Published November 19 2012
How loved ones can help disordered eaters through the holidaysHow loved ones can help disordered eaters through the holidays
- Organize activities that aren’t food-focused.
- Plan ahead by helping them anticipate stressful situations and devising ways of handling them.
- Discuss whether to prepare certain foods or provide alternatives.
- Don’t draw attention to what they’re eating or how much they’re eating.
- Don’t “push” or “police” food.
- Avoid making comments on their weight or appearance, even if you mean well.
- Teach them to be assertive and say things like, “I don’t feel comfortable answering that question,” or “I don’t feel good when you say that.”
- Watch out for family members who make inappropriate comments and step in if needed.
- Plan to leave after a certain length of time or between the main meal and dessert.
- Offer to go for a walk, play a board game, or do something else away from the kitchen and dining room.
- Choose a code word to use if they can no longer handle the situation and need to leave.
- Don’t force them to take leftovers home with them.
Sources: Kelly Kadlec and Tricia Cook Myers, psychologists with the
Sanford Eating Disorders & Weight Management Center