Things you should never say to someone who has an eating disorder.

Last week I had a comment made on one of my old posts about my eating disorder – which has since been deleted. Someone took it upon themselves to ask me how I had the cheek to still write about an eating disorder when I’m now “fine” …

“Fine”

“Fine”?

Fine.

People with eating disorders and people who are in recovery are never “fine”. Eating disorders don’t just go away after a few years and we go back to being normal, we just learn how to cope and restructure our lives. Just because someone is healthy and back to eating does not mean they are now fine. Eating disorders take years to battle and are with us life, not just for Christmas, you know that saying about dogs being for life not just for Christmas, well it’s the same thing… you get my drift.

I still to this day suffer. When my life is stressful or I have lots of change, my eating disorder is at its worse and I’ll slip back into old habits of skipping meals. I won’t tell anyone and then a few days after I’ll realise that I’ve only had dinner for the past 4 days and then I correct myself, look at why, regain control and then carry on with the battle. Some days I must remind myself to eat, for example if I know it’s going to be particularly busy in work I will put a reminder for lunch into my calendar.

So, to the person who said I’m fine. Here’s a list of things you should never say to someone who has an eating disorder. Please take note!

  • You’re fine now.
  • You’re eating now, so you’re fine?
  • We don’t have to go to dinner if you don’t want to.
  • Do you still have an eating disorder?
  • Is it safe for you to go to the gym?
  • Oh, you’re going to the gym… are you eating ok?
  • You don’t need to work out, you look skinny enough.

This one really grinds my gears! I’m going to the gym to increase my fitness not to get skinny FFS!

  • You look like you’ve lost weight, are you… you know… ok?
  • Where’s the salad’s gone? They used to look so nice!
  • I wish I could stick to a strict diet like you!

This one as well! I eat salads because I like them not because I’m being healthy!

  • People don’t like you being all bones.
  • You’re really bones.
  • You have so many stretch marks, were you big before?!

Skinny people get stretch marks when you put on weight.

  • You’ve had this forever now, surely, you’re ok now!
  • You have another health issue?

Eating disorders are normally an underlying problem of something a lot bigger.

  • Yeah, we get it you used to have an eating disorder.
  • It’s not that hard to eat.
  • But you’re not actually skinny.
  • Why would you hide food, that’s disgusting?
  • Well done you ate a meal!

Eating disorders are like any other disorder or disease, you wouldn’t say to a cancer patient that they should shut up about their story when they hit remission so why would you say that to someone with an eating disorder.

Anyone who openly speaks about their eating disorder I praise you so highly! It’s a tough struggle and like I said before they are with you for life, just because we eat easily now doesn’t mean we won’t have an off day where we won’t eat anything.

Please be careful before you type or speak something related to a health issue. Something you say could be minor BUT could set someone off.

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15 Comments

  1. This means so much to me, when I was around 7 I always for called skinny and everyone always said I was too skinny and made me feel horrid about it, my mum would always say I don’t need to exercise because I’m too skinny, I’ll always look at myself for being too disgustingly skinny. But it’s alright I think I’ve just accepted the fact that some people really just don’t get it and won’t understand. I’m proud of you babycakes x x

  2. I struggle with a binge eating disorder. I developed it when I started a fitness program with a strict diet. Basically, after the program I had weird thoughts and feelings about food. It’s been hard trying to turn off those thoughts but I have been better at managing it. I agree, it doesn’t go away. It could come back and just like you said, added stress makes it worse. I haven’t had any episodes since April but on days where I feel stress, I find it hard to stop myself. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sorry you had to come across such ignorance. So many of the things you listed to just seemed like common sense not to say these things but I’ll admit you’ve educated me on one or two I might have said not knowing the possible impact so I’ll take those on board now

  4. I have struggled for years and it doesn’t take much to fall into a relapse. I relapsed about 5 years ago and have been battling with stability in my eating disorder ever since and I had nearly 15-20 years of stability with my eating before that relapse occurred. You never know what the trigger may be but you much always be vigilant against the possibility that a relapse can occur. I never though that I would be in the thick of a battle this hard after so many years.

  5. It must have been a difficult journey for you. I have friends with eating disorders too.

    I hope you don’t let yourself get too affected by it, Rosie 💕

  6. Thank you. This needed to be said. People should be more careful what they say from people recovering from any disorder. Even people who left drug addiction behind decades ago, are still considered in recovery because there’s a chance that anything can make them go back to being addicted.

  7. Thank you for this ❤

    I was going to suggest, would there be any way you can do a blog on some helpful things you can say to someone suffering an E.D? A couple of close friends of mine have E.D's and I am really mindful of what I say just in case it has a negative impact in any way but I worry that I may seem distant in some way because of that? If that makes sense? Maybe a blog on how to support someone struggling with an E.D or something like that?

    Just a thought! Lovely post ❤

    xxx

  8. Awww.. I feel you. I don’t really have an idea what it really means about “Eating disorder”, is it when you skip meals or when you eat too much? I don’t know but what I do know, is that people will always judge us for doing things…Why do they spend time to watch our every move when they should watch theirs (just sayin’) but yes, I feel you and we’re here for you. 🙂

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