Diversity in eating disorders

This is to the girls who stay up, late at night, scrolling through their news feed of beach bodies and fitspiration posts. 

This is to the guys who desire nothing else but washboard abs and low fat percentage. 

You may not be directly impacted by eating disorders but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t see pass its singular image of a sufferer: underweight, ribs sticking out, pale skin, female. It is a mentally scarring subject that I, along with many others, have been terrified to speak about. Some have been conditioned to believe that eating disorders concerns only those who are stick thin with obvious signs of starvation. However, eating disorders is more than just a physical disease. I never thought that I could be impacted by my eating disorder because I never saw myself as a sufferer. The more I fell into the hands of this disease, the less I wanted to seek for help. I would tell myself that I wasn’t skinny enough to have an eating disorder. Yet, a part of me knew that my mindset, one that is still of low self-esteem, was a major component.

Both genders are affected by the cruel reality of eating disorders and as a mental health issue, the asset that many ignore is the effect it has on one’s mind. Historically, eating disorders have been associated with young, Caucasian women but that stereotypical image is a myth – eating disorders does not discriminate any race or ethnicity or age. In saying this, eating disorders affects people of all sizes. No matter what one’s weight is, eating disorders can be self-degrading in different ways. For instance, one may be in the healthy range for their BMI but that doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t have an eating disorder. We need to look deeper into one’s behavioural and psychological patterns as well.

Our dissatisfaction with our bodies is a major risk factor for eating disorders and the reason for many to surrender to binge eating, bulimia, anorexia nervosa and EDNOS. One thing that is for sure is that we must not believe that there is one image of an eating disorder. Ultimately, we need to respect that it affects all and like any other mental disease, its root cause stems from our  mindset.

You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing
The world could change its heart

– Alessia Cara “Scars to Your Beautiful”

 

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