When you have a family member who is recovering from an eating disorder, it can be a stressful and uncertain time for everyone. While you want to be supportive, you also do not want to do things that may enable their problems to continue and worsen. However, by using your common sense and good judgement during the recovery process, there are many ways in which you can lend your support and help your family member on their road to recovery.
In these situations, knowledge is power for family members who are trying to support their loved one. Thus, you should educate yourself on all details of the eating disorder that has consumed your family member’s life. By doing so, you will be able to have realistic expectations about how long the recovery process may take, how to frame conversations you have with them, and much more.
Carefully Plan Mealtimes
During their recovery, your family member may feel very anxious when mealtime arrives. To help with this, you can do several things. First, carefully plan all aspects of the meal, such as portion sizes and what foods will be served. Also, make sure everyone who will be at the meal knows to keep the conversation neutral, meaning discussions about diets and exercise should be kept to a minimum.
Help Them with Grocery Shopping
An area often overlooked during recovery from an eating disorder, grocery shopping can be a very difficult task for people in these situations. To lend assistance, you can either accompany your family member to the store, or instead offer to do the shopping for them. Also, if your family member has had a problem with binge eating, the overwhelming amount of food in a supermarket can produce many anxious moments. To help with this, you can help them shop for food online.
Help Them Socialize
When recovering from eating disorders, many people tend to withdraw and be around others as little as possible. Often self-conscious about their appearance and their disorder, the result can be a vicious circle of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Instead of letting this happen, encourage your family member to socialize with family and friends. For example, you can invite them to attend church services with you, enjoy a family movie night, or reintroduce themselves to hobbies they once enjoyed, such as crafts, sports, or gardening.
Though the road to recovery from an eating disorder can be long and arduous, supporting your family member each day can result in them getting healthy both physically and emotionally. Consider starting a conversation about how there are treatment options for eating disorders that can help your loved one on their road to recovery.