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Family Meals Can Be a Powerful Aid in Eating Disorder Prevention

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Family Meals Can Be a Powerful Aid in Eating Disorder Prevention
Love and respect at family meals are vital in the eating disorder prevention equation.

What eating disorder recovery and health looks like at a family dinner.


Health and recovery support by the family involves behaving reasonably and practically with a powerful undertone of love and respect at during fammily meals. Family and friends show a glad willingness to listen to others and have confidence that they can passionately disagree. Everyone is certain that, right or wrong, everyone in the family loves and will stand by everyone else.

This underlying atmosphere of love,acceptance and trust, when  brought to daily life in a family, including family dinners, eating disorders can beat back the development of an eating disorder.

Eating disorder prevention does not mean following a check list of correct behaviors at the family dinner table.

 Researchers have a tough time factoring love in their family meal eating disorder studies. I can appreciate the difficulty. I also am dismayed by research results that do not consider the presence or absence of genuine love and respect.

What researchers say about family meals ..."what happens at that table has an impact on teens as well. Juggling schedules to make time for eating together, creating healthy, nutritious dishes, and having positive interactions at the table are all components of healthy family meals." Yes, these are components. 

Include love, patience and respect in family meals

Please include love and respect, spacious time, generous listening, appreciations of differences, honesty and room for laughter and shared passions. Discussion about school, the weather, the news, family stories can make for lively and inclusive interactons. During family meals people can talk about the food thery are eating, what countries it comes from, new recipes they saw or tasted elsewhere. They can ask each other questions about their lives and projects. They can make plans for activities. With interest, respect and civility for each other we're talking about family meals that help prevent eating disorders.

Joanna Poppink, MFT, private practice psychotherapist, All appointments are virtual.  E-mail for free telephone consultation. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Author of Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder

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