Eating disorders are not a diet, phase or a trend. And you don’t have to have a certain weight or size or be super skinny to have an eating disorder. You don’t have to look sick to have an eating disorder.
Eating disorders are a mental illness, and anyone, at any gender, age, size, weight, socioeconomic background etc can have an eating disorder.
There are however certain criteria, one of which is related to weight, to be diagnosed with anorexia. However there are other forms of eating disorders which are just as serious and need help, support and treatment to get better.
Weightloss is just a symptom of an eating disorder, or for some eating disorders, weight gain is a symptom. But they are mental illnesses and can not always be seen from the outside. Many are functional sufferers, meaning they can live life somewhat normally but still struggle and suffer in silence – don’t be one of them.
If you are struggling – you need to seek help.
You don’t need to get sicker. You don’t need to lose more weight. You don’t need to look sick.
If you are suffering and struggling with an eating disorder and an unhealthy relationship with food and your body, then you should seek help. You may think you can live life and be ok, but in the long term it won’t last. You are still missing out on life and not truly living if you are suffering at the same time.
And i understand that many think that they can’t seek help if they don’t look sick, because they won’t be taken seriously. But if you go a professional who is actually knowledgable then you should be offered help – whether it is talking to a therapist, getting help from a dietitian, CBT training, inpatient or day patient care. Whatever is best for your health and situation.
Don’t go your whole life struggling and suffering. Know that there is help and you don’t need to suffer in silence.
There are consequences – physical and mental – that can occur over time if you don’t seek help. Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates of psychiatric illnesses. And binge eating is actually one of the most common eating disorders- and there is presumed to be a huge amount of people struggling and who never seek help, making the percentage higher than what is documented. (I have had many ask me about binge eating and bulimia, so i plan to write a post/masterpost about this topic. Many find it incredibly embarrassing, whether they have just developed binge eating or whether they have transitioned from anorexia to bulimia, it is an awful dark circle and people find it incredibly embarrassing to talk about or seek help for. But also because of the embarrassment, many suffer in silence for years).
Know that you do deserve help, support and treatment for your eating disorder. Don’t think that you have to wait until you look sick or get sicker – eating disorders are serious nonetheless. And you can’t live a truly happy life if you are struggling and sick at the same time.
Micromanaging your food and your body just gives you a false sense of control – in actuality you don’t have control at all, it is your eating disorder, your illness that has control. Instead you are just running from the actual problem and the guilt and anxiety that goes along with recovery and facing your eating disorder. But the only way to recover and get better is to face your eating disorder and your fears, and deal with the actual problem. (And with help, support and treatment you can get better ways to learn to do that, as well as get support so you don’t have to try to face your fears alone.)
And remember that just because you can eat doesn’t mean you are healthy or have a healthy relationship with food. If you feel that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, or you feel like food controls you or gives you guilt and anxiety, then you need to rethink your relationship with food.
Eating disorders come in one size… and that is miserable.