Post # 1
Good morning ladies!
Let me start by saying this is a very personal issue for my family and I, so please be kind.
My wonderful sister is going to be a bridesmaid in my upcoming wedding. For the past few years, she has dealt with severe anorexia (she weighs less than 85 pounds and is 29 years old with two children). As her sister, I do whatever I can to support her, but that is extremely hard to do at times. She won’t eat with the rest of the family (EVER), and when she does eat she cooks her own “special” food. She has been hospitalized and is talking to someone about it, but nothing seems to be changing.
That being said, this past weekend she INSISTED that she would be bringing her own food to our reception and eating snacks on the bus we got for the bridal party. Since she is a bridesmaid, she will be sitting at the head table at the front of the hall, aka everyone will be able to watch her. We’re having a very nice dinner, but she told me she’s going to pack her dinner and bring it with her.
I understand she has a very serious problem, but would you be ok with this?? Because honestly, I’m not. I don’t think it’s appropriate, or too much to ask for her to eat what everyone else is eating, just this once.
Am I being ridiculous? What would you do?
Post # 3
I would let her. I am not an expert in eating disorders, so I may not know best, but I don’t think it’ll be too big a ‘spectacle’ for your wedding as long as she’s still sitting at that table and everything, and I’d try to avoid making her uncomfortable about what she’s eating.
You can’t force her to eat what everyone else is eating. I generally don’t think you have control over what goes into your guests’ mouths, and additionally, it’s kind of harmful to try to force someone with an eating disorder into eating something specific like that.
Post # 4
My sister has struggled with an eating disorder for years (a long with many other problems… for my sister her ED is more of a symptom rather than her actual problem).
Has anyone tried to have your sister admitted in to a specialized clinic that can help her? It sounds like she is very sick. I think you should worry less about what she eats at your wedding and try and get her some real help. I can tell you right now, reasoning with her will not work. I think you should just let her bring her own food to your reception if that will make her temporarily more comfortable.
I know how you feel… nothing seems to have ever helped my sister and my family has spent so much time, care and money to try and help her. It’s extremely frusterating. My sister dropped out as a bridesmaid at the last minute and then didn’t even show up to my wedding at all… it’s really hurtful and hard to deal with a person like this, I know.
Post # 5
I’d say to be careful with this, if she is having counselling, just the fact that she is doing that and eating small amounts is a huge step, the fact that she has total control over what she eats will make it a lot easier for her to deal with, taking away that control can seriously affect how someone with an eating disorder deals with it, some counsellors advise to eat 5 small meals a day, and to make those meals something that the patient is comfortable eating, and of course there are other things that are advised.
It may seem like a one off to you, but it really won’t feel like that to your sister, it can literally throw someone into a complete sense of panic and anxiety to be told they have to do go outside of their eating comfort zone, can she give her food to someone in the kitchens to serve up on a plate for her as a compromise so that she is not opening up a pack up at the table? I know that you are upset about it, but it’s something that if I were you I would have to let her get on with
speaking from experience by the way
Post # 6
I agree with koveline..if you make her feel uncomfortable and force her to eat what you want her to then I suspect she will just sit there awkwardly and not eat at all…wouldn’t you rather have her eat her “special” food than no food at all?
Post # 7
I would let this person handle her disorder however she wants, and stay far, far away from it.
Post # 8
Please let her. This is not behavior that she will be able to change for one night. She will be in an absolute panic if she does not have control over her food.
That’s not fair to her – one can’t turn an eating disorder on and off. It’s a disease.
I recommend Tracey Gold’s book – Room To Grow, An Appetite for Life – if you’d like to do some reading on the subject
Post # 9
I have suffered from and ED for years. I was admitted into a hospital over two years ago, and haven’t looked back. It changed my life. I would worry more about her life than her meal.
That being said, I’d just let her eat what she’s going to eat, and be glad that she’s consuming food at all. She is probably extremely uncomfortable being put up at the head table for people to watch her eat in the first place, and making her eat what you want isn’t going to make that any better. In the grand scheme, there are bigger things to worry about.
Post # 10
If nothing is changing in treatment then either she isn’t ready to change or the type of therapy she is receiving is not working for her.
No one is going to remember if your sister ate the same food as you or something else. I wouldn’t get into it with her over this.
Post # 11
Are you worried people will see her not eating the food you provided?
I mean, I’ve gone to weddings where I didn’t particularly care for the food…so I did not eat it..
EDs are a serious disease and I agree with PPs about how this would make her Incredibly Anxious and feel out of control.
Post # 12
Also, I doubt your guests will notice. My SIL has to eat vegan due to health problems, and she brought her own food to our rehearsal dinner and was served a special meal at our wedding because there wouldn’t have been anything for her to eat otherwise. Not one noticed/cared.
Post # 13
I guess another way to think of it is this: She has a condition, that makes her act in a certain way. It’s a real medical condition. She really can’t help it. If she had a broken leg, would you let her crutch down the aisle or ride in a wheelchair (assuming she was comfortable being in the party) or would you make her limp down the aisle, to look more ‘normal’ like the other bridesmaids?
Bringing her own food is her ‘crutch’ for now, and it’s what she has to do to deal. Her controlling her food is just a part of her for the time being, and I think you’re just going to have to work with it if you don’t want to trigger some kind of relapse or severe anxiety with her.
Post # 14
I am so sorry your family is dealing with this.
I agree with everyone who said that its good she is willing to eat anything. MANY EDs are about control, so taking control away from her, even for a day, could put a big dent in her recovery. She is an adult, you should allow her to plan her own meals.
That being said, she also needs help. A LOT of it. You don’t regain ED weight by a few extra snacks, once you’re as underweight as she is you need a ton of extra calories to even get up to the low side of normal. It sounds like she needs to check into a clinic where she lives in, receives extensive counseling, and nutritional help. She has made a huge step by seeing someone, and the decision to go into treatment must be her own. I agree also that this is more of a family issue and much less of a wedding issue.
Post # 15
I’m sorry about your sister. That is very difficult situation and so sad. I know it may seem selfish that she’s not eating the wedding food, but I doubt she means any harm by it. I would let her be and eat her food. At least she is eating “something.”
Post # 16
@DeathByDesign: Oh, I wonder if you could arrange to have HER food served to her by the caterers or whomever, if she’d be comfortable with that – rather than, like, pulling tupperware containers out of a tote bag or something. She’d have the same experience as everyone else at the table, but could still choose something that would make her comfortable.