I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder and I didn't do the behaviors most commonly associated with anorexia (starvation) or bulimia (binging and purging), or other eating disorders (although I border on orthorexia nervosa ever since I learned about the crap that is allowed into the American food supply from my holistic nutrition and health coaching education). However, I have most certainly exhibited other unhealthy habits related to food and my weight--which is one of the reasons why I had to make the conscious decision to break up with my scale.
Even though my weight has been up and down as an adult, I was very thin growing up. I got plenty of comments from people--not just other kids but other adults--even some teachers saying that I needed to eat more and that I didn't need to exercise so much because I was already so thin, and more stuff like that. I heard whispers of "she must be anorexic" from plenty of people--kids and adults--as well. So even though I was totally fine because my mother fed us homecooked meals with real, whole foods, which I ate adequate quantities of on a daily basis, I thought something was wrong with me. When I gained weight after my pregnancies I had comments, whispers, and stares on the opposite end of the spectrum. When I lost my weight, I again became suspect of starving myself or overdoing it with exercise, or being mentally unstable even though I knew in my head and heart that I had lost the weight the right way; by making positive and healthy changes in my diet and lifestyle.
Things are much better now that I have become a healthier and more balanced person, but even now I still fight certain tendencies. The difference now is that I am more educated about what healthy food actually is for my body and I am mentally and emotionally strong enough to know that people will always have something to say and that it almost always is about them and their own insecurities, not about me. I have learned that some people will like me, some people won't. Some people may think I am too skinny, others won't. And I no longer care. Because I know that I am just fine the way I am.
I also have avoided this topic because of its sensitivity. While I don't shy away from controversy, I don't like writing about topics that might offend or hurt my readers. However, I feel that this issue is one that does need to be written about, because like many disorders, it can be prevented can also be resolved quickly if it is revealed early enough. As you will see in the infographic below, eating disorders are rampant, and the largest population is children and young adults. Sometimes one can tell quickly if someone has a disorder, or shows signs of developing a disorder, but more often it goes undetected. Most behaviors associated with eating disorders occur behind closed doors, out of sight even from those closest to the person with the disorder. Even so, there are certain signs that parents and others can look for and keep track of so that early intervention can occur if a disorder is suspected.
So please take a look at the infographic below, and share this post. If you or anyone you know shows any indication of having an eating disorder, please find a way to get help. If you are the parent or loved one of a child or person with an eating disorder, I want you to know that you are not alone and that my heart goes out to you.
The High Price of Eating Disorders