From my personal experience, I can tell you that recovering from an eating disorder is a full-time job.
Day in and day out, it takes a tremendous amount of mental, emotional and physical effort to fight the familiar ways of living and make the positive choices recovery requires.
Recovery is absolutely vital.
It not only improves every aspect of your life, but it also prevents you from becoming a part of the alarming statistic.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.
Unfortunately, as hard as recovery typically is, people in our everyday lives — including our loved ones — often don’t help the healing process.
It isn’t that our friends and family members have bad intentions.
On the contrary, I’ve found these individuals genuinely think they are saying something helpful.
But, they don’t realize how their words may have the opposite effect.
There are many eating disorder myths, and there are tremendous stereotypes regarding them as well.
Many people think of the phrase “eating disorder” and associate it with weight and food.
Although weight and food are related to eating disorders, one must remember an eating disorder is fundamentally a disease of the mind.
I have personally struggled with severe eating disorders in many forms, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
Although my body took on wildly different shapes, I can assure you my mind remained stubbornly the same.
From personal experience, you need to know the mind will often misinterpret what you say, no matter how the eating disorder is physically manifested.
Therefore, it is important to recognize the kinds of statements you should avoid making to anyone recovering from an eating disorder, in order to best support his or her continued progress:
1. “Wow, you’ve gained so much weight. You look great!”
2. “Wow! You’ve lost so much weight.”
3. “I wish I had your control and discipline.”
4. “Do you have any weight loss advice?”
5. “You’re eating so healthily. Are you on a diet?”
6. “That’s really unhealthy and has a lot of calories.”
7. “You look so healthy.”
8. “All you have to do is eat and exercise normally.”
9. “You look really different. Are you relapsing?”
10. “You have such a great life. How can you be struggling?”
11. “I had an eating disorder too for a few months. I understand.”
12. “You don’t look like you have an eating disorder.”
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