How To Support Loved Ones With an Eating Disorder

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The world can be cruel and structure our habits in negative and harmful ways. It’s important to support a family member or friend who is struggling with an eating disorder and support them as they work to change unhealthy behaviors. Here are a few ways to start showing support.

Consume Meals Alongside Them

Sometimes, the best solution is to teach by example. Invite your loved ones to join you at all of your regular meals. Invite them to cook and to plan with you to make their meals. Don’t actively disencourage eating sweets. Rather help cultivate skills in cooking and a sense of intuitive eating that incorporates many different kinds of food. As long as you are gentle, non-judgemental, and encouraging, a helping hand can be a tremendous help in changing their habits.

Have Post-Meal Meetings

It may help to analyze this problem in depth. After your meals, have discussions about the good and bad things that occurred at the table. While your loved one might need some urging, this should be a space where they can talk about what they struggle with and you best can help them. Remember they are the one that struggles with eating not you, and they probably know best how to treat the problem.

Recommend Professional Treatment Options

When eating right becomes a daily struggle, recommend professional eating disorder treatment centers, doctors or specialists. Decide if your loved one needs to relocate to another city for treatment or whether they should commute or receive help virtually. In some cases, a medical professional can visit the client at home. Any of these options might be best for the needs of your loved one.

An eating disorder is a mental illness. It’s usually more effective to find the root of the problem. Decide if you should contact mental health providers who specialize in related disorders like anorexia, bulimia and body dysmorphia. Overall, review and compare dozens of professional treatment options for eating disorders available to you. While you can help your loved one find options, you should remember it is ultimately up to them how they want to seek treatment.

Make a Progress Chart

You cannot expect anyone to make improvements when you don’t know what they are. Make a chart documenting every small and big improvement that is being made in the treatment plan. Every individual has a customized plan with unique goals and actions. Following up means making the best use of your time, energy and resources. Let them determine what they believe are reasonable goals and encourage them to keep it up.

An eating disorder is a mental disorder that requires changing one’s attitude. It is a serious condition that needs a major breakthrough for anyone to make a full recovery. There are plenty of effective solutions to help you and your loved ones resume living normal, healthy lives. It can be a constant struggle, but loving yourself and your loved ones will help you pull through. Start by reviewing the treatment options available to you at home, in an office, or over the Internet.

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