A lot of people always message me saying that they feel they don’t have an eating disorder because of their weight.
I want to clarify this as it’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
You do not need to be severely underweight in order to suffer from a life-threatening eating disorder.
An eating disorder is often described as a PSYCHOLOGICAL disorder that presents abnormal eating habits that affects a person’s physical and mental well-being. Such disorders include binge eating disorder which involves eating large amounts in short periods of time, anorexia nervosa which involves eating very little and results in weight loss, bulimia which people eat and lot and then try to get rid of the food, and many other, less common disorders.
When a person develops Anorexia, they are usually of a normal weight. Sometimes, the person is slightly overweight. It is a cause for concern when a person dramatically loses weight in a short amount of time and this alone can be a sign of an eating disorder. Though many people with Anorexia Nervosa are seen as severely underweight, there are many people with the condition of normal weight and who fail to receive treatment. These people do not fit the definition of anorexia because they are not underweight. This is known as eating disorder not otherwise specified, or EDNOS. It wasn’t until 10 months after my weight loss started that I finally qualified for a diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa, but even then I was told by doctors that I could ‘lose a few more lbs’. I was not offered any inpatient treatment at that initial diagnosis which in thus leaded to a more serious decline in my health and has recently caused 3 relapses, in which one of these was severe.
When you have an eating disorder but still have a normal body weight, help is not offered. Although you are barely surviving on a glass of water a day and exercise excessively until you pass out, no one believes you are at risk. Therefore, you do not receive the help you need which pushes you into a distressed and unstable mental state, worsening both your physical and mental health and your eating disorder continues to progress.
I want to spread the message – You do not need to be thin to be anorexic! – so that all those suffering with early stages of eating disorders can receive the help they need before they get critical. For 3 years, I have suffered severely with thoughts of food, weight and appearance. I have suffered with putting even 10 calories into my mouth and spent endless amounts of time in the gym without anything inside my stomach. I do not want people suffering this way all because of a horrendous BMI guideline that determines whether you get help or not.