Episode 57: Supporting a Partner with an Eating Disorder with Dana Harron

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Episode description:

Dr. Dana Harron is a practicing psychologist, the founder and director of Monarch Wellness & Psychotherapy, and the author of Loving Someone with an Eating Disorder: Understanding, Supporting and Connecting with Your Partner. She joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to discuss how partners of people with eating disorders can support their loved one through illness and recovery.

Dana discusses the common mistakes that partners of people with eating disorders can make and how to avoid those mistakes. She also provides practical tips for approaching a partner when you notice unhealthy behaviors and how to respond when a partner shares that they are struggling with food or their body. In addition, Dana covers useful strategies for supporting a partner during eating disorder recovery, emphasizing the importance of self-care to this process.

We cover:

  • The impact of eating disorders on close relationships
  • Mistakes commonly made by partners of those with eating disorders
  • How to approach a loved one when they display warning signs of an eating disorder
  • What to say when a loved one shares they are struggling with food or their body
  • Strategies for self-care and for caring for your partner with an eating disorder

In Dana’s words:

  • On the confusing nature of eating disorders: “Eating disorders are particularly tricky for loved ones because it seems choiceful. I think it’s really important to keep in mind that it is not. Nobody would decide, ‘I don’t want to be properly nourished.’”
  • On communicating with a partner who has an eating disorder: “You don’t have to say the perfect thing. In fact, the pressure to say the perfect thing, I think, is part of what makes people say all kinds of things that are very far from perfect. Just shoot for good enough.”
  • On respecting our different struggles: “We all have a different cognitive set. So for one person, food is difficult; for another person, sleep is difficult. I often say, telling someone with an eating disorder to ‘just eat differently’ is like telling an insomniac to ‘just go to sleep.’ It’s not that easy.”

Learn more about Dr. Dana Harron on her website. Find a copy of Dana’s book, Loving Someone with an Eating Disorder: Understanding, Supporting and Connecting with Your Partner, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound

Learn more about The Emily Program online or by calling 1-888-364-5977.

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About the podcast:

Peace Meal is a podcast that explores topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking.

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