These myths ring so true for me and these are the things I’ve learnt after recovering from an ED. I hope this helps people!
(Got some views on my ED story and it was encouraging hehe)
7 Eating Disorder Myths
Only rich 15-16 year old girls get EDs
This is wrong. EDs do NOT discriminate based on age, gender, income or ethnicity. An ED does not have a standardised appearance.
Only people that have a Body Mass Index of below xx have an ED
EDs are mental illnesses. The underweight condition is a POSSIBLE side-effect, but it is not a DEFINITE one. People suffering from EDs battle wars within their own heads, and this is something an outsider (who doesn’t carefully observe and listen) will not be able to detect. Because of this assumption, many bigger people are not treated with the extra care, concern and sensitivity they need and deserve.
BMI matters at all
The limited legitimacy of BMI as an indicator of health has been revealed in recent years. BMI is not grounded in medical evidence and is not based on science. In fact, BMI was created by a statistician, only to be unfortunately endorsed by healthcare systems later on. “Health” is not reflected by a numerical indicator or a particular appearance. Health is at all sizes, and everyone is born with a genetically pre-determined weight set point which the body will fight to maintain, regardless of whether the BMI CLAIMS it to be healthy or not. Your weight is the healthiest weight!
EDs are caused by thin models in the media
EDs are complex neurological anxiety disorders, and the cause of EDs are still unknown today. Thin models in the media may perpetuate the fat-phobic culture (more on that later) that thrives in our society, but it does not “cause” EDs. It is also important to note that nobody “chooses” to get an ED. It’s not a conscious choice that anyone makes.
Recovery from an ED is possible by having strict meal plans and …
One thing about ED recovery is that it’s not all about the food. It’s also about how the food is consumed. Strict meal plans which I’ve heard about many patients being given will only contribute to the mental rigidity that is a part of the ED in the first place. Remember, again, that these are mental illnesses. They control people through rules, restrictions and punishments. Instead, health is FREEDOM. And recovery is encouraging that freedom.
…maintaining a “healthy” BMI after gaining “enough weight”
Refer to myth #3. Your doctor, the healthcare system will not know what is “enough weight” for YOUR body. Only your body will know, and it will take care of how much weight you need to gain. You don’t need to think one bit about what weight you have to be restored to. Your body is amazing as it is and it will fight to protect you.
After being weight restored, I can start to exercise and go on that vegan diet I’ve always wanted to
Firstly, tread carefully when using the phrase “weight restored”. How do you know you’re truly weight restored? As someone with an ED, you may be tempted to gain a certain amount of weight, decide “this is enough”, and call yourself “weight restored” just because you appear to be okay. I am a survivor of Anorexia, so I understand. But please believe me- DON’T fall into this trap. If you really want to recover, trust your body to decide when you really are weight restored.
Let’s say you truly are weight restored, and you want to exercise and go vegan. Please remember that your recovery is MENTAL as much as it’s physical. Why do you want to exercise and why do you want to go vegan? Because you love exercise and you want to be ethical? Ask yourself this again. Are you sure it’s not even in the least ED-driven?
For me, I rarely exercise. The most exercise I’ve done was a 4 minutes jog in the last 1 year. And I consistently make a personal choice to eat anything that’s available. Whether that is fries, burgers, noodles or pasta. This is my lifestyle. And I love it and it’s the best for me.
So you see, our lifestyles are all different, but make sure that once you’ve recovered, you adopt the lifestyle for YOU and YOU alone. ED has absolutely no place in the life you have regained. Maintaining your mental health after recovery is so immensely important.