Why Lockdown Is Good For Binge Eaters

I am a former binge eater. I was diagnosed with this eating disorder at 15 years old. I used to be able to down three 2-L bottles of root beer and five party-sized pizzas in one sitting.

My parents thought at first that I was just too hungry after coming home from softball practice. However, they put their feet down when they realized that I was eating the same amount of food even on days when I had nothing to do. That was when they took me to a child psychologist, and we all found out that I had a binge-eating disorder.

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At the time, I held my ground and insisted that I was unaware of the issue. All I said was, “I love food. Perhaps I couldn’t control my love for food.” But deep down, I had suspicions that my binge-eating habits stemmed from stress. It was the early 90s, after all, and everyone had a specific picture in mind of what a cool kid looked like. There was no way for me to be seen in that manner, so I ate my feelings (literally).

Now that I am no longer a binge eater, though, I help binge-eating kids to get over it. I facilitate group therapy for them during the weekend, and it is apparent how their social interaction works in their favor.

Unfortunately, all group activities have stopped since the state governor has asked everyone to avoid leaving the house. The coronavirus is still wreaking havoc all over the world, and the lockdown is the safest preventative measure.

I can still meet the kids but only via Zoom or Skype. We cannot hang out anymore, as we have typically done before. It saddens me as much as the children, but I think the lockdown is suitable for young binge eaters.

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You Cannot Sneak Out To Pig Out

When I was trying to overcome the binge-eating disorder, I was not the most effortless child to rehabilitate. My desire to overeat was too intense, to the extent that I would pretend to go to my friend’s house to hang out. The truth, however, was that I would walk to the nearest McDonald’s and buy as many burgers as possible.

Thanks to the lockdown, the young binge eaters cannot follow my previous example. No child below the age of 18 is supposed to be seen out of their house, so no one can sneak out. Hence, they need to make do with what’s in the pantry.

Your Parents Can Watch What You Eat

The ultimate challenge for the parents is to make the binge-eating child’s relationship with food healthy again. It is not enough to order the kids to go on a diet because it can trigger their rebellious side. Hurt feelings can pave the way for other eating disorders, you know.

One vital thing you can do is to watch what your child eats. Reduce the number of servings they can get little by little, and explain this plan very well. This technique may not work if they feel like you are working behind their back.

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There Are Many Indoor Activities To Keep Your Mind Off Excessive Eating

The lockdown is also ideal for kids who want to curb their binge-eating habits because you can try many indoor activities with the family. For instance, you may do a reading relay, build a massive puzzle, or paint a specific object and see who has recreated it best.

If you notice, such activities are not too physically strenuous. The reason is that exhaustion can make anyone hungry. Your goal is to get distracted from hunger pangs, not to end up entertaining it.

Final Thoughts

I wish I can say that binge-eating disorder is less challenging to beat than other eating disorders. It has taken me five years to see put my spoon and fork down when I am full. Despite that, the rehabilitation may speed up due to the lockdown, considering you don’t have sources of temptation everywhere.

Good luck!

Early Signs Of Eating Disorders In Children

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The Type of Eating Disorder Conference 2019 cultivates the continued development and training for future eating disorder clinicians and researchers. It aims to spark more in-depth discussion and reflection on the subject of eating disorders in the next generation. Information regarding eating disorders is essential as identifying early symptoms can lead to early treatment—especially when dealing with children who may not be able to express their emotions directly.

Eating disorders in children present differently in the cases of older adults. Therefore, parents have to remain vigilant and observe unusual behaviors in their children’s eating habits. Eating disorders can have significant harm to physical health and growth, so how can we identify the signs of eating disorders in children?

Avoidance Of Eating Meals With Family Members

Family meals support healthy eating habits in children. However, children experiencing the difficulties of living with an eating disorder may avoid it regularly. They may insist on having already eaten with their friends or feeling full all the time. Signs that parents have to take note of also are their children’s excessive concern about meal preparation, repeatedly reading food labels and fixation with portion sizes.

Missing Food In Your Home

Children with bulimia or binge eating disorder perform their binging when no one is around due to feeling shameful or guilt. They may hide food in their rooms and consume it quickly. Parents may not recognize the cause of their child’s weight gain immediately. Other signs may include vomiting after eating, usage of laxatives, or excessive bowel movements.

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Children Being Hyperactive Or Feelings Of Restlessness

Parents may recognize hyperactivity in their children as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome (ADHD). But this is also one of the signs of eating disorders developing in kids. It may not come in the form of exercising, like in older adults. They may do excessive moving without a specific goal. Parents may introduce yoga to their children, which is a type of fitness that can also boost their self-esteem. 

Extreme Worry On Their Appearance

When children fret too much about their physical appearance or weight themselves extensively, these habits can be early signs of eating disorders. Children who have eating disorders have issues with their self-esteem and become very self-conscious. They may avoid social interaction or wear baggy clothes to hide their body to other people. Children may also feel irritable or withdrawn. 

People With Eating Disorders Need Immediate Help

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My sister dragged me to the 2017 Eating Disorder Conference, and it was a turning point in my life. She is an eating disorder specialist, and I wanted to be a therapist, as well. I just did not know what field I wanted to be in at that time, and so she booked me a spot in their conference. She did it not just because she knows I wanted a career in this field. My sister knows that one of my best friends is struggling with bulimia and that I feel so helpless about it.

Continue reading “People With Eating Disorders Need Immediate Help”

How to Overcome Pica Eating Disorder

The 2018 Sedona Health and Nutrition Conference was held for health care providers to discuss and identify general and specific approaches to the incorporation of nutritional intervention in medical practice. The conference aims to recognize the links between dietary choices and illnesses, such as eating disorders.

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In the case of the less recognized and understood eating disorder such as Pica, an individual or his family may not know the behavior as a disorder. As it is not motivated by the desire to change one’s appearance, it is considered a feeding disorder more than a classic eating disorder. Pica is especially challenging to detect as the person may be aware and worried about their eating patterns but may be embarrassed to seek help. The first step to overcoming Pica is to understand the condition and the available treatment options.

 

What is Pica?

Pica is a compulsive feeding disorder that causes people to eat non-food items that do not contain a significant nutritional value for at least one month. These non-food items and substances ingested may vary with age and availability, but they are usually:

  • Hair
  • Dirt and sand
  • Paper
  • Plastic
  • Paint chips
  • Cloth
  • Soap
  • String
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Cigarette butt 
  • Chalk

It can affect children, adolescents, adults of any genders, as well as pregnant people. Pica often occurs alongside mental health disorders. It is associated with impaired functioning, such as schizophrenia, intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, excoriation disorder, and hair-pulling disorder.

Treatment of Pica

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The diagnosis for Pica is usually made from the clinical history of the patient. Hence, the patient needs to be honest with their doctor about the substances that they eat. 

The first line of treatment for people diagnosed with Pica is to correct any mineral or nutritional deficiencies caused by the disorder. Surgery may also be performed to remove substances from the patient’s digestive tract or to treat other injuries caused by the digestion of non-food items. The doctor may refer the patient for psychological evaluation and behavioral interventions. 

After the results, the patient may be prescribed with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. These treatments will help the patient develop coping skills and strategies to deal with the impulses of eating non-food items. Along with these treatments, the awareness of and support by their loved ones can help set off a Pica patient towards healing.

 

Psychiatry Experts’ Tips On How To Avoid Anorexia Relapse

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Have you stopped working out excessively or fasting for days?

That’s a great thing! It entails that you are in the process of recovering from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder. Extreme dieting and exercising are a couple of indications that you have this illness, as you perhaps already know. The fact that you managed to let go of the reins can only mean that you’re ready to make peace with your body.

Eating disorders in people at higher weights are commonly misdiagnosed, leading to delayed treatment and more dire prognoses. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

The problem is, your willingness to cull the symptoms of anorexia may not suffice to ensure that the illness won’t creep back in your life. It may not happen after a few months, but future circumstances can push you to go down that rocky road again if you have an unstable anchor.

So, find out the tips on how to avoid anorexia relapse from psychiatry experts below.

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Identify The Causes

As the person who experiences the eating disorder, you surely know the reason(s) why you acquired anorexia at the back of your mind. It isn’t the time to feign ignorance about the subject since it’s never easy to fight any disease when you don’t know what you’re facing.

In case it feels hard to divulge the causes even to your family or a mental health professional, you can start enumerating them on your own. Write your reasons down so that you won’t forget what pulled you towards the dark path in the first place. Then, you can prevent them next time.

Misconceptions about anorexia abound. One of these is that anorexia happens almost exclusively to women and girls. — Tom Wooldridge, PsyD, ABPP, CEDS

Stop Minding Criticisms

Anorexia and various eating disorders originate mostly from the truth that you allow negative comments to get to you. Someone says you have chubby arms even if you’re size 6, for instance, and you see that as a reason to be in the gym for hours every day. Or, when others talk about how your regular meals make your cheeks full, it may have an adverse impact on your mental state too.

What psychiatrist experts suggest to avoid going through that phase again is to block off criticisms entirely. Don’t pay attention to acquaintances or relatives who think you look better when super skinny. Limit the time you dedicate to browsing social media as well so that you lessen your chances of being lured to read mean messages.

Talk To Your Loved Ones

The most stable anchors you will ever find are within your inner circle. They can be your parents, boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friends. Only, you need to have the courage to voice out your woes to them. That way, they’ll have an idea of how to help you stay in recovery mode.

Lead A Healthy Life

The best solution to anorexia, of course, is living healthily. You can work out and maintain a diet plan, yet make sure that everything stays in moderation. If you exert physical effort without eating anything even just once, then your system will go out of whack.

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Besides the stuff mentioned above, the ultimate secret to avoiding anorexia relapse is tosee the beauty of life. Doesn’t it feelincredible to be able to do things without worrying about what others will think of you? It’s also great to try new dishes and relax your mind and body without needing to weigh yourself in often.

As I know personally and professionally, the symptoms may be similar but the causality is unique to each individual. — Lauren Grunebaum L.C.S.W.

You ideally know these by now, so it’s merely a matter of ensuring you remember that you don’t forget them to avoid anorexia relapse. Good luck!

Counseling 101: How To Talk Someone Out Of An Eating Disorder

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If I asked you to picture someone with an eating disorder, what comes to mind? — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C

Eating disorder is an extreme mental illness that enables the individual to take drastic measures to conform to their idea of beauty. In case it’s anorexia, for example, they may work out till their system drops and not touch any food for as long as possible. With binge eating, on the other hand, the person wolfs down various dishes in one sitting as if somebody will clear them away anytime.

Regardless of the types, however, the disease harms the patient’s mind and body in the process. It isn’t unlikely to develop an ulcer and various health conditions as well due to it. So, it’ll be incredible if you can talk a loved one out of an eating disorder.

Professional counseling can come when he or she is fully ready, but it matters to encourage them to get better even at home. Below are several hints on how to do that.

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Many people who don’t “look like they have an eating disorder” based on their weight, gender, or skin color are not identified as having an eating disorder by medical professionals. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.

1. Learn About Eating Disorders

The disease will stay unsolvable for as long as possible if you have no idea about what it is and what it does to someone. You may even do something inappropriate by assuming that drastic moves will push them towards the path to recovery.

Our advice, therefore, is to gain knowledge about every eating disorder known to man. It will be especially helpful in case the specific illness remains a mystery to you. Volumes ofDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association is an excellent source of such information. You can also learn about them from blogs and health-related websites.

2. Know The Signs

With some knowledge under your belt, you may now acquire the perception of the patient. In particular, ask him or her about how they feel about themselves. Are they happy whenever they see their reflection in the mirror? Do they feel satisfied with their appearance?

Negative answers, of course, indicate that there’s something wrong. But you need to consider as well that they may be lying about being alright to lessen your worries. Thus, again, it’s vital to read their actions and realize the symptoms of the illness to understand what they’re going through in reality.

3. Watch Your Words

It can get frustrating to make your loved one notice that they are beautiful as is, yet that doesn’t give you the freedom to be insensitive. Spewing out harsh statements, in fact, won’t help people with eating disorders to get better. Words like ‘fat’ or ‘heavyweight’ will hit the patient like solid rocks and force them to work on their weight harder than ever.

If your goal is to enable them to overcome the problem, you should be more careful with your words. Always think before you utter anything, mainly if it has a connection to body image. Criticize no one’s figure as well in front of them to prevent feeding them with cynical ideas indirectly.

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Sometimes attitudes and behaviors emerge in response to the overwhelming despair and hopelessness that accompanies watching a loved one starving herself/himself. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

4. Cheer Them Up

Eating disorders are just as challenging to deal with as any other disease. The patients may want to get rid of their issues too – it’s just that they feel as if they’re alone in this battle. For that reason, always give them a boost of confidence.

Compliment every single treatment they try to recover from the illness. Don’t stop telling the individual as well that they are more than enough. Although they may not initially believe it, your constant reminders can hopefully make a significant difference soon.

Compensations Of Getting Group Therapy When Trying To Overcome Eating Disorders

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How do you feel about your body today?

Your chances of developing an eating disorder increase from the moment you think you don’t look good enough. You may overeat a couple of times, and then avoid eating entirely for the rest of the week. Or, if you do consume regular meals, it’s also possible to force yourself to push the food back out afterward.

What is shame? And, why is it so impactful in the life of a person with an eating disorder? — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

It’s truly saddening to know that a lot of men and women go through this condition because they feel as if their weight makes them laughable. The folks around them, in reality, may contribute to such negative notions as well instead of alleviating them.

In case you’re ready to overcome your eating disorder, though, consider getting group therapy.

You Can Meet People With Same Issues In The Past Or Present

The primary advantage of signing up for group counseling is that you will never feel as if you’re the only person facing this problem. It’s possible to come across others who deal with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating. Despite the different names, causes,and symptoms, the fact that you all developed the disorder because of self-image issues is real.

Now, when you go to a group therapy session, you’ll notice that the individuals there are in various stages of regaining their life. Some may just be as troubled as you are, while others are already halfway through the process. Even the ones who recovered from the illness may still be there to share their healing stories.

Motivating each other to get past the eating disorder, therefore, won’t be very difficult.

For those in the eating disorder community, it is an exciting time as progress is being observed. — Greta Gleissner LCSW

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You Have A Strong Support System

Eating disorders, just like any mental health disease, can be too shameful to talk about in front of your loved ones. There’s always the fear of being rejected or disowned once the truth comes out. Thus, some patients tend to hide – and worsen – the problem.

You can expect the opposite, however, if you receive counseling. Especially when you obtain it with a few individuals, you can instantly feel the others’ belief in your capability to overcome the eating disorder. They will also cheer you on unconditionally and give you the confidence to face your fears. You may even acquire life-long friends from that cluster.

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Eating disorder treatment involves a variety of tools and strategies for helping clients to reclaim their lives. However, one important element is helping them to learn how to identify, process, and cope with their emotions in ways that align with their life values. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C

You’ll Feel Safe There

Last but not the least, getting group therapy entails that you will be in an environment where judgments are scarce.

Counseling sessions don’t aim for you to feel like everything is going well and that you aren’t battling issues within yourself from the get-go. They want you to accept that you experience the latter so that they can start helping you to feel the former. After all, that’s the first step to recovery.

The days when it seems awkward to talk about your situation in front of other people won’t last long. You’re ideally around patients with similar dilemmas as you, so you won’t feel judged before you speak.For sure, it is significantly different from being in the outside world where even strangers may assume that it’s OK to depreciate your problems or pull you down further.

Things To Remember If You’re Starting A Relationship With An Anorexic

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Patients with eating disorders experience many conflicting and competing emotions. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

In a world where everyone is still trying to fight discrimination, it is heart-warming to know that you do not mind being with someone who has anorexia nervosa. If it is in a different scenario, the person with an eating disorder – or any disease, for that matter – may find the love quest impossible to conquer. However, you can now say that everything is indeed fair when it comes to relationships and war.

Despite the general openness, you cannot be too careless with many stuff, especially regarding word choices. The last thing you want is to trigger the condition or hurt your special someone’s feelings. Here are further things to remember if you wish to start a relationship with an anorexic.

Continue reading “Things To Remember If You’re Starting A Relationship With An Anorexic”

What Marriage With A Recovering Eating Disorder Patient Looks Like

Is your spouse on his or her way of healing from an eating disorder?

Finding the strength to say no to yourself whenever you want to overeat or abstain from eating for days is never easy. For your better half to be in the recovery mode, therefore, it must mean that you both had a life-changing experience for your better half to decide like that. So, congratulations are in order.

Most people who have never had an eating disorder and those who have recovered feel deep compassion for the sufferer. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

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Regardless of that, it is best not to let your guard down until months or years after your significant other makes that decision. Any eating disorder is like an addiction that can quickly come back if you do not avoid its trigger factors.

In case you cannot gauge what marriage looks like now with someone who is recovering from anorexia, bulimia, and other conditions, let us offer you a vivid description of that.

 

You Need To Check Their Feelings Regularly

Considering you used to ask your spouse how he or she was feeling every morning when the disorder was still active, you should continue doing that even during the healing period. It is normal for doubts to enter their mind at some point, especially if the recovery takes longer than expected. As their ultimate caregiver, however, you have to ensure that your man or woman will not let conflicting emotions get the better of them once again.

It is not common for the intervention of a higher level of care for eating disorder clients to be a tricky one, demanding both grace and firmness to support the scared client with making an accountable choice. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S

Invitations To Gatherings Do not Get An Immediate Yes

 

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Eating disorder patients are prone to bailing out of social events without prior notice or contemplating for too long about going to the occasion. If your recovering significant other still does that, it may imply that he or she requires more time to feel okay with being around people or food in general. Hence, you should ask where their response is coming from instead of getting upset whenever your spouse declines a social invitation.

 

You Cannot Expect Old Habits To Die Fast

The fact that your better half is on his or her journey to recovery does not entail that he or she is capable of thwarting past habits now. Your partner is still working hard to cut their ties to the eating disorder; that is why you might see their old self-seeking

 

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through sometimes. Despite that, it is vital for you to keep your expectations in check to prevent pressuring your loved one.

Emotional avoidance, is described as actions that are intended to prevent an emotional response from occurring, such as fear, anger or sadness. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C

Stressful Situations May Still Trigger The Disorder

Many things can occur if the recovering eating disorder patient faces stress on a daily basis, but the return of the disease is on top of the list. In case the problems do not get resolved immediately, your spouse may consider going back to binge-eating as a quick fix to the stress.

Will that be beneficial for your marriage? No. For that reason, you should make it your task to free your better half from stressors as often as possible. Divide the household chores equally, for instance, or cover some of their activities without being asked to do so. If you have kids, make sure that you are fulfilling your parenting duties well. In other words, do everything to make life easier for your partner until he or she can handle stress on their own.

 

To Sum Things Up

It is too early to claim that your marriage will not meet roadblocks on your spouse’s way to recovery. There are plenty of temptations and situations that may cause their eating disorder to return any moment, and that might bring forth arguments between you two later. However, if your support never wavers, it may help your better half to stay on the right path.

 

How To Help Your Partner Heal From Bulimia

Have you ever considered what it might be like to deal with bulimia nervosa?

You feel the need to step on the scales practically every day. Achieving size 0 does not satisfy you – in fact, you might often try to have a smaller measurement than that if it is possible. An increase in your weight by half a pound, therefore, can drive your mind off the edge and choose to either abstain or not stop eating to appease yourself. But then again, the latter action will undoubtedly upset you even further, so how you see your body might worsen.

Eating disorders reflect complex psychobiological stressors. They also occur with complex nutritional imbalances and may be understood as efforts to regulate affect through food and food-related behaviors. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP

 

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The cruel truth is that many people had similar issues at one point, yet only a few will admit, “Yes, I had bulimia once upon a time.” The condition is a symbol of weakness for some, you see, so patients cannot bear to imagine what will happen if others find out about their bulimic past.

For this reason, in case your partner comes up to you one day and tells you that he or she is on the recovery path for bulimia, you should first thank the heavens for the revelation. It most likely took everything from that person to open up regarding the illness. However, they did it since you earned their trust and love.

 

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Now, you must focus on how to help your significant other heal from bulimia.

Because patients deny the severity of their condition they cannot accept the effects of malnutrition on heart, brain, organ and bone health. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS

Empathize

It is vital to comprehend from the get-go that no one likes to listen to a harsh-talking fellow. Your partner already knows that carrying the condition is not good; hence, they are working on removing it from their system. Instead of blaming them for acquiring the disorder, therefore, you ought to assure your better half that you are with them throughout the healing journey and that you feel proud of their decision to defeat bulimia.

Observe

Assuming you want to help your beloved in overcoming the illness, you need to watch their behavior carefully. That is the most straightforward technique you can use to identify the symptoms or trigger factors for bulimia without forcing the truth out of the person. It will then allow you to assist your significant other more until they finally eliminate the eating disorder.

Motivate

Although you two are partners for life, the health condition remains a problem that only your significant other can solve. You may push the patient often, get therapy with them, or go on a hunger strike yourself, but your efforts will still fall short if the individual has no motivation to fight the disorder. Thus, you have to think of ways to make them realize that it is better to get rid of bulimia now than later.

Strive

A usual reason why someone becomes bulimic in the first place is that he or she has a distorted perception of beauty. In their head, you are gorgeous if you are as skinny as Barbie or the typical runway models. It may be challenging to wash that idea down the drain, but that does not mean that you should throw the white flag in quickly. Just work through every obstacle with them, and the excellent results may soon follow.

 

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The healing process when it comes to bulimia can take weeks, months, or perhaps years, depending on the patient’s drive to beat it. By all means, you can try overcoming the eating disorder with tips from other survivors online. In case you want to get advice from a professional, though, you may look into psychotherapy, couples counseling, et cetera.

When it’s clear that the issue warrants professional attention, loved ones can still feel helpless in their attempts to intervene. But if you suspect a loved one is engaging in an eating disorder- express your concern lovingly and without anger, identify the specific behaviors that worry you, and encourage them to get the support they need and deserve by making resources available to them. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA