Changing how you interact with your significant other is a great way to help them feel more comfortable in their own body.
The hardest part about trying to help someone who has an eating disorder is that person’s perception of themselves. They may not recognize the effort they are putting into looking good, or they may even deny that there is a problem.
If you noticed changes in what foods your girlfriend/boyfriend was consuming, whether it be quantity or type (diet pills vs. natural supplements), then it is important to talk to her/him.
It will help determine if she/he actually has an eating disorder or not. More likely, he/she might just need some motivation to put some extra time into taking care of themselves.
When you start looking out for signs of disordered eating, there are several things that can help you identify it. Some of these include comments about how much someone ate, whether they were hungry or not, if they commented on their shape, and if they seem distracted when you try to eat with them.
All of these show that something is wrong. It may also be knowing when they don’t want to eat and why — maybe because they feel badly about themselves or they worry about what others think of them.
If you notice any of these behaviors in your significant other, talk to them about it! Don’t assume anything – ask directly if they have a problem and see what happens. You might find that they are embarrassed to tell you but this could help get help for them.
It’s important to remember that even if someone doesn’t say anything, there may still be some clues they’re hiding such as weight loss or weight gain. A person who is normally lean can suddenly become very overweight, for example.
In addition to talking about the symptoms, you can also do things like make food for them so they will have something to eat, take care of their responsibilities while they’re unable to (work, school), and encourage them to go outside and exercise.
Make her life difficult
If you are close with your girlfriend and know of an eating disorder, it is important to make her life as hard as possible so she will seek help.
You can be very direct about this by asking if there have been signs of disordered behavior or symptoms. If you notice changes in how she dresses for herself or others, or if she seems distracted more than normal, chances are high that she’s not happy with what she looks like and feels depressed about it.
This could be due to an actual eating disorder such as bulimia or binge eating, but also possibly just plain old body image issues. It may be because she wants to get into shape and do some exercise, but cannot seem to motivate herself.
If she doesn’t respond to all attempts to get help, it may be necessary to ask for professional help yourself. There are many ways to help someone who has an eating disorder, and most treatments work well when they’re used together.
A therapist can help identify underlying causes of the disorder and give you tools to prevent it from recurring. Sometimes, talking about the past helps find those reasons and solutions.
Surveillance is one of the best things you can do for your loved one. This means watching them constantly for warning signs and trying to determine whether something is outside of their usual behaviors.
Do not try to help her
Try to understand what is causing this behavior before trying to make her feel better or fix herself. If you are able to identify underlying emotions, then you can work on addressing those.
Many people struggle with eating disorders at some point in their lives and it is important to be aware of that so you do not contribute to more disordered behaviors.
It is very difficult to motivate someone who has an eating disorder to change their habits.
Seek help from a doctor
Sometimes, if your significant other is trying to lose weight or show more shapely legs or thighs, it may be because they have an eating disorder. This can make you feel uncomfortable, even angry at times.
People with body image issues often try to avoid looking in the mirror or talking about their lack of desire to exercise. They may instead focus on how much they want to eat and spend time thinking about food.
It’s important for friends to understand that this behavior is not okay. It’s also important to remember that these behaviors are symptoms of an underlying health condition.
Your loved one should seek professional help for their disordered eating. Don’t worry, most doctors now treat eating disorders as a serious disease and work hard to get people back into treatment and onto a healthy track.
Doctors will likely ask you questions about changes in your girlfriend’s behavior, mood shifts, thoughts about food and fat, and whether she seems distracted when you’re together. You might learn some things you didn’t know about her before, like whether she has made past attempts to change her diet and workout routine.
Given all of this, there are several ways you can help your friend deal with her eating disorder. Here are some tips for what to do.
Seek help from a therapist
For someone who knows my girlfriend very well, it would be easy to notice that she places more pressure on herself to eat than normal. When you are with her, there is always a constant reminder of how much she wants to lose weight, which can sometimes make her want to give in and eat more.
She will talk about her diet and exercise habits constantly, making it hard to get away without eating something or doing some form of activity. This makes her feel even more stressed out and guilty for not sticking to her diets or going to the gym.
It is important to remember that her desire to keep watching her weight fluctuate comes mostly from fear. She fears looking bad and failing as a person, but also worries about being unable to fulfill the demands of your partner, parent, job, etc.
This could go both ways- she may expect too much attention and love because of her body, or she may put up barriers so people don’t find her attractive. It all depends on what kind of person she thinks others tell her she is.
Her emotions around food play a big part in whether she eats enough or too much. If she feels angry, hurt, or frustrated, she may eat to take care of those feelings.
However, this only works temporarily until she gets hungry again, at which point she must start thinking about why she was upset in the first place.
Tell her that you love her
Sometimes, eating disorders can get so bad that someone will stop feeding themselves and start denying their body of food.
This is called purging. They’ll either use laxatives or exercise (like taking long walks) to lose weight.
Purgees often feel like they’re failing at staying in shape and keeping up with their goals because they don’t want to eat enough food.
Some people who suffer from binge-eating disorder learn how to bear with it, but for those with compulsive overeating, this behavior becomes more frequent and longer lasting.
There are things you can do to help your girlfriend deal with her disordered eating. First, make sure she has adequate support systems. This could be family members, friends, professionals — anyone close to her.
Second, understand that this may take some time to change and treat her with respect. Don’t put her down or try to force feed her if she wants to avoid certain foods or enjoy eating less than usual.
Tell her that you understand her
Sometimes, eating disorders can be hard to recognize because people may not know what materials or behaviors are part of your patient’s disorder.
Mostly, people with binge-eating disorders eat very quickly, empty out food from the refrigerator, and then feel guilty about it.
They also may eat in small amounts several times a day instead of one large meal like they normally would.
It is important for partners to realize that these symptoms are related to their loved one having an eating disorder.
In fact, this could be a clue as to whether she might need help herself.
If she is aware of how she is feeling, she will probably look for ways to address her feelings.
And if there is something making her unhappy physically, she may seek medical attention.
So when you see signs of her suffering through dieting, weight loss, or lack of growth, speak up!
Tell her that you understand her situation and that you want to be supportive.
Ask whether anyone has done anything along those lines and what helped. You could offer to do the same or try another approach.
Whatever works for her is the best way to move forward.
Ask how she is feeling
Sometimes, if you are trying to help someone with an eating disorder, it can be hard to know what to do. You might ask whether they are hungry or not, but that doesn’t always tell you everything about them.
If their answer sounds vague or if they don’t seem to be responding as they normally would, then it’s time to try something different.
Ask how they are feeling instead. This could be asking if they feel stressed, angry, happy, frustrated, etc. If they say yes to any of those questions, then offer some type of consolation or understanding.
Try to understand where they are coming from and what they are going through. Don’t make assumptions though; this could just put more pressure on them.
It’s also important to note that people with eating disorders will sometimes deny they have a problem. So, while you may think they look thin, they probably don’t. And even if they did, chances are they wouldn’t want your sympathy.
Avoid giving advice unless asked for it, but if you do find yourself having to speak up, focus on what needs to be done rather than what should be done.