It may not be as obvious as you may think to identify when someone needs eating disorder (ED) help. There is a common and incorrect perception that everyone with an eating disorder is super skinny and sickly. The truth is that someone may be in dire need of help way before their eating disorder progresses to this kind of depth and severity.
Stigma Prevents People From Getting Eating Disorder Help
Grey’s Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo is known for her slight frame, and she is often the subject of speculation about an eating disorder. She recently spoke out about this stigma and how harmful it is to both people who are naturally thin and don’t have an eating disorder, and people who may be of normal weight but suffering from an ED.
In a recent Self Magazine article, they talk about how you simply cannot identify an eating disorder in a person just by looking at them. The fact of the matter is that people come in all shapes and sizes. Some are naturally curvier, while others are rail thin. The most important thing to stress is that a body type can’t be changed, and not that restricted eating will help someone change the way their body looks.
How You Can Identify an Eating Disorder
It’s time to throw out the concept that you can tell if someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them. That method is completely unreliable and only proves to further promote the stigma of disordered eating. Instead, here and some tried and true ways to see if someone may be struggling with an ED.
- Obsession with weight and caloric intake
- Complaining about their body
- Using diet pills or excessive caffeine to curb their food intake
- Visible food restriction
- Sudden weight change
- Frequent trips to the bathroom after eating
- The person feeling upset after eating
- Low self-esteem
- Hiding or storing food they claimed to have eaten
There are many signs of an eating disorder. The trick is to notice changes in habits and appearance. If you suspect someone you love has an eating disorder, it’s important to approach them in a calm and compassionate manner. Talk to them about what you have noticed, and why it concerns you. Allow them to explain things to you, and make sure to offer them a lot of love and compassion, with reassurance that you will help them get the help that they need to start treating their body better and feeling healthy and happy once again.