Q & A: What is Meal Support?
Meal support is usually offered as part of a comprehensive treatment program for eating disorder recovery. Basically, it means that health care providers sit down to a meal with patients and give them encouragement and reassurance as well as help them cope with their anxiety and fears about eating. Support staff can highlight eating successes and emphasize the physical and psychological benefits of nourishment. They can use relaxation techniques during the meal, and engage in “healthy” (i.e. non-eating disordered) conversation.
Additionally, meal support following a meal can help those people who have urges to binge-eat, purge, and/or over-exercise after eating. This might take the form of activities such as journal writing, watching videos, or doing creative work, like arts and crafts. Although meal support might be embarrassing or another opportunity for a patient to “please” (by eating for the supporter instead of themselves), the benefits of learning to be comfortable eating in a social setting are immense.
Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Spring 2003 Volume 1, Number 4
©2003 Gürze Books