Seed | Eating Disorder Support Service

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helping people not the eating disorder

Advice Line (01482) 718130

How can I support my partner?

People who suffer from an eating disorder have a very low self esteem. Help them feel good about themselves.

Some things not to say:

  • "You look well." (to the person will think they look fat)
  • "You look good now your cheeks have filled out!"
  • "I can see you have put a bit of weight on!'
  • Some things you can say:

  • "Your hair looks lovely!"
  • "I love it when you smile you are so beautiful!"
  • "That colour really suits you!"
  • "I love you!"
  • - Get back to the laughs and leave the heavy stuff to the outside support!

    Finding Appropriate Help!

    Even if someone is not accessing help it does not mean to say it is not there. Check in with the SEED to find out how to go about this. We have had years of experience and have helped hundreds of people.

    Be sure you are both singing from the same song sheet! - What you think should happen might not be

    what the sufferer wants to happen. Help is just a phone call away (01482) 718130.

    Try to relax around food!

    Food is the one thing that consumes the Sufferer thoughts every waking minute of the day. The lack of it, eating it, avoiding it, becomes their way of life! Give your partner the opportunity to forget about that for a short time, just a few minutes a day would be a good start.

    When you get the opportunity, sit down and relax. Perhaps this may be when the kids are tucked up in bed, snuggle down together and watch a film, catch up on the day but consciously avoid discussion around food.

    This can be done at a time suitable time for both parties. Don't discuss food issues in front of the children. It is not good for them to hear about it and secondly there needs to be a relaxed environment. Kids in the background, loud television and dogs barking does not make for a comfortable setting. Put the romance back in your relationship. You may just have a walk together, go out and have a coffee. Treat them to some flowers. Remind them why you love them!


    It could be that you are finding it hard to deal with some aspect of the illness. Perhaps you don't fully understand something. Research about the illness and try to understand. There will be some twists and turns that make the illness very complicated to understand. Maybe we will never fully understand, how can we if we have never suffered ourselves?

    Our website has a wealth of information available and will save you hours of searching. You are able to link in with lots of excellent sites. Take a look!


    Try and create a relaxed environment, chat about the day and do not make food the focus. If you like the television on at mealtimes this might act as a distraction from food. Alternatively put on some music or just catch up on the day's events.

    If your partner finds it difficult to eat with you then invite them to sit with you while you eat.

    Don't ask what they have eaten this will only cause unrest for them. If they have tried to eat something praise their efforts for trying. Say encouraging things like: "I am so proud of you."

    Difficult Conversation

    No doubt you will have an honours degree in saying the wrong thing! If there are issues you need to talk through, agree in advance when this would be possible. Examples of how to express yourself are:

  • "I am finding this difficult...I would like it if you could help me to understand this better."
  • "How can I support you Perhaps we can talk about this."
  • "I can only imagine how difficult it may be for you. when you are ready to talk please let me know."
  • - Respect if they are not happy discussing something, ask when it would be a good time.

    The Bigger Picture

    Try to focus on the bigger picture and those small steps towards recovery. Focus on the little things: that extra fort sip, that bite of the biscuit you were saving to dunk in your tea! The shopping trip without distress, that night out you enjoyed together! That night in without any upset. That hot drink before bedtime. That extra snack. Those couple of chips off your plate!

    We are not experts! We are not the people to make them better! But with lots of TLC, lots of support and lots of love you will be giving lots of help! Feel good and look after yourself! Give yourself some me time. Recharge your own batteries.

    Recovery can take many years. Take one day at a time and good luck with everything.