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How to get a teenage girl to eat


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My teenage daughter has always been very picky but in the last year and a half, it’s like pulling teeth getting her to eat.  She just doesn’t have an appetite.  I suspect the causes of the almost zero appetite are depression and anxiety, made worse by lockdown.  I don’t think it is anorexia because she has always been below average weight for her height and would most certainly be the thinnest girl I have ever known.  I have read that the worst thing you can do to get an anorexic to eat is to keep asking them to eat.  I suspect the same for her, even though I don’t think it is anorexia.  Any ideas on how to get a teen to eat and gain weight in a healthy manner? (Other than getting professional help for anxiety and depression, which I’m already doing).

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Athena, it's good to see you here. 

My daughters struggle with eating and weight too, though it seems for different reasons. I may not be the best to advise..both of my girls weigh less than 100 lbs.😞

Does she like to cook or grocery shop? Maybe it might help to get her directly involved. Have there been any other challenges with food? My eldest daughter has sensory sensitivities and my younger daughter has some difficulty with motivation and  initiation. Sometimes the situation is more complex than it appears at first glance. Either way, I hope your daughter feels better.

Take care.

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Nice to see you too IrmaJean,

It's been a longggg time since I've been here.  My daughter likes to cook but cannot get motivated to.  It's a good suggestion, I need to find a way to get her to remember.  I'm not a good person to remind her as my memory is horrible.  Without a routine, she gets up really late, eats breakfast around 2 or 3 pm, then isn't all that hungry at dinner.  Anyway, I probably need to get creative on how to remind, motivate and get her to plan ahead.  Her preference is to find a recipe on YouTube but she doesn't follow through and write down ingredients and quantities so she never gets started.  I find cooking tiring but it's much less exhausting than trying to motivate her...so I end up just doing all the cooking myself.

Sorry about your daughters.  It does get worrisome when they are so underweight.


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