Eating Disorders Corner
“Food is not the enemy. Self-hate is.”
This corner is devoted to addressing eating disorders, disordered eating, and body image. I have specialized in treating people with all of the above since 1999. It is a large part of my work and my heart. This corner is for those of us on the journey of disconnecting our worth from our size or what we eat.
I want to put the spotlight on a not-yet-well-recognized disorder: Atypical Anorexia.
When most people think of Anorexia, they imagine an emaciated person who rarely eats. This is how it can look, but it is not the only way it can look.
A person with Anorexia may eat several times a day. A person with Anorexia may binge. And a person with Anorexia may not be thin.
Atypical Anorexia is when someone meets all of the diagnostic criteria for Anorexia (including restricting food intake, having a distorted view of their body size, and fearing gaining weight or being fat) but is not low weight.
As we know, two people can eat and exercise exactly the same and continue to have very different bodies. This is because our genetics (and other factors) contribute to our body size much more than our food intake. Which is to say, we are not all going to become very thin even if we are not eating enough.
People with Atypical Anorexia restrict their food intake to an unhealthy degree and, despite weight loss, do not get to a “thin” or “very thin” weight. They may be fat. Their weight doesn’t speak to their level of illness.
Unfortunately, most of us, the medical community included, have not learned about Atypical Anorexia. Those who suffer from it are frequently told by physicians that they can’t have an eating disorder and have nothing wrong, even if they complain of fainting and brain fog.
People are being harmed. Serious, chronic health issues are being dismissed because people don’t look thin enough to be sick. As a result, people are getting sicker instead of getting help. (If you know a physician, send them this article!)
Atypical Anorexia is as real, and as serious, as (typical) Anorexia. Size is not an indication of health.