Up to 30 million people suffer from eating disorders. Of that total, only ten percent seek treatment. Eating disorders are more than just bulimia or anorexia- binge eating disorders are common as well and many eating disorders are unspecified. A former community outreach volunteer for an eating disorder clinic reflected on ways to help those who suffer from all eating disorders. It is often assumed that eating disorders only affect Caucasian women. However, eating disorders affect men, minorities and even the elderly. It is impossible to tell if someone has an eating disorder simply by looking at them. Often times because of these stereotypes, individuals suffer because they are never screened for an eating disorder in the first place. Stereotyping also plays a harmful role in creating eating disorders. Often times heavy-set individuals are fat shamed into avoiding “bad” foods. Instead of helping, this leads individuals to develop or relapse eating disorders. Instead, it is best to be positive towards all people of all sizes. Talking about diets, losing weight, gaining weight and obsessively counting calories can push a healthy person over the edge. Speaking of foods, assigning “good” and “bad” labels to food does more harm than good to people with eating disorders. Of course there are always foods that are healthy and unhealthy. People suffering from an eating disorder often get pushed into extremes to modify their food choices. Avoiding good food versus bad food dialogue can help a person create a healthy attitude towards food.
- 1There are many different types of eating disorders
- 2There is no such thing as good and bad food
- 3Fat talk harms everyone
As a society, it’s important that we move past the stereotypical thinking, not just about eating disorders but about eating and health in general so that we can shift towards non-judgmental attitudes and practices that truly promote well-being