Some tips on talking about the eating disorder

1. Don’t let the eating disorder take over all of your conversations- talk about other things too.


2. Be open and honest.


3. Express empathy –let the person know you are trying to understand their feelings.


4. Focus on your worries/ concerns about them and on facts regarding appointments and visits.


5. Take it slowly.

6. Separate the eating disorder from the person (it is a condition they have, not who they are).


7. Avoid ‘eating disorder’ language. For example, refer to someone as having anorexia rather than ‘anorectic’, don’t get bogged down in conversations about calories, weight or shape. Try to focus on health instead.


8. Try not to blame them when feeling frustrated - it's not their fault that they have this condition.


9. Different people have different preferences about when and how to talk about the eating disorder: be guided by the cues they give you as to what may work best for them.


10. Try to balance expressing your understanding and support with your concerns about safety. Caring for them through an eating disorder means addressing both.​


Harriet Parsons, Bodywhys, shares advice to carers on communicating about the eating disorder