Find a path through an eating disorder
help for families finding a path through eating disordersEating disorders affect millions of young women and men. Beyond those suffering, they also affect their friends and families. It is extremely difficult to watch someone you love to struggle with a mental illness, and we would do almost anything to prevent it from happening.

Eating disorder recovery is an emotional and demanding process for those suffering, and relies a great deal on a good support network, but being part of a support network for someone is easier said than done. Beginning the recovery journey, as a support network you are faced with a swarm of questions: What do you do? What should you say? How do you know if you are doing the right thing? Are you creating a successful environment for recovery?

Being part of a support network can be emotionally and physically demanding. It is important to keep in mind that recovery is learning experience for not only your loved one but also for you.

Here are 7 tips compiled together as a starting point for you, as families and friends, supporting a loved one through eating disorder recovery.

Don't blame yourself

Family and friends often feel like they are to blame for their loved one's eating disorder, and begin to backtrack their actions: was I not strict enough, was I being too strict, if only I did this, I should of done that

It is important to understand that no one has control over an eating disorder. Once you accept this, you can free yourself from the 'should of' and 'could of' guilt, and put your energy towards helping the recovery process.

Educate yourself

Read, research and ask professionals about information about eating disorders. Every individual's recovery is different; communicate with your loved one, and let him or her know that you are there for support.

Recovery is a journey that everyone learns from, you won't always know the right things to say, but that's okay! Like your loved one going through recovery, you need to accept that you are going to make mistakes. Don't beat yourself up over them, but rather look at them as a challenge for creating future strategies.

Make meal times comfortable not confronting

When someone is recovering from an eating disorder, meal times, topics of food, diet and weight can be quite confronting. As a support network, ways that you can help loved ones through this distress is by making conversations about food positive. View and encourage meal times as a way to spend time together and reconnect rather than a dreaded deed.

Explore using distracting conversational topics that are focused around their interests and talents. Ask them for advice in areas they are interested in- if they love reading; ask them what books they recommend.

Instead of commenting on quantity "I've eaten too much" or "look how much you ate!" explore talking about the tastes and what you enjoy about the food so to help create an enjoyable relationship with food.

Avoid Body talk

Click to enter the Downton Abbey competitionRecovery is 20% physical and 80% mental and from the outside it can be hard to understand where someone is mentally in terms of recovery. Eating disorders are very manipulative. Body-specific compliments, even well- meaning ones like "I wish I had a body like yours" and "you look so healthy" can be distorted and can actually be damaging to someone in recovery.

Instead, try to surround them with positive comments focusing on their achievements, their personality, and energy such as "you are so creative and you are so full of energy".

It is difficult to avoid body comments in culture where bodies are often topics of conversation, so it will take practice for everyone in recovery. Although Uncle Bob may still slip up and tell them how great it is to "See some meat on those bones!"

Acknowledge their achievements tactfully

When someone is recovering from an eating disorder, they will consciously begin to create a healthy relationship with food, challenging disordered thoughts. This is a major step in recovery, how to acknowledge your loved one's achievements is a difficult and sensitive topic.

It is important to remember that as part of the recovery process, your loved one needs to allow them selves to do everyday things and understand that it doesn't have negative consequences.

Instead of overtly congratulating them, try to encourage them by being a positive example. Allow them to observe that what they are doing, is part of a normal way of life.

Accept your limitations

When seeing a loved one go through a hard time, it can be difficult to stand back and not do anything. It is important to let them make their own decisions, as part of their recovery. It won't always be the right one but it is important as part of their learning to challenge themselves and develop coping strategies.

Be Kind to Yourself

Most importantly, remember to take care of yourself! Supporting someone recovering from an eating disorder can be stressful and at times overwhelming, and if you could, I'm sure you would take it all away with a hug. However, like those going through recovery, you are only human and have problems of your own. Generate your own support network and remember to be kind to yourself - let your friends and family look after you too.

Meet Phoebe Dunstan

Meet Phoebe Dunstan

Phoebe is in her second year at Sydney’s University of Technology, studying a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Writing and Cultural Studies. She is Interning and writes for the online magazine SheInspires.com.

Her main interests include reading, writing, design and philosophy, and she is currently working on her own book Down the Wrong Rabbit Hole

Share

Share

See More Health Related Articles:

See More Health Related Articles:

12 Tips for Coping with Anxiety12 Tips for Coping with AnxietyFinding out what's causing the anxiety is often the key to finding a way through it but also having the life skills for overcoming anxiety.

Here we look at 12 tips for managing anxiety and online resources to for anxiety help so you find a navigable path through rough waters.

Why Bad Boys Fail As BoyfriendsWhy Bad Boys Fail As BoyfriendsDon't get stuck in a relationship with yet another bad boy! Find out why bad boys are so irresistible and learn how to break your bad boy routine.

Get relationship advice and tips on your relationship problems.

Fluid Beauty Tips to Make Your Inner Beauty Shine ThroughFluid Beauty Tips to Make Your Inner Beauty Shine ThroughWell all know the beauty advice to drink 8 glasses of water a day but making it happen isn't always easy, especially if you're not a big fan of water.

The good news is it's the fluid intake that matters and you can get that from a variety of sources. So here are 5 great water alternatives to bring your inner beauty to the fore.

10 Top Tips For Fabulous Nails10 Top Tips For Fabulous NailsWant perfect nails? Find out how with our beauty expert Norlin Mustapha with these top 10 tips for nail care.

It's so much easier to have fab nails than you think!

Top 10 Ways to Pamper Yourself in Winter with our Beauty TipsTop 10 Ways to Pamper Yourself in Winter with our Beauty TipsIs your skin feeling under the weather these days? All that cold wind, dry air, heating; winter can’t be good for your skin, or can it?

Read on for Trish Koh’s Top 10 Beauty Tips to help you and your skin flourish this winter.

Creating Natural BeautyCreating Natural BeautyThis season's look is all about natural beauty and while it might seem only possible for the youthful 22 year olds the good news is it's open to all of us, irrespective of age because the best natural beauty is the shining through of our inner beauty through good beauty health.

Come find out what's involved in letting your natural beauty shine through today enjoy discovering a completely new and beautiful you.

The Value of a Good SleepThe Value of a Good SleepIf you’re not getting enough night sleep or what you’re getting isn’t up to standard, you might be one of millions of people who struggle with falling and staying asleep.

If you’re not waking up feeling refreshed, alert and ready to meet the challenges of the day, here are some tips that might help bring you a good night sleep.

Beauty Advice to Create Youthful Glowing SkinBeauty Advice to Create Youthful Glowing SkinCreating beautiful skin is much more simple than we think, just eating antioxidant foods, drinking antioxidant drinks save us from premature aging and makes us look and feel younger.

Find out what foods are rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals, where to find delicious healthy recipes to make life easier and the harm free radicals can cause if we let them run wild.

Photo Tips and Techniques To Impress Your FriendsPhoto Tips and Techniques To Impress Your FriendsAmaze your friends by taking photos like a professional photographer. These easy photography tips are perfect for any occasion from wedding photography, digital photography, portrait photography and more.

After these tips all of your friends will be begging you to take a picture for them!

The Secret of Having the Life You've Always WantedThe Secret of Having the Life You've Always WantedIf work has suddenly seemed unbearable and life isn't what you thought it was going to be you're probably in your 30's and looking for a way out.

This is a great time to explore what's important to you and how you want to be living your life. Who knows, you just might end up healthy, wealthy and wise as well as deeply happy. Come explore with us to see what's possible.

Search by Keyword

Search by Keyword

Follow SheInspires.com.au on facebook
Follow SheInspires.com.au on Twitter
Delicious
Copyright © She Inspires Life Bondi Junction, NSW
2009 - 2017