Likewise, most of our community here knows that someone who is thin doesn’t necessarily have an eating disorder.
Yet these (like my post yesterday about race and EDs) are misperceptions that are out there, misperceptions that run rampant in the media.
Because the stereotype for an eating disorder tends to be someone who is stick-thin and bony, many women are ignored by their doctors or therapists because they’re “too heavy” to have an ED.
Hell, it was only a year ago that I even learned what “ED-NOS” (eating disorder, not otherwise specified) was.
And when I realized that I certainly fell into that category, it was a real wake-up call.
Call me narcissistic (or pathetic), but when I began blogging, I used to wonder if people who found my blog and then saw a picture of me thought, “Well she’s not skinny, she can’t possibly have a problem!” or “She can’t possibly spend hours upon hours at the gym! She’s not even thin!”
And sometimes I still wonder if there’s that element of surprise when people who know me (in real life) find out my “secret” (which isn’t so secretive anymore, clearly!) … that you don’t have to be thin to be a disordered eater. Or an over-exerciser.
The thing is, I know better now. Perhaps most importantly, I know it’s narcissistic to think anyone really cares … but I also know it’s wrong to make assumptions about EDs/DE issues, period.
I know now that roughly 60 percent of women struggle with disordered eating.
I know now that adjectives are just that: descriptors. Some women with EDs are bony, some are skinny, some are thin, some are fit, some are athletic, some are average, some are chubby, some are overweight, some are heavy, some are obese.
Yes, some people are genetically more prone to fall victim to the disease. But ultimately, just by looking at someone, one can’t really classify an individual as having an ED or not having an ED.
This is why I really appreciated Monica Seles’s book, Getting a Grip. You can read my review here. She helped squash some misperceptions out there, and shed light on binge eating disorder: something not too often talked about in the public sphere. She’s a professional athlete, and even she wasn’t spared from disordered eating issues.
How about you? What misperceptions do you have about people with EDs? Has there been anyone in your life you’ve been surprised to discover battles an ED/has DE issues? If you are the one battling or recovered from an ED/DE issues, were people surprised when they found out?