B-Eat Carers

Suggestions for Carers

On this page you will find helpful suggestions for carers. These suggestions have been contributed by experienced carers and professionals, and are intended for guidance only; they may not apply to all situations.

Sufferer

  • If approaching a possible sufferer: prepare what to say, don’t blame or judge, concentrate on feelings, stay calm, have resources to refer to, and be prepared for a negative response
  • Avoid discussing food, appearance, weight and eating behaviours – do not get involved in power struggles
  • Even if the problem is denied, you have opened a door – leave resources around and be patient, they will open up when they are ready
  • Recovery may be long and hard, and will often involve set-backs and relapses, but it is always possible
  • Remind the sufferer repeatedly that no matter how bad it gets, you love them and care for them unconditionally
  • Remember that even simple comments like “you look good today” can be interpreted by sufferers as a criticism of their body – instead comment on how much energy they have, how healthy their hair looks, or things they have achieved, to build up their self-esteem and teach them to value themselves for who they are and not how they look
  • Make sure that you counter any negative remarks the sufferer makes about himself/herself with positive comments, and make sure the positives focus on their achievements, personality and skills rather than appearance
  • If another family member is on a diet or healthy eating plan, don’t talk about it in front of the sufferer and don’t obviously consume low-calorie or diet food and drinks in front of them, as this can trigger their eating disorder further
  • Offer to help them get professional support when they are ready – go with them to appointments if they are worried or find these difficult
  • Encourage them to continue involvement in social activities (not involving food) and hobbies – this can give them aims, goals and a sense of achievement