Ask Amy: Daughter worries about dad's unhealthy eating

July 11, 2014 

Dear Amy: I'm a 16-year-old girl. I'm worried about my dad. I think he may have an eating disorder (most likely anorexia). He eats very little, often just an apple for dinner, logs his calories and often does high-intensity workouts. He's worried about the possibility of gaining weight and sometimes tries to restrict our pets' food too — though they're healthy.

My mom has a healthy enough relationship with food, though she has felt pressure over the years as my dad engages in disordered eating. My younger sister and I are slowly realizing just how much this is harmful, and sometimes I've caught myself with an unhealthy preoccupation with my weight, too.

What do I do? I want to talk to my dad about this somehow, but I have no idea how to do this.

— Worried

Dear Worried: Realistically, aside from registering your concern to him and your mother, there is little you can practically do to get him to change.

Eating disorders are linked to addictive behaviors — the person with the disorder becomes addicted to feeling a certain way and obsessively clings to the feeling of control that comes from limiting food.

One concern is how this disordered eating is creeping into the rest of your household. If your father is truly limiting the pets' food, then the pets should be placed in a safer environment.

You should speak with both of your parents about this, not offering solutions but simply being honest about your concern.

Dear Amy: I'm sitting in a coffee shop next to a woman who has been on her cellphone the entire time, talking loudly and showing no respect for my privacy. I came in here to read and not be disrupted by someone invading my space. This is no longer relaxing and I am not ready to leave.

Whose right is it? What should be done?

— Linda in Michigan

Dear Linda: The person making the call isn't respecting her own privacy. I think we've all listened to others reveal personal and business information through loud phone conversations.

I have had readers respond to me on this topic before, saying that they have written down overheard conversations and presented the transcript to the cell-talker.

Some places have rules about cellphone use. If this place does, you should ask the manager to intervene. Otherwise, I think it's acceptable to interrupt and ask, "Could you lower your voice, please? We can all hear you."

 

Contact Amy Dickinson via email at askamy@tribune.com, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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