Amanda Roth on Repairing our Relationship with Food: Making up with ED

 In Integrative Health

Most of us misunderstand eating disorders

Miranda Lambert, photo credit: Larry McCormack, The Tennessean

Miranda Lambert, photo credit: Larry McCormack, The Tennessean

Miranda Lambert shows vulnerability by opening up about her personal struggles with her own body image in this interview (with The Tennessean).  In it, one young fan said Lambert inspired her to beat her eating disorder and toss her scale in the trash.  We tend to see these stories in the news all the time, but seldom realize the way these celebrity reports skew our perception of people with Eating Disorders.

We asked Amanda Roth to clear up misconceptions for for #NEDAwareness Week 2019

amanda roth eating disorder awareness week #NEDAwareness

Amanda Roth is a clinical Psychology Doctoral student with expertise in eating disorders

The biggest thing I would want the public to know is that you cannot tell if someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them.  Eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and they do not discriminate in terms of gender either.  If you ask someone to describe eating disorders, many people would likely respond that it is a white female with anorexia who is bone thin.  This just isn’t an accurate description of most people with eating disorders.  Some people do lose weight or become severely underweight as a symptom of their eating disorders but many people do not.”

How do celebrity stories influence our understanding of Eating disorders?

“The thin ideal for women which is ingrained in young girls’ brains in our society from a very young age.  The media tends to highlight the perfect body, usually focused on females but in terms of males it is typically the muscular and fit body.”

How are modern eating disorders different these days?

“Modern social media contributes to the problem of eating disorders by continuing to promote the perfect body and the thin ideal.  Social media is also loaded with body shaming and negative talk about bodies.  It is very common to see people post on Facebook about how they need to lose weight or how they need to “work off” that pizza they just ate.  These are very disordered ways of thinking and when people with eating disorders see these messages, they are often triggered and use eating disorder behaviors to cope with the messages.

In addition to seeking help right away when an individual believes they may have an eating disorder, I would also highly recommend seeking such help from professionals who are eating disorder specialists.  Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses with medical risks and complications and they require treatment from individuals who understand these complexities.”

 

NEDA eating disorder awareness 2019

 

Eating Disorder Awareness Week is this February 25th-March 3rd.

2019’s theme, Come as You Are, highlights NEDA’s movement towards inclusivity in the greater eating disorder community and our goal of unifying the field of eating disorders. In particular, Come as You Are sends a message to individuals at all stages of body acceptance and eating disorders recovery that their stories are valid.  In this way, NEDA’s theme this year highlights what Amanda Roth wishes to stress:  “You can’t tell if someone has an eating disorder just by looking at them.”

Learn more about #NEDAwareness with the resources Amanda recommends:

 

NEDA’s Screening Tool

brittney oswald NEDAwareness

“NEDA’s Screening Tool provided me a glimpse into reality. Operating on a daily basis with disordered eating made me believe that what I was doing, thinking, feeling, worrying about was all “normal”. And if I never had a stable relationship with food, how would I know the difference? Sitting down with my laptop that day was a pivotal moment in not only my recovery, but my overall identity and ability to see the importance of eating disorder awareness and advocacy. I’ll always be grateful for that.”

 

Changing our Relationship with Food

Jennie Schaefer is a speaker on the subject who compares Eating Disorders to an unhealthy relationship (with ED)

 

 

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