Imagine, if you will…
A person. A person who is afraid of food. A person who has eliminated multiple foods and food groups from their diet because they believe those foods are ‘toxic’ or unhealthy or fattening. A person who spends a tremendous amount of their day worrying about food and eating. A person who agonizes over their weight every moment of every day. A person who’s primary focus in their life is making their body smaller and smaller. A person who collects recipes but never prepares them because they are too high calorie, or contain foods they’ve forbidden themselves from eating. A person who starves themselves for days on end, and then binges uncontrollably when their willpower finally fails. And who then heaps shame and punishment upon themselves for being so weak, and goes back to eating as little as possible. A person who collects and reads diet books, and jumps from diet to diet in search of the one that will finally give them the perfect body. A person who exercises to extremes, and injures themselves repeatedly because of it. A person who believes their value as a person hinges upon the size and shape of their body, and who goes to extremes in the pursuit of perfection, always falling short, and believing they are worthless as a result.
Imagine that person now.
That person has disordered eating. Maybe even a full blown eating disorder.
And, if that person you imagined is thin, it would be obvious that they need treatment for their disordered eating.
But. If that person you imagined was fat? What if that person is fat? If that person is fat, then most people, including most health professionals, would dismiss all the signs of disordered eating, and fixate on the person’s weight. That person may be judged as being weak, or lacking willpower. That person may be told they’re just not trying hard enough. That person would maybe be put on another diet by their doctor. That person may consider themselves a failure at weight loss.
We treat thin people and fat people differently. And nowhere is it more obvious than by the way we treat them when they exhibit disordered eating. A thin person is afforded compassion, and prescribed treatment. The fat person is shamed and prescribed another diet.
This has to end.
Disordered eating can affect ANYONE, any size, any age, any gender. We MUST stop treating some of them and shaming others. They ALL need and deserve compassion, and appropriate treatment for their disordered eating.
A diet is not an appropriate treatment for disordered eating.
Eating Disorder Resources:
Check out my ebook ‘Taking Up Space: A Guide to Escaping the Diet Maze’.