The holidays can be a difficult time for those who are struggling with an eating disorder. The increased focus on food at celebrations can be overwhelming for those who have difficulty with their relationship to food. Family members can help ease the anxiety by being mindful of their language and actions.
Jon Jasper, an eating disorder specialist at Turning Point of Tampa, advises family members to avoid discussing body image, asking questions about weight loss or gain, or suggesting diets or eating plans. He also suggests not commenting on what family members are eating, as it can be uncomfortable and triggering for someone in recovery.
Jasper advises that if you notice eating disorder behaviors in a family member, you should talk to them in a general way about their well-being, without asking specific questions about their eating habits.
If the family is aware that someone has an eating disorder, it can be helpful to give them a heads-up about the menu for events and ask if they have any food preferences.
Doctors have noted that the number of people struggling with eating disorders has increased during the pandemic and has not yet come down. Young people are particularly affected, with college-aged males being the fastest-growing demographic of those with eating disorders.
If you or a family member are struggling with an eating disorder, Turning Point of Tampa is here to help.
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