Eating disorders exist in all shapes and sizes, and we need to do a better job of representing people who suffer from eating disorders if we hope to dispel stigma and promote lasting recovery.
The issue of eating disorder representation in the media has come up in the last year due to the highly controversial Netflix movie, To the Bone. People in eating disorder recovery circles and the Health at Every Size community clashed, both within their own groups and with the public at large, about the potential impact of the movie, and the affect such a depiction of an eating disorder sufferer would have on the perception of eating disorders worldwide.
Though the controversy has died down, the topic bears repeating in order to propagate this simple truth: eating disorders have no size requirement!
Unfortunately popular media represents people with eating disorders as emaciated or otherwise visually starving, but the truth is that eating disorders can exist in ANY body, and actually more often than not, those who struggle with disordered eating live in perfectly “typical” bodies. This does NOT mean that biologically, they aren’t starving. They are!
But what we can see visually from someone’s body doesn’t inform us about anything having to do with someone’s health status, and doesn’t tell us whether or not they’re providing their bodies with proper nutrition.
It also doesn’t tell us whether or not they’re deriving pleasure from their food, or whether or not they are struggling with body image concerns.
Body size tells us NOTHING, and it’s time to really talk about why the diagnostic criteria and the popular media keep pushing this sizeist agenda!
Written by Ashley Seruya, B.A.
If you want to explore more on gentle nutrition and intuitive eating, the best way is to join Erica’s free online course, “Dip your Toes into Intuitive Eating.”
This is a free program and in it you will learn:
- Why diets don’t work (Hint: it’s not YOUR fault, but the fault of diets and diet culture).
- How using mindfulness can help you become more aware of your body’s innate sensations of hunger and fullness.
- How satisfaction is the missing key to discovering authentic nutrition.
- Start to recognize that you’re so much more than the shape and size of your body!
- See that you have many wonderful qualities on the inside, as we focus on becoming whole from the inside out.
“Diving into nutrition too early can derail your intuitive eating journey.” – Erica Leon