General Question

MaisyS's avatar

How is this working, and is it time for me to alert someone about this?

Asked by MaisyS (734points) January 15th, 2020

A two part question; so one of my friends is going through a rough patch that has resulted in her eating her way up to 142 lbs, at 5 feet tall. She is now intending to starve herself till she’s at an appropriate weight (she’s aiming for 118 lbs). When I told her that starving herself is not a good way to lose weight and that it would result in her body actually retaining anything she ate as an emergency measure, she first countered me saying what if her body only had an apple a day to work with (which is what she’s eaten the past 2 weeks she chose to hide this) and that what I was saying was silly since her waist size has reduced in just these two weeks.
How is this working? I’m assuming there’s either no weight loss and her stomach is simply shrinking because it’s literally got nothing inside it, or she’s lying.
Either way she insists that saying that she wants to weigh a 118 lbs is merely a way to put her goal into words; she just wants her stomach and thighs to shrink even if there’s no significant weight loss.
Should I alert someone to this, or should I talk to her first and see is she’s really telling the truth about only eating a single apple a day? I don’t want her to get into unnecessary trouble.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Well, there isn’t really anyone to “alert” to this. It’s really her issue; you can advise her as you have done, but obviously she is not listening.

Severe diet restriction has some positive quick feedback; which is why she has some waistline reduction. But that will plateau in the next ten days, and then she will just be hungry.

All I can suggest is that you be there for her when it all fails, and don’t be “I told you so”. If she wants real support, suggest she get a referral to a dietitian from her doctor.

MaisyS's avatar

@zenvelo Thank you for your response.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Is she an adult and has she tried such stunts before?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No, her body will not retain everything she eats. Unless she’s dead, her body is burning calories 24/7. But a starvation diet is not good. She needs to change her eating habits over all and stick with it for the rest of her life. She can’t eat one apple a day for the rest of her life.

MrGrimm888's avatar

She’ll quickly become malnourished. That would eventually lead to lots of potential problems.

She could make, or buy nutrition shakes, made of nutritional foods, are low in calories…

longgone's avatar

This can get very dangerous quickly. It’s even worse if she’s a teenager – so, still developing. She likely needs professional help to treat underlying issues. If she were hurting herself in other ways, you wouldn’t hesitate to get a counselor involved. And she is hurting herself. I know crazy diets are everywhere, but just an apple a day for weeks is extremely dangerous and could have irreversible effects, such as organ damage.


Yes, I do think it’s your resonsibility to at least have her talk to a counselor or doctor. If she agrees to a healthier diet then, she might not need therapy. Chances are she does, but you can leave that up to the professionals.

MaisyS's avatar

@stanleybmanly She’s my age, 15.

Thank you everyone for responding :).

longgone's avatar

^ At that age, her body might have been storing up calories for a pending growth spurt. She should not be dieting at all. She should focus on getting enough healthy food and stay away from junk food except as an occasional treat.

Show her this TED talk.

You’re partly right, by the way. The body retains calories at a higher rate when it’s in starvation mode. While she’s still burning calories, that apple she’s eating will go a longer way than it would as part of a healthy diet. So she will lose weight. However, this comes at the cost of eventual organ failure. It’s just maths. She’s treating her body horribly, and that will come back to bite her.

I’m sorry she has to go through this, and that you have to watch. Good luck. I hope the adults involved will tackle this with sensitivity and energy.

I was chubby as a teen. Someone taught me to stop worrying and just eat what feels like a healthy amount, focusing on balance. I do that to this day, my weight doesn’t bounce up and down, and it’s at a very healthy level with minimal trouble. We have inbuilt sensors that regulate eating. They work, as long as you don’t fill up on addictive junk food or eat mindlessly.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

She can damage her heart doing this. It also screams eating disorder.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Those nutrition shakes aren’t really low in calories. 1 Ensure has 350 calories. You drink two of those, that’s 700 calories.

zenvelo's avatar

@Dutchess_III They aren’t talking Ensure, which are for people who need to maintain weight. (My 96 yr old mother has two ensure a day to keep weight on).

A Slim-fast shake is only 230 calories, and is a full meal replacement,

MrGrimm888's avatar

Yeah, I wasn’t talking about ensure. I thinking juice bars, or using a blender, to make her own.
There are also negative calorie foods, life celery. That not that nutrtional, she could have celery, and carrots, for a snack. Almonds, are good. Plain almonds, have lots of healthy stuff.
Salmon would be great. Salmon, on a salad, with a bit of a vinigaret dressing…

And of course, exercise.

Shake for breakfast, carrots, and celery, edamame for luch, hand full of almonds as a snack, and some fish and steamed broccoli for dinner. Some cardio, a bit after dinner…

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther