• Approach the person gently but be persistent. Say that you are worried about her health. She, too, may be concerned about her loss of concentration, light-headedness, or chronic fatigue. These health changes are more likely to be a stepping-stone to accepting help, since the person clings to food and exercise for feelings of control and stability.
• Don‘t discuss weight or eating habits. Address the fundamental problems of life. Focus on unhappiness as the reason for seeking help. Point out what you see: (“I see you are very anxious. You look tired, are snappy, and easily irritated lately.” Emphasize she doesn‘t have to be that way.
• Give her a list of resources (previously provided), and if you are really worried, make an appointment with a doctor, counselor, or sports dietitian and take her there yourself.
Remember that you are not responsible for resolving the eating issues and can only try to help. Your power comes from using community resources, eating disorders clinic, and health professionals.
“No matter what I do, I can’t seem to stop gaining weight.” Frustrated with her expanding waist, this former athlete, like others who are approaching menopause, is frightened about run-away weight gain. She started dieting and exercising harder to counter the flab and, over the din of the exercycle, asked, “Are women doomed to gain weight mid-life?” Here are the answers to some questions middle-aged women (and their husbands, children, and family members) commonly ask about weight and menopause.