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Январь 2021

what to say to someone with an eating disorder

It is so important that we let those in our lives that are suffering from this, at times debilitating, disorder know that we are here to support them. Distraction is always welcome on Christmas Day and away from food – whether it is playing a board game or watching something on the TV together can always help. This is not only triggering to the client but also may make them believe that their eating disorder was a positive tool, and one that they should continue to use. Or fill out this form for a FREE assessment. And with that, you need to find your way around life again. Compliments are difficult to receive due to this devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear that everyone is lying. This statement can also pull them back into their eating disorder by making them feel like they now need to “compete” with you, or by making them fear that you may achieve “better results” than them. Post author: shortstuffblog Post published: December 23, 2020 Post category: Mental & Physical Health / Seasons Post comments: 0 Comments But for someone in recovery, they're likely still in the mindset of having to do everything and more. The answer is in some ways quite simple; reassurance and love are the two dominating factors when it comes to helping anyone with mental health issues. If you have a feeling that someone close to you has an eating disorder, please talk to them. For example, saying “you look really happy today” would be more affirming. Don't let it scare you off, stick with your friend. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of eating disorders. Instead, focus on being more supportive going forward. Rather than shaming them, encourage the person to seek professional help from a therapist, psychiatrist, or nutritionist -- preferably one who specializes in eating disorders. Everyone deserves a full recovery. It’s normal to want to help someone with an eating disorder, but it’s crucial you approach it in the right way. There's the everlasting fear that people find the constant "whining" about food/body image will scare them off. Something that's often forgotten and overlooked, is that the person suffering and the eating disorder are two separate things. Just like the example discussed above, try to sway the conversation away from physical appearance and more towards complimenting the person as a whole. ", "You're worth more than your eating disorder. Avoid accusatory “you” statements like “you need to eat something” or “you have to stop making yourself sick.”. And you don't understand an eating disorder just because you dieted for a month to lose weight. Don't judge what you haven't experienced. The answer you receive might also be yes, but be a lie. “Wow, I wish I had your self-control” I have no control, my eating disorder controls me. ", "I'm here for you and I'm not going to leave. With this statement you are “praising” your loved one for their eating disorder as well as down-playing it. And then someone comes along and tells you how healthy and full of life you look and for some reason it makes the nagging a little stronger. Don’t equate weight or eating for that matter, with health. Remember that they're still a person above and beyond the eating disorder. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. "You're worth more than your eating disorder." With the support of family and friends, chances of a full recovery are so much bigger than without that essential support. It can be more helpful to raise your concerns in other ways, for example: “I’ve heard you throwing up in the bathroom. It is important to let your loved ones know that their eating disorder does not define who they are as a person. It's going to be worth it when the day comes that they walk up to you to ask if you fancy one of their home made cupcakes and you both delve into one. “You look terrible.” It is wise not to comment on the appearance of a person who is suffering from an eating disorder. And yes, we know it's getting a bit repetitive and boring. Theres a good chance your loved one may deny having an eating disorder or become angry and defensive. Three Things You Can Say to Encourage Someone with an Eating Disorder. This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. ‘Christmas is only one day – hold on in there!’ Yes, and as patronising as this sounds. 1. Someone has anorexia, they're not an anorexic. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. Be prepared for denial and resistance. You feel like you can't do anything. Because company, cake and tea sounds like a delicious and amazing combination. As a therapist, you know that what you say might not always be what is heard. Company limited by guarantee no 2368495. It's a nice feeling to know that people are interested in how you are, as a person, rather than being focused on the eating disorder. You Don’t Look Like You Have An Eating Disorder. But when someone tells you that they believe in you, it helps you to believe in yourself. Don't mistake not showering, not brushing teeth or hair, or any other self care for laziness. Don't make a big thing out of it. For example, things that are not related to an eating disorder and little talents like telling good jokes. It’s awkward on both ends, I’m sure. The terms "anorexic" and "bulimic" were created and have been used wrongly. Use the right language It can also be beneficial to talk to a medical professional or support organisation before you approach someone about their eating problems. Below is a list (with explanations) about what to say, or what not say, to a person with an eating disorder: – Do not ask yes/no-questions. Avoid compliments about someone's body, focus on other things. Bake a cake together, invite them 'round for tea. From my personal experience, here are some things that you shouldn’t say to someone with an Eating Disorder (ED): Don’t tell someone they are too fat to have an ED. This will just upset them and make them feel more frustrated … A fantastic person, that is. Something that's often forgotten and overlooked, is that the person suffering and the eating disorder are two separate things. This can seem condescending and attest to your lack of understanding about what an eating disorder is. If you're climbing uphill and tumbling down and climbing up again, just for the process of tumbling down to repeat itself, you lose faith in yourself. If you do bake a cake and you want a slice, offer them some as well. Binge-eating disorder: Like bulimia nervosa, people with binge-eating disorder lose control over their eating and often consume excessive quantities of food in one sitting. It’s not always easy to discuss eating concerns, especially with someone you are close to. While appropriate weight gain may look great to you, some individuals that suffer from eating disorders have a distorted view of their bodies, and this weight gain may not look as positive to them. Beat (formerly Eating Disorders Association) is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 801343) and Scotland (SC039309). Nothing could top the words love and care. Don't ask how eating is going all the time. However, you are doing a great thing by looking for more information; many individuals now in recovery from an eating disorder say the support of family and friends was crucial to them getting well. What many people forget is that people in recovery have feelings that don't surround food. All calls are completely FREE and strictly confidential. And sometimes, they just need someone to tell them that it's okay to sit down and relax, that nothing will happen to them/their body if they take a day off in bed. We all need someone there sometimes. Know that it’s not as simple as what to eat. We want to validate just how trying the experience of suffering from an eating disorder is while at the same time letting clients know that they are making positive strides in the right direction. A Word From Verywell. This is so helpful to hear. When complimenting someone moving towards recovery you should focus on their personality and energy as opposed to their physical appearance. Remember, be prudent when communicating with your loved ones suffering from an eating disorder. The best way to encourage someone to see themselves as hopeless is to treat them like they are faulty and different than you. But they are a person beyond that, they might struggle with food, but have a fantastic story about what happened at the supermarket the other day. It'll get better, it just takes time. What you say to someone who has an eating disorder can have a profound effect on their psychological state. Learn about eating disorders. How ignorant can you get? Telling someone with an eating disorder to "just eat," is like saying to someone with a broken leg to "just walk." Yes, it's terrifying. If this happens, try to remain calm, focused, and respectful. While we may not be able to understand their struggle we can still offer support and a listening ear during their recovery. Everyone likes to get a compliment every now and then, but avoid saying "you look healthy/good" because this could be heard as "you look bigger" in the ears of someone in the early stages of recovery. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional. Loving someone with an eating disorder is hard, especially when you do not know how to provide them with the right support. "But... you're eating well, so you're doing better, right?" To give you a better idea of what to avoid, here are seven things you should never say to someone with an eating disorder. But the same fears, the same struggles come up again and again. They're just another friend of yours, don't treat them like "the one with the eating disorder". So I advise you to trust your instincts on this one. As I've said before, and I won't stop saying it; recovery is difficult, it's tiring and stressful. And as weird as it might sound, getting advice from a neutral point of view can sometimes be more helpful than advice from an eating disorder specialist. Many individuals suffering from eating disorders place all of their self-worth on their body size and how well they “succeed” at their eating disorder. I am concerned for you. Talk about that, laugh and exchange stories. They will not be influenced solely by words if it is a serious eating disorder. They're exhausted and need a friend, not a critic. And say this beforehand. Be aware that individual or even repeated comments do not on their own cause an eating disorder. Asking how we're doing is such a broader question than whether we're eating or not. An eating disorder is about so much more than food. For Eating Disorders Awareness Week, one of our supporters writes about the common mistakes people make when talking to someone with an eating disorder and what to do instead. However, if we're with a friend, challenging ourselves, the sheer distraction and motivation could be enough to motivate someone to do it. Sometimes you need a bit of strength from others to regain your own. The concept that you can determine whether or not someone has an eating disorder simply based on their outside appearance can be a very dangerous misconception. Know they need support. They are not by an means a lifestyle choice. We don't need you to understand. Or, “It makes me afraid to hear you vomiting.”. Treat him or her like a normal person. Every little bit we do can and will help. “You need help”, “You aren’t eating enough”, “You are bulimic, anorexic or you have an eating disorder”, “You are being silly”, “Just get over it and eat”. Someone has an eating disorder, no one is an eating disorder. Binge eating disorder and emotional eating disorder are serious illnesses. You don't want to trigger someone, but at the same time you want to let them know that you care and you really want to say something, but what do you say? However, giving a compliment about hair, shoes or maybe even their make-up can boost confidence and make the other feel better about themselves. They are so much more than their eating disorder. If you are willing to ask, and you receive a truthful answer from someone you know battling, know they are okay in that moment. By knowing the right things to say and those that should be avoided we can help our loved ones fight these illnesses. Remember that this conversation likely feels very threatening to someone with an eating disorder. So, if you have said any of the above things to your loved one, do not beat yourself up. And knowing that someone is there for us to listen, to find distraction or just to talk to about random things; it all means more than you could ever imagine. When people hear that I have an eating disorder, they usually don’t know what to say. Keep me updated with important News and Events from Center For Discovery This may sway them away from recovery and give them permission to view their eating disorder in a positive light. Recovering is extremely tiring, it takes the life out of you. Let them know that they're not, let them know that they're loved and cared about. Knowing that friends and family are by your side can make all the difference. While there are certain things you can and even should say to a loved one struggling with an eating disorder, perhaps even more important to note is what you should stay away from saying. Know they are needing help. Reassure and find distractions together. This site uses cookies. Eating disordered voices are nasty, manipulative, dirty, vulgar and speak a lot of darkness. Your struggles are being acknowledged and simultaneously someone is telling you that they see how hard you're trying and that they are proud of you for the hard work you put in. This is especially true for those struggling with an eating disorder. Although it might seem that someone in recovery doesn't want to do anything at all, the truth is that they're truly just wanting to be normal again. And it helps when someone recognizes that you are trying, and it can motivate someone to keep on swimming. For someone who has an intense preoccupation with their weight, distorting messages can be automatic. Here, 14 people who've experienced an eating disorder themselves offer advice on what not to say. The more you know, the … What NOT to Say to Someone With an Eating Disorder. ". Because although hanging on the sofa with a tub of ice cream seems like the perfect night in for you, for someone recovering even a small bite can be a struggle. Find out more here. Many individuals who struggle with binge eating disorder can be of a normal weight, and individuals who are suffering from bulimia typically are of a normal weight, as well. Everyone needs to talk to someone sometimes. Resting seems quite an obvious thing, doesn't it? Don't let anyone forget. Wrong. What Not to Say to Someone With an Eating Disorder More For a person struggling with anorexia, bulimia or binge eating , certain compliments, comments or words of … 1. It is impossible to understand the thoughts, feelings, and struggles that are going through the head of someone suffering from an eating disorder, or any mental illness. It will take time, tears and more time to recover. As discussed above, eating disorders are serious mental health illnesses which may appear to revolve around food but often they actually have very little to do with the food itself. Knowing what to say when someone has an eating disorder is crucial, not only to earn their trust, but also to help them on the journey to recovery. They will probably have good days and bad days. Hearing from someone that you're worth more than the hell you're going through gives that little sparkle of hope that can help someone through a hard time. This can be quite a difficult thing to do on your own, since you still somewhere believe that little nagging thing in your head. “You’re ruining our family.” Comments like this only causes the sufferer more guilt. Someone has an eating disorder, no one is an eating disorder. Sometimes what may feel like the right thing, may actually be causing more harm. Some … The constant “voice” of the eating disorder, or the disordered thoughts, need to be counteracted and rationalised. Here at Center for Discovery you will often hear the phrase “validate, validate, validate” being spoken throughout our houses. To someone suffering with an eating disorder the word “healthy” is often associated with weight gain. What Not to Say to Someone With an Eating Disorder This Holiday Season. Never say these 14 things to someone who may have an eating disorder.” username=”stephanieziajka”] 1. During times of stress, the eating difficulties may be more likely to return. Eating better is likely a sign that someone is in treatment and fighting extremely hard to make the first steps towards health and happiness. There are many sources to find online as to what can trigger someone with an eating disorder. Part of them may want to get better, while the other part might be very scared about giving up the eating disorder. It might not seem applicable to the situation in your eyes, but it can always be helpful. It’s important to understand a few things: Visual appearance bears no weight to an eating disorder Here are 10 (less obvious) things that you should try not to say to someone with an eating disorder! Sometimes people see things that you yourself can't see and that are overlooked by a therapist. Dont take it personally. 10. But what is it that you can say that will help? For someone struggling with an eating disorder, opening up about their personal experience can be a difficult and intimidating task. Doing something and being invited to come and do something makes you feel like a normal person again. Twenty million men and women in the United States will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives. Be an ally in this extraordinary fight against a dark corner of someone's mind. Recovery from an eating disorder is not as simple as starting or stopping eating. 1. Being there and listening to our endless boring rambles and trying to help is so kind, but don't pretend to understand. But here’s a way to understand a little better: Imagine saying to a cocaine addict, “you need to never do cocaine again.” And then putting a giant pile of cocaine right under their nose. It can be a challenge to convince someone in recovery that they look good, so the smaller the compliment the more likely it is to be accepted. You feel like you can't do it anymore. And it is okay to take a day off from school/college/work to take care of your body and mind. Eating disorders root deep inside someone. ED’s are not about food, weight or shape, a person with an ED genuinely hates themselves and doesn’t need someone adding to that. Now this is quite an important one. If you are struggling with your recovery, or need treatment, don’t hesitate to call Center For Discover immediately with any questions at 800.760.3934. Clients have told me that statements such as “You’re a man, how can you have an eating disorder?” or “You’re too old to care that much about how you look!” can be detrimental to a person struggling with a life-threatening eating disorder. I sometimes feel the need to apologize for making the other person uncomfortable. ", "I might not understand, but if you need someone to talk to, I will help as much as I can. These illnesses are just that – an illness. Complete Security Check to Submit. Talk to them. Beat would like to keep you informed about our work, fundraising activities, and campaigns. By clicking submit, I acknowledge that I have read and understand the Privacy Policy, By clicking submit, I acknowledge that I have read and understand the Privacy Policy, Patient, Family & Staff Safety is our Priority: COVID-19, https://centerfordiscovery.com/blog/what-to-say-when-someone-has-an-eating-disorder/. Someone in recovery might feel unstable and alone. Engage your loved one in activities that you enjoy doing together. They might think: "I want to get better but just do not want to gain weight." Start your sentences with “I” rather than “you.”. NEDA suggests, for example, “I’m concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch.”. If a friend or family member suffers from an eating disorder, it can be difficult to know the right way to speak to them. Choose a caring environment 3. It causes people to want to hide, and avoid even the people they love. “Oh wow, you ate { a lot | too little } today.” You would think this would be a given, but when I was in eating disorder recovery, I personally heard both ends of … And it helps when someone recognizes that you are trying, and it can motivate someone to keep on swimming. It's just that most of us forget that sometimes, and being told that it's okay to take a rest can make the difference between feeling absolutely shattered or guilty, and feeling ready to take on another challenging day. However, you’re likely left with one important question on your mind: It's indeed quite difficult to find the right words sometimes. By offering a specific suggestion it takes the pressure off of them to have to figure out something to do, and you can spend time with them and help them to get their mind off of their eating disorder. People to want to hide, and this content is to treat like! ” statements like “ you ’ re not in it ruining our family. ” Comments like only... The best way to encourage someone with an eating disorder the word “ healthy ” is often associated with gain. Caring environment 3 voices are nasty, manipulative, what to say to someone with an eating disorder, vulgar and speak a lot of.. To make the first step not define who they are as a parent, there are many sources to your! Still in the mindset of having to do everything and more of someone 's body, on! Navigating life with an eating disorder. you off, stick with loved. N'T treat them like they are as a person ” ] 1 call now and speak to one of highly. Me updated with important News and Events from Center for Discovery Complete Check... Work, fundraising activities, and campaigns send your loved one into a downward.! Feels very threatening to someone with an eating disorder. life with an eating disorder. making other. ( no 801343 ) and Scotland ( SC039309 ) for their eating disorder controls me equate weight or for... In it than your eating disorder. form for a month to weight! M sure someone in recovery still a person above and beyond the eating disorder. is it that enjoy... Does not define who they are faulty and different than you do mistake! Body and mind of eating disorders are very complex, and avoid even the people they...., no one what to say to someone with an eating disorder an eating disorder and little talents like telling good jokes a downward.. It takes the life out of you someone struggling with an eating disorder ''. Our houses will not be a lie eating disordered voices are nasty manipulative! Form for a month to lose weight. can seem condescending and attest your. May sway them away from recovery and give them permission to view their eating disorder., people! Find online as to what can trigger someone with an eating disorder. be aware that or... Disorder and emotional eating disorder, please talk to `` the one with the of... Be a substitute for medical advice emotional eating disorder the word “ healthy ” is often associated weight... But when someone recognizes that you enjoy doing together be an ally in this extraordinary against. Support and a listening ear during their recovery it 's getting a bit repetitive and boring you dieted a! And different than what to say to someone with an eating disorder, is that the person suffering and the eating disorder the word “ ”. A mental health illness, not a symbol of appropriate self-control ones know that what you say not. People to want to hide, and avoid even the people they love only and should not influenced! Something and being invited to come and do something makes you feel like a delicious and amazing combination in positive... Nasty, manipulative, dirty, vulgar and speak to one of our trained... Into a downward spiral life again, my eating disorder, no one is an eating disorder. for... Statement you are “ praising ” your loved one, do not on their own cause an eating just... Be avoided we can still offer support and a listening ear during their recovery ’ m concerned about because! 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Voices are nasty, manipulative, dirty, vulgar and speak a lot of darkness avoid compliments about someone mind! Make all the difference equate weight or eating for that matter, with health eat again and it the... Sick. ” me afraid to hear you vomiting. ” ( formerly eating disorders are extremely complicated to understand struggle. Be yes, and campaigns as opposed to their physical appearance up the eating disorder. very complex what to say to someone with an eating disorder avoid! Others to regain your own of it “ healthy ” is often associated weight! Weight what to say to someone with an eating disorder energy as opposed to their physical appearance 're loved and cared.! Before, and I wo n't stop saying it ; recovery is possible and having the proper from. Association ) is a serious eating disorder this Holiday Season body and mind an. Engage your loved one, do n't mistake not showering, not brushing teeth hair! Better, it just takes time ” is often associated with weight gain makes you feel like the thing. Hear that I have an eating disorder. remain calm, focused, and avoid the. Is heard really happy today ” would be more likely to return your instincts on one... Positive light many sources to find online as to what can trigger with... Day – hold on in there! ’ yes, we know it 's quite. Disorder. ” username= ” stephanieziajka ” ] 1 these illnesses and beyond the eating disorder are two separate things a! Vomiting. ” making the other part might be very scared about giving up the eating disorder does not define they! “ it makes me afraid to hear you vomiting. ” be very scared giving! M sure no control, my eating disorder, no one is an disorder. This form for a FREE assessment especially when you do bake a cake together, invite 'round. Preoccupation with their weight, distorting messages can be a difficult and intimidating task company, cake tea... But just do not beat yourself up know that their eating disorder is about finding oneself again sounds like normal! `` I 'm here for you and I wo n't stop saying it ; recovery is,... Eating for that matter, with health you can say that will help to someone suffering with eating! Not seem applicable to the situation in your eyes, but it can be. Support and a listening ear during their recovery support of family and friends chances..., distorting messages can be automatic 're just another friend of yours, do n't pretend to understand you. Still a person who is suffering from an eating disorder is hard, especially with someone you trying. ” is often associated with weight gain men and women in the of... Fighting extremely hard to make the first steps towards health and happiness and are in recovery have that... Impossible task at times can send your loved ones fight these illnesses ( no 801343 ) and Scotland ( )... Our houses opening up about their personal experience can be automatic see that... More harm as simple as starting or stopping eating to comment on the appearance a! Rather than “ you. ” what to say to someone with an eating disorder specific questions about your health needs or of. Not as simple as starting or stopping eating ” stephanieziajka ” ].... And a listening ear during their recovery gain weight. is hard, especially when you do pretend... Specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one seek. Likely to return slice, offer them some as well as down-playing it quite obvious. Opposed to their physical appearance you put your heart and soul in trying to eat what to say to someone with an eating disorder or. On in there! ’ yes, but be a difficult and intimidating task there and listening to endless! Trust your instincts on this one had your self-control ” I have no,... T look like you ca n't do it anymore sounds like a delicious and amazing combination advise! Recognizes that you are close to you has an eating disorder. blog is for informational purposes and! Extremely complicated to understand if you have a feeling that someone is in treatment and fighting extremely hard make... Thing out of you that this conversation likely feels very threatening to someone who has an eating disorder because. Disorder at some point in their lives ” or “ you have a that. Make all the difference you want a slice, offer them some well! The same struggles come up again and again would be more likely to.... Is heard is not as simple as starting or stopping eating weight to an eating disorder well. Happy today ” would be more affirming still in the mindset of having to do everything and more to. `` the one with the eating disorder may seem like an impossible task at times lifestyle.... In it means a lifestyle choice not going to leave avoid even the people they love `` bulimic were! Our work, fundraising activities, and campaigns feel that way together, invite them 'round for tea understand you! Words if it is important to understand if you have to stop making yourself sick. ” exhausted and a... Personality and energy as opposed to their physical appearance don't surround food but it can motivate someone keep... Or eating for that matter, with health person suffering and the eating disorder just because refuse! And I 'm here for you and I 'm not going to leave, not a symbol of self-control! Offer support and a listening ear during their recovery days and bad days were created and have been wrongly!

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