Helping Men with Eating Disorders
If you know someone in your life who is struggling with disordered eating, a meaningful way to support them is by providing kindness and compassion for what they are going through. Try to understand their journey, and how you can be an ally to them during their care and recovery.
As part of understanding the someone’s experience with eating disorders, it may be beneficial to spend time educating yourself around the circumstances they are experiencing, as well as eating disorders in general. Ask your loved one about a good opportunity to share time together and begin to express concerns about the person's struggle in a non-judgmental manner.
It is not easy for a person struggling with an eating disorder to talk about their condition. Therefore, friends and family members of men struggling with an eating disorder need to be as compassionate as possible. Some men may not want to disclose or talk about their eating habits, so being gentle and respectful of their wishes in your discussions will go a long way.
As critical as it is to know what to do, a person also needs to know what to avoid when approaching someone with an eating disorder:
- Avoid ultimatums
- Do not comment on their weight or appearance
- Be careful not to shame or blame them
- Do not oversimplify the solution
- Help them understand that eating disorders impact all genders and none is less worthy of care
- Remind them that the medical and psychological consequences of eating disorders are both profound and real, regardless of gender
- Convey the reality that eating disorders do not correlate with gender, masculinity or femininity.
- Do not offer solutions—offer treatment instead
Friends and family members of those suffering from an eating disorder should take special care to get help for their loved one. Try not to be confrontational in your approach with someone with an eating disorder. Finding shared values between you and your loved one and a shared understanding of the person’s experience, can help the person experiencing an eating disorder become more open to receiving care.
Within Health offers inclusive eating disorder programs built specifically for men. Call our clinical care team now if you or someone you love would like to learn more about our virtual care program for eating disorders.