When someone has an eating disorder, it is important to be supportive. It can feel really uncomfortable or even scary when you realize there is something wrong that person about their body.
There are many things you can do to help reduce symptoms and get through these difficult times for both individuals affected and those around them.
This article will talk about some ways to help in the early stages as well as long term treatments. We’ll go over what works for each stage and how to respond to anyone who may have an eating disorder.
It is very possible that someone close to you knows of an individual with this disease so here are some tips from experts. Check out this helpful information and speak into effect with love!
Good luck dear friend!
Eating disorders are serious conditions that affect not only people, but also loved ones who witness the struggle. They are often made worse by stress, anxiety, or fear of weight loss.
People with eating disorders frequently deny they have a problem and try hard to conceal their habits. This makes seeking treatment more challenging as most facilities require full disclosure.
Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to help mitigate the effects of eating disorders. While this may seem like a lot, it doesn’t cost much at all and can make a big difference.
Here are 10 ways to help during the initial stages of an eating disorder and then longer term therapies.
Be aware of their eating habits
Even if you never see your friend or family member eat, they may still be suffering from an eating disorder. If you notice them going through this process, it is important to be aware of what foods they are consuming and how much.
They may also become increasingly secretive about what they are eating, which is another way to recognize that there may be issues at play.
It is very common for people with eating disorders to feel guilty when asked whether they want to eat something. They may even deny that they are trying to lose weight.
If you do happen to speak to your friends or family members about their diet, remember not to push them about it. It can make things worse for them!
Instead, offer some food or drink that you know they like so that they will necessarily have to talk about it. Then, ask if they would like some – you could even order for them!
This could help you gather more information about their diagnosis and determine if any treatments are needed.
It is important to be supportive of your loved one while they are trying to address their eating disorder. You can help them by being encouraging. Tell them that they are doing a good job, at least well enough!
Ask how they are feeling about themselves and what changes they have made to try and improve their self-esteem. Ask if there is anything you can do for them or if they need any assistance with dieting, nutrition, or fitness.
If they tell you that they are struggling more than ever before, ask whether they would like your support or not. If they say yes, offer to go along with whatever plan they come up with and see you through it.
Try not to make too many demands or suggest alternatives until the person has asked for your help. This could backfire as they may feel overwhelmed or pressured into changing things.
Don’t compare your body with theirs — everyone’s view is different depending on who they think looks the most beautiful. There’s no reason why they should want to look healthier than you.
Avoid comments such as “You don’t seem very hungry,” because this could hurt their feelings or put some pressure on them to prove that they are still hungry.
Instead, use positive comments to emphasize the health benefits of eating healthy. Offer to bring food so they won’t feel left out.
Do not force them to eat
For example, if you are trying to get them into bed or whatever reason, then try eating something yourself so they can see that you like it enough to eat it.
If they ask why you just ate, tell them there was nothing in the house and you were hungry. They may feel guilty for making you hungry, but this is actually a good thing!
This could also backfire because now they wonder whether you like them more than before or if you want to be with them.
Whatever works is what needs to happen at this moment!
Never make an ultimatum such as ‘You either eat or we break up’- that would only hurt both of you even more.
Get a therapist
An eating disorder is a mental health condition that can cause havoc in someone’s life. It is important to understand that this condition does not make sense and it definitely isn’t cool.
Eating disorders are characterized by repeated behaviors, such as self-starvation or excessive food intake, along with frequent mood changes. These individuals may feel guilty for what they eat, even when they eat enough food.
They may also become very concerned about how their body looks and will go through extensive efforts to exercise and/or use cosmetics to improve its shape. There are several types of disordered eating, so it is best to be aware of them all.
Certain types of people are more likely to develop an eating disorder than others, but no one is immune. People who suffer from depression, anxiety, or other emotional conditions are at higher risk because emotions play a big part in eating habits.
If you are able to identify symptoms of an eating disorder in a friend or family member, there are things you can do to help. While professional treatment is the most effective way to deal with this problem, you can still offer supportive services to get better results.
Help them lose weight
Along with educating yourself about eating disorders, helping someone suffering from one is addressing the main cause of their disorder. Unfortunately, most people do not realize that being overweight or obese can be a factor in developing anorexia or bulimia.
Studies show that up to 70% of individuals who develop an ED are either underweight, overweight, or have a moderate body shape. This includes having some extra fat, which is why it is important to address this as a potential contributor to your friend’s disease.
By encouraging your friends to join you in practicing yoga or going for walks, you can help them achieve this. Besides improving their overall health and fitness level, doing these activities can also help reduce stress levels.
Practicing yoga helps improve self-confidence, relaxation, and focus. All of these qualities can help aid in treating eating disorders.
Do not feed them
Sometimes, people develop eating disorders because they feel that they do not belong in this world or believe that they are not good enough for other people to know about.
This can be particularly true when it comes to teenagers. They may think that their looks are not attractive enough and thus try to lose weight or starve themselves to make sure that they look as unattractive as possible.
Alternatively, some people feel uncomfortable around others due to perceived weaknesses or lack of strengths. This person may then start to doubt his or her own strength and self-confidence.
These individuals may also worry about what people will say about them if they get involved with you. In fact, sometimes these individuals even go so far as to create fake illnesses such as anorexia or bulimia just so that people will pay more attention to them.
Whatever the reason, whether mental or physical, there is something important that you can do to help someone who has an eating disorder. That is to stop feeding the habit by never giving them food or liquid.
Why should you?
There are several reasons why staying hungry is one of the best things you could possibly do for someone suffering from disordered eating. Here are some of them.
It helps reestablish trust in yourself and your ability to take care of yourself. When someone does not eat for a long time, they begin to wonder if he/she really wants to keep living.
Ask how they are feeling
Sometimes, people develop eating disorders as an easy way to cope with stress or anxiety.
It is very important to be aware of this when helping someone who has an eating disorder. If you notice changes in their behavior or moods, it may be because of that fear or worry they have about not having enough food.
Making them feel more relaxed or comfortable will help them deal better with these feelings.
You can ask them if there is anything they would like to talk about, but also make sure to check for warning signs of self-harm or suicide. While most people do not plan on killing themselves every time they eat, some do!
By being aware of potential risks, you can work to prevent or reduce such behaviors.
Consistency is one of the biggest factors in helping someone with an eating disorder. If you start to see changes, either positive or negative, keep doing what you have been!
For example, if you have noticed that your friend is putting on some weight then stop encouraging them to eat less. If they ask you to help them lose weight then don’t offer tips about food preparation or calorie counting.
Instead, focus on things like exercise and keeping their room clean so that nothing extra can be found to distract them from trying to achieve their diet goal.
If there are any changes to how they dress or groom themselves, note these differences and determine whether this change was due to their diet plan or not. For instance, did they begin to wear tight clothing to draw attention to their thin body? Or do they go out more often now to get credit for being healthy?
Changes such as these may indicate that they have re-engaged in unhealthy behaviors. You can also check into local support groups to see what works for others.