Home » How to Support A Loved One With an Eating Disorder
Make no mistake, caring for someone with an eating disorder comes with many challenges. We acknowledge the difficulties that can be experienced in the household, the hardships it can have on relationships and the tenacity one must have to keep pushing through.
You are all warriors, believe me.
At the moment there are 1.25 million people in the UK living with an eating disorder and 5 million people if we count those supporting these individuals.
If you are supporting someone and feel like you aren’t making an impact or you feel helpless, please rest assured that you are KEY to their progress and recovery. You ARE making a difference by just being there and lending a listening ear.
When a loved one might have an eating disorder it can be a difficult subject to raise with them. You may worry you will say the wrong thing or offend them. But remember, just as you would care for someone with a physical illness, eating disorders are serious mental illnesses.
How to communicate concern
Remember that eating disorders are not about food per se but how a person is feeling and what they are experiencing emotionally and mentally. Eating behaviours are often a coping mechanism to feel in control.
How to support their recovery
How to support a meal
It is important to remember that your loved one’s resistance is driven by fear. The response is akin to a response you may have to sky-diving or being confronted by a king cobra snake on a hiking trail. Refusal to eat is often a result of anxiety related to the perceived threat of food.
NOTE: if they get upset, talk-back, make nasty remarks – it is NOT their true self speaking, rather a show put on by the ED voice as a way to protect itself and maintain its position.
What to do at the dinner table
What NOT to do at the dinner table
An important part of supporting your loved one to make them an agent for change. Empower them by asking them what it is that THEY think would be helpful?
Here are a few of helpful additional resources for you:
As eating disorder specialists, we offer 1:1 nutritional counselling support. Book in a FREE enquiry call with us to learn more about how we can support you on your recovery journey. We would love to help.
Embody Health London champions food freedom, positive body image, mental health and emotional wellbeing through a uniquely blended scientific and holistic approach. The EHL team specialises in treating chronic dieting and eating disorders by coaching clients to build confidence and reduce anxiety around their eating habits and food choices.
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