By: The Staff at Center for Change

There is no sure way of ridding your home of everything that triggers an eating disorder. However, there are ways to help make your home a safer place. Whether you yourself or a family member are recovering from an eating disorder, here are a few suggestions to make your home a more friendly environment.

  • Throw away all scales – don’t hide them, throw them away. Hidden scales are too easily found.
  • Throw away all fashion and exercise magazines or catalogs. Looking through these magazines is sure to send a shaky self-esteem through the floor.
  • Lock up or dispose of all laxatives, diet pills, diuretics, or other potentially harmful medication.
  • Refrain from any comments about a person’s body or appearance. Even compliments may be twisted in the mind and become something negative.
  • Try to eliminate diet talk and lingo from your conversations. There are no such things as “Good” or “Bad” foods. A comment such as, “Don’t worry, it’s fat-free,” can create a mixture of negative emotions in a recovering person.
  • Have the individual’s favorite food around the house for snacking. It is important to enjoy food and not get too hungry.
  • Don’t buy “diet foods”.
  • Create an environment that is open to conversation. Ask what would be helpful for you to say or to avoid saying. Each individual recognizes the things that trigger them most.
  • Most of all, be a good listener.
  • When inviting those with eating disorders to talk, ask how they are doing or feeling in general and in life, rather that asking about the eating disorder behaviors.
  • Create a “buddy system”. Ask a loved one to be available to talk, go for a walk, or otherwise be with you at those times you feel the urge to act out your eating disorder.
  • Get rid of depressing videos or music and replace them with uplifting, meaningful, and positive books, music, and movies.
  • Ask a loved one to check in with you on a regular basis (e.g., once each week), to inquire about how you are doing with your eating disorder. You decide how often, what, and how to share. Teach your loved ones to accept and be satisfied with what you share.
  • Make a list of 10 things you can do to confront or calm yourself when struggling with eating-disordered thoughts and feelings. Commit to do 3 things on the list before you engage in any eating disorder behavior.

Special Thanks to Monica Toni, Michael, and Nancy.