated properly, eating disorders are an equal opportunity death sentence.

If you, or someone you know is in need of support, there is help waiting

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