DEAR DEIDRE: I MET my niece last week to exchange Christmas gifts and I was horrified.
She must have put on four stone over the past year.
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It is my brother’s daughter and she had a tough childhood, as he and his partner were alcoholics.
When she was 18, her mum died and she came to live with me.
She was very overweight and I got her on a strict diet.
She lost three stone and looked beautiful, finally taking pride in her appearance.
Now she is 20 and I’m 41.
At the start of the year she met a boy online and moved 150 miles to be with him.
But she looked obese, had no make-up and wore slobby clothes.
She seems to have no friends and I worry for her health and mental state.
DEIDRE SAYS: Loving support and raised self-esteem would help your niece better care for her health.
Strict diets rarely work long-term.
Message and FaceTime regularly.
Ask her how she feels and listen rather than give advice.
Suggest she gets support through the National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (0800 358 3456, nacoa.org.uk).
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