Find somewhere to talk where you won’t be interrupted. Plan what you want to say and don’t be judgmental or get angry. Stay calm and be prepared for a negative response, as the person is likely to deny there is a problem. Tell them you’ve noticed a change in their behaviour and let them know you are concerned and wish to help.
Remember, it’s not about food
It’s about feelings. Forcing someone to eat won’t fix the problem. Be honest about your feelings and encourage them to be honest about theirs. This will help to remove the secrecy and denial that usually surround eating disorders.
Choose your words carefully
You might be trying to make the person feel better, but a simple comment such as ‘you look well today’ could be misinterpreted as meaning ‘you look as if you’ve put on weight’. Instead try to focus on things that build self-esteem, such as their achievements. This way they’ll know they are valued for who they are and not for what they look like.
There will be times you’ll feel angry, frustrated and upset. You’ll probably find that the person changes as the eating disorder takes over. This can be trying for long-standing relationships. But your support can be invaluable.