What Does "Having An Eating Disorder" Look Like?

Quick question for you: Which one of these women look like they could have an eating disorder?
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The answer: ALL OF THEM. Why? Because having a food problem doesn’t have a “look” anymore. We’re fat, we’re skinny, we’re muscular, we’re willowy, we’re average, we’re plump, we’re curvy, we’re fit, we’re boyish. Women who struggle with eating obsessions come in every size and color–I see it, and am struck by it, every time I go to one of my support meetings. The first time I walked into one I remembered thinking, “These girls overeat?” I would’ve been jealous if I’d seen some of them walking down the street. Seemingly perfect outsides–but insides that were just as messy as mine.

For decades, whether or not a person had a food problem or “eating disorder” was determined strictly on body weight or whether she threw up after eating. But now psychologists recognize that there’s an disorder spectrum—and that lots of people who move around on that spectrum throughout their lives, sometimes undereating, sometimes overeating, sometimes throwing up or using laxatives or diet pills. And for millions of women, their “weird” relationship with food never rises to the level of an official disorder, but they still suffer and obsess about food, weight and their body.

ENOUGH! Every single one of us deserves to heal, whether we have anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), orthorexia, purging disorder or are just plain weird about food. This stuff takes up way to much of our time, our brainpower and our lives. Right? Right!

Check out some books, support groups and other resources to help you along in your recovery. And feel free to share other ideas for healing in the comments. Let’s kick this food-and-body bullshit in the teeth!

xo…Sunny
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3 Responses to What Does "Having An Eating Disorder" Look Like?

  1. […] used to be part of a diagnosis called Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified, which we’ve talked about here at HealthyGirl.org and I’ve blogged about on […]

  2. Determinator says:

    AMEN to THIS. I can’t tell you the frustrations that I used to have feeling misunderstood and judged by people that cornered me saying “Are you eating?! You’re not trying to starve yourself are you?” when I was a perfectly healthy weight by any standard, and in reality I felt helpless to bring myself to stop eating when I was home alone. Those types of comments just made me want to close off even more.

  3. Lauren says:

    When people say “You’re so tiny!” or “I wish I was as skinny as you” make me want to be even more thinner, makes me want to take my undereating farther.

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.