Poor girl. That’s so tough. Sending love and light her way. Losing your mother is tough at any age. :(
In terms of your issue, it’s important to know that the root of the problem isn’t food: it’s the loss of her mother. And while turning to food isn’t an ideal coping mechanism, right now all you should focus on is being a good friend.
Don’t mention her weight. Encourage activities so she can get her mind off things. Have fun with her. Listen if she needs to talk. Be a shoulder to cry on. Support her.
If she’s turning to food to cope with such a severe loss, that means she needs more support emotionally than ever. The need to cope with food will lessen when she has more resources and coping mechanisms to deal with it. Your focus should be on supporting her emotionally, helping her cope, and being a buddy: not her trainer or nutritionist.
(P.S - signing up for a fitness class together is a WONDERFUL idea… but not because it’s a way to ‘solve’ with her weight/eating. Exercise is a mood and confidence booster. Plus, maintaining a social life is KEY in getting through rough times and it can give her something to look forward to each week). Consider also going for long walks together, hiking, biking or anything else active outdoors: fresh air is FAB. Help her stay busy, be a shoulder to cry on, and do not add insecurity fuel to the fire by commenting on her eating habits or weight (if weight’s an issue). She doesn’t need that stress right now: it can trigger and fuel the way she’s currently coping or swing her in another direction entirely without a means to cope with her emotions.
Emotional eating is about escape: not food. It shouldn’t be treated as though the food is the issue (i.e. with diet and exercise). The ‘issue’ is that she’s rightfully sad about losing her mom… but she may or may not be coping with that sadness in an appropriate way. While you may want to voice a concern, you aren’t a therapist or doctor. Plus, if it’s only been a short time, it may pass on its own and/or she may come to find other coping mechanisms that suit her. But regardless of where she’s at, she needs a non-judgemental friend who she can turn to. Try to be that friend.
When it comes to friends/family and weight issues, the feelings we have about it are our own and actually don’t have much to do with the other person. You may be concerned about her gaining weight because YOU don’t want her to feel badly about herself. YOU don’t want to see your friend in pain. YOU care about her and believe that her weight is an issue you should address. All of those statements make you a pretty good friend to have… but they are also all about you, not her. That’s something you have to deal with on your own, and not something you need to project on to her right now. In straight speak: right now might not be the best time to inadvertantly tell her that her best friend thinks she’s getting fat and has a problem with food. It’ll be throwing salt into a wound and she’s already got enough on her plate.
It’s crystal clear that you’re a good friend and trying to help. And you’re not necessarily wrong to want to do so. But while you feel that gaining weight may not be in her best interest, it’s even LESS so to give or reinforce her insecurity about how she looks and what others think of her.
All she or you need to focus on is helping her through her rough time. Distract her. Make her smile. Relieve some of the stress. The rest will fall into place, in its own time.
Lots of love to both of you, k? Sending postive vibes in both your directions and sending you extra strength to help her along the way.