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Inappropriate things to say when speaking to someone with an Eating Disorder


Below is a list of questions/phrases that has been compiled by my nutritionist from her ED patients. The bolded entries are questions/phrases that have been posed to me personally. I did this to put this in perspective for the reader; that It’s not just me that's bothered by this. Many people with ED are asked the same (insulting) questions over and over. If you find yourself guilty of having said any of these things, please remember that discussing weight/body frame/eating habits with someone is not always accepted well by the receiver. For those who have an Eating Disorder, these phrases and questions are often triggers. This list is not exhaustive. - ND

·      Why don’t you just eat?

·      How did you get so thin?

·      You don’t look like you need to gain weight.

·      Don’t you like food?

·      What kind of diet are you on?

·      What did you weigh when you came in?

·      How much weight do you have to gain?

·      Whoa, that’s a lot of food!

·      You don’t look like you need to be in an ED program.

·      What did you eat before you started the ED program?

·      What kind of food would you buy if you were going to binge?

·      How much money do you waste on food?

·      So do some ED patients have to lose weight?

·      That is all you have to eat? You are so lucky!

·      Don’t feel bad; I could not eat that much food either.

·      I wish I could have your problem for a few weeks.

·      I could never make myself throw up!

·      Why do you feel bad about the way you look?

·      Do you really stick your finger down your throat?

·      How long can you go without eating?

·      How many laxatives do you take in a day?

·      Did you just get carried away with your diet?

·      You look like a skeleton/scarecrow/cancer victim/AIDS patient!

·      Do I look fat to you?

·      All you have to do to fix your problem is just eat like a normal person.

·      So if you were home, what would you do, just throw up your meals?

·      What would happen if you just ate?

·      How can a person be both anorexic and bulimic?

·      I do not know why anyone would do what you do to yourself.

·      Do you really see a fat person when you look in the mirror?

·      How much do you think you should weigh?

·      You look great! So much better; I’ve noticed the color come back in your cheeks!

·      You look so much better than the last time I saw you!

·      So if you can eat all this food here, why can’t you do it at home?

·      Don’t you understand that you’re not the only one you’re hurting?

·      Have you always hated eating?

·      Don’t pick your food apart/cut it into tiny pieces like that!

·      Were you abused as a child?

·      How many calories/grams of fat do you think this has in it?

·      So what’s the most you ever weighed?

·      So what’s the least you ever weighed?

·      You must be crazy for doing this to yourself!

·      How can you cook for your family and not eat?

·      Don’t you think it is disgusting to make yourself throw up?

·      Why can’t you just stop those behaviors?

·      They must need a special (bigger/smaller) blood pressure cuff for your arm.

·      If I had to sit around and eat all day like you, I would lose my mind!

·      What kind of man has an eating disorder?

·      Why do people play these games?

·      Why are you making this so difficult for me?

·      Do they have to keep the door open: I hear you are a sneaky one.

·      So do they want you to gain or lose weight?

·      You’re lucky; you can eat/wear whatever you want.