They say food brings people together, but sometimes, it’s the other way around. There are cases wherein people who have irregular eating patterns or behavior tend to isolate themselves because they think they are different. Their condition affects their relationships at home and at work.
Some of these people are too afraid to gain weight, while others overeat. If you know someone who is having a hard time dealing with his or her eating patterns, here’s how you can help:
Be Careful with Your Words
What you say can mean a lot to a person with an eating disorder; you can even be misunderstood. That said, be careful with how you construct your statements and how you deliver them. Your friend or loved one could be emotionally sensitive or vulnerable, which is why you need to take the necessary precautions. You don’t want to hurt or offend them, or worse, judge them without even knowing it.
Research Before You Talk
Knowledge is what you need first if you want to help someone who is battling with his or her eating disorder. Of course, it’s our priority to inform our friend or loved one about their situation or condition. But before lecturing them or talking to them, make sure you did your homework. You should learn as much about the different types of eating disorders, as well as the nearest anorexia nervosa treatment centers in your location just in case it would be necessary to take your friend or loved one there. Again, be careful when you talk about treatment or the condition itself.
Take It Seriously
Don’t ever think that your friend or loved one is acting up, or the condition is far from serious. Eating disorders are no joke; they can have physical, emotional, and psychological effects. Never laugh about it or refer to it as something easy to face. It can be challenging to trace the root cause of this disorder, which is why professional help is important.
Teach Them How to Cook
Recreational activities can help divert patients’ attention. Instead of thinking about their condition, they can do other meaningful and enjoyable things, such as cooking. But don’t just teach them how to cook; help them appreciate food more and see it from a different perspective. They might realize the consequences of consuming too much and learn the value of eating just the right amount and not depriving their bodies of the essential nutrients. It would be better if you consult a doctor or therapist before you initiate this idea.
Take Them to a Trip
An out of town or cross-country trip is a great way to bond with a friend or loved one who has an eating disorder. Allow them to try different cuisines and develop a deeper sense of appreciation for food. If they are too afraid to eat because of weight gain, help them learn that it’s okay to eat a little more and enjoy food, as long as you know how to maintain your ideal weight. You can even teach them some workout routines while you’re on a trip. This could help them win against their condition.
Your role as a friend or family member is to provide information and support to those who are struggling with their eating disorder. Keep these recommendations in mind so that you can help them recover and live better every day.