With half or more of the U.S. population overweight and obese, you may be trying to think of ways to help someone you care above deal with an eating disorder. With some people having other kinds of eating problems, such as anorexia, bulimia, or eating the wrong foods, eating disorders are common. Here are some ways you may be to help a loved one who is struggling with this issue.
Set an Example
Look for opportunities to casually explain what you eat that is healthy. You can also share recipes and meal ideas along with low-calorie cooking strategies to help your loved one learn how to eat better. When you dine out together, choose tasty but good-for-you options that may tempt your friend or relative to do the same. Without being pushy, explain what works for you and consider backing it up with helpful research.
Acts of kindness could include inviting your loved one for dinner and cooking a delicious meal that is healthy. You can also drop off a balanced meal to save cooking time and cleanup effort. If you can afford it, you might buy the person a short-term subscription to a healthy meal delivery plan to encourage the sampling of new foods and menu items that are nutritionally sound and not overloaded with calories, salt, sugar, or fat.
Like any change of behavior, progress will take time. Encourage your loved one without overdoing it. Be patient. Expect occasional setbacks, which happens with any new changed behavior or way of life. Show understanding when the person gets discouraged or wants to give up. Try to think of a backup plan. For example, if your loved one is craving ice cream, suggest the lower-fat or less-sugar kind or recommend a regular-size cone rather than the jumbo size.
Consult a Medical Professional
If someone you know is struggling in a major way or is experiencing health problems due to an eating disorder, you may want to suggest that the person contacts a health professional like a doctor, nurse practitioner, or dietitian. If your loved one won’t do that, you can contact the expert and look for positive ways to share the information when appropriate. With many treatment options for eating disorders currently available, there may be one that your friend or family member will be interested in.
Our health and quality of life is impacted by how we eat. Helping your loved one find ways of dealing with an eating disorder is one of the kindest things you can do.