Suggestions
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Suggestions for Healing

Suggestions for healing food, weight and body issues.

Suggestions for Personal Recovery
Suggestions for Parents


Suggestions for Parents

  • Encourage healthy expression of feelings in your family ("fat" is not a feeling!)

  • Educate yourself and your child about the symptoms, causes and solutions of eating disorders (including exercise addiction).

  • Understand that an eating disorder is an expression of emotional pain - your child is acting out with food to send you a message that he/she is not verbalizing.

  • Address your own issues with food, weight, exercise and body image.

  • Seek professional help if you suspect that you or your child may have an eating disorder.

  • Encourage open discussion about the cultural emphasis on unnatural thinness.

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  • Get your emotional support from other adults.

  • Emphasize and teach about distorted body image.

  • Educate your child about all bodies being naturally different.

  • Compliment your child on things that have nothing to do with her or his appearance.

  • Teach your child that diets do not work.

  • Encourage non-food related forms of treats, sweetness and celebration.

  • Help your child (and yourself) to distinguish between emotional and physical hunger.

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  • Let your daughter or son know that you love them no matter what they weigh.

  • Try to make meals a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

  • Encourage your child to label emotions and triggers when they tell you they "feel fat."

  • Realize that all the issues around food and weight (unless developmental or medical) are about feelings.

  • Never shame, criticize or tease your child about their weight, food intake or clothes.

  • Do not say anything to your child that you wouldn't want someone to say to you.

  • Do not demand that your child eat or not eat.

  • Do not become directly involved with your child's weight (gain or loss).

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  • Do not blame any family problems on your child's weight or eating.

  • Do not criticize your (or anyone else's) body in front of your child.

  • Do not keep a scale in the house if anyone in the family is using it as a self-esteem check.

  • Do not push food on your child or make comments on their food choices and portions.

  • Do not put your child on any type of diet if they have gained weight or push food on them if they have lost weight. Know that weight gain and loss (unless developmental or medical) are symptoms of emotional problems that need to be addressed lovingly.

  • Never tell a child that they are wrong to feel the way they do (whatever their feelings may be).

  • Do not expect your child to accept their body if you will not accept your own.

  • Do not avoid your own problems by focusing on your child's food and weight issues.

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New York, NY. sharon@livingaware.com