For context, I (20F) study abroad far away from family. Because of everything going on, I came back home and was shocked to see my little sister (17F) has gained so. much. weight. It broke my heart, she looks completely different. To give you a picture, she’s 5’0 and has easily gained at least 80lbs and is now obese. If nothing is done ASAP, at this rate she will be excessively obese in no time.
I am aware this is the result of many factors and is a sign she has an eating disorder probably stemmed from anxiety.
My problem is that it’s difficult to talk to her about it. I haven’t tried talking to her but my other sister (18F) has been trying and she did not take it well. My sister brought it up in a way that “we should both lose weight and go to the gym together to motivate each other”. Did not go well. She cried and called her rude and insensitive and got even worse.
I’m working on finding a therapist (online) to navigate any underlying issues she has.
But my question is, how can I, as their eldest, be of any help in this situation? I obviously know she is sensitive and insecure about it, and my intention is not at all to make her feel bad. I just want to help her get in control before it gets worse, for her own sake. How do I bring it up elegantly so she can at least start taking control while taking therapy sessions?
Edit: I do want to add that I am not body shaming her. I love her and I know she isn’t happy with how she looks. But we can’t pretend that there isn’t a problem and underlying issues here that I, as her older sister, should be concerned about. I can’t possibly ignore this in the name of body positivity. At this rate, it’s just going to get worse and worse.
The things I will say may not help you, but I still want to to present my view as a person who almost get obese.
When I was around 16 I started to get big, I amost got double in weight. I had an uncle mocking me, thats only make me shup up more and eating more. I also have a nice aunt that told me to do sport, go swimming she said, well I did not. I hated myself of being how I was.
But mom started to stop buying junk food, and only make healthy snacks for me. Since I still had snacks it was fine, I still eat but nicer things. And than, mom started to call me to the kitchen, she try to teach me how to make my own snacks (healthy but tasty). The beggining snack was not as healthy you may think, it was chocolate cake, potato chips. Things I liked. But as I start to get use to do kitchen stuff, she started to teach my lot of recipe. Asking me do to som meal for the family and most important of all of this, is she is praising me. Praising is a big buff. It makes me happy that my family enjoy thing I made from scratch. It make me reseach more recipes and by so, make me more healthy and after some time, make me reduce my weight. Not one time she say anything about my weight, she did not make me aware that she may think I was fat. All she does is spending time with me.
And no sport for me yey.
So this may not be the case for your sister, but you can try. Obviously do it with her, as an sister activity not an reduce weight program.
hope that help.
Did you try talking to the parents and other family members to find out whether something happened to trigger this? Maybe sit down and ask her how she’s been, what’s been going on in her life. Just pointing out her weight, which she’s aware of, isn’t going to make her suddenly change anything. Be a loving sister and work on gaining her trust and see the world from her point of view and see if there’s anything that you can help with psychologically instead of trying to tackle her weight issue.
How would she feel about talking to someone else who has a weightloss plan? I gained like 40+ lbs during quarantine and am returning to working out more now. I’m sure she’s embarassed about it, but once you get going it can feel easier to just keep eating out of guilt… Maybe there’s a website for young people to share their goals for weight loss? Heck, making a quarantine weight loss site with age based search solely for the motivation they can grant each other would be genius right now. Hugs to your sister, it hit many people with all the inactivity and isolation and it’s nothing to feel guilty about, but it’ll feel better to get rid of it in due time❤️
If this is something new, you need to consider
could she have been the victim of abuse? In particular, sexual assault
could she have depression?
could she be developing an eating disorder?
Probably not; but something to consider.
Possibly some form of emotional eating is going on. Maybe you can talk to your sister to find out if she uses food as coping mechanism for something.
If the other members of the household are onboard, you can limit her opportunities to overeat while at home. That may at least stop her obesity problem from getting worse.
As a first step you can try to remove all junk food and sugary soda from your place. If your sister is snacking a lot, make sure that healthy snacks like fresh fruit are always at arm’s length. Encourage her to stay hydrated, e.g. always have a jug of water with a slice of lemon and and mint leaves on the kitchen counter.