The Nuance of Language During ED Recovery

In a diet-obsessed, “wellness-infused” world, there are nuances of language that cause harm to patients in eating disorder recovery.  The list is long, but here are some of the highlights. 

When parents tell their child “you look great” or “you look healthy” during #edrecovery their child may hear this as, “My parent thinks I look fat now.” Not that there is anything wrong with fat – bodies come in many different sizes – but it usually is not what is intended by the comment.  Comments like, “You look so much better than you used to” or “you look healthy” make kids feel uncomfortable with their new body (they think: “everyone can see I look different now”), and this can often be an invitation to end recovery. 

When complimenting your child, it’s best not to comment on their bodies at all. Instead, notice their mood, energy, or coloring in their eyes/face. “It’s nice to see your personality back” or “You seem so much more energetic now.” 

Parents should avoid commenting on other people’s bodies. “She looks good,” can be interpreted as “I should lose weight so I look good.” Similarly, hearing about your friend’s recent weight loss and “how great they look” reinforces that being thin is valued. Making a comment that Aunt Sally “got so much bigger” than when you saw her last time highlights that you notice these changes, and disapprove of them. This will terrify your child, and cause them to worry: “What if I get bigger, what will my parents and the rest of the world think of me then?” Lastly, when you comment on your own body, it tells kids that if you are critical of your own body, how and why would ever accept theirs?

#bodypositiveparenting #language #parenting #adolescenthealth #bodypositive #bopo #bodypositivekids #mentalhealth #stress#nondietapproach #rd2be #dietitiansofinstagram #rd2rd #sportsnutrition #nutritioneducation #adolescents #eatingdisordersupport #eatingdisorderrecovery #edwarrior #teenmom #raisiningbodypositiveteens #howtonourishyourchildthroughaneatingdisorder #platebyplateapproach #athletictraining #adolescentmedicine #pediatrics

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