5 Ways to Support a Loved One With an Eating Disorder

If someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important for them to get help as soon as possible. Encouraging medical treatment and therapy is one of the best things you can do when supporting a loved one with an eating disorder. Also, there are additional ways you can assist their journey to recovery every day as well.

Keep in mind that someone going through an eating disorder may be struggling with other issues, too. Everyone is different, and everyone handles the disorder differently. But, being able to support someone you love through the process can make a big difference in their recovery.

Let’s take a look at effective ways of supporting a loved one with an eating disorder.

1. Educate Yourself

One of the best things you can do to help a loved one with an eating disorder is to learn more about it.

This is a disorder that has its own language, various facts and stats, and some common symptoms. Become familiar with the condition.

The more you know about eating disorders, the easier it will be for you to understand what they’re dealing with. This knowledge can give you a totally different approach when it comes to how you support them.

2. Don’t Forget Other Areas of Their Life

While encouraging treatment is important, the rest of that person’s life doesn’t stop. Therefore, taking care of everyday tasks is an important way of supporting a loved one with an eating disorder. Offer to do their laundry, walk the dog, mow the yard, etc.

By doing this, you’re not just taking some menial chores out of the way. Rather, you’re giving that person the opportunity to focus all of their energy on getting better.

Sometimes, feeling overwhelmed can be a trigger for people with an eating disorder. The more you can help with, the less likely it is for them to succumb to the disorder.

3. Distract Them During Meals

Mealtime can be difficult for someone dealing with an eating disorder. There are several things you can do to help them through everyday meals.

First, be sure to eat with them. If possible, cook for them! Make healthy, nutritious meals.

Also, avoid making a big deal out of mealtime. 

If you can distract the individual with other things while you’re having dinner together, it will help to lower their anxiety, making mealtime more enjoyable and less daunting.

Are you binge eating? Could you have binge eating disorder? Take our quiz to assesses binge eating behaviors and severity, which can indicate an eating disorder.

4. Respect Their Feelings

While you should encourage a loved one with an eating disorder to seek out treatment, it’s important not to berate them. In other words, avoid constantly tell them what to do and what they can do to get better.

Instead, focus on listening to their feelings. Ask how you can help them.

An eating disorder usually has many emotional aspects to it. By focusing on those, and not just the physical aspects, you’re more likely to connect and break through with the person who is struggling.

5. Be a Model

Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you’re supporting a loved one with an eating disorder. Model healthy eating habits, exercise, and practice general self-care.

You should also focus on traits that don’t have anything to do with physical appearances, like a sense of humor or a kind personality.

When the person you care about sees your healthy lifestyle, they can eventually be more comfortable adopting one of their own.

Show Them Your Support with Help From an Eating Disorder Specialist

Learn ways to give eating disorder supportIt’s difficult to see someone you love going through something so dangerous. But with time, treatment, and support, it’s not impossible for someone to recover from an eating disorder.

Supporting a loved one with an eating disorder and showing just how much you care is vital. That you’re willing to be there for them every step of the way can make a big difference in their recovery. Eddins Counseling Group in Houston, TX has several counselors that specialize in treating, coping, and getting to the root of eating disorders. Give us a call today at 832-559-2622 or book an appointment online.

Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP on Twitter
Rachel Eddins, M.Ed., LPC-S, CGP
Rachel’s passion is to help people discover their personal gifts and strengths to achieve self-acceptance, create a healthy relationship with food, mind and body, and find meaning and fulfillment in work and life roles. She helps people create nurturance and healing from within to restore balance and enoughness and overcome binge eating, emotional eating, anxiety, depression and lack of career fulfillment.

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