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I Wanna Be Thin!

Question:

I’m 12, 5’2, and weigh 103 but i would do anything to weigh 90! I’m not big boned or anything but its just when i try to diet and eat right i end up failing EVERY time! so I’ve come to a conclusion… i can not eat. well i have to eat some or my parents would find out what i was doing…. so i wanted to know if i stop eating all but one full meal a day for 10 days then would my body eat up most of my body fat? actually i already know that when your anorexic your body eats your body fat… but if i eat just lunch everyday will my body stop eating my body fat after i eat lunch… or dinner… please help… i wanna be thin! please!

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Answer:

It’s sad for me to read your email, because you are so young, and already so much a victim of the unhealthy obsession with thinness that our culture promotes. Being super-thin is held out for you as the way to be sexy and pretty, but the truth is most people aren’t designed to be super-thin, and there are so many boys (or girls) out there who will ultimately find you attractive despite your ‘failings’ that it won’t matter anyway.

Have you ever heard of something called the Body Mass Index (or BMI)? BMI is a way of computing a single number that can tell you whether you’re overweight, underweight or normal weight. Given your height 5 feet 3 inches), and reported weight of 103 pounds, your BMI is 18.8, which is on the low side of normal. You can compute your BMI yourself at any number of websites on the net, this being one. This means your weight is what it should be for your body. If you did succeed in losing 13 pounds, to arrive at a weight of 90 pounds, your BMI would become 16.5, which would make you underweight. In fact, ‘underweight’ starts at any BMI less than 18.5, which makes even your weight of 103 pounds quite close to being too thin. Being too thin can be dangerous to your health (as can being too heavy), so let me say this clearly: You don’t need to diet; you are at a healthy weight as you are now.

At age 12, it’s unlikely that you’ll be impressed by numbers like BMI, or anything I can say to you suggesting that your weight as it stands is just fine (which it is). Nevertheless, I urge you to stop attempts to diet below the weight you’re currently at. Becoming super-thin can seem like an important goal, a way to be pretty, and a potent proof of self-control, but it comes with terrible risks. Lose too much weight and you can get very sick. Obsess too much about food, or try too hard to restrict your eating (as you appear to be doing) and you can truly end up with serious disorders such as Anorexia or Bulimia, either of which can mess up your health. People have even died from these disorders.

You ask a specific question, “if i stop eating all but one full meal a day for 10 days then would my body eat up most of my body fat?”. If you did this, you’d basically be starving yourself during this period – eating far fewer calories than your body requires to sustain your life and health. Starving yourself will cause you to lose weight, but it is dangerous, and it is unsustainable. Your body is designed to cause hunger pains to occur when it is starting to starve. In very short order you would literally be fighting tooth and nail to not eat – you would crave foods in an enormous way, and literally feel pain at not eating them. Ultimately the chances are good that you’ll break down and eat something you crave. If this breakdown of willpower occurs (and it is very likely to occur – so common in fact that it has a name – a ‘binge’), you won’t eat just a little food – you’ll eat a whole lot of it – so much so that you would have been better off calorie-wise just eating regular meals. After a binge, it is also common for people to feel disgusted with themselves and to try to get rid of the food they have binged on – by vomiting, by pooping it out (with laxities to help the process), or by exercising excessively. Binging leads to purging, and purging leads back to food avoidance, and ultimately back to binging. It’s a big vicious circle that you don’t want to get into if you can avoid it.

Let’s say that you succeed in losing the weight. If you lose too much weight, you become unable to have your period (which will be coming along one of these months for you if it hasn’t come already) which means your body is starving so much it need to shut down what it can to conserve resources. At a certain point you go past where thin is equal to sexy, and you get into the place where thin equals creepy. Boys (or girls, depending on what you like) will actually start to look at you funny and think you’re sick, but you may not notice. Once you’ve entered into the anorexic cycle, you won’t be a good judge of what looks good. Instead, you’ll be locked into a mindset where you can never be too thin, and skeletons look like they could lose a few pounds. You’ll get sick, and others will think you look funny, and it will all be for nothing.

<

p> To sum it up: You don’t need to lose weight. You should not restrict your eating. If you recognize that you’re already too obsessed with weight control to stop yourself, please let someone know who can help you to stop (like a friend, or your parents or family) before you get into danger.

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Comments
  • --------

    All my friends and family and people who just meet me tel me and my twin sister that we should be models? I find it really hard because i am constantly thinking about my wieght! I used to make myself sick and starve myself alot...ive stopped but always think about doing it again!Im always wanting to starve myself for days and then my stomach will go down...but it does come ALL BACK! Lately ive put on alot of wight and is so tempting to STOP EATING! My freinds have noticed that i have a wierd relationship with food and have told me that im stupid...but that doesnt help ATALL! My twin sister used to be thinner than me, now people say im thinner, but i dont feel it. She doesnt care about her weight and I DO! HELP write back anyone

  • Anonymous-1

    Hi, I also have what doctor's call an "unhealthy" relationship with food. I gained a lot of weight was put on medicine...lost is all and now im too thin. All I can say is-- if you can, try to solve the problem before it escalates. It's a big problem these days...you're NOT alone!

  • Emilio

    There is help for you. Ask a doctor or nutritionist for a healthy amount of food for you. Then, when you eat, eat slowly, getting all the taste out of eah bite. Listen to your body for when it tells you that it is full. When you are no longer hungry and you have followed your docytors or nutritionists recommendation, stop. When thoughts about eating, or your weight start to come, say STOP! and consciously start thinking about other things. Things that make you happy, or things that you have to do that day, ect. This will get easier and easier as you practice it. The key is to eat for health and to savor the food as you eat. Look for some activity to take care of you emotionally. That is, do something that you enjoy and makes you feel good. I hope that this helps. P.S. You are not stupid, your friends are just limited in how they can help.

  • Anonymous-2

    In jr high and high school, you are judged by how you look and how thin you are. I remember this and I now think back upon that pressure and it seems ridiculous. Jr and Sr high school are most definitely not the best times of your life and it doesn't really matter if you were popular or a loser at that time. Not really, not in real life. Most interesting (happy and cool) people I know did not like that period in their lives and were not considered beautiful or popular. The important thing is to do cool things - backpacking, climbing, hiking, writing, travel, art, poetry, journalism - whatever you particularly like. Being thin will never make you happy, it will only provide a sort of fragile joy over others who are thicker, and who cares about that? Being thin is lame if you don't have the energy to do cool things. When you get out into the real world, the currency of being liked isn't how thin you are, it is how smart and interesting you are. At least that has been my experience among smart, interesting, and beautiful (on the outside) people. I can't think of a single boy who likes a girl just because she is thin, but I can think of several boys who think girls they know are shallow, too skinny, or too obsessed because all they care about is being skinny. And I defintely know some couples in which a really good-looking guy is with a not-thin girl based solely on the fact that she is super-interesting, active, and has had a lot of interesting experiences. Jr and Sr high school are a drag for many people, and you just have to make the most of it by learning as much as you can and doing as many interesting things as you can. I'm sorry, but being very thin is not going to get you a good life, just a life associated with hospitals. And there is so much more out there.

  • Martha

    First of all I want you to ask yourself why are you doing this? Is it worth it? Do you feel you will get more love and attention by hurting yourself in order to please others? I would recommend you to seek proffessional help to help you find out what is really wrong with you is not only a food problem is something more deeper and important. You are a unique person and im sure youre just fine the way you are with the help of your family and friends you would come out of this one you just need to believe in yourself. Take care

  • Joanne

    When I read your question I got a horrible sinking feeling. I felt like I was reading a question that I would have sent in when I was twelve years old, too. I sincerely hope that the difference between you and I is that I was the one who went through with the weight loss plans and you didn't. The reason that I say this is that I am now nineteen years old and have been struggling with anorexia and bulimia for seven years. I've seen thirteen therapist on an outpatient basis and I've been to an eating disorder unit at the University of Alberta Hospital three times for inpatient treatment. I stayed for three and a half months each the first two times, and for four and a half months the last time. I got out of treatment this last time in August of this year. When I was admitted, my doctor did a cardiogram and told me that I was just days away from having an arhythmia and dying. My heart problem was caused by severe dehydration. I am still having a hard time with recovery. I've lost most of the weight that I'd gained while i was at the hospital. Being in the hospital has been the absolute hardest thing I've ever done. It was the most terrifying experience to be away from my family for so long, in a strange place, having to completely relearn a totally normal part of human existance that i am so afraid of: eating. The unit that I was on was a locked unit. We couldn't leave the unit unless the treatment team allowed us to, or unless we were with a family member. We couldn't go to the bathroom, or any other room that had a sink or a garbage can by ourselves for up to two hours after we ate. Sometimes people were never allowed to be alone, even after the two hours were up. We weren't allowed to do any physical activity at all. Not even walking up a few stairs. The nurses took us on one or two short walks per day. We were very bored. When we weren't in group therapies, at meals or in individual therapy, we had next to nothing to do. We could only play board games, watch tv, do crafts or play video games. Imagine doing that for months and months. Even if we were allowed off the unit, there wasn't a whole lot we could do either since we had to be back every three to four hours for one of the four meals we had to have every day. A typical day at the unit went like this: 7:30am Wake up, get medication (for those who needed meds) , get weighed. 8:00am Eat breakfast 9:00am group therapy 11:30am Medication 12:00pm Lunch 1:00pm School (we had a schoolroom with two teachers down the hall from our unit) 3:00pm Back from school 4:30pm Medication 5:00pm Dinner 7:30pm Medication 8:00pm Snack 10:00pm Medication and Bed Not only was I extreemly bored, but because we only had two hours of school per day, and because I was so ill, I got really behind in my school work. I had to take on extra classes in my course load during grade eleven and go to summer school to avoid being held back. One of the most frightening and anxiety producing things about being at the hospital is the refeeding process. Because we were so afraid of becoming fat, (as you will be too if you end up going through with your plans) eating was, and still is for me, a very scary thing to do. We didn't only have to eat what the average person does though. I personally had to eat 4500 calories per day, which is almost double that of an average person. This is because starvation had messed up my metabolism so much that it kicked into over drive when i finally started eating again. It took a long time for my metabolism to normalize and during that normalization period I was constantly overheated, and I would wake up in the morning soaked in a cold sweat. Not only did my metabolism make me uncomfortable, but it made my body extreemely resistant to weight gain. This is why I had to eat the 4500 calories per day for two months in order to gain weight. I was always full. Most of the time after I ate I would have to go to sleep right away just to keep from being sick. I had a naso-gastric feeding tube in my nose too. I simply could not eat as much as i needed to to gain the weight, so a tube was put down my nose that ran down the back of my throat and into my stomach. Meal replacement shake was pumped into the tube to make up for the calories I couldn't eat. Imagine walking around with a tube tapped to the side of your face for two months. Hospitalization was only part of the hell that I've endured during the past seven years. I have muscle cramping that is sometimes so bad I can't walk. I have fainting spells, and I black out a lot when I stand up. I lose my period every time I drop below a certain weight. People make rude comments about how thin I am or about how I never eat. I've lost a lot of friends. I can barely remember anything that doesn't have to do with my eating disorder that's happened during the past seven years. I thought that losing weight would be the answer to all of my problems. I thought that it would make me happy. What it's ended up doing is make me very isolated, deppressed and hopeless. Please get some help before you go down the same road that I did.

  • Anonymous-3

    I was just hoping I wanna be thin would comment on where she is now, given all the interest she generated.

  • Katie

    I recently lost one of the best friends I have ever had due to anorexia, bulemia, and alcoholism. It all started with a secret obsession to lose weight. It ended in the most abject tragedy I can describe.

    She lost out on life every step of the way, devoting herself to this secret self-destruction. Pathetically, she is dead before 50 and barely mourned, because we are so angry at her deception. Her family is relieved that a burden has been lifted. There was no glamour in her death I was there - it was foul.

    She hid all of this and denied it to us all. She was my dear friend for over 25 years, and really was there when I needed her. Now that I see the reality of her life, although I still grieve, I feel deeply betrayed and angry that she threw away her life and our friendship, and her family, and her career to starve and drink herself to death.

    You are only 12. Get help now.

  • Anonymous-4

    thank you so much for you comment i was seriously considering throwing up everything i just ate (something i have never done before) its funny i took one youtube video about thinspos to make me feel this way. thr fuurther i got into the video the more i wanted to throw up. its hard because before christmas i had a ok figure i dont know how much weight i gained ove rthe holidays but i feel like i was inflated. even looking at the relfection of my face makes me feel fat because its round i spent the last hour looking up sites trying to convince myself not to but the nosieous feeling stayed throughout all the warnings it only started receding when reading your comment i know its worng and i dont want to throw up but i feel like i need to i know even if i dont im gonna avoid food for the rest of the day and not even try to make myself eat something until 2morrow i just feeling like giving up and throwing up like that will solve it i know i know itll only make it worse but i thats what i feel like okay im scared to be honest and i dont know its just i want so badly to be skinny the girls in the thinspo vids are gorgeous they really are dont even try denying it sometimes i catch myself thinking maybe even death would be worth it what have i got to loose i dont stop for myself i stop to avoid urting the people i love that the only reason i know nobodys even reading it (the last comments where in 2006 but if someone is ... help?

  • beth

    hey i just wanted to let you know that it does not work that way and your body would also eat your useful muscles if you were to starve it so i would recommed excersising regularly and trust me i know how hard keeping up with a plan is but it getts easier if you think of it as a routine....starving your self should not be an option becacuse once you start it will eat your self essteem away so love your body i am 5'2 and i weigh 110 and i honestly look great so i think you shouldnt hate the103!!! hope this helps:)

  • Ish

    Hey,

    I am 16, 5.6 and I weigh 149 lbs. I know this is supremely overweight. And it feels like shit to look like this in my school, everyone is just so obsessed with looking good. I've tried various diets, but I start feeling dizzy and I can't stay without eating for 3-4 days, and then I get so desperate I just binge eat. I really want a good diet I can manage, I can't afford a dietician and as I am a boarder in this school none of the food I look up on diet sites helps. I've tried running 4K everyday but it really isnt helping, I'm thining of trying to throw up food, I have done it before. I just don't want anyone to find out and its so difficult for me to deal with this. Even if I am really dedicated my school makes it impossible to do anything. I am practically rejected in my school because of my apperance, and it makes me feel so insecure. ITS SO FRUSTRATING BECAUSE I JUST CAN'T DO ANYTHING. Someone give me a solution please! I don't know what this desperation will make me do.

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