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How To Comfort Someone With Eating Disorder

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I Like Your Hair/bag/shoes/etc

[F4A] Baby, You Need to Eat [Script Fill] [Eating Disorder] [Comfort]

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. However, giving a compliment about hair, shoes or maybe even their make-up can boost confidence and make the other feel better about themselves.

Compliments are difficult to receive due to this devil on your shoulder whispering in your ear that everyone is lying. 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. Avoid compliments about someone’s body, focus on other things.

The Psychology Of Comfort Eating

7th December 2016

Eating our hearts out;

Eating is arguably at the very centre of our being.; It plays a complicated role in our daily lives and wellbeing, as well as a key part in how many of us socialise and spend time with others.; For very few people, food is merely a means of staying alive; eating only what is needed in order to maintain their health and their ability to function throughout the day. For the majority, however, food has a more complex role in their wellbeing; it can be an opportunity to socialise with loved ones, a rite of passage or a ritual to mark a special occasion .; It can also be a way of self-soothing in times of distress , and it can also be a sign of difficult economic times and social hardship when food is scarce.

The fact is, for the vast majority, food is one of lifes great pleasures.; Many people, therefore, use food as a way of soothing their emotions from time to time and indeed there is nothing wrong with eating for comfort every now and again. ;However, comfort eating, or emotional eating as it is more commonly termed by psychological therapists, becomes problematic when it becomes our automatic response to soothing difficult thoughts and feelings.

Dealing With Eating Disorders In The Home

As a parent, there are many things you can do to support your childs eating disorder recoveryeven if they are still resisting treatment.

Set a positive example. You have more influence than you think. Instead of dieting, eat nutritious, balanced meals. Be mindful about how you talk about your body and your eating. Avoid self-critical remarks or negative comments about others appearance. Instead, focus on the qualities on the inside that really make a person attractive.

Make mealtimes fun. Try to eat together as a family as often as possible. Even if your child isnt willing to eat the food youve prepared, encourage them to join you at the table. Use this time together to enjoy each others company, rather than talking about problems. Meals are also a good opportunity to show your child that food is something to be enjoyed rather than feared.

Avoid power struggles over food. Attempts to force your child to eat will only cause conflict and bad feelings and likely lead to more secrecy and lying. That doesnt mean you cant set limits or hold your child accountable for their behavior. But dont act like the food police, constantly monitoring your childs behavior.

Do whatever you can to promote self-esteem.;in your child in intellectual, athletic, and social endeavors. Give boys and girls the same opportunities and encouragement. A well-rounded sense of self and solid self-esteem are perhaps the best antidotes to disordered eating.

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Manage Your Difficult Emotions

Eating disorder doesnt just affect your loved one. It can also affect you and your relationship, triggering in you emotions, such as anger, fear, and hurt.

Be Clear About Your Feelings

Slow down and pay attention to what is going on in your body. Talk it over with a safe person, or write about it in your journal.

Remind Yourself That Your Feelings Are Normal

The way eating disorder can affect your relationship might leave you feeling like youre going crazy, swinging from one extreme to the other.

Remind yourself that your difficult emotions are normal.

Remind Yourself That You Dont Have To Act On Your Emotions

Difficult emotions can be frightening because we risk losing control and acting in ways we might regret later.

Remind yourself that you can still deal with these emotions in healthier ways.

If you find yourself getting angry or frustrated talking about the eating disorder, ask your partner for some time-off to cool down. Distract yourself by doing something else.

Let These Emotions out Appropriately

If you feel hurt, dont bottle up these feelings. Process them in healthier ways: write in your journal about them, talk with a friend, or sit down with yourself and reflect on whats going on.

Encouraging A Person To Get Help

How to Help a Friend with an Eating Disorder

Aside from offering support, the most important thing you can do for a person with an eating disorder is to encourage treatment. The longer an eating disorder remains undiagnosed and untreated, the harder it is on the body and the more difficult it is to overcome, so urge your loved one to see a doctor right away.

A doctor can assess your loved ones symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and screen for any medical problems that might be involved. The doctor can also determine whether there are any co-existing conditions that require treatment, such as depression, substance abuse, or an anxiety disorder.

If your friend or family member is hesitant to see a doctor, ask them to get a physical just to put your worries to rest. It may help if you offer to make the appointment or go along on the first visit.

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Three Things You Can Say To Encourage Someone With An Eating Disorder

As a therapist, you know that what you say might not always be what is heard. This is especially true for those struggling with an eating disorder. For someone who has an intense preoccupation with their weight, distorting messages can be automatic. You may tell them that theyre looking healthy and they may only hear that theyve gained weight. Knowing helpful ways to encourage someone can be tough.

If youre at a loss for what to say to a person with an eating disorder, consider these suggestions:

  • Recovery is not linear. Setbacks are normal.
  • Once an individual has found a therapist and made the decision to pursue recovery, the rest should be easy, right? Unfortunately, no; however, that wont stop your patients from believing thats how the process is supposed to work. Normalizing the setbacks is a great way to provide encouragement and the hope that recovery is still possible.

  • Your resiliency continues to amaze me.
  • An eating disorder has the power to rid someone of values like pleasure and connection to make room for isolation and anxiety. Exploring ones values becomes a large part of recovery for this reason. Praise that acknowledges when someone is living life in alignment with their values can be a meaningful way to offer encouragement.

  • It seems like mealtimes have been a little tougher lately. How can I support you?
  • How To Help Someone With Anorexia

    Recovery is something you have to work on every single day, and its something that doesnt get a day off.

    Demi Lovato

    Anorexia Nervosa or Anorexia is a debilitating disorder that causes a person to become obsessed with being thin, losing weight and maintaining a slim figure. They will do whatever it takes to remain this way despite the negative health consequences that are associated with it.

    Anorexia takes over your mind to the point that the person cant think about anything else and will do whatever they can to lose weight. This usually means using unhealthy strategies such as purging, using laxatives, diet aids, diuretics or other harmful substances to keep their weight low. There are many negative health consequences to being anorexic and it can impact a persons overall health and be deadly.

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    So There You Have It Warriors Our 8 Most Read Recovery Warriors Articles Of All Time

    Make sure you dont miss any of them. We hope they bring you insight, wisdom, and encouragement for your journey. And remember, Recovery Warriors is a place of community, where people come together to share what weve been through and what we have learned. If you have a story of hope and healing or a valuable tip or lesson that can help others, and you want to write for us, we want to hear from you so we can share your story. For more information, visit our Write for Us information page.

    What Not To Say And Do

    How to help someone with an eating disorder

    Knowing how to say no to your friend is also part of the supportive process. It can be difficult, but being able to say no to behaviors that encourage the eating disorder is important . One example would be if your friend wants to run early in the morning, or only buying certain foods or safe foods.

    Try to stay away from starting sentences with stop doing this or that is also important. It may feel like a demand or parenting to your friend, and they may begin to shut you out.

    Approaching them if you notice behaviors creeping in, is to be able to say, I am worried about you because I see that you are engaging in some worrisome eating disorder behaviors is a good way to start. Encourage your friend to set an appointment with their treatment team if one is not scheduled and talk with their counselor and dietitian about behavioral concerns.

    Avoid comments around weight or commenting on body changes, whether weight loss or gain. It can come across in a different way to the eating disorder sufferer. Being able to use phrases such as, I am happy that you are taking better care of yourself is a great way to support your friend.

    Be aware of your own weight and body comments as it can have a negative effect on the persons thoughts and perceptions about them self. Being aware of how you talk about yourself, your body, and food rituals or behaviors is important when around someone is struggling with anorexia.


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    Find Other Ways To Cope With Stress

    Discovering another way to deal with negative emotions is often the first step toward overcoming emotional eating. This could mean writing in a journal, reading a book, or finding a few minutes to otherwise relax and decompress from the day.

    It takes time to shift your mindset from reaching for food to engaging in other forms of stress relief, so experiment with a variety of activities to find what works for you.

    Christmas Is Only One Day Hold On In There

    Yes, and as patronising as this sounds. It is one day and you can do this. We can do this together. We can manage our eating disorders and get through it. It might be hard and feel like a struggle but if once we have done it we can be so proud of ourselves and then have an easier day on boxing day.

    Christmas isnt easy and I am not going to pretend it is but it is possible to survive it and I know actually enjoy it. If words dont seem to be helping simple squeezing my hand under the table always does the job! So why not try that if you feel lost for words.

    BIO:;Hope Virgo; author of Stand tall little Girl;;suffered with anorexia for over 4 years, before being admitted to a Mental Health Hospital in 2007. She lived in the hospital for a year, fighting one of the hardest battles of her life. Since being discharged, she has fought to stay well. She now wants to use her experiences of mental health illness to champion the rights of others, inspire them to get well, and help break the stigma of mental illness. You can see what she is up to here;@HopeVirgo

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    Understand The Factors Of Eating Disorder

    The factors behind your loved ones eating disorder are specific to them, and understanding these should be through an honest conversation or through the help of a professional.

    But following are some common factors:


    Whatever their body size or shape is, people with eating disorder usually harbor a deep sense of shame about it.

    This sense of shame is usually connected to a deeper sense of shame about the self as a whole, believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.

    In an attempt to make themselves good, many believe that being thin is their way to become worthy an idea that is strongly reinforced by our culture.


    Some people would use their eating disorder as a way to manage difficult emotions, such as anger, sadness, and shame.

    Eating disorder narrows the emotional pain. Its hard to feel anything when youre overwhelmingly hungry or full. Also, thinking about food and calories all the time, makes it hard to think about anything else.

    While this might work in the short term, these feelings are being left unaddressed. Overtime, they can intensify and come out in unpleasant ways, like outbursts, breakdowns, etc.


    Some people who are struggling with anxiety and a strong need to control their lives, or trauma survivors, might use eating disorder to feel more in control.

    Even if they dont feel in control of anything else in their lives, at least they are in charge of what goes into their body.

    Practical Exercise

    Understanding Your Loved Ones Eating Disorder

    How to Support a Friend With an Eating Disorder During the ...

    Eating disorders involve extreme disturbances in eating behaviorsfollowing rigid diets, bingeing on food in secret, throwing up after meals, obsessively counting calories. Its not easy to watch someone you care about damage their healthespecially when the solution appears, at least on the outside, to be simple. But eating disorders are more complicated than just unhealthy dietary habits. At their core, theyre attempts to deal with emotional issues and involve distorted, self-critical attitudes about weight, food, and body image. Its these negative thoughts and feelings that fuel the damaging behaviors.

    People with eating disorders use food to deal with uncomfortable or painful emotions. Restricting food is used to feel in control. Overeating temporarily soothes sadness, anger, or loneliness. Purging is used to combat feelings of helplessness and self-loathing. Over time, people with an eating disorder lose the ability to see themselves objectively and obsessions over food and weight come to dominate everything else in their lives. Their road to recovery begins by identifying the underlying issues that drive their eating disorder and finding healthier ways to cope with emotional pain.

    While you cant force a person with an eating disorder to change, you can offer your support and encourage treatment. And that can make a huge difference to your loved ones recovery.

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    For Parents Of Children 18 And Under

    If the person in your life you are concerned about is your child under the age of 18, we recommend taking a more directive approach. Children and teens with eating disorders often do not want help, and parents are responsible for their children and typically need to seek help for them on their behalf.

    Even if your child is unmotivated for treatment, there is a great deal you can do as a parent to help them recover. Learn more about family-based treatment for adolescent eating disorders, a leading treatment approach for children and teens.

    How Much Your Partners Eating Disorder Is Affecting You

    The following statements are some indications that an eating disorder is affecting you:

    • You dread mealtimes, meals out, groceries, or cooking
    • You worry about your partners behavior a great deal of the time
    • You argue over food
    • You go out of your way to ensure that certain food is or is not in the house
    • You hide food or your own eating behaviors
    • You feel unappreciated, or resentful around food situations
    • You avoid intimacy because it triggers your partners body shame
    • You feel frustrated when your attempts to help fail

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    Can You Give Me Advice On How To Lose Weight

    This question 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. This statement can also pull them back into a downward spiral with their illness 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.

    I Know This Is Difficult But I Am Proud Of You

    How I Gained Weight From an Eating Disorder

    Here at Center for Discovery you will often hear the phrase validate, validate, validate being spoken throughout our houses. 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.

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    Lets Do ____ Together

    As you find ways to comfort your friend or family member with an eating disorder, engage your loved one in activities that you enjoy doing together. 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 problems.

    How To Discuss Eating Concerns With A Loved One

    Become educated on the disease- Learn as much as you can from articles, books, brochures etc. on health, nutrition and healthy eating habits. This will help you talk with your loved one. Its important to recognize the facts rather than myths about eating disorders.

    Setup a time to talk privately- Make sure to find a time and place where you are alone and can discuss your concern that they have an eating disorder. Nobody likes their personal life to be publicly displayed and this allows the person to feel more secure and safe.

    Practice what you will say- It can be helpful to write out your thoughts beforehand and what youd like to say. This can reduce stress and anxiety over the conversation and allow you to plan out your main points.

    Use I statements- Using I statements makes the person feel less attacked. When you make statements like you dont ever eat etc. the person may feel like they are being accused and take things the wrong way.

    Be understanding, caring and firm- Its important to not make promises or statements that you cant keep. For example, if you do this again, we cant be friends or I wont tell anyone else. Being firm is okay and allows you to not feel as though you are being manipulated.

    Tell someone- As difficult as it may be, its pertinent to talk to the person right away when you have concerns before its too late or life-threatening. The person going through this needs a lot of support from friends and family during this time.

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