Weight and eating disorders are often directly linked, in that we assume that someone who has an eating disorder has the profile that we most frequently see in the media: a very thin, fragile white woman. It’s important to know that weight is a deeply flawed indicator of eating disorders, as are race and gender. Eating disorders are much more than Anorexia.
Most people who have eating disorders do not “look” like they have an eating disorder. For most of us, weight and eating disorders are not clearly related, though many of us will fluctuate both up and down in weight when we have an eating disorder. Additionally, while “weight restoration” is a critical first step of treatment for anorexia nervosa in which the person is medically underweight, a particular weight will never indicate full recovery from an eating disorder, since eating disorders go far beyond weight-based measurements. If weight and eating disorders are firmly linked in your mind, then you are looking at an incomplete picture.
Eating disorders are complex mental disorders that involve behavioral symptoms of restriction, binge eating, purging, and over-exercise. Psychological symptoms of eating disorders include an obsession with body size, shape, and weight, an obsession with food, low self-worth, anxiety, depression, and more. Once the body-based symptoms are relieved and in remission, most people continue recovery in an effort to internalize the following concepts: