- Mental Health
How To Help A Friend With An Eating Disorder
Having an eating disorder is no easy burden. In fact, many fail to recognize the problem. Others simply do not admit to having one. This becomes a huge predicament for the family and friends. But you don’t have to sit idly and watch your friend or loved one go through a terrible ordeal.
The impact of eating disorders may not be immediate. But this does not mean you should start when the problem has already compounded. In fact, tackling the problem early on has greater chances of success than simply waiting when the condition is dire. So take the time to learn what you can contribute and start doing your part.
Dine with your friend
Any person with an eating disorder needs someone to guide them. Where else should you start but eating with the person? More than just nourishment, eating is a social activity. Take this opportunity to be with your friend and offer your assistance. It is imperative that you help create a positive atmosphere while eating. Moreover, eating should be associated with positive feelings. Of course, the level of difficulty will depend on your friend’s severity of condition. Regardless of the challenge, never lose hope and patience. They need you to get back on the right path.
- It does not matter if it’s a meal a snack or just some finger foods while talking, get your friend to eat healthy while conversing
- Take turns with other friends to sit and dine. This makes the experience fresh and more enjoyable.
- Eat out as a group. Choose some of the favorite spots of your friend.
- Cook for your friend. You can even ask the person with the disorder to help you out.
- Create a celebration for almost anything. Just have a reason to eat with your friend.
Be an example
It’s one thing to dine with your friend with an eating disorder. But it’s another to actually foster healthy habits. As such, be an example of healthy eating. Many erroneously think that people with eating disorders simply want to starve themselves. But eating disorders include eating excessively and eating unhealthily. SO when you get the chance to eat with your friend, make sure you eat healthy.
- Check healthy recipes and try cooking it with your friend
- Look for healthy ingredient substitutes to favorite dishes
- Try out new healthy restaurants and snack bars
- Go on a healthy food hunt
It’s more than just eating right
More than craving for food or the lack of it, eating disorders is a psychological hurdle that needs to be overcome. The emotional component of the disorder makes it truly difficult to address. Constant emotional support and care is required. A person going through this requires every bit of help.
- Be available to listen. Be an emotional outlet for your friend
- Offer your honest insights especially when asked
- Constantly tell your friend tat you care – this will mean a lot
- Apart from telling you care, show your friend that you do by being there
- Always have a positive attitude when around your friend. She needs to draw strength from you.
- Genuinely offer your help to the family ad of course to your friend.
Help to inform
The right information can help give new perspective. So whenever possible, update yourself with the latest research and data about your friend’s condition. It may seem like an additional burden, but helping out someone requires that you know how to do it properly. Moreover, the right information can guide you to do what is appropriate.
- Search online. Check out professional and medical sites that will give you up to date and authentic information.
- Talk to doctors and compare notes
- Read books on how you can help. Researches and journals are great sources of current information.
- Talk to other people with the same condition. You may want to talk with their families as well.
- Check out support groups and the resources available from them.
Go to a doctor together
Seeking professional help is very important. However, it may take some nerves to actually take a step towards this direction. So take the initiative to accompany your friend to a doctor or any other professional. This is a great way to encourage your friend to take the needed steps to recovery.
- Offer different rosters of professionals
- Take a tour of support groups along the way
- Ask your friend’s feedback regarding the doctor or professional. This way you have a set of parameters to consider.
- Stop by at interesting healthy food stops along the way
Do you know anyone with an eating disorder?
Talk to the family
It’s nice that you are taking the initiative. But it is likewise important to know what the family is doing. This way, you can augment what they are already doing. Moreover, it is important that all activities are consistent so success can be guaranteed. A consolidated effort is essential so that any program or intervention will prove fruitful.
- Remember that you’re a friend not a family member. So do not invade the family’s privacy.
- Offer your assistance and whatever information you can provide.
- Even the family can feel the stress so offer emotional support to them as well
- Be available to pitch in when needed
Living through an eating disorder is not easy. Both the family and the person can feel the strain. As a friend, offer every bit of help to the family and of course your friend. The little that we can do will definitely go a long way.