If you have a loved one who has an eating disorder of some kind, it is important that you help them seek the help that they need to overcome this disease. However, helping them get help is not where you stop. Your loved one will need a solid support system in order to get through this extremely difficult and exhausting time. Here are four dos and don'ts of helping your loved one:

Do Celebrate Each Step – No Matter How Small – Made Towards Recovery.

It isn't easy to deal with an eating disorder. It is very difficult to make the decision to get help and begin the recovery process, and the recovery process can be brutal. Therefore, every step made towards full recovery is a big one and should be celebrated. This is where you come in.

While you may not realize that eating half a piece of pizza is a big accomplishment for your loved one, he or she may feel incredibly proud and it is important that you provide that positive reinforcement for him or her. Don't say something discouraging like "But you didn't eat it all," as this could push your loved one back in his or her recovery. Every small step towards recovery is important and it must be celebrated together, as this does wonders for someone battling an eating disorder.

Don't Make Comments Regarding Their Physical Appearance.

When someone is struggling with an eating disorder, it is very important that they are not focused on their physical appearance and are actually focused on their inner beauty. Therefore, when someone says something about them being thin, especially as a compliment, it simply reinforces thoughts of them continuing their poor eating habits.

Do Be Patient with Your Loved One.

In order to fully support your loved one through the recovery process of an eating disorder, you must be very patient. Recovery is not an overnight process, nor is it a one-and-done thing; recovery takes time. It is also about a lot more than just food, as there is a lot of underlying emotional issues that need to be addressed through therapy, which, again, takes time and requires patience from you.

Don't Mention Food During Meals.

At mealtime, it is important that you avoid discussing food with your loved one. He or she does not need to be focused on the food in any way. This means that you don't want to talk about anything that is related to food, including calories, fitness, weight. Therefore, try to talk about topics that are non-triggering, such as upcoming movies that you're interested in, plans for the weekend, places you want to visit, etc. Anything that can distract your loved one from the fact that he or she is eating or becoming overwhelmed by the amount of food that is in front of him or her or that he or she is consuming.  

Contact an eating disorder center for more help.