With holiday parties and social gatherings starting, here is some sound advice from one of our professional members...
If you're having someone with an eating disorder over to your house for Thanksgiving, you might be feeling a bit nervous. Here are some tips for you:
1. Serve food you normally serve. You don't need to make special accommodations. In fact, serving “special” foods might encourage eating disorder behaviors.
2. Choose not to push your guest to eat. Doing so will actually push them into more eating disorder behaviors. Do not stare at them or their plate. If you are concerned about what your guest did/did not eat, wait and approach them at least a day after Thanksgiving and set up a specific time to talk about your concerns.
3. Choose not to take it personally if your guest eats differently than what you expect. It will take a lot of courage for them just to show up for a Thanksgiving meal. Your guest will probably have already decided what they were going to eat before they even knew the menu.
4. Choose not to make comments about your guest's size, weight, or appearance in any way. Watch how you talk about your own appearance and the appearance of others, including celebrities.
5. Remember there is much more to your guest than the eating disorder. Ask about their job, school, hobbies, friends, and other interests.