What to Say to a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Red Flags to Identify Eating Disorder in Your Loved One

We all want to be supportive of loved ones with eating disorders. Learn helpful and supportive phrases that you can say when you’re at a loss for words.


We all want the best for our loved ones, be it in their jobs, hobbies, and dreams. If it is in our capability to give them the moon, then we would gift wrap it for Christmas and leave it under the tree. There’s nothing like the look of happiness and a dazzling smile that can warm anyone’s heart. That is why it’s painful when we see our loved ones suffering and going through a hard time. Some problems can be easily solved, such as tutoring lessons for your younger brother or a comfortable nursing home for your retiring parents. But other issues don’t have a straightforward solution.

One of these instances is when your loved ones are suffering from an eating disorder. There’s no magic wand or genie’s wish that can speed up the healing process. All anyone can do is be there at their side and remind them how great of a person they are. It’s sometimes hard to find the right words to communicate your love and care, with some conversations met with denial or upset emotions. Here are some helpful phrases you can always fall back to when you’re at a loss for words:

  1. I’m here for you.

People with eating disorders might feel alone in the world as they battle through negative emotions and beliefs. You need to remind them that they have someone they can talk to when things become complicated and overwhelming. Talking about their experiences and insights can help them organize their thought process and make them less suffocating.

Be sure to come into the conversation without any preconceived notion or judgment. You’re there to listen and help them through what they’re feeling and thinking. They will also appreciate it if you can send a surprise text that shows your love and support no matter what happens.

  1. I will always love and respect you.

Equating love and respect with progress is a common thought by people in recovery. They will think that everyone’s care is conditional to how much they conquer their eating disorder. That can make them feel guilty if they relapse and can make things worse. Hearing phrases of encouragement and affirmation will help them realize that you’re in their corner. You can reiterate their reasons for getting better — be it having more energy, meaningful relationships, or a more positive perspective on life.

  1. Let’s watch this Netflix special tomorrow.

Everyone needs to take a break, especially during tough and challenging moments. Your loved one will appreciate it if they can enjoy a regular activity with you, such as watching the latest Netflix specials or playing fun board games. The right company will help them realize they are more than their eating disorder, and they can still have fun even while in recovery. They can have hobbies, interests, and work that doesn’t revolve with the cross they are carrying, day in and day out.

Winning against an eating disorder is challenging work. It takes time, patience, and love both from the person and their circle of friends and family. Having a circle of support and encouragement will make the healing process warmer and more positive.