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Recommended Don'ts for being supportive
"My mother... didn’t understand when I would ask not to have large portions or more servings, or when I did not want to come to dinner... When I was ready to leave [her house], she'd ask if I wanted to take home some food."

  • Accuse or cause feelings of guilt
  • Demand weight changes (even if clinically necessary for health)
  • Put timetables on recovery
  • Give more help than you are qualified to give
  • Try to control the person's life
  • Place guilt or blame
  • Take the person's actions personally
  • Insist the person eat every dish at the table
  • Invite the person out to eat or to go clothes shopping
  • Make eating, food, clothes, or appearance the focus of conversation
  • Try to change the person's attitudes about eating or nag about food
  • Use scare tactics to get the person into treatment
  • Be a 'budinsky' and contact the patient's doctors behind his or her back
  • Make promises or rules you cannot or will not follow (like promising not to tell anyone or threatening, "if you do this once more I'll….")


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Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder in which a person engages in binge eating (eating a lot of food in a short time) followed by some type of behavior to prevent weight gain from the food that was eaten. This behavior can take two forms: self-induced vomiting, misuse of enemas, laxatives, diet pills (called purging) and excessive exercise, fasting, or diabetic omission of insulin (called non-purging). Some people with bulimia nervosa may also starve themselves for periods of time before binge eating again. Bulimia nervosa has important mental, emotional, and physical aspects that require consideration during treatment.

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