Hi Hayley,
I don't know if you are the one to ask but here goes. I have this friend who is really self conscious about her weight. She is a bit bigger but not unhealthy in the least. What she has started is that whenever she feels guilty having eaten a lot she will make herself throw it up. She does this about twice a week or less. Is that considered bulimia even though she does it infrequently? And how can I help her, like what are some side effects of the disorder? Thanks!


I am not a doctor so I cannot diagnose exactly what is causing your friend to make herself throw up as a way to deal with the guilt of eating; however I can tell you she does have a serious problem and needs help. She is lucky to have a friend like you in her life.

I have gone through this myself, as I have expressed to Lainey’s readers before, and I still battle with an unhealthy body image disorder, as do so many women.  Fortunately I have done a lot of work and I am able to control my feelings but I was not always like that and if it was not for close friends in my life confronting me about my problems as well as making themselves available for me to talk to I may not be in as good of a place as I am.

This problem of your girlfriend’s is too much for you to take on alone but you can be the one to help her find the information and help that she needs to recover. Start by creating a safe environment where you can talk and speak to her in a way where you are not accusing her of anything. Just express your concerns that she may be unhappy and allow her to open up to you. You may have to try more than once for her to feel vulnerable enough to share her feelings with you. 

A lot of girls who suffer from eating disorders are in denial and cover it up not only to those around them but to themselves as well so make her feel safe and that she can trust you with what she is dealing with.

The next step is to have her speak to her doctor and through this she can be directed to the professional help that she needs. There are therapists that specialise specifically in eating disorders and as much as you want to help her she needs to seek professional help.

Let your friend know that you are there for her and will support her through her journey to recovery but allow the professionals to do what you are unable too. Just be her friend and her support.

There is a great resource website here that deals strictly with eating disorders and preoccupation with weight and it contains hundreds of extremely informative articles on these topics. There is also a toll free help line that you or your friend could call for help - 1-866-633-4220.  I suggest you read this article prior to speaking to her and then read any of these articles for more help. 

Eating disorders are a serious problem and anyone who may feel that they are suffering, even remotely, from an eating disorder or preoccupation with their weight should not hesitate to ask for help.