My best friend is the most beautiful girl that I know. She is funny, smart and an amazing singer. I’ve known her since we were in the sixth grade, so she is basically my sister. Lately, she has been down, and it is mostly due to her weight.
In middle school, she was close to being morbidly obese, so she was bullied a lot by our classmates. When we got into high school, she was selected to get gastric bypass surgery, which is a procedure that shrinks the stomach. After a couple of months, she started losing a ton of weight. She lost over 200 pounds! I am so proud of her, and she looks amazing. But she doesn’t think so. I encourage her every day because I know she is a beautiful girl and that she should be proud of how much she has accomplished. My one concern is that I don’t want her to develop an eating disorder, and I don’t know what else to do to help her through her body image problem. What can I do to help her out?
Dear Concerned Bestie: Before gastric bypass surgery, patients typically have to get psychological counseling. It is good to have afterward, too. Accepting yourself for who you are is a key to a healthy life. Of course, it is important to take action to heal your body, but it often takes a while for the mind to catch up.
Encourage your friend to engage a psychologist to support her during this time of transition. Point out how much she has accomplished and how proud of her you are. Tell her that you have learned that getting professional support can help her to be strong and happy.