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To think that staff should stop this girl using the gym?

(174 Posts)
MrBloomsMarrow Sat 02-Nov-13 14:00:16

I really don't know if I'm BU or not which is why I'm posting. I joined a gym a few months and go around 2 or 3 times a week. I usually stay for around an hour. There's a girl who's always there whenever I go - she's there when I get there and still there when I leave. She's really young - definitely no older than 20.
She's always on the same treadmill and has the setting to maximum resistance ie it's like going up a really steep hill.
The thing is, she's obviously severely anorexic. I'm a mental health nurse and worked in an eating disorder clinic for 2 years so I do know a bit about it.
A normal BMI is 20-25. 17.5 and below is anorexic, 15 and below is considered dangerously underweight and below 13 is critical - this is the point where sectioning someone would be considered. I'd say that she's definitely in the dangerous category, if not the critical. When I worked in the clinic, there were definitely patients who weren't as underweight as she is. She wears vest tops and you can literally see all her bones jutting out.
I absolutely don't mean that they should stop her going as some sort of "punishment", I have nothing but sympathy as she's desperately ill but I feel that, by allowing her to attend all the time and exercise in the way she does, it's kind of colluding with her thinking that she doesn't have a problem. I know she can go and exercise anywhere but I don't think she could do it in quite such an obsessional way outside of a gym. It's a bit like a landlord refusing to serve someone who's really drunk - of course they can go and get pissed somewhere else but it's still the right thing to do.
Also, I think it's actually dangerous to exercise that much when your body is so fragile and I' always worried that she's just going to collapse.
I've been thinking about having a quiet word to one of the staff or should I just keep my nose out?

mummymeister Sat 02-Nov-13 14:03:25

raise your concerns with the centre of gym manager. you have to really as you have knowledge of this that a lot of us don't have. some on here will see it as interfering. I don't. if something happens to her you will feel terrible as you are obviously a caring person. say something and let them deal with it.

UsedToBeNDP Sat 02-Nov-13 14:04:33

I would have a word and mention your professional experience.

MammaTJ Sat 02-Nov-13 14:06:26

You are well placed to tell them about this and even maybe offer her a friendly ear.

NaturalBaby Sat 02-Nov-13 14:09:07

How would they monitor it and enforce it? What's the alternative? She could just go out for a walk or run and be out for hours.

manicinsomniac Sat 02-Nov-13 14:09:58

I don't know. I've been banned from gyms before and all I did was spend hours out running in really isolated areas where nobody could have helped me if I'd collpased. I think, as she's probably going to exercise anyway, the gym is the safest option.

She should certainly be getting professional help but a) maybe she is and b) that is out of the gym's hands.

hettienne Sat 02-Nov-13 14:10:45

I would say something to the management. A friend of mine got kicked out of Weight Watchers for a similar reason and it was a wake up call for her that it wasn't normal.

WorraLiberty Sat 02-Nov-13 14:11:33

Are you sure she's as frail as you think?

How can she do so much exercise without collapsing?

Have a word with management because it's quite possible that she's recovering from an illness and trying to build her body back up.

ImperialFucker Sat 02-Nov-13 14:11:34

If you saw her running in a way that would break her ankle, for example, you'd report it, wouldn't you?

I'm really, really surprised you haven't said something to her or to the management before, tbh. The poor girl needs urgent help from the sound of it and you know she does, so do something about it!

LovesBeingHereAgain Sat 02-Nov-13 14:11:50

YABU It's not their place to do that, why don't you try?

puntasticusername Sat 02-Nov-13 14:12:25

Tricky one. I agree it sounds as though she could definitely use some help, but if she's a mentally competent adult (and I do say "if"), she has as much right as anyone else to use the gym unimpeded.

Not sure if a well-meaning intervention would be likely to help her or not. I guess as someone else said, it's worth a try, if for no other reason than because then you know you've done what you can.

ImperialFucker Sat 02-Nov-13 14:12:32

Anorexics are very strong willed, WorraLiberty. If she's decided to do it, she'll do it.

Thatisall Sat 02-Nov-13 14:12:42

Is there a body that they can raise their concerns with? I wonder whether thy have a procedure in place for this kind of thing?

Strumpetron Sat 02-Nov-13 14:13:42

YABU It's not their place to do that, why don't you try?

Actually it is. They have a duty of care. Just like when I had my heart problems they had to speak to me and ask me to not use the machines.

Please do speak to management, and it's nice of you to be concerned.

LemonDough Sat 02-Nov-13 14:14:40

I'd be surprised if they didn't already have a policy for this kind of thing, I'm sure it's quite common. It has been in gyms I've used.

NachoAddict Sat 02-Nov-13 14:16:13

That is a tough one, but as manic has said, she spent hours running in isolate places instead. I don't think that is a better alternative. The poor girl clearly needs help though, maybe someone from the gym could have a chat to her.

MrBloomsMarrow Sat 02-Nov-13 14:18:44

I know what you mean about her just going somewhere else but they can't do anything about that. I was just thinking that, when you join, you have to fill in a medical questionnaire and it's suggested that you speak to a doctor if you have certain conditions that mean you have to be more careful about exercising. I think it's really to cover them if you have a heart attack while exercising and try to sue them.The way I look at it, this is a medical condition which makes this type of exercising dangerous. I'm not a lawyer but I wonder if her family could sue them for negligence if something happened to her. Just to say, the leisure centre and gym are run by the council rather than a private company so I don't know if they'd be seen as having more of a kind of duty of care.

Strumpetron Sat 02-Nov-13 14:20:54

Maybe they could work out a plan with her, in which she can get the exercise she craves but in a less intense manner, like weaning her off perhaps.

It would be really difficult to broach and there's no saying she'll react well to it, but it can't just be ignored.

roundtable Sat 02-Nov-13 14:21:23

At a gym I went to there was a woman there who was dangerously thin and exercised nonstop. A personal trainer had a word with her about over exercising, health and nutrition and they were concerned about her. She left the gym and still looks the same.

I still would have a word with the management. They should be involved in the health of their clients. It will either be a wake up call or drive her somewhere else but hopefully she'll get the help she needs.

coffeeinbed Sat 02-Nov-13 14:23:06

I'm having a deja vu moment here.
We've had the exactly same thread a few months ago.

WhoNickedMyName Sat 02-Nov-13 14:28:42

I don't know with this one, its tricky. I think you should probably keep out of it.

If its a half decent gym then the staff will be aware of her and keeping a discreet eye on her anyway.

And seeing as you compared it to a landlord refusing to serve someone who is drunk, then isn't it a bit like saying the staff at McDonald's shouldn't serve anyone who is morbidly obese?

Upyourbumscum Sat 02-Nov-13 14:30:38

And the gym will do what, other than embarrass and humiliate a mentally fragile woman?

There is very little help out there for ED suffers, it's not like you commenting on her health will somehow get her any kind of treatment.

My sister has Bulimia/ Anorexia and despite begging for help from GP's and specialists she has received abysmal/no care. Even when hospitalised due to her potassium levels being near fatal she still wasn't thin enough to be given any proper treatment. You state that you used to work in a mental clinic so surely you understand that saying anything either to this woman or the gym will do more harm than good. She will likely feel got at and you could well send her even further down hill, it's not like she won't know that she has a problem.

ED's are a massively complex illness and whilst you have some experience you are not qualified to intervene nor is the gym.

If your determined to do something then try being friends with her and lending some support that way.

UriGeller Sat 02-Nov-13 14:32:37

Definitely have a word with the gym management.

It's likely they are aware of her already and may even have worked out a plan that fulfils her need to exercise with her safety.
but I would make sure they know that you know iyswim.

I've worked with people with eating disorders and I know that if you stop them from doing one form of exercise it will drive them to fulfil their needs in other ways. Maybe even (more obvious) self injurious behaviour.

TigOldBitties Sat 02-Nov-13 14:34:20

Its difficult, you don't know her circumstances. She may already be receiving some kind of help, she may already have some sort of agreement with the gym, she may have an agreement with her parents/loved ones that she uses the gym as its safer than other sorts of exercise routines.

You could mention it but I wouldn't insist they do anything, more just raise your concerns. I don't know if banning her would be a good or helpful course of action.

valiumredhead Sat 02-Nov-13 14:36:33

Loves-I think it is their place to say something,a friend of mine who was working out like a demon but starving herself was sent home and told to eat and watch her sugar levels.

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