Misconceptions of Eating Disorders

There will always be misconceptions about nearly every single topic in life. This could be towards cultures and practices, science, music, laws and the human body.

I really want to bring attention to the misconceptions of an eating disorder, in my opinion, with some information I have gained through articles and personal experience.

MYTH: Eating disorders are only based on an individuals fear of food and gaining weight.

TRUTHEating disorders can range from controlling food portions as a way to cope with difficult emotions, to being a mental disorder and having a crooked image of yourself, to managing self esteem, depression, anxiety or approval (a form of comfort). An eating disorder is not a diet either, thus why it is not – and should never be – based on food alone.

MYTH: An individuals body size is a signal of an eating disorder. 

TRUTH: Everyone is born with genetics that slightly control how your body will alter as you grow. Tied to this is metabolism. There are people who may appear to be underweight (and they could be) without choice due to their metabolism being so fast. These people most likely eat larger amounts of food, compared to someone with an eating disorder who, for example, would eat hardly any.
Another topic tied to this is bulimia. Anorexia is based on your body weight, but having bulimia could occur amongst any shape or size. Therefore, appearances are misleading and an eating disorder should not be mistaken for because of a person’s appearance.

MYTH: You don’t have an eating disorder anymore if you gain weight, after going through anorexia.

TRUTH: Pain of an individual facing recovery cannot be seen. Sometimes victims of EDs are forced to gain weight, either by being placed in a hospital or having their meals prepared for them by close members of their family. Someone with anorexia may be gaining weight, but the thoughts, based on how they want to take control over recovery, can remain – thus leading back towards improper eating habits after they are released from the hospital or told they can now prepare their own meals. Seeking help during recovery, for one suffering from an eating disorder or anorexia, will allow them to express how their feeling during the process. This can sometimes help to improve their mental image and allow one to become comfortable with changes to their weight and figure.

MYTH: You can’t have an eating disorder if your eating and at a normal weight. 

TRUTH: Like addressed above, you cannot identify an eating disorder on image. A disorder like this is based on one’s mentality towards a preoccupation with food – whether that be always checking calories, nutrition labels on food packages, or pre reading menus online before visiting a restaurant.