5 common misconceptions about eating disorders debunked. I was recently diagnosed with bulimia nervosa. Before this shocking diagnosis, I never knew what it was like to be someone who had a known disorder. I only recently found my voice and decided it was time to fight back against the awful stigma that surrounds eating disorders. Here are a few misconceptions about them.
1. "those who have eating disorders are underweight."
This is probably the most common one. Even my own parents thought someone had to be extremely underweight to have an eating disorder. The truth is that eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes. With diagnoses such as bulimia nervosa and atypical anorexia, the individuals are normally at a healthy weight, whereas people with binge eating disorder are either at a "normal" weight or overweight due to the binges.
2. "eating disorders are all about food."
While having an eating disorder causes an individual to have an unhealthy relationship with food, it is often more about the control or lack of control. For those who struggle with anorexia, bulimia or OSFED (other specified feeding and eating disorder), they engage in harmful behaviors such as purging and restriction to have a sense of control in their lives. However, with binge eating disorder, food is seen as a comfort. After a binge, however, the individual may feel a lack of control, shame and guilt. It is a vicious cycle, but it definitely does not have to do with food 100% of the time.
3. "eating disorders are a choice."
Eating disorders are far from being a choice. In my case, I started using disordered eating behaviors as a sense of control due to being in an abusive relationship. Food was the one thing I could control in my life. Eating disorders can be caused by certain personality traits such as perfectionism. They can also be caused by trauma, biological factors and genetics. No one ever wishes for an eating disorder. It should not be seen as a fad or be glorified in any way. They are destructive and will kill you if not treated.