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How to Speak With a Loved One About Eating Disorders
08/24/2010

STEPHENVILLE, Texas — About 10 percent of adolescent and adult women will exhibit symptoms of eating disorders at some point in their lives, according to the Academy of Eating Disorders. All those women will not develop a full eating disorder, but still may experience symptoms that impact their lives.

Most people have commented from time to time that they aren’t happy with their size or feel bad for eating that cheeseburger or having a second slice of cake. But when do normal second thoughts about food and weight turn serious and how can friends and family help?

“Many times friends and family notice disordered eating patterns before the individual themselves does,” said Laurie Lively, RD, LD, a clinical dietician and diabetes educator at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville. “Often times friends and family are concerned about upsetting an individual or being wrong. But reaching out a helping hand can help an individual seek help before the patterns become extreme.”

Symptoms of eating disorders may include:

  • Expressing comments about feeling fat
  • Denying being hungry
  • Limiting eating in public
  • Developing strong food rituals
  • Developing binge eating or purging patterns
  • Hiding body with baggy clothes

If you are concerned about a loved one’s eating patterns, the National Eating Disorders Association recommends individuals:

  • Set up a private time to speak with the person
  • Share your concerns
  • Focus on your concerns rather than offering simple solutions
  • Share that you will continue to support the person
  • Compliment the person’s attributes beyond beauty and weight
  • Tell someone else if you fear for the person’s health

For more information, visit TexasHealth.org/Springwood or NationalEatingDisorders.org.

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Stephenville is a 98-bed acute care, full-service facility serving Erath and surrounding counties since 1926. The hospital's services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, women’s services, advanced diagnostic imaging, inpatient and outpatient physical therapy and wound care. Texas Health Stephenville, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has been recognized as a Nurse-Friendly Hospital and a Level IV Trauma Center. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org/Stephenville.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist, Texas Health Arlington Memorial, Texas Health Presbyterian, and an organization for medical research and education. Texas Health is a partner in eight additional hospitals or surgery centers. Texas Health Physicians Group provides a variety of models for engagement with physicians. Texas Health Partners is a joint venture development and management company owned by Texas Health Resources. Texas Health MedSynergies is a joint venture that offers physicians a range of office management and other business services to support their practices. Texas Health SingleSource Staffing is a joint venture designed to help Texas Health hospitals improve patient care by recruiting and retaining quality nurses and allied healthcare professionals. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.

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