It’s hard to know how to approach someone you are concerned with about his or her unhealthy eating habits, weight, and/or body image. It can be an overwhelming and difficult topic to discuss. Here are a few things to help guide you before talking to your loved one about your concerns.
Research eating disorders and learn as much as you can. There is a lot of information out there. Do research on the Internet. Read books and articles. Reach out to an eating disorder therapist who is willing to talk to you.
Know the difference between facts and myths. Educate yourself on the facts regarding weight, nutrition, and exercise. If you know the facts, it will be easier to help your loved one about their eating disorder thoughts and their inaccurate perception of their eating patterns.
Be caring, but be firm. Your loved one struggling with an eating disorder needs to be made accountable for their actions and the consequences. Be careful to not get manipulated by them. Don’t make promises you cannot keep. Don’t threaten them. It’s important to show them that you care, but be stern.
Be honest. You always want to be honest when addressing your concerns. If you want them to be honest with you, you should lead by example. Talk honestly about your feelings and listen to what they have to say.
Seek professional help. It’s important to tell someone. You are not a professional and it’s unfair to bare this burden alone. Eating disorders are serious and can be life-threatening. The sooner a person struggling with an eating disorder gets help, the higher and faster recovery can occur. You loved one needs support and understanding. People struggling with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia do need professional help.
Be patient. You cannot force someone to want to get better or seek professional help. It can be a long, frustrating process for loved ones when trying to help someone struggling with an eating disorder. It’s important to be patient throughout the process and continue to provide support.