Concerns About My Eating Habits and Difficulties Gaining Weight

Published: August 23, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am 13yo and i am very skinny. i am most definitely not anorexic, but i think i may have some healyth issue within that range.I eat like any normal child but i am picky.i would not say picky is the word,i honestly do try my hardest to eat all sorts of food, but i gag when i dont like it, and it's not over reacting i cant help it. No matter how much i eat i can not gain weight, i have been trying protein shakes but they dont do anything! Another thing that i am concerned about is how i acctually eat, when i am eating i always store the food in my mouth for a period of time before swallowing and this occurs with all foods even eith ones i like.When i try to tell my parents i'm not just picky they tell me im being stupid and i need to stop thinking i can get my own way, but its not like it. I wish i could eat normal things but i cant, they dont understand, and i get so emotional because i know i cant go out and eat with my friends or family without some one saying "dont be silly". I hate its so much
Signed: Concerns About My Eating Habits and Difficulties Gaining Weight

Dear Concerns About My Eating Habits and Difficulties Gaining Weight,

TeenHealthFX can appreciate that the reactions you get from family and friends are upsetting to you because they are dismissive of what you are feeling rather than validating something that you are struggling with. It can be frustrating and hurtful when that happens.

As for dealing with this issue, while it might be helpful to meet with doctor to rule out any medical issues, it seems more likely that there are emotional issues connected to food that need to be addressed by working with a reputable mental health professional, such as a clinical social worker or clinical psychologist. A therapist can help you understand what some of the underlying issues are that are contributing to these behaviors and can work with you on how to better manage your feelings and behaviors around food. A therapist can also meet with your parents to better help them understand what you are dealing with so they can learn how to be supportive and helpful to you.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX